TRUE SOLDIERS IN GOD’S ARMY
“True Soldiers in Gods Army” is a book on a mission! The mission of True Soldiers has four main objectives. The first main objective is to help bring the 12th step into action by sharing the strength and hope I have found in my own life, and to help the reader understand that this strength and hope comes from turning to Jesus Christ, and from sincere repentance.In other words, to assist you in having a spiritual awakening as a result of humbling yourself, and turning to Jesus Christ.
The second main objective is to help the reader realize that in order to overcome addiction we should first recognize that we are fighting in a very real SPIRITUAL battle, and that the enemy desires to destroy us all. In other words to help the reader experience a spiritual awakening as a result of realizing that life is a very real spiritual battle (that is being fought for our very own souls) that we all fight in each-and-every-moment-of-each-and-every-day! Its been said that, “some of the greatest battles that we will fight will be the battles fought within the silent chambers of our own minds!”
The third main objective is to get this book into rehab centers, jails, and prisons throughout the world! Most of this book was actually written from jail. One of the main messages that I hope to get across is that rehab, jail, and even prison can be a great place to exercise spiritually and prepare your self to stand strong as a true soldier in God’s army. It is true that a lot of us must be physically locked up, in order to be set free spiritually. You see the reality is that some of our addictions become so strong and unmanageable that being physically locked- up in some sort of facility is the best way to break those awful chains of addiction! Prisons, jails, and rehabs are becoming more and more evil and crazy for a lot of folks, but that does not mean that one cannot change while there. Prison, jail, or rehab should be treated as a sanctuary, a place to correct your thinking, and behavior. You really can become a better person while you are incarcerated; it’s all up to the individual. I know this is true because I did it myself! It was while I was locked-up in jail and then transferred to a substance abuse treatment facility that I finally gained the spiritual strength I needed to stay addiction free. And if I can do it then so can you!
The fourth main objective is to share my own addiction recovery story with you, and to invite you to write your true addiction recovery story to share with others. We will collect these stories and compile this collection of stories recounting personal experiences of recovery from addiction in hopes that they will provide motivation and strength to other alcoholics and addicts all over the world! We are also collecting poems that have to do with addiction recovery. We need your poems and addiction recovery stories! Even if you are still in prison, jail, or rehab we still want to hear your story. Will you please join ranks with Gods army and help us fulfill our mission here at True Soldiers by sending us your stories and poems at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or regular mail: PO box……? Please include your full name, your age, and how long you have been sober. Please also include your contact information, and keep in mind that due to the large volume of poems and stories we receive we will not be able to answer all of you. In the back of the book we are including a format, and some tips that may help you in writing your story out.
True Soldiers in God’s Army is a book that will provide the reader with a greater understanding of life’s spiritual battle, and how it relates to addiction. The reader will learn of the reality of Satan and his evil army, and of the reality of our Heavenly Father and His righteous royal latter-day army! We also learn that everyone must choose for themselves whose army they will join, and that our daily choices determine whose army we are in. Whose army will you join? As for me and my house we will serve as true soldiers in Gods army! The reader will be motivated to turn away from their self destructive behaviors and to put on the whole armor of God as spoken of in the scriptures. They will be motivated to be all they can be as a True Soldier in Gods army! The reader will learn that the closer we get to the second coming of our Lord and Savior the more Satan and his evil soldiers exercise their powers to drag you and I into their misery through all types of addiction. As one reads and applies the principles in this book, they will begin to break the chains of addiction, and put on the armor of God. They will learn what it means to become a true soldier in Gods royal latter-day army. A spiritual awakening will begin to take place and Satan will eventually lose his power in his or her life.
