Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sunday School Answers

I finished reading the Book of Mormon last week.  It is the second time this calendar year that I have finished it.  It has been over 20 years, dating back to my LDS mission, since I have been able to say that.  It got me thinking a lot about the importance of scripture study, in particular the power of the Book of Mormon. 

During the recent session of LDS General Conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen, posed the question; "When was the last time that you read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover? Read it again. It will increase your faith."  As he posed the question, I felt a rush of joy as I thought to myself, "I'm in Moroni right now!"  It felt good to know that I was following the counsel of the Lord.  But it also got me thinking of a familiar refrain often heard in 12 Step meetings.

The sad truth is, many addicts I know have lost faith in simple things like scripture reading.  After many years of being told by family and priesthood leaders, "Just read the scriptures and pray more and you will overcome your struggle", only to fail again and again.  It becomes easy to dismiss these things as unimportant or not helpful.   I have heard numerous men express this thought in recovery meetings.  Part of me is sad whenever I hear this expressed.  But part of me can relate as well.  I can't tell you how many times I have prayed to be healed, that I have begged the Lord to take this from me.  I have fasted for it, said prayers and then opened the scriptures to a random page hoping to find the one passage or verse that would inspire me to, finally, have the strength to beat my addiction.  It never worked.  I wish overcoming a lifelong addiction was that simple, but for me at least, it hasn't been.

Over time it made me a little bit bitter towards the so-called "Sunday school answers".  If I have prayed and read the scriptures for years and still haven't gotten any help, then what is the point?

It took me a very long time to come up with a good answer to that question.  But it wasn't the Book of Mormon that had to change.  It wasn't my Bishop or my family or my friends.  What had to change, was me.  Seems overly simple doesn't it?  But it's true.  In my experience the real, true key to recovery is having a close relationship with my Savior.  Knowing Him, believing in Him, having faith in Him.  The more I am able to do this, the easier it is to remember to turn to Him when the stress comes, when the struggles come, when the triggers come.  Because I could never possibly overcome this alone.  It is only through Him that I have any chance of success.

So what actually had to happen was a shift within me.  An understanding and acceptance that the purpose of prayer and of the scriptures isn't to solve my problems for me.  If I pray to the Lord to take away my struggle without any learning or change on my part then how would I ever grow as a person?  The purpose of prayer and of the scriptures is to come to know my Savior.  To learn how to trust Him and feel His hand in my life.  For the greater His influence in my life, the more successful I will be.  The closer I am to Him and the more I choose to rely on Him, the happier I am.  That is why I read the Book of Mormon , because it teaches of the Savior.  Prophet after prophet, page after page and verse after verse.  I come to know my Savior.  I come to trust and believe in Him. I grow closer to Him.  I learn how to exercise faith in Him, which leads to me surrendering to Him and letting Him take the wheel of my life. 

And you know what?  It works.  It really does.  And that is why last night, I turned back to 1 Nephi and I started all over again.  Because I need Him in my life. He is a much better driver than I am.

The Prophet, Joseph Smith once testified of the Book of Mormon;
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
 I need the Lord in my life.  I need to be close to Him to have any chance of success and I know that in reading and studying the Book of Mormon I grow closer to  my Heavenly Father and my Savior.  And with them on my side I can overcome or endure any challenge life has in store for me, including addiction.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Letting Go and Letting God is hard...

So it has been a whirlwind 48 hours.  I have been reminded once again that nothing in life or in addiction recovery, ever goes as planned.  On Monday night, my 5 year old woke up about 11 PM with a raging ear infection.  After medicine and spending time with Mom didn't do the trick we ultimately decided he needed a Priesthood blessing.  After phone calls to numerous friends and neighbors, I finally tracked someone down.  He and I laid hands on my son's head and gave him a blessing.  It was a very spiritual moment and we all commented how strong the Spirit was in our home.  I was grateful to have been part of it.

Less than 24 hours later that moment seemed very far away.  It had started as a lazy day.  We slept late after the ordeal the previous night.  Then my wife took our oldest to register for High School.  It was my day off and I lounged around quite a bit.  Finally evening rolled around and my wife was cooking dinner.  I walked out to check the mail and started to open an envelope addressed to me.  As I opened it I saw it was an advertisement for a men's "enhancement" medication of some sort.  I also noticed it contained some very inappropriate photos.  My wife asked what it was and I started to explain.  She took it from my hands and opened it all the way and was horrified at the contents.

