The Words of In Jin Moon from 2011

Preparing for the Blessing: Overcoming Addiction

In Jin Moon
November 20, 2011

How is everyone this morning? I am delighted to see you once again. On this beautiful Sunday, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I'm sure all of you are quite busy preparing for the festivities and the great family time. I am no different, with five kids of my own. They're always very much looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday because it means family, turkey, and a whole lot of dessert.

Since I came to work at Headquarters, however, I can no longer spend 24 hours in the kitchen preparing such a succulent and wonderful feast that they've become quite accustomed to. Starting last year we decided to celebrate together as a family with all the kids at Generation Peace Academy, so we turned our family Thanksgiving into a real family Thanksgiving, and this year will be the same. My family is very much looking forward to that.

As I was going about my business, I was reminded that not only are we all getting ready for Thanksgiving, but the Christmas holidays are also around the corner. If you happen to have more than 40-some relatives, as in my family, Christmas shopping starts quite early. It was a nice reminder for me to get going on that.

Forgoing the "Blame Game" Between Men and Women

While I was making my rounds, going down the list of all the people I have to cover for the holidays, I came across an interesting sticker that someone stuck in a ladies' room at the mall. It was a cheap little sticker, and initially the red color caught my eye against a light gray background. It said, "Menopause, Menstruation, Mental problems – All of these words start with 'men.'" Somebody stuck this in the ladies' room so all the ladies going through could have a laugh or two.

The sticker made me think about what my father and I have talked about for many years. When I was first starting out at divinity school, my father asked me, "What is the biggest problem? What is the hottest conversation piece? What is the sexiest issue that you guys are discussing at divinity school?" I said, "We have a lot of concerns, and we have people from all over the world – representing different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and different economic backgrounds. These people come ready to study, to make their points clear, and let their opinions be heard. But I would have to say that whenever we discuss what the great hot topic of the day is, it always comes down to one issue. That is the relations between men and women. How do we create unity? How do we develop a true relationship between men and women?"

Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han, November 11, 2011

After that conversation with my father in the early 1990s I was terribly excited when Father created the Women's Federation for World Peace, allowing women to step up to the plate, to play an active role in a life of faith. He was inviting women to be the voice unto the world that compels all of humanity to seek justice, cooperation, harmony, and love, and that hopefully prepares humanity for long years of love, peace, and harmony.

I always thought how great it would be if we could somehow find a way for women and men to get along, to work together without blaming each other for everything. I've always felt that in the history of religion, even the story of the Fall was basically a story of one blaming the other. It was a blame game. So I have thought how wonderful it would be if we could somehow really and truly learn to love and trust each other. Then we could become eternal sons and daughters in that we would be exercising our 5-percent responsibility to be true and awesome sons or daughters of God; we would be willing to live our lives for the sake of others while also being responsible for all the things we need to be responsible for.

When I saw that sticker, I thought, "Here we go again. A lot of women in the world have felt oppressed, suppressed, and abused. We immediately want to blame the other sex for all our troubles." I don't know how men have anything to do with menopause or menstruation, but there we go again, blaming the other for all our problems. That reminded me of a bumper sticker I saw many years ago: "Woe to men = women." It's like both sides are blaming each other constantly for the problems that we find ourselves dealing with.

Building a Love "Worth Fighting For"

Our True Parents come as the True Father and True Mother of humankind and encourage all of us to get on the path of building ideal families. I think a lot of the first generation who first came to our movement had this exquisite desire – perhaps because many of them came from broken or abusive homes or from homes where they felt neglected and ignored. This message of building an ideal, perfect family was irresistible for a lot of people, so a lot of you jumped in and said, "I want to build this ideal family."

Fast-forward 30 or 40 years and we find ourselves with children of our own, with in-laws, with a wide extended family, and we realize that we thought we were asking God to give us a perfect ideal family. But many of us over the years have felt, "God did not give me a perfect family, an ideal family. God gave me a whole set of problems, obstacles, trials, and tribulations. I thought the kids born from our union, Blessed Children, would be born ideal, they would go through their childhood ideally, and they would go through adolescence ideally: perfect, pure, and angelic."