Having been on the front line of Gods army in my own life as a full time missionary, as well as on the front line of Satan’s army as an alcoholic and addict; I have experienced many things. I have experienced the very real joy and happiness that comes from living sober and serving others, as well as the very real misery and unhappiness that comes from alcohol and drug addiction. As I have applied the twelve steps into my own life, and changed my thinking, my weaknesses have become my strengths. The reader will also come to know that their weaknesses can become their strengths. My desires to help others to break the chains of addiction are very sincere and very strong. The information that will assist you in breaking the chains of addiction is found right here in this book! I have purposely tried to keep this book short and simple, so that you can complete the book in a short period of time. I believe there is power in keeping it short, simple and easy to understand.
It is my sincere hope and prayer that as you read this book you will have a spiritual awakening and realize that your soul is at stake in this spiritual battle we call life! It is my hope that as you read this book your desire and capacity to change will grow stronger. Before you read, will you please say a prayer that this book will help you to experience your very own spiritual awakening? Please send us your true addiction recovery stories and poems about addiction. Feel free to write to me at the address above and tell me how this book has affected your life. I would love to hear from you. Start today to be all you can be as a true soldier in God’s army!
THIS IS HOW I FEEL ABOUT SHARING OUR PERSONAL STORIES:
One of the main objectives of this book is to share my own addiction recovery story, but more importantly to get you to also share your story. I have been inspired to create more books with your stories recounting personal experiences of recovery from addiction in hopes that these stories will provide motivation and strength to others.
Someone once said, “It is in the sharing of our personal stories that ignites hope, and provides the strength in others to believe in themselves, and find the courage to change. There is a common ground of understanding, forgiveness, acceptance, and healing when we are authentic with each other. When we tell our real-life stories of what we have encountered on the journey of life, we break down barriers and create safe places to risk revealing truth. Intimacy in our relationships springs to life when we are no longer hiding behind the mask of denial, embarrassment, guilt, or shame. Were just us-people who have had some good days in life and people who have had some very bad days. We’ve quit pretending that everything is “fine” and that life is grand. When we share our stories with each other, we find a way of relating without the façade and without the need to impress. We can just be real. This brings tremendous freedom. I used to wonder how any good could come out of reviewing the details and reliving the pain of an unwanted experience. But I’ve discovered that tremendous power is released when we dare to speak up and communicate our personal stories with honesty and vulnerability. By doing so we remind others that life is an unpredictable journey for all of us. Bad things happen, the enemy tries to destroy our spirit and our sense of purpose. If we can remember that we are engaged in a spiritual battle-not with weapons and hatred, but with hope, faith, and joy. We affirm our ultimate security in God and our love for Him in the midst of our heartache. The grace-filled reward is that we find ourselves enveloped in steadfast, intimate, extravagant love that continues to move us into the heart of the greatest adventure of all.”
We need your stories! Send us your true addiction recovery stories. PLEASE DARE TO SPEAK UP and send us your story, or a poem related to addiction recovery. Please include your full name, your age, and how long you have been sober. Please also include your contact information and keep in mind that due to the large amount of stories we receive we will not be able to contact all of you. We are including a format, and some tips that may help you in writing your story in the back of the book. Please write your story out and share it with us. Join ranks with God’s army today by sending us your true addiction recovery story. It may be your story that ignites hope in someone else and gives them the courage to change. You can go to our website at: www.beatruesoldier.blogspot.com and share your stories and comments, or you can send them in regular mail to: ? We truly appreciate your willingness to share your poems, and stories. Thank you!
Now march forward as a true soldier in God’s army by reading the remainder of this book. I hope it is received in the spirit in which it has been written. I love you, and I believe in you. I know that you are a special person and that you will make it through the tough times of this spiritual battle we call life! BE ALL YOU CAN BE AS A TRUE SOLDIER IN GOD’S ARMY!
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT:
HONESTY: STEP 1 CONTINUES....
It wasn’t until I was arrested for murder that I realized just how powerful Satan’s grasp on me was. It was while I was in jail that I realized how real the deceptive powers of Satan are. I realized that I had transformed from a true soldier in Gods army, to a soldier in Satan’s army! I realized that when we are getting high we are part of Satan’s army. I realized that using drugs invites the influences of the devil and his evil army. I also realized that bad things will ALWAYS happen in the world of addiction. It’s not a matter of IF something terrible will happen it’s a matter of WHEN!