Her immediate reaction was to assume that I had been up to something.  It was addressed to me at a house we have only lived in for 4 months and I have been sober those 4 months.  So it didn't make sense they would have my name and information even for spam mail.  I tried to explain but she just got madder and madder.  She said it was evidence that I had been visiting adult sites, because why else would they know my name and address?  I was extremely frustrated.  I was scrambling in my mind trying to understand.  I am far from perfect and I still have very hard days at times where I allow lust into my heart and have to battle mightily to keep from getting in.  But I know for certain that I have not visited any explicit or adult sites, I haven't acted out in my addiction and I definitely haven't signed up for anything or given anyone my information that would lead to me receiving adult advertisements in the mail.  So I didn't know what to think.

I pleaded with her but she wasn't having it.  She's been down this road too many times and she is tired of being hurt.  In that moment there is nothing I could have said or done to convince her.  So I finally walked out to the back deck in an attempt to compose myself.  I was frustrated, I was hurt, I was MAD.  I spent 30 minutes searching on the Internet to try and find some sort of explanation, some sort of evidence to clear my name.  I had signed up for a free trial for the WWE pro wrestling network, we recently came close to buying a car and sent our information to numerous credit agencies.  This led to numerous credit card companies and other places calling and sending mail.  Maybe one of them shared my information.  Maybe if I can find an article that shows other people who did business with these companies started receiving spam mail, then I can show her.  I can prove that I'm right.

Somewhere in the middle of all this scrambling, the Spirit whispered some things to me that bored strait to my soul.

Number 1; Who could blame her for assuming the worst?  How many times have I legitimately put her through this?  How many times have I promised I was clean and telling the truth when I was desperately covering an intricate web of lies.  She would be crazy at this point to believe me no matter how innocent I proclaimed to be.  That is the legacy I have created based upon my previous actions and mistakes.  It is my fault she assumes the worst and I have to accountable for that.

Number 2; I can't fix it.  There is absolutely nothing I could say or do or prove, that is going to change her mind.  I have to surrender this to the Savior and trust Him.  I have to trust that there is something I need to learn from this experience.  It was a great reminder that I have so much more growing to do.  This is a lifelong journey and all I can control is this moment on this day.  I have to trust the rest to Him.  So I bowed my head and said a prayer and simply surrendered it to Him and promised to do my best to trust Him.   After that I immediately pulled out my phone and started sending texts to my support system.  I received many responses back with promises to pray for me and my family.  It helped me to feel connected and reminded me that I am not alone.  It helped me to feel peace.

I don't know what tomorrow brings.  I don't know where I will be in a week or a month or a year.  I only know that today, I am trying desperately to let go and let God.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Blanket Statements Don't Heal: When Meaning Well Isn't Enough

Ive been struggling for awhile with how to write this post. It may be one that is confusing or puzzling to some but it is something I have been pondering for awhile and feel strongly about. This was all triggered by a Facebook post from the organization, Fight The New Drug.  Their mission statement as an organization is to educate and spread the word about the dangers of pornography.  How it can be used as a drug and has entrapped many.  Overall I think they are a wonderful organization.  I have long advocated that one of the best things we can do to combat this terrible problem is to stop being afraid of it.  We need more organizations that are willing to talk about it.  So I greatly appreciate their efforts.  I do however take exception to some of their slogans.

Don't get me wrong.  I understand the purpose of a slogan is to grab your attention so that you will click on the link, read the article or engage in conversation with the individual displaying the slogan.  I understand they mean well.  That their hope is that upon reading their slogan you will seek to learn more.  The old advertising adage is that all exposure is good exposure if it gets people to your site/business etc.  But I'm not sure that's always true.

The headline that grabbed my attention was "Real Men Don't Use Porn".  My immediate reaction was shock.  My second reaction was guilt mixed with shame.  I have used porn.  I have struggled with it for much of my life.  So am I not "real"?  Am I inherently less than because of the struggle I have?  Are all men and women who struggle with pornography, those who are stuck in a terrible pattern of "using porn", are they broken and diminished? 

