Addiction recovery programs heal through love

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:55 PM

JaNae Francis, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — There isn’t a person alive who can’t identify with experiencing pain in their life.

But some former addicts say the means they chose to dull that pain caused them and their families untold grief.

And they want to help others find their way out of similar situations.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has developed programs for addiction recovery that offer help for those who are suffering every day of the week.

“They realize they are not alone,” said Kristin Stroud, who, with her husband, serves as an assistant coordinator of an arm of the program that runs out of Ogden LDS Family Services. “They become best friends and help each other through a very trying time.”

An Ogden-based group of leaders in the program met this month for training and to discuss ways to better lead their meetings that are held nearly every day of the week. Online and telephone meetings and help is available on a continual basis.

The leaders said they have seen lives change as participants have wrapped the love of Jesus Christ around themselves and allowed their resulting feelings to change their hearts.

“It’s a safe place to share and help one another and to share common experiences,” said Ron Dickson, coordinator of the Ogden program.

His wife, Gwenn Dickson, said, “To me, the success of the program is the love and the sharing they give to the addict.”

The Dicksons, the Strouds and others shared an outline of the meetings they promote that includes prayer, a discussion of the mission statement of the program and a five-minute presentation by a former addict talking about how he or she was able to turn his or her life around.

The meetings introduce a different step in the 12-step program, infused with LDS doctrine, each week.

Following those portions of the meeting, participants are allowed to share and support one another.

Visiting missionaries rotate through groups, trading to new responsibilities each time a group starts over again with the 12 steps.

In the Ogden area alone, there are 14 meetings a week in 10 different locations.

The meetings are divided into general addictions, pornography addictions and family support groups for those who are addicted.

A woman who now is a facilitator of a family support group, said she found out her husband was addicted to pornography when she was about to give birth.

“It wasn’t until I let go and realized that it was his problem, that it wasn’t my fault, that I had a lot of peace,” she said. “Everyone has their rock bottom. If your addict has not hit rock bottom, you cannot help them.”

The church has produced a great deal of literature, available on the Internet, to address addictions.

One scripture used to illustrate this literature is Doctrine and Covenants 84:88.

“I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up,” states the scripture.

The Internet literature is meant to be a help to the programs, as well as a place for families and addicts to turn, particularly when they can’t attend meetings, organizers said.

The websites

To find meetings near where you live, go to and click on “find a meeting” in the lower right side of the site. On the right is a place where you may enter your zip code.

The meetings are listed by what they cover and other features. For instance, some meetings are only for women and some are only for men. Some are for younger people.

James Wadman, coordinator for services at Ogden LDS Family Services, said all the meetings look and feel exactly the same.

“We want the programs to be a good support and structure, a good balance,” he said.

Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or, or follow her on Twitter at @jfrancis.

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