On a positive note, while I was in jail, I remembered that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are a reality. I remembered that they are very much involved in the details of our lives; even when they are not recognized. I remembered that God is very much in control, and that there is no such thing as a coincidence! A coincidence is only when God and His Angels choose to remain anonymous. I began to change my thinking. I began to believe that jail is actually a blessing (for someone trying to overcome addiction) IF you have the right attitude. You can do the time or the time will do you! It’s your choice, you’re going to be there whether you like it or not, so you might as well make the best of it! You might as well change your attitude, and change your life for the better.
It took being arrested and locked-up for me, to not just admit that I was an addict, but perhaps more important so that I could be introduced to the twelve steps. Once I was arrested I was brought face to face with reality. It became clear to me that living my life addicted to drugs, I was only deceiving myself. The drugs were destroying my life. It also became clear to me that by choosing to use drugs, I was choosing to live in misery. I finally admitted that my life had become unmanageable and that I could not overcome my addictions alone. I was compelled to become humble; I finally recognized the reality that I could not overcome addiction alone. I needed help from a higher power!
I began to notice that a lot of people (including myself) became much more spiritual in jail. I am a firm believer that some of us addicts need to be locked up PHYSICALLY to enable us to be set free SPIRITUALLY. In other words, because we are locked away from our drug of choice we are able to stop using much easier. I believe that when we are addicted to pornography, drugs, or any self destructive behavior we become spiritually unhealthy. We develop a spiritual disease. Addiction is like being spiritually in prison. A lot of times once an addict is “physically” in prison we are able to become “spiritually” free. We are set free spiritually and we come back to our normal self. This is one reason a lot of people will do really well while incarcerated or in rehab, but then relapse very quickly in the “free world”. What I’m trying to teach is that you can carry that same spiritual strength with you once you’re released from rehab or jail. You just have to make up your mind that your going to stay committed. You have to continue to exercise spiritually. When you’re spiritually strong then you are strong in the face of temptation. I think you get my point. So stand tall and true as a soldier in Gods army!
They call jails and prisons “Correctional” facilities. But in reality a lot of people become more corrupt in jail and prison. They are more of a “corruptional” facility for a lot of people. The message that I want to get across is that rehab, jail, and prison truly can serve as a “correctional” facility if you decide to make it that way. It’s all up to you! Once we begin to be set free spiritually we begin to feel inner peace again, and experience joy again. We can choose to live free of addiction because we are empowered by our spiritual strength.
While I was incarcerated I read a book called “Prison-Getting Out by Going In” (Freedom Before Release) By Coach Mara Leigh Taylor. If you are incarcerated I would highly recommend that you read that book. This book changed my life! She writes, “Your stay in prison is intended to be a punishment, but it is possible to use your time as a rare opportunity for your personal empowerment. Your incarceration can be experienced from many different perspectives. Your ability to flourish and thrive behind bars is entirely dependant upon the parts of your incarceration that you choose to focus on. When forced to let things go, you have the opportunity to work through the ugliness that inevitably surfaces. Then you will find the place where you are ultimately free-regardless of the walls that confine you.”
Chances are that if you are in prison, jail, or a rehab facility, you are exactly where you need to be, GOD PUT YOU THERE! Use the time wisely. Adjust your attitude to appreciate the time to learn and grow stronger. Establish a relationship with your real Father, your Father in Heaven. Set your spiritual self free by turning to Christ. He will carry you through! Let us remember who we really are, children of God, and be all we can be as true soldiers in His army, no matter where we may live.
