Derek's Story: Blessings of Being Clean

When I was in the middle of my addiction I didn’t realize what it was costing me. I didn’t think it was affecting my life negatively. I just thought it was something I had to stop doing because God said so. I wished God’s commandments would change or somehow He would make an exception for me. Looking back I can see that my life was negatively affected by my addiction.

-        Insecure. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but rationalized it anyways. I especially rationalized things that were in the grey area, things that “weren’t technically evil”, but I knew would lead me down a wrong path. Because I rationalized this part of my life I began questioning myself in all aspects of my life. With things as simple as saying something wrong in a group of friends or being afraid if I made a mistake at work. Also whenever I would make a decision and try to move forward I would have a ton of doubt associated with that decision and constantly be looking back.

-        Blamed Myself. I knew what I was doing was wrong, so I thought that anything bad that happened was a result of my disobedience. This messed me up pretty good, and definitely led me to have pharisitical tendencies. Even after being clean for years I thought anything bad that happened was associated with my disobedience. I went through a phase where I was super uptight about keeping the commandments. For instance, if I didn’t read my scriptures one day I would assume that that day would be horrible and there was nothing I could do to have a good day. I beat myself up a lot.

-        Time. This one is super practical, but when I was actively fighting against addiction Satan didn’t start out tempting me to do the addiction. He started out small, with things that weren’t technically evil but were even good in other situations. For instance, it would start out with me watching TV or playing video games, then I would get bored, start dabbling in things I shouldn’t then eventually go to things that I was addicted to. For me this process took hours each time I fell. Looking at the situation from a purely practical standpoint, if I would of either worked or hung out with friends instead of repeating this cycle. I would have had way more friends and way more money.

-        Godly Sorrow. I knew I was capable of being better it was sad to me that I failed so often. Especially after thinking I was over my addiction so many times. I definitely had feelings of guilt and knew I needed to change.

When I started to stop my addiction my life “immediately got better” each time. I would notice that things seemed to “magically” get better. I think that there are practical reasons for this (like time mentioned above) but also God does bless us for obedience. A couple things I would notice were getting more sales at work or having more friends.

-        Peace of Mind. Possibly the best thing I got from being clean was peace of mind. I knew I had been forgiven and I wasn’t worried about the judgement of God coming down on me. I also felt more confident that I could fulfill God’s plan for me and now was able to help people come back to him the way I knew he wanted me to. From a practical standpoint it freed up a lot of mental energy I spent worrying that now could be focused on positive productive things.

-        Confidence. It took me years to realize how my addiction hammered in my insecurities and how Satan twisted my addiction to make me blame myself when bad things happened. It took a dramatic life event, after years of being clean, to wake me up from the negative thought processes I had been living in. This is why prevention is always better than redemption, but thank God redemption is always possible.

 I now spend a lot less time worrying about what other people think, less time worrying that I will fail and realize that “the Lord sendeth rain on the just and unjust”. So when bad things happen I now have the confidence to know that all things will work together for the good of them that love and serve God.   Also that I live in mortality a time of being tested and tried, that trial and challenges are part of the plan and no one is exempt.  

-        God’s Plan. I always knew that God wanted me to help lift other people, but during my addiction I wasn’t capable of doing so. My confidence “has waxed strong in front of God” D&C 121:45 knowing that I am worthy to receive inspiration to help others in sometimes dramatic and urgent situations. I’m at peace knowing that my addiction isn’t inhibiting me from fulfilling God’s plan for me.

These are just a few ways that I’ve noticed my life get better after being clean. There is definitely an increased amount of confidence after years of being clean. I’ve felt closer to God, confident I’m where he wants me to be in life and more settled. Life still does have its ups and downs, it’s not like everything automatically goes your way once you decide to be obedient. For instance I’ve been clean for 8 years, and am now in my upper 20’s and am still single. This definitely isn’t what I planned for or intended and it has been challenging for me.

Everybody is different, people experience addiction in different ways, so logically will experience different benefits from being clean. However you are experiencing addiction, no matter how deep in denial you are and no matter how little you think it’s affecting your life. I can promise you without hesitation that your life will indefinitely and undeniably be better when your clean.

In a previous post I shared my addiction story which you can read here (click here).