These are the concepts we've had, but we realize that when God promised an ideal family, God gave us exactly that. God gave us a textbook to work through in the course of our lives so we can learn how to love each other and how to create the perfect or ideal relationship we can have with each other – whether it be parent and child, husband and wife, or amongst siblings. God gave us a family so we can deal with all these issues. And by going through the experience of building a family, we come to realize that God is teaching us to have a parental heart and to build the kind of love that's eternal, genuine, honest, and worth fighting for.

The Blessing Comes With Prerequisites

I was thinking about these things this morning, while also being aware that a lot of the Blessed Families are thinking about the next Blessing and have been attending Blessing workshops across the country. I've been receiving e-mails on the question of the Blessing: "How can I deal with my family? How can I deal with my spouse? What is the best way to prepare myself for the Blessing? How do I know that that person is the one? How am I sure that this is the person whom I want to commit my life to?" These are the kinds of questions that float my way usually. But every now and then I get an email in what I call the SOS category, in which certain couples or individuals in a family are dealing with very pressing concerns and difficult issues. They don't know how to handle them. Or the parents, or the siblings, or the child do not know how to handle that family situation. So they cry out to me, asking me to fix their family, their spouse, or their child. They are crying out, "Fix my problem."

As a senior pastor and as somebody who understands a lot of the issues that all of you are going through, I want to be there for each and every person. The Blessing is one of the greatest gifts that True Parents bring to all of us. It's a gift from God. It's an opportunity for us to graft onto the heavenly lineage of God, to change our fallen lineage to a Godly lineage, and become one family of God. But one of the most difficult things about the Blessing that I think a lot of people have yet to deal with is the concept of "The Blessing is forever. It is eternal."

As a concept, that is really wonderful, but the Blessing presupposes certain things. When you take a college course, some courses require prerequisites, courses that you took before. The Blessing is very much like that in the sense that we have to prepare ourselves to fully understand the magnitude and gravitas of the responsibility that we're about to enter into.

When a parent reaches out to me, saying, "I have a 16-year-old daughter who is mature beyond her years. She is beautiful, she is so perfect; so can she go to the Blessing?" I would be the first one to say, "I am so happy to hear that your daughter is wonderful and beautiful. But at 16 years of age she does not really understand the magnitude or the gravitas of the sacrament that you want her to enter into."

Just as before you take a college course it is assumed that you have gone to kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school, likewise, when we prepare for the Blessing it's not merely sending our kids to enjoy a relationship with another person so they can live happily ever after. We have to understand that just as we as parents need to be responsible to make sure that all the prerequisites are in place before our children start college, we need to be similarly responsible in assuring that our child is prepared for the blessing.

Here at headquarters I'm dealing with not just a lot of Blessed Couples, but a lot of Blessed Couples that are struggling, and many of them struggle because they did not take the prerequisites that are required before a person is prepared to take a college course. In other words, they have not made the necessary, profound life-altering decisions or have not achieved a sense of commitment that puts them in a prepared situation for this gift.

Understanding the Preciousness of the Blessing

I very much like to encourage parents. For instance, imagine we had a beautiful bag of diamonds that God gave to us in our care, saying, "Please take care of my precious diamonds and give them to your kids one at a time when they go to the Blessing." This is something given to you by God, this precious stone that symbolizes eternity, commitment, and loyalty forever. But if our child has no consciousness or understanding of how valuable this diamond is, then the child will not fully appreciate or know what to do with the diamond.

When my daughter was young, she really liked sparkly things. Whenever she came into my room and I would give her a kiss, she would not be looking at me but at my earring or my rings. Something that sparkled brilliantly fascinated her, but she had absolutely no concept of how valuable or how precious it was.

I remember once she was playing in my room, where I had taken off my ring. She thought it was no different from any other toy that she found. In her little mind she thought, "This sparkles so much. I wonder if this would sparkle inside water." When she was three years old, she decided to take my wedding ring and throw it into a toilet bowl to see if it would sparkle more brilliantly. She was peering over the toilet bowl, and I asked, "What are you doing, Ariana?" Then I saw what she was doing. I told her, "This is very, very precious." But even though I tried to convey it to her, she was not mature enough to understand what it meant.