I think to understand the ramifications of this statement we need to try to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are ensnared.  Odds are you know one of these people.  It might be your husband, your wife, one of your children, it might even be you.  The numbers are staggering when it comes to pornography usage.  Studies found in the "porn stats" section of the website, Covenant Eyes, show that 64% of men and 15% of all women admit to viewing pornography at least once a month.  We also learn here that 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before they turn 18.  Depending on your definition, almost half the planet has "used pornography".  Those are staggering numbers.  Outlining even more how important it is to talk about it.  But I think it also shows the importance of saying the right things. 

The first thing we need to understand learned from personal experience, after attending 100's of 12 Step meetings and closely interacting with dozens of addicts, the biggest thing I can tell you is that most of them are desperate to stop.  They understand 100% the impact it is having on their lives and their families, but it's not always that simple.  It's not as simple as saying "just don't look"  It's "real" to not look.  All statements like that do is heap on shame and guilt. 

One of the other popular slogans that Fight The New Drug utilizes is "Porn Kills Love".  A couple years back when she was working for one of their on campus organizations my own wife even bought one of those shirts.  I tried to express to her at the time how much it hurt me to see it on her but our relationship wasn't strong at the time and she felt I was just being sensitive.  And truthfully, I was just being sensitive.  Because it hurt me to see that slogan.  As someone who struggles with pornography, all I heard when I saw that shirt was "You're not worthy of love, you're not capable of love, you are not loved".  I couldn't put it into words at the time but I clearly remember the pain.  It was shame.  Every single time I see that slogan I feel shame.  In moments of weakness I still to this day have to stop and ask myself if I deserve love.  If I am capable of love.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Pornography can and will kill love in your family and your relationships.  It's toxic and pervasive and will absolutely take over every aspect of your life.  I just don't think blanket statements like these are the right approach to try and help someone trapped in addiction.  In moments of clarity, I knew full well the impact my actions were having on my marriage and my family.  But when the temptations came, I still wasn't always strong enough to say no.  It's not as simple as just stopping.  Fortunately, more people are starting to come to this conclusion and radically changing the perception of addiction and addicts in general.

Author David Sheff, who has dealt with addiction is his own family and has written and studied extensively on the subject wrote the following for the New York Times in 2013;

"The view that drug use is a moral choice is pervasive, pernicious, and wrong. So are the corresponding beliefs about the addicted — that they’re weak, selfish, and dissolute; if they weren’t, when their excessive drug taking and drinking began to harm them, they’d stop. The reality is far different. Using drugs or not isn’t about willpower or character. Most problematic drug use is related to stress, trauma, genetic predisposition, mild or serious mental illness, use at an early age, or some combination of those. Even in their relentless destruction and self-destruction, the addicted aren’t bad people. They’re gravely ill, afflicted with a chronic, progressive, and often terminal disease.
People also believe that addicts can’t be treated; at best, they can muster their willpower and manage their compulsion for a short time. But while it’s true that addicts who seek treatment are seldom cured, their disease is treatable when we reject the pseudoscience, moralizing, and scare tactics that characterize the current system. The disease of addiction can be prevented, and when we treat it the way we treat other diseases, those in its thrall can be freed to live long, full, healthy lives."
I especially love his statement that; "their disease is treatable when we reject pseudoscience, moralizing and scare tactics."  These words apply just as powerfully to pornography addicts as they do to drug or alcohol addicts.  They aren't just bad moral people or people with terrible judgement.  Most of them are trapped, broken and lost. 

Apostles of the Lord have spoken out as well about addiction compromises the agency of those trapped in addiction.  In October 2010 Elder M. Russell Ballard explained the web of control that addicts struggle against;
"Researchers tell us there is a mechanism in our brain called the pleasure center. When activated by certain drugs or behaviors, it overpowers the part of our brain that governs our willpower, judgment, logic, and morality. This leads the addict to abandon what he or she knows is right. And when that happens, the hook is set and Lucifer takes control."

You can't help a drug addict by saying "Hey don't you know it's bad to use drugs?"   Similarly, you won't help a pornography addict by saying "Hey don't you know that real men don't use porn?  What the heck is wrong with you?"  "Don't you know that porn kills love?"  The solution to addiction is understanding, support, patience and empathy.  Yes, sometimes tough love is necessary.  But it's important to remember that even tough love only works when love is part of the equation. 

