The LDS Church recently released a new video series on addiction recovery, called “12 Steps to Change.” Each of the 12 videos focuses on one of the steps in the church-sponsored program, “Addiction Recovery Program: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing.”
These 12 steps are honesty, hope, trust in God, truth, confession, change of heart, humility, seeking forgiveness, restitution and reconciliation, daily accountability, personal revelation and service. The videos spotlight each of the steps, sharing the stories of 12 different people who suffered from addictions and their experiences in recovery with the faith-based program.
“These videos are very real and very powerful,” Peter Evans, a director in the Church’s Welfare Department, said in a recent news release. “They are connected to the 12-step curriculum and give an inspiring sense of what is possible as people change, that the Savior can bind all of our wounds when we acknowledge his love and turn to him to help overcome. There is great victory in these stories.”
The videos discuss food, drug and sex addictions. The series shows dramatizations of real-life events recounted by the featured addicts, as well as their personal testimonies on how they overcame their addictions.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the videos in September for National Addiction Recovery Month. Mormon Channel director Todd Daley said the church decided to produce these videos to raise awareness and increase conversation about addiction, bring hope to those struggling with it and their family members, and most of all offer help to those in need.
“We realized we needed programming that provided help to people dealing with the very real problems of life,” he said in a press release.
The videos are more graphic than previous videos released by the church on the Mormon Channel, and each video explores the devastation that addiction caused in the lives of the addicts, as well as their loved ones. Many of the videos also go into the backstory of the underlying issues that led an addict to begin dependent behavior, such as depression, an abusive home or personal tragedy.
Austin Pratt was featured in the video on truth and said he decided to appear in the series because of how the program changed his life.
“Everything I was learning, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops,” Pratt said in an interview with The Universe. “The Spirit in these group meetings was something I had never come across.”
Pratt said he believes sharing his story is a way he can continue to work on service, the last step in the program.
“Many addicts don’t believe that we’re worth God, so we isolate ourselves,” Pratt said. “We are never alone; Christ is always there. His agents are reaching out both figuratively and literally … The 12-step program is like the Atonement for dummies.”
Pratt also encourages the friends and family members of addicts to attend the meetings with them.
“Everyone has something they need to change,” Pratt said. “It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or insignificant. Once the struggle becomes real, they’ll be able to see the power of the program. They’ll be more equipped with knowledge and power to help.”
While the videos start on a dark note, they ultimately end hopefully, with the addicts sharing how they overcame their addictions through their faith.
“There is a great victory in these stories,” Evans said in the release.
Sidney Pratt is a BYU junior from Mesa, Arizona who attends the 12-step meetings with her brother, Austin Pratt, to support him.
“I feel like these videos are for everyone because they’re more about change than addiction,” Sidney Pratt said. “Everyone, no matter how serious the addiction, can change.”