|Too Many Carbs/Too Much Coke|
Might Not Be the Same
Minneapolis, MN--Area woman Vanessa de Rossi, first counselor in her ward’s Relief Society and a lifelong member who “struggles with watching too much television and consuming too much sugar,” is starting to feel out of place at her first Addiction Recovery Program meeting.
“I was really excited to hear our stake was doing the Addiction Recovery Program,” said de Rossi. De Rossi elaborated that “our Relief Society president always says that the ARP is really for everyone, and that everyone has their addiction.” But now that de Rossi is at her first meeting, she is starting to feel a little out of place.
De Rossi explained that “when I got here, everyone was really quiet. I went around, like I always do, and shook everyone’s hands, introduced myself, and mentally tried to think of something nice I could say about each person.”
In an effort to reach out in a friendly manner and to get as much help as possible from the program right from the start, de Rossi took the first opportunity she could find to explain her “painful struggles” with watching television “up to three times a week for as much as an hour” when she could have studied her scriptures or made two more compassionate service visits. Feeling the compassion and acceptance from the group, de Rossi went on to explain the shame, embarrassment, and pain she has felt for the “extra scoop of ice cream one time when no one was around” or that “one hidden bag of fun size Snickers” she had in her closet two years ago. De Rossi felt comforted by the ARP missionaries who consoled her by saying that the Lord can help us no matter what our struggles might be.
It was when other program participants started sharing that de Rossi started to feel like this might not be exactly the right place for her. When talking about how the Savior’s love had helped him, the man next to de Rossi explained how found strength to overcome his old habit of “using a website filled with pictures of naked Bolivian postal workers to masturbate for so long that I lost feeling in the lower half of my body for a week.”
This was not the only example of the program’s effectiveness that made de Rossi feel somewhat out of place. Later in the meeting a man who had been in the stake high council explained that he knew that his life was unmanageable when he “found a flask and a bag of coke in his scripture bag and when he realized that the only way he had been able give his monthly high council talks in his assigned wards for the past eighteen months was if he was drunk out of his mind.”
Midway through the meeting, though everyone agreed with de Rossi that the Addiction Recovery Program is a powerful tool that can help a variety of people, not everyone seemed as excited when she said that “it doesn’t matter if your addiction is two episodes a month of House, a weekly bowl of Häagen-Dazs or heroin.”