Likewise, when a child is not emotionally or spiritually ready for the kind of gift that is as important and profound as the Blessing, we as parents should not look to the Blessing as an opportunity to hand our child over to another person: "My responsibility is done; that child is now your problem." I think that many of us as parents would like to do that real soon. It's much easier to send away a beautiful child who is still in the throes of adolescence and not having tested the rebelliousness that's going to rear its ugly head in all of us every now and then. We may think that we as parents have done such a great job, so let's deliver the child to God, or to a spouse.

Being responsible parents, we have to realize that we have to help the child along a little longer. We have to help the child understand how important the Blessing is. It's not something you try out and throw away and try out again. The child needs to understand that. Then we hope that the two people come to this sacrament with a similar understanding of what is required of them, and that they are emotionally and spiritually ready. Physical readiness is not the reason a child should go to the Blessing. A child must also be spiritually and emotionally ready to go to the Blessing.

If the child is ready in all these ways, then with the support of the parents the child should go to the Blessing, having found that right person. But if that is not the case, then the parents, together with the good people of our movement, have the responsibility to deal with our beautiful children and prepare them in the best way so that when they make that important decision, it becomes a binding and committed one, a serious one.

A "Happily Ever After" Takes Preparation and Work

In many instances, for various reasons, people haven't come to the Blessing with the best preparation. Many of us still go to the Blessing not knowing who we are. God prepared 95 percent of everything that we need, and Divine Principle teaches us that we have a 5-percent responsibility to raise ourselves to be an eternal son or daughter of God. But many of us have entered the Blessing not knowing who we are and therefore are not prepared to take on another person in the relationship of marriage. Many of us have thought that all we need to do is find another person and then work together and build something, and it will turn out like a Cinderella story. We will find our prince and live happily ever after.

When we look at "ideal family," God is giving us a hint here. We never hear about Cinderella after she rides off into the sunset with her prince. What happens after? What happens after Snow White marries Prince Charming? Growing up, I myself dreamed about a knight in shining armor – handsome, tall, intelligent, with mesmerizing eyes – who would sweep me off my feet and take me to a castle in the sky. This is what most girls dream about.

But we realize when we find ourselves in a marriage that Prince Charming is not something that comes prepackaged. If we want a Prince Charming, it's some work we need to do together to turn that into a reality. I think a lot of second generation who are going to the Blessing, and have gone to the Blessing, have had this ideal image in their mind: "I want to create an ideal family. I want to be an ideal couple. I'm going to go to the Blessing, and I'm just going to make it work."

All good intentions aside, we realize that that's not enough to make the marriage or the Blessing work. There's a whole lot of difficult work that goes into making a successful Blessed Family. So when people going into the Blessing feel ready to commit themselves to their intended spouse eternally, they are taking it as a given that their intended spouse feels the same way. But many times when we're Blessed we find out that actually my spouse and I are not like two legs on a body, wanting the same things, going the same direction, and headed toward the same goal. We realize that this is because we did not do our homework; we did not properly prepare.

I think that our True Father's opening the gates of the Blessing to allow every individual to participate actively in the Blessing process is a great blessing because every blessing comes with responsibility. The responsibility clearly falls on the individual when the floodgates have been opened and you can choose your own spouse: You can through the process of understanding whether that other person wants to walk the same path, go the same direction, and has the same purpose that you would like to accomplish together with your spouse in your life.

If the interests, direction, and goals are different, sooner or later you're going to be faced with a great deal of trouble. So working out these issues before you go to the Blessing is probably the ideal thing to do. I would like to encourage all parents, "Don't be stressed out because your kids are not Blessed yet. Help them to be a responsible person to find somebody they might be interested in going to the Blessing with. But then encourage each child to take the time to learn and figure out where he or she wants to go with his or her life."

