Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

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Curt Sunshine
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Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 May 2019, 19:24

In my current professional situation, I am working extensively with recovering addicts - both alcohol and other drugs. The large majority of those people have been in and out of treatment multiple times but keep trying to get clean and sober. There effort is inspiring, but . . .

It is heartbreaking to see them document their drug usage history and realize what a huge majority of them began drinking alcohol from age 10-14, with some even earlier. It also is enlightening to see how many started using other drugs shortly after their alcohol usage began. Finally, it is disheartening to realize how many addicts never make it to treatment and how many fail in the long run even if they do receive treatment. It hurts me emotionally to see someone with whom I am working relapse when they are trying so hard. Alcohol and many drug addictions stunt emotional growth and almost freeze it at the point of initial regular consumption, which makes it extremely difficult to recover.

I always have been grateful that I never have faced the possibility of becoming an addict. I never had to wonder where my limit was or worry about crossing it and not being able to step back to the manageable side of the line. I have never had to face the possibility of getting impaired to the point of being passed around for sex - or losing many thousands of dollars - or never being able to keep a job - and the list goes on and on.

For all of my intellectual issues with how the Word of Wisdom is enforced, as well as being somewhat outdated in some ways, I am grateful it was something I was taught as a child, adolescent, and young adult. In the end, the pros have vastly outnumbered the cons.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Roy
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by Roy » 28 May 2019, 08:45

I am very thankful that I am very far removed from drunk driving. The way people at my workplace talk it sounds as though many have done it at least once. It seems scary and stupidly reckless to me.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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DarkJedi
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by DarkJedi » 28 May 2019, 14:36

This is interesting Curt. The population I work with is younger, generally 15 to 17. Likewise, many of them started at 10 and sometimes younger. Part of program for our kids is they get drug treatment, whether they need it or not (we have several programs so it is somewhat tailored). The need it or not part is tongue-in-cheek - sort of like my Grandpa who took a bath every Saturday whether he needed it or not.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Minyan Man
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by Minyan Man » 28 May 2019, 14:59

Curt, your professional situation does sound very interesting. Addiction is an interesting subject & multi faceted.
I'm sure that no 2 addicts or alcoholics are the same. You said: ...
I am grateful it was something I was taught as a child, adolescent, and young adult. In the end, the pros have vastly outnumbered the cons.
Being taught in the home & church the Word of Wisdom is no guarantee that you will not become an addict. For example:
- Family history & DNA is a factor.
- Family & community culture is a factor.
- When you joined the church (child or adult) can be another factor.

Have you come in contact with church members that are addicts?
How does their addiction & recovery differ from non-members?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 May 2019, 20:39

I didn't mean to imply Mormons, or even just "faithful" ones or ones from well-functioning families, won't become addicts. I understand it is much more complicated than that.

The large majority of active members I know who became addicts (those who were active throughout their childhood and adolescents) got there in much the same way the non-members did - except that they started later in life. (not all, by any means, but most of them) They still face the same issues as other addicts once they are addicted, but the later use and addiction give them one advantage in terms of the time period of "emotional freeze". They tend to be somewhat more emotionally mature and, therefore, able to process the requirements of sobriety somewhat better than those who became addicted earlier in life.

On the other hand, there often is even more guilt and shame they need to overcome due to the religious taboo element.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SilentDawning
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by SilentDawning » 29 May 2019, 05:13

Abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and drugs was something that actually attracted me to the church in the first place.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

mfree6464
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by mfree6464 » 29 May 2019, 08:01

DW and I recently celebrated our anniversary. We stayed in a very nice hotel and when we were being shown to our room it was pointed out that we were being offered a complimentary bottle of champagne. I am still active and hold a calling but do not currently hold a recommend - still sorting out my faith issues. I also do not see things nearly as black and white as I once did so I decided to go ahead and have a glass. I should point out that DW has always been the more moderate of the two of us with regard to the church and had no problems with my choice - which is wonderful for me. That said, it was probably the most disgusting thing I ever drank. I'm assuming the complimentary bottle isn't "top shelf" but I would also assume that a hotel as nice as this one was would not be giving away garbage booze as a way of welcoming its customers. I know most people in this country love the stuff but man, I sure feel like I haven't been missing much by abstaining from alcohol.

From a more faith-promoting perspective, 5-10 years ago I was approaching middle age and in need of more effective ways to stay physically healthy. Previous to that point in my life I would simply start a daily jogging routine until the weight came off to my satisfaction. For some reason, the efficacy of that wore off after my 30s and for the first time in my life I found myself limiting my caloric intake in an effort to lose weight. It was difficult. Having never even tried alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, coffee, etc I had little experience in mastering my body's desire to consume. Watching what I ate was an interesting experience for me. As I lost weight and gained mastery over the food I ate, I noticed mastery and control in other, seemingly unrelated areas of my life (control of thoughts, more desire to help others, etc.) For me it was sort of like cross-training. I saw a video of the MMA fighter Conor McGregor riding a bike as part of his training regiment and it sort of clicked for me that just like bike-riding can help a fighter, watching what I eat can help in areas of my life I might not expect. For me, it was a fascinating and unexpected lesson in the value of the WoW.

Roadrunner
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by Roadrunner » 29 May 2019, 10:29

Like others have said, I have issues with how we observe the WoW, but I also appreciate that I'm not dependent on alcohol from an addiction standpoint or as a prerequisite to have fun. My eyes were somewhat opened recently when a good friend of mine who's an ER doctor in a predominantly LDS community told me that in his opinion it would be less harmful to society to have legal marijuana than legal alcohol. Not that he was (or that I am) taking a stance on marijuana, he explained to me how incredibly addictive alcohol really is. I think he said it's probably in the top 3 drugs for ease of getting addicted, which I hadn't known.

Virtually all of my non-LDS friends drink regularly and it looks like they have a great time doing it, but I suspect I'm not missing all that much in the long run.

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felixfabulous
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by felixfabulous » 29 May 2019, 12:34

I totally agree about alcohol, tobacco and drugs. I think they are all addictive and can ruin lives and am grateful I made it to this point in life without getting involved in any of those. I have yet to hear anyone make a good case for why abstaining from tea and coffee makes sense for health or for avoiding addiction. We usually leave those off the list because there are no good arguments to be made.

Tica
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Re: Seeing the Word of Wisdom through a New Lens

Post by Tica » 29 May 2019, 20:39

The WofW is an interesting part of our church culture. Although I have some concerns around how we practice and enforce it, I am also really grateful for it. I think it instilled in me from a really young age the idea that God wants us to keep our bodies healthy. I am certainly not perfect, but that has shaped my approach to drugs and alcohol, but also other healthful life practices.

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