To help us understand the reality of Satan, and this spiritual battle of life a little better, I will now quote from a classic discourse given in 1928 entitled “Struggle for the Soul” by Melvin J. Ballard. He said that, “The prophets of old foretold the time to come when this question would be settled. Some of them called the conflict Armageddon. Whatever the name is, there is coming a time when the question as to who has the right to rule and reign will be settled. Every righteous man, living and dead, will be interested and engaged in that conflict, and so will every wicked man, living and dead….
What will the end of the matter be? How soon it will come I do not know, but this I know: that evidences of the approaching conflict are speeding on, and come it will, and the days are being employed in preparation for it by such activity on both sides that we would be astonished if we knew that we are going to be the center of great interest in the universe, because we are approaching great and important and critical days in the history of this world…..
Mighty forces are being arrayed on the one side and on the other for this approaching conflict that will settle the question of who shall rule and reign, in the meantime-and I speak of the devil as a personality, as a reality—there are those who are denying his existence, even as Nephi said that the devil would inspire people to say,” There is no devil”. So far as the Latter-day Saints are concerned, we never conceived that the devil was a monstrosity, that he had long horns and a tail and forked hoofs. No sir, he is a gentleman in outward appearance and if you were to see him you would turn around and look at him, he is more knowledgeable than we are. He is a reality. I am as sure that he lives as I am that God lives. Although he may seek to deceive men and to persuade them that he does not exist, he does exist, and he never was so active as he is today. In the meantime what is his business today? I declare to you that he has his recruiting stations everywhere in the world and that they are armed. He has soldiers, and he has plenty of them. He is enlisting men and women on his side in preparation for the great conflict in the vain hope that when the struggle ensues he will have a majority and thereby be successful”
This spiritual battle is very well organized on both sides. The big question is whose side of the battle are you enlisted in? Now is the time for us to exercise our faith, and put on the armor of God. Now is the time to join ranks with Gods army! We live in the latter days, we are a chosen generation. We are the very ones who must stand up for what is right, and represent our Lord and Savior in this battle.
In 1988 Ezra Taft Benson said this, “in all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—this is a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been so well organized. Now is the great day of the devils power. But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power, with the greatest number of priesthood holders on the earth…
Each day the forces of evil and the forces of good enlist new recruits. Each day we personally make many decisions showing the cause we support. The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will win. But what remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this battle—and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last days and fulfill our foreordained missions...
Great battles can make great heroes and heroines; we will never have a better opportunity to be valiant in a more crucial cause than in the battle we face today and in the immediate future. Some of the greatest battles we will face will be fought within the silent chambers of our own souls. David’s battles in the field against the foe were not as critical as David’s battles in the palace against the lustful eye…
Each of us has his or her own battlefield. The tactics which the enemy will use against us will vary from time to time. He will seek to exploit our weak spots, so we must be alert to the devils devious designs—the subtle sins and clever compromises as well as the obvious offenses….
We must remember that the devil seeks to make all men miserable like unto him self. We must also remember that the Lord loves us and seeks for us the fullness of joy which he enjoys. We must choose whom we will serve”
Once you realize that you really are involved in a very real spiritual battle for your soul then you must choose a side. Jesus Christ said: and “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one despise the other”. You must choose today whose army you will join. Everyone must make their own choice. Joshua in the Old Testament said: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (See Joshua 24:15).
Along with Joshua I say, “Make a choice today to be a true soldier in God’s army! Whose side are you on? When we choose to live sober we choose to be on the Lords side. When we choose to live on the Lords side we invite peace and happiness back into our lives. Satan tries his very best to counterfeit peace and happiness. I have heard it said that, “wickedness never was Happiness”! I have learned that there is a difference between fun and happiness. Fun is something you experience while you’re in the act, and fun is very temporary. Happiness is a much deeper and lasting joy that comes from obedience to Gods eternal laws. Happiness comes from living the standards of the gospel, in other words from keeping the commandments.
Sherri Dew said this: “ Happiness and lasting joy come only from living the gospel, Joy and righteousness are inseparably connected- though satan would have us believe otherwise, that joy and worldly pleasures are one and the same. But they are not. Likewise, satan would have us believe that happiness cannot be found in obedience, which he portrays as confining rather than liberating. But that is a lie” (Sherri Dew, Living on the Lord’s side of the line, 21 March 2000).