Regardless of how much the heart is palpitating, how much they think they might be passionately attracted to each other, attraction and passion can fall by the wayside very quickly. If there are no firm ground rules that both people can agree on, the marriage will not be a lasting one. Regardless of whether they make it to the Blessing or not, sooner or later they will find out that they want very different things in life.

For instance, maybe the boy wants to be an accountant and a banker, but the girl wants to be a missionary, doesn't want anything to do with money, and wants to live for the sake of others by being in Africa. But the boy doesn't want to leave Wall Street. This is the kind of question that the parents and child need to ask themselves. "What does my potential spouse want? What do I want? Are we going in the same direction?"

Many times this kind of prerequisite course has not been taken. Many of the questions that I've fielded deal with problems that individuals have not solved in their individual lives and therefore have brought into their marriages. And now those individual problems have become great big Blessed Couple problems.

Address and Overcome Addiction Before Marriage

One of the problems in couples and families that I see over and over again is addiction, which comes in many different forms. People may be addicted to pornography, alcohol, drug abuse, sex, or power and controlling behavior. All of these addictions derive from problems brought in from individual lives, many times because the person was not raised in the most nurturing or encouraging family. Perhaps the father was so militant. Perhaps the mother never protected her children against that father. Perhaps the child grew up in a family where he or she felt extremely neglected. Perhaps the child grew up in a family where he or she was sexually, emotionally, or mentally abused over many years. Perhaps this child grew up in a family in which anger and power reigned, so the only thing this young child learned was that power and anger work.

When children first start discovering their identity at the age of two and learn the power of "No" for the first time, they also learn that words are extremely powerful. They learn that just by saying "No" they can change the atmosphere in the room; this one word has amazing power. As children grow from two to five years of age, they are not just amassing a whole range of vocabulary that they can exercise powerfully, they are also mimicking what their father and mother are saying, the words they use when they address their child.

Children between the ages of two to five start developing their understanding of their relationship to their parents in terms of role play. This is done by youngsters either playing with their teddy bears or dolls or figures. Everything that a child hears a parent say, the child mimics in role playing with stuffed animals and toys. Children understand words as a series of commands, such as when a parent says, "Put on your coat. Put on your socks. Clean yourself. Use one utensil at a time." The child will take each command and in a form of role play repeat the command. With constant repetition, it becomes an arsenal in understanding what their world is like or what their relationship is like vis-à-vis the parents.

When a child grows up in a family that may not be the most beneficial or encouraging of positive growth, the child starts internalizing commands like, "You're worthless. You're ugly. You're nothing." In a form of role play, the child may start doing the same thing with a doll or stuffed animal, saying, "You're worthless. You're nothing. You're ugly." In that way the child repeats what is said and starts developing his or her own consciousness of what a relationship is.

Many of us, having come to the point of hearing the Divine Principle for the first time and learning that we have our True Parents, the breaking news, with us, feel strongly that we have an opportunity to make right the ills and the wrongs of history, to turn a suffering life into a positive, loving life. We realize that this is an incredible time, but we also need to realize that not all of us came from the best environment.

When we haven't worked on ourselves – on the way we process our own understanding of ourselves or our own understanding of how to go about having relationships with others – we eventually come to find out that all our baggage of not knowing who we are and not understanding how to develop good relationships follows us into our Blessed lives.

Anyone who has had an addiction to pornography and has not dealt with the addiction before marriage will bring the addiction into the marriage. Just because we're married, the addiction is not going to go away. In fact, it becomes more pronounced once we enter into a relationship with another person because it's no longer only me and this thing that I had a relationship with before. Now there's another person involved.

The complexity of the relationship becomes magnified, and the problems that we had as individuals, if we do not take care of them, carry over into our marriage. Many couples have a great deal of difficulty handling them in married life, whether it is pornography, alcohol, or drug abuse. Part of the reason, as parents, we encourage young people in the audience to please try to refrain from drugs and alcohol is because they are not healthy for them physically or mentally and will not do anything in terms of supporting their emotional and spiritual health.