Most of all the message I want to send with this is one of hope.  If you or someone you loved is trapped in addiction there is hope.  You are worthy of love and you are as real as any other being to walk this planet.  We have been promised by prophets and apostles that there is always a way.  We are never too lost or too broken.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland put this better than I possibly could in his wonderful message given in October 2006;

 "To all of you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long, to every one of you who worry that you are stranded somewhere on the wintry plains of life and have wrecked your handcart in the process, this conference calls out Jehovah’s unrelenting refrain, “[My] hand is stretched out still... His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still. His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears."

Please know that you are never too lost, too broken, too unworthy of love or too different to get help.  You deserve to feel valued and to know that you are never alone.  Addiction doesn't make you unloved or unworthy or wrong.  It just means you need help and help is there.  I promise you it is.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Journal: Milestones and a Check-In

It's been a couple weeks since I have had the opportunity to sit down and write. We absolutely love our new house but the one downside is I no longer have my own desk so my laptop is rarely accessible. It is amazing how quickly I can get out of the habit of writing when my computer isn't out and in sight at all times. Things have been good though. There have definitely been some hard times but also many good times mixed in.

This past holiday weekend was a good one. As I went to go to bed last night I couldn't help but be grateful for all the good in my life. Saturday we were able to have a birthday party for our youngest with both grandmothers in attendance. Then Sunday was a very full day spiritually. My wife and I had the opportunity to speak in church. Then I served as the facilitator in the local ARP meeting and then as the group leader in my Healing Through Christ Men's meeting later on that night. It was a full and wonderful day. I can't ever recall getting as much positive feedback after speaking in church as my wife and I did. We were stopped in the hall numerous times and then a couple times on the street Sunday afternoon as well. It was humbling to hear that my words might have given hope to someone else.

I also realized that I had a couple milestones over the weekend. Saturday was my 6 months of sobriety in terms of my progressive victory over lust. And today marks 11 months since my last serious relapse of viewing and acting out afterwards. It is very humbling to see my distance from my last struggles growing and I know that it is only through the grace of God and the love and support of many that I am where I am today.

I have thought a lot about how I got here. And the one thing I can't help but think is making the biggest difference in my life is service. When I very first met with my Stake President 4-5 months ago and outlined everything that was going on, he challenged me to find ways to serve my family, my community and my fellow man. To get outside myself. Addiction, all addiction, is self serving. It turns me inward towards selfishness and putting my own needs first. So any type of service and putting others first is a wonderful way to break the cycle.

I genuinely enjoy coming home after a long day at work and cooking dinner for my family or doing the dishes. My favorite days off now involve cooking breakfast for my wife and working for a few hours in the lawn. I have also been doing a lot more service in regards to recovery work. I have been facilitating or group leading 2 recovery meetings a week. In addition, tomorrow night we will be filling in for the couple that leads the family support meetings in this area. It is a wonderful experience and has given me great appreciation for the men and women who have given of their time for so many years to organize and serve in the many meetings I have attended. It feels good to give back.

I know that when I am serving others and putting the needs and happiness of those I love above my own that I end up happier as well. I know that I am blessed for my efforts. I recall my former Bishop and good friend telling me a few years back that some days he would get home after a long day of work and be frustrated if things were a mess at home. He told me he had to decide one day. "I can get into a fight with my wife and get into comparisons about who works more and whose turn it is to clean the house or I can just choose to love my wife and serve her and do the dishes." He then testified that he was always happier when he chose to serve. I have found this to be true in my life as well. I know that I am happier and my family relationships are stronger when I choose to serve and love them.

God is good. Life isn't perfect but it is still pretty amazing. I still fall down at times but I know it is worth it to get back up and keep going. So I keep going. One day at a time!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Healing Power of Music

So the past few days have been a bit of a roller coaster.  My work schedule has been all over the place.  The weather has been crazy and we have had a lot going on as a family.  The net result of all of this is I haven't always been getting enough sleep.  This can be a paralyzing problem for an addict.  Being overly tired can lead to major problems.  I have learned this the hard way on may occasions. 

Yesterday in particular was tough.  I had to be into work at 5AM because one of our employees had knee surgery and we don't have a natural replacement for her.  It has been an all-hands-on-decks type situation.  So I went in early yesterday to help cover.  I also managed to get a severe sunburn and scrape on my back over the weekend so sleep has been difficult.  So the combination of not sleeping soundly due to the pain of the sunburn and having to get up a couple hours early and I went to work very tired.  I only had to work half a day though so I kept telling myself, it's OK.  I'll get a nap later. 