Once we begin to make an honest and sincere effort to change, guess who wants to stop you from turning your life around? If you said satan, you are exactly right. It is a pattern that is very real. The pattern is that when positive experiences—especially spiritual experiences—are about to happen in our lives, satan tries to stop it from happening.When you are trying to change you will experience opposition. In this spiritual battle we must fight to stay on the Lord’s side. It is a constant battle. We must arm ourselves against evil.
Ezra Taft Benson spoke again about the reality of this spiritual battle when he said, “We live in an age when, as the Lord foretold, men’s hearts are failing them, not only physically but in spirit.. Many are giving up heart for the battle of life. Suicide ranks as a major cause of the deaths to college students. As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression…..
When I do good I feel good; said Abraham Lincoln; and when I do bad I feel bad. Sin pulls a man down into despondency and despair while a man may take some temporary pleasure in sin, the end result is unhappiness. Wickedness never was happiness. Sin creates disharmony with God and is depressing to the spirit. Therefore, a man would do well to examine himself to see that he is in harmony with all of God’s laws. Every law kept brings a particular blessing. Every law broken brings a particular blight. Those who are heavy laden with despair should come unto the Lord, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.(see matt 11:28-30)”.
To overcome addiction we must take action. We must first be humble enough to admit that we need help. Then we must be willing to abstain from our self destructive behavior. We must be willing to exercise faith and take the necessary action steps. The first action step is to “Become willing to abstain”. In order to overcome addiction one must first have a desire to stop. Even if it’s only a small desire, be patient, because the desire will grow stronger over time. For some of us God will take away the desire to indulge in our self destructive behavior all at once. I know people that decided to pray and ask God for help and their cravings and urges to use went away immediately. For most of us the desire to use is taken away little by little, for me it was a little at a time. I noticed that as I worked the “action steps” found in the ARPG I felt empowered and spiritually strengthened. I know that this will prove to be true for you also. Doing the “action steps” will arm you with power from on high, spiritual power, Gods power, and will give you the strength to stay clean and sober! You must do your part. Be willing to abstain, and remember that it will get easier over time. From the holy Bible in the book of Mathew chapter 5 and verse 6, we read, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled”.
Don’t forget to pray and ask God for help. Pray, pray, pray and pray some more! Have you prayed today? Prayer is one of our most powerful weapons in this spiritual battle we call life!
It is very important that we develop righteous character. Righteous character comes from personal values that are based on gospel principles. Some of these values would be humility, faith, repentance and just a desire to be a good person. Some of the personal values would be integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, love, respect, dependability, and responsibility. These are some of the pillars of character. Take the time to think about what YOU believe in deep down in your heart, and then think about how you are behaving. I know for me, once I realized that my behavior was in complete contradictory to everything I believed in, my desires to change became much more powerful. Ask yourself, “What changes need to be made in my life?” “Am I willing to change?” YOU have the power within you to change your desires and to change your behavior. The question is, “Are you willing to exercise a little faith and take the necessary action steps?” if the answer is yes, you are now on the road to recovery! Like my sister Missy always says about Travis’ recovery, “It may be a long and hard road to recovery, but be thankful for the road!” The power to abstain from your addiction is within you, be willing to, “just say no!” As of today, BE ABOUT CHANGE! Each day, tell yourself out loud and even in the mirror, “I’m a true soldier in Gods army, and I am getting stronger every-day in every way”! Now let’s be true soldiers in Gods army and march forward to the next “action step”.
In the next action step we are told to, “Let go of pride and seek humility”. To be humble means to be teachable, or willing to learn. To be humble also means to be modest, meek, and deeply respectful. If we are humble we are willing to listen and learn from others. If you are humble than you are the opposite of prideful. A person that is humble will have greater spiritual strength to win the spiritual battles of everyday life.