Lately the biggest rage for young people coming out of the Ecstasy scare is a thing called Spice. A lot of young people are taking Spice, thinking it's not illegal: "You can buy it in a mall. It doesn't do any harm to us. Our parents think it's just potpourri, that we are sticking into our little bongs and smoking, so it's just incense." But it is not incense. Spice is a deadly drug; it's a synthetic drug that can alter your brain forever. I think a lot of parents think, "My kids have tried pot here and there, but Spice, we hear, is not as bad as pot." Well, no. Spice is worse.

Part of the reason parents encourage young people to refrain from these substances is the well-known fact that the prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain behind your forehead, does not stop developing or growing until you are 25 years old, and the prefrontal cortex is the most important part of your brain for controlling executive function. What I mean by executive function is the ability to differentiate right from wrong, to multitask, to come up with a synthesis that might give you alternative options, and to understand the importance of delayed gratification because you realize the consequences of your actions. All these things take place in the prefrontal cortex.

When you are not careful with alcohol or drugs, you can severely damage this part of your brain, meaning that the executive functions necessary to operate as an efficient and competent human being in the course of your life become severely damaged and impaired. It means you won't be able to differentiate clearly what is right and what is wrong.

Studies of the brains of a lot of criminals reveal that their brains often have impairment to the prefrontal cortex, this very important part of the brain that continues to grow until you're 25. When we look at our kids ages 15 or 16, they look so tall, so strong, and so ready. But they are probably not really ready. Their ability to function as a successful man or woman is still not finished. They are a work in progress.

We know that a lot of people are dealing with addictions to drug and alcohol abuse, and when you're dealing with substance abuse, it can break a family apart. I know a lot of parents and friends in this hopeless situation – they're faced with complete despair, and they have no idea what to do.

I also know a lot of spouses in relationships in which one spouse is heavily addicted to power, to controlling behavior. It's something that is horribly difficult to overcome. Or if a husband or wife is dealing with anger issues, learning how to deal with one's anger in the context of a relationship is also a horribly difficult and painful process. I know many people who have cried their eyes out over problems with addictions of all different kinds.

Realizing Help Is Needed

When we seek help to heal ourselves from these things, one of the foremost things we have to realize is we have to be humble to a point of wanting to seek help. A lot of parents are writing me e-mails, saying, "Please help my child." What I need to tell them is, "I cannot help your child until the child wants to be helped. I cannot help your husband unless he wants to be helped. I cannot help your wife unless she wants to be helped."

In order to heal ourselves, the person in question must first come to realize that he or she needs help. In other words, that person has got to be willing to kneel down and pray to ask for help, to ask for assistance. Getting the person to that point is an incredibly painful and heart-wrenching process. But the only way healing can start is if that person decides to commit to get better.

Knowing this, you have to be willing to be honest with yourself in confronting all the fears that that person might have, such as, "What if my parents find out about me? What if they find out I'm not their perfect baby anymore?" A lot of parents ask me, "Why do you talk about these problems at Sunday Service?" I think a lot of parents don't realize the likelihood of their children being tempted by these things.

Consider, for instance, pornography. My kids were introduced not just to pornographic magazines, but to videos and movies when they were in the first grade. I think most parents are in denial as to how early these things take place. A joint was offered to my kids in second grade. This is how early they are exposed. And so if we as parents are not cognizant or think, "They're getting straight A's. They're doing okay," but we don't really know the world they're living in, we're not going to be as effective as we would like to be.

This is a chance to speak together as a movement, to discuss the difficult issues at hand, to see how we can work together to bring about a substantial solution so that we can prepare our kids for a great married life by tackling these addiction problems early on, before our kids go to the Blessing.

Many parents ask, "Well, okay, if we can come to our senses and be honest to say, 'Yes, I have a problem. I have to fix my problem, and I am willing to commit to work on this problem,' then, 'How do we go about this?' This is a family problem." Yes, it is a family problem. I think a lot of people, because we live in a spiritual and religious community, think that if we pray, prayer will be good enough.

I have some experience in this area, and it has shown me that prayer is not good enough. You need prayer and then some. You need a course of action to follow along with prayer. Relying on God to solve all our problems is really not doing our 5-percent responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families. We need to take responsibility for ourselves and for our loved ones.