Upon returning home I ushered my wife out the door for her day back where we used to live visiting friends, running errands and attending her recovery group in person.  So at 11AM I found myself alone with my 4 year old.  I was exhausted but I could never quite fall asleep.  There was always something that he needed or something that needed take care of at the exact moment that I started to feel myself drift away.  Eventually one of my older boys returned home and I asked him to please play with his younger brother so I could nap.  Once again the normal disputes and struggles that can occur between brothers kept me from really sleeping.  I eventually got up and started dinner. 

Dinner then led to homework and cleanup and Boy Scouts and baths.  The daily rigors of family life.  Nothing major and nothing especially difficult but just one thing after another. 

Somewhere in the middle of all this fatigue and stress I started to feel very triggered and tempted.  The darkness of addiction started to flow into my consciousness.  I have described it in the past as almost like a fog settling in across my mind.  I almost didn't notice it at first.  I was tired and associated it with just being tired.  But looking back now with clarity I can almost pinpoint exactly when it started.

Eventually all the kids were in bed and I laid down.  I was tempted to watch Netflix or TV to pass the time but there urges were there and I knew that could quickly lead to be a bad place.  I opened my phone and the links that never bother me when I am in a good place were suddenly a huge temptation.  It was a minute to minute struggle.  I prayed.  I read a chapter in the Book of Mormon.  But still the fog persisted.  I texted my wife and told her I loved her and to be careful driving home and I tried to sleep.  The temptations continued in waves.  Flowing across my mind.  Memories of past misdeeds, things I didn't want to live.  It was dark, it was scary and it sucked.  I laid in bed and I closed my eyes and I said another prayer.  "Heavenly Father I know a lot of this is my fault.  I'm tired, I stayed up too late. I made some poor choices, I was human.  But I don't want to be here anymore.  I don't want to feel like this.  Help me to learn from it but right now help me just fall asleep because what I need the most right now is just rest and a new day." 

I lay there in the silence of my dark bedroom and waited, not really knowing what to expect. Suddenly the thought came to me. "Listen to a Hymn. Music will chase the darkness away." I grabbed my cell phone and fumbled through my music library looking for something, anything that might help when my eyes finally settled on 'Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy' by The Lower Lights. I hit play and settled down. I soaked in the music and felt my eyes get droopy. The fog slowly started to lift and by the time the song ended I felt at peace. I barely remember even turning off my phone because sleep came so quickly. I woke up this morning refreshed and in a much better place.

It was a wonderful reminder of the power of music. Of the spirit it brings and the peace that comes. It helped what could have been a very bad experience become a learning experience instead. I was grateful that I remembered to pray and even more grateful for the guidance I was given.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that the answer isn't always the same. Sometimes talking to a recovery friend is the answer. Sometimes praying is the answer. But in this instance the solution was the music of the Lord. I just have to be humble enough to recognize I am not where I need to be and ask for help. Hopefully over time I will get better at better at turning to Him. He is always the answer. I just have to get better at asking the question.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spending a Saturday at UCAP

So I had the amazing opportunity this past Saturday to spend the day at the annual Utah Coalition Against Pornography event in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was an incredibly humbling experience. There were numerous speakers and events and workshops. There were booths representing exploitation of women and children, therapists who treat those that struggle with sexual addiction. Authors that have written about the topic. Numerous different 12 step and other recovery programs. Programs to support spouses and family members of addicts. It was an incredible site to behold.

I spent the day working at one of the booths and I got to spend my entire day talking about recovery. Talking about how important resources, and education and seeking new knowledge is to sustained recovery. But most of all I spent an entire day talking about sexual and pornography addiction with like-minded people. With people seeking truth and knowledge and hope for their families, for themselves. On more than one occasion as I watched people flow into the main concourse as the sessions would let out and everyone would be sharing the same space for a period of time and I would think to myself, "All of these people are here today because they get it. They get how bad the problem is and they either want to get help for themselves or want to help others get help" How amazing is that? Whether addicts, therapists, life coaches, church leaders or families members who have suffered as as result of the actions of another. All of them were there giving up their Saturday because they wanted to learn more and support those who suffer.