How important is it to humble ourselves and to be anxiously engaged in staying clean and sober? YOUR ETERNAL REWARD DEPENDS UPON IT! Humility is actually the main key to recovery. I know that if you will humble yourself and commit to following Jesus Christ that your weaknesses will one day become your strengths. I know this is true because it has happened in my own life!
There are so many ways that we can humble ourselves. We can humble ourselves by sharing our own personal addiction recovery story, and by choosing to stay clean and sober. We can humble ourselves by serving missions for Christ. We can humble ourselves by attending our ARP meetings and other church meetings. Many churches have opportunities to serve missions. I highly recommend that you serve a mission wherever possible. Those serving as missionaries, no matter what religion they may be are true soldiers on the front lines of Gods army! The two years that I spent on my mission have been some of the happiest most fulfilling years of my life! There are actually missionary opportunities no matter what your age is, what religion you are, or where you may find yourself in life. Talk to your Bishop or religious leader and find out if you too can serve a mission. Although you may not be able to serve a mission you can still serve your Heavenly Father in many ways. Service to others is also a key to overcoming addiction, as you will learn more about in step twelve. I challenge you to think of all the different ways that you can humble yourself, and serve others, then write them down, and do them. Be all you can be as a true soldier in God’s army, and let go of pride and seek humility!
In the ARPG we read that, “Pride and honesty cannot coexist. Pride is an illusion and is an essential element of all addiction. Pride distorts the truth about things as they are, as they have been, and as they will be. It is a major obstacle to your recovery.”
Gordon B. Hinkley said this, “without honesty, our lives disintegrate into ugliness, chaos, and a lack of any kind of security and confidence, and without personal integrity, there can be no confidence. Without confidence there can be no prospect of permanent success.”
Start today to be completely honest with your self. Not just about your addictions, and self destructive behaviors, but also about whom you really are. Remember who you really are! You are a unique son or daughter of a loving Heavenly Father. He will always love you regardless of your mistakes. He may not approve of your poor choices, but He still loves you for you. Yes, it’s true that you have made some mistakes, but the mistakes don’t make you, they do not define who you are unless you never learn from your mistakes. We all have the sacred gift of free agency, or the freedom to choose. Use this gift wisely, and choose to humble yourself. The choices that you make today will affect your tomorrow. Satan will try his very best to deceive you, but we know as long as we put forth effort to become better each day, and we choose to follow Christ we will overcome addiction, and obtain true lasting happiness. Believe in your self, and trust in God to help you along the way.
As alcoholics and addicts we must turn to Christ in order to be healed. There is no other way! We must remember that “we are involved in an intense battle. It is a battle between right and wrong, between truth and error, between the design of the Almighty on the one hand and that of Lucifer on the other” (Gordon B. Hinkley).
How bad do you want to experience the miracle of recovery? Exercise your faith and take the necessary action steps. If you are saying your daily prayers, reading the scriptures daily, and going to meetings as often as you can, then your chances at healing and enjoying a lasting recovery are really good. It is through these three things, daily prayer, daily scripture study, and meeting attendance, that we exercise spiritually and gain spiritual strength. We must do these three things to arm ourselves for the spiritual battles that we face each day. GO TO YOUR MEETINGS—SAY YOUR PRAYERS—STUDY THE SCRIPTURES! The enemy of our souls is fighting to capture you and make you his slave. The choices you make- small and large-each day determine whose side of this battle you are actually fighting for. The more often that you give into temptation the more Satan will control you, and take away your ability to choose for yourself. The more righteous choices you make, the more spiritual protection you will have, and the more self control you will gain. Be true to yourself and others by being honest with your self and others. Be willing to let go of pride and get down on your knees and ask your Father in Heaven to help you. Remember that you are a unique child of God and that you must make your own choice to fight for what is right as a true soldier in His royal latter-day army. Now let’s march forward onto step # 2.