"Love Is Also Tough Love"

When I talk about living for the sake of others, I think a lot of spouses stuck in abusive relationships – especially substance-related relationships – feel like they don't want their family to be seen as a family with problems. "My husband has this problem, but I'm just going to do my best to make sure there is seemingly no problem." I know a lot of spouses are in this predicament, meaning they care more about what they look like to the community than how they are dealing with the issue at hand.

If we are more concerned about how we look to the community, we continue to cover up our husband's or our wife's problems. We clean up after our husband or wife after they have drunk three bottles of vodka and vomited all over the kitchen floor and are lying there – because we have kids, because we have in-laws, because we have friends and family. We just clean them up yet again and act as if nothing happened.

If we cover up like this, then we are becoming codependent, helping our spouse to continue his or her life of addiction. I think many of us are afraid that if we don't clean up our husband, put nice pajamas on our wife and put her in bed, maybe our sister or brother would judge us for not loving our spouse enough and would assume that's why our spouse is having this problem. The codependent is thinking, "I can overcome everything with love. Just live for the sake of others. Clean them up. Do whatever it takes."

The codependent spouse is truly dying for the sake of others, but because he or she feels judged by the rest of the family or community, this abused spouse continues to cover up, clean up, and never confront the demon that is plaguing his or her family.

Doing whatever an addicted person wants truly is not loving that person. I have a younger brother who is addicted to power right now. He has stolen the assets of our church, and he continues to do whatever he wants, even though the family members and our True Parents have reached out time and time again. Sometimes we as the other members of the family feel victimized in the sense that the rest of the community is looking at all of us, saying, "Why don't you love him more? Love will conquer all." They're saying basically, "Bend over backwards and do whatever it takes."

But that is not necessarily love. Love is also tough love. Love is also having the courage to face our fears, regardless of what people say. We know we are loving by taking a stand. We know we are loving in going out of our way by extending a hand. But if the other has no desire to be in a reciprocal relationship, there is very little we can do, other than to continue the tough love because we truly love this person.

Likewise, husbands and wives finding themselves in codependency need to have the courage not to listen to all the people who are complaining and persecuting them for not loving their spouses enough, and instead to allow the spouse to deal with the consequences of their actions. They need to be embarrassed. They need to hit rock bottom because if we are always cleaning up the mess, making everything pretty so they never hit rock bottom, guess what? The addiction will continue, and the addicted spouses will see the Blessing as something that they can take for granted. The addicted spouses will never feel the need to change because regardless of what they do, nothing changes. The wife or husband will just clean up the mess, make everything look pretty, and pretend there is no problem.

If we continue to do this then we will never be able to overcome the addiction and the devastation that literally slowly suffocates all the family members involved. I've seen this over and over and over again. We as a community can do our best living for the sake of others by giving these families space to work things out. Sometimes I think well-meaning friends or family members who really don't understand how difficult and complicated the addiction process is are actually making the matter worse.

Necessary Steps To Overcome Addiction

If we really want to help these families, then instead of gossiping about them and not understanding what's going on, we should pray for them, not gossip about them – and we should discreetly encourage them to seek help. There's a lot of help out there. We as a religious community must not be afraid to seek help. There are a lot of good materials and books out there that can help different people suffering under these conditions. There is a great deal of research.

When you read these books and do this research, you realize that a lot of the problems that culminate in addictions later in life started very early on between the ages of two and five, when children start processing all these commands, and start developing their sense of self and their understanding what their world is all about.

A lot of counselors and therapists encourage going back and relearning these commands. There are certain steps we can work on to overcome the addiction process. Number one is trying to figure out what the external triggers are. What is the trigger that makes you want to click on that pornographic site? What is the trigger that makes you want to light up a joint? And for a lot of people it could be a different color, or a sound. I know some people who, once they heard the click of a lighter, their addiction was inflamed and they had to have that drug. These are the external triggers that we need to help our loved ones identify.