Another amazing experience for me personally is I got the chance to meet many of my wife's friends and colleagues from the recovery world. I learned that she is a very well-known in these circles. On more than one occasion I heard people yell out at her from across the room and up and hug her. Twice people ran up and called me by name and asked where my wife was and I had no idea who they were. But they knew me and knew who my wife was. I was grateful to see that so many people have seen how special she is and that she has touched them. And the coolest part is as I got the change to meet and interact with many of these folks, there was no trepidation or fear. I recognize that some of them might be people that she has confided in, that know my deepest darkest secrets. But I felt no shame. I was just happy to be there helping and trying to share a little of what I have gained through my recovery with others. I can't imagine having done that 2-3 years ago. I would have been terrified. I would have been paralyzed by the fear that "some of these people might KNOW about me." But I wasn't, and that was a pretty awesome and freeing feeling.

Throughout the day I found myself having the same conversation over and over again with friends and Church leaders. "What more can we do about this growing problem?" And time and time again the answer that came to me was the same. We need more days like this. We need more events like UCAP. We need more people who are willing to talk about it. More people willing to stand up and say "I am an addict and I'm trying to get better and here is my story." More people willing to say; "I am the spouse or parent of an addict and my world was torn apart through no fault of my own but I am trying to heal and here is my story." We need more people who are willing to talk about it. In AA and SA there is a slogan that "we are only as sick as our secrets." And if UCAP taught me anything it's that we have to stop being afraid of our secrets. I've had people write me and tell me how much my story has touched them and it's so humbling to hear. But imagine if there were hundreds or thousands more out there willing to be open and share. It's scary, but breaking through fear is incredibly liberating after living a life of isolation for 30 years.

We have to be willing to talk to our families, our kids, our neighbors.

We have to be willing to talk about it, for that is how we can heal.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Attitude is Everything

So the last couple weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. I had to work 6 days a week, 2 out of the last 3 weeks. It was a very busy week at work full of extra meetings, work travel and just a busy time of year. I felt overwhelmed at times. On top of everything else we had to move because our lease was up on our old house and the owners wanted to sell. They were open to us staying and going month to month but we didn't want to risk them selling the house from under us so we decided to leave on our terms. Things went smoothly and we had a lot of wonderful help from our neighbors and ward members. But through it all I struggled at times to find balance.

Somewhere along the way I decided that it was OK to start feeling sorry for myself. I started to focus purely on the negatives in my situation. "Wow I can't believe I keep getting called in on my day off." "I can't believe I had to spend my only 2 days off moving and unpacking and cleaning." It is easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole when I focus on the negative. The reality is, there will always be hurdles in life. There will always be times of trial that are more difficult, that are frustrating. That is how we grow. It is how I grow. But when these times arise, it is my experience that attitude is everything.

Thursday night after I good talk with my wife I recognized that about 90% of my problem was me. I was focusing entirely on everything that was bad in my life when there is so much to be thankful for. We found a beautiful new home in an amazing neighborhood. My relationship with my wife and family is growing stronger and better each day. I have over 19 weeks of sobriety and clean living because I am learning more and more each day to lean on the Savior and surrender my struggles to Him rather than trying to overcome them alone. There is so much good in my life.

Friday morning I chose to have a good day. I knelt down that morning and thanked my Heavenly Father for the good in my life and decided before I left the house that I would have a good day. Later that morning I sent the following text to my wife; "Things are good here. Even though it's been a hectic morning I decided I was going to have a good day and so far I have. Thanks for your example and for just being amazing" She replied that she was glad and I responded; "The first step in having a good day is choosing to see the good in your day."

It sounds corny, it sounds too easy. But it's true. The last 3 days have gone so much better. I have still worked long hours, I have still dealt with life and stress and trials, but I have chosen to see the good in my life first. I focus on expressing gratitude in my prayers and to my family. They are amazing and I am so grateful to have them in my life. I asked my wife the other day if I had told her yet today that she is amazing. Because she truly is and I am lucky to have her in my life.

Life is good. Life is good because I choose for it to be good. Because I choose to see the good. Because I choose to trust my Savior and express my gratitude to Him. Life really can be good all the time regardless of my circumstances, I just have to be willing to find the goodness. But when I look for it, it is always there.