Then you have to look at what are the internal triggers that cause them to react, to really push that button of addiction. The internal triggers are not caused from the outside, but are triggered by the memory of different things that happened in childhood or in the course of their relationship with you, the spouse, or what happened to a child in the context of his or her relationship with you. We need to help our loved ones identify what these internal triggers are. Perhaps the child was sexually abused when young, and the only thing he or she remembers is the smell of the cologne the perpetrator was wearing. Something like that could be an internal trigger that pushes the button of wanting that addiction.

Then we need to help our loved ones find out what the signals are. In other words, when a person is able to identify what the external and internal triggers are, we need to help them understand, if there's this incredible pain and desire, where am I feeling it? Every time I want to push the addiction button, am I feeling it in my heart? Am I feeling it in my stomach, in my side, in my back? Just as a child through repetition comes to understand his or her world, by repeating all the external triggers, the internal triggers, and the signals over and over again, like practicing for a performance, we can re-educate the brain to be proactive in fighting the addiction that we're dealing with.

Another thing we need to help our loved ones think about are things called coolers. Here we have an external trigger that pushes a person to want that external addiction, here are the internal triggers, and this is the signal that tells the body that it is getting ready for another addiction fix. We need to help the person go through different things that help him or her slow down and step out of that situation so the person can have time to assess what he or she is about to do.

What a person might do is count backwards from 100 to 0 or concentrate on breathing. Meditation is great. Different kinds of music can be very therapeutic for certain individuals. These are the kinds of coolers that we have to help our child or spouse identify as to how they can handle their addiction button.

But the most important thing that we need to help our family members with is consequence. The great thing about the eternal Blessing is that it goes on forever. But I think we as Blessed Central Families have to understand that there are consequences of our actions, even in such extremes as the addictive behaviors. Many people think, "Well, we're Blessed forever, regardless of what we do." No. In other words, Blessing presupposes that both spouses will be loyal and truthful and work toward the same goals. If one is loyal and supportive but the other is doing whatever he or she wants, we cannot claim that the Blessing is forever. In fact, many times the only way a person changes is when a spouse has the guts to say, "Enough is enough. If you honor the Blessing and you honor our relationship, you need to change and you need to stop, or I'm out of here."

Many times we as Blessed Couples don't have the courage to say such strong words, so the addiction continues. We feel hopeless because we have to somehow let this person hit rock bottom. "The Blessing is forever, we are stuck forever." No. You cannot change your spouse, but you certainly can change yourself, and by changing yourself and having the courage to say the difficult thing, that's what's going to change your spouse. And that's what's going to give hope for the future of your Blessing.

Understanding that the Blessing is the most incredible gift that God gives us, we have to realize we cannot take it for granted. If we don't recognize how important it is, or if we as a member of a Blessed Couple do not recognize that we're going to honor the other person just as much as they honor us, then we don't deserve the Blessing. This is probably a heretical and surprising thing coming from a senior pastor, but that's how important it is, and that's how profound it is.

The consequences of actions are what we have to allow an addictive person to face and deal with because that's the only thing that's going to change this person to want to change to be the person who is committed to getting better.

"Taking Responsibility for Ourselves"

The next thing we have to learn is that we need to help our loved one understand the importance of social skills. An addict is not a socially competent person but is totally immersed in the self – me, myself and I. Nothing else exists other than that person and the fix.

That's part of the reason why here at Lovin' Life Ministries we're encouraging the youth to develop healthy social, emotional, and spiritual skills through different things like ballroom dancing. We have to learn how to deal with the opposite sex and not just look at them as body parts, like the way we have conditioned ourselves to look at the opposite sex if we are only looking at pornography. By understanding and developing a genuine relationship with the opposite sex, then you can overcome this difficulty and realize that the opposite sex is much more than a body part. You can realize that when you commit to the addiction of pornography you're not just doing something in the confines of our bedroom in secret, but actually you are affecting the whole world; you are taking part in the human trafficking that exists all around the world. It's one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

If we're going to tackle that industry, we have to start with ourselves. We have to work on our desire to get that fix because it's not just some silent activity between you and the computer that doesn't hurt anybody else. Our private pornography fix in the bedroom is actually hurting a great many men and women all around the world.

All the things we need to do as a community in order to create this beautiful culture of love and harmony and peace start with all of us taking responsibility for ourselves. That means being prepared and doing all the prerequisite courses that are recommended before we send our children off to the Blessing. When we do send them off, don't look at the Blessing as almost a preventive solution because we're so afraid of our children falling. Guess what? If we're afraid of our children falling before the Blessing and we're thinking that marriage is the only cure for our fears, they're going to fall anyway if they want to.

What we need to do as parents is to help prepare them and help them wait, to not want to do that because they don't just want a boy to love or a girl to love. They want a sincere relationship that's going to be long and lasting.

Brothers and sisters, as a mother and a member of this community, I have seen a great deal of suffering on many different levels. I have known many people who have been affected with addiction. We as a community need to approach this with a sense of love. We need to give each other the courage and the space to tackle the problems in our families, but we also need to encourage each other to seek help so we can overcome this very difficult, monstrous problem that has torn many families apart.

"You Are God's Eternal Sons and Daughters"

As we go forward, one of the things I would like to remind the congregation, my children, and also myself is a Bible verse that has helped me greatly in my moments of despair, which I've certainly had. Proverbs 4:20–22. "Pay attention, my child, to my words. Listen carefully. Don't lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deeply within your heart, for they will bring life, radiant health to anyone who discovers their true meaning."

This is what God wants us to remember, what God wants to tell us. Pay attention. In the midst of your suffering, in the midst of your difficulty, pay attention to God's words. Listen carefully. Listen. Don't be so quick to blame, to play a ping-pong game of words, but listen carefully. "Do not lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deeply in your heart." Meaning, own my words.

And what is God's word to his children? What do we as parents say to our children? When I was faced with one of my moments of despair, this Bible verse helped me so much. When I was deep in prayer I heard a voice that said, "You are good. You are my eternal daughter, and you were born to love your life."

This is what God says to me, and this is what God says to anybody else who is going through this problem with addiction. Listen carefully and remember what God is saying. In other words, "You are God's eternal son or daughter. You are good." I know the husbands and wives dealing with spouses who have problems are being persecuted, misrepresented, and not understood because tough love is difficult for many people to understand. But tough love has got to be, and we have to be strong, and we have to be willing to persevere, to yield the kind of result that would be beneficial for our family, because it's worth fighting for.

Brothers and sisters, please continue to listen to what God is saying: that you are good people and you are God's eternal sons and daughters, and you were certainly not born to live a miserable life but to love your life. This is what God said to me, and I know this is what God will and continues to say to all of you.

Always remember our Heavenly Parent, and always remember that he loves us, she loves us infinitely, wants the best for us, and wishes to see us succeed. And so do our True Parents. So gather your courage, bear your burdens with dignity, and be willing to work on the difficulties at hand. If you do so, then you will be able to overcome the difficulties and all the tribulations that are set before you. And you know that you are never alone because our True Parents are with you and we are with you. Lovin' Life is with you.

So know that you are loved and in this time of Thanksgiving, take the time to really thank God. A wonderful way to thank somebody is to be giving of yourself, so as we celebrate family, turkey, and good old apple and pumpkin pie, I wish you wonderful holidays and God bless. Thank you.


The Books of Proverbs, chapter 4

1: Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight;

2: for I give you good precepts:
do not forsake my teaching.

3: When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,

4: he taught me, and said to me,
"Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live;

5: do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Get wisdom; get insight.

6: Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
love her, and she will guard you.

7: The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.

8: Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.

9: She will place on your head a fair garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown."

10: Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many.

11: I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.

12: When you walk, your step will not be hampered;
and if you run, you will not stumble.

13: Keep hold of instruction, do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.

14: Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of evil men.

15: Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.

16: For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made some one stumble.

17: For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.

18: But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

19: The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.

20: My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.

21: Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.

22: For they are life to him who finds them,
and healing to all his flesh.

23: Keep your heart with all vigilance;
for from it flow the springs of life.

24: Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.

25: Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.

26: Take heed to the path of your feet,
then all your ways will be sure.

27: Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

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