Mormon Channel Blog

Hope, Help, and Healing from Addiction

April 15, 2015

Kara and Jordan Hansen sit side by side, hand in hand. They are a down-to-earth couple who enjoy music and the outdoors. Their love for their daughter and each other is strong—a kind of strong that many couples strive for. Unpeel the layers, however, and you will find years of struggle, bouts of the silent treatment, and emotionally charged ultimatums.

Jordan Hansen, recently featured on His Grace, has battled a painkiller addiction for years. We asked Jordan and Kara to share what they learned as they sought forgiveness from each other and from God.

For the addict:

  1. Make the choice

Breaking out of an addiction is a choice. Jordan explains that interventions are helpful to a point, but that he reached a turning point at which he knew if he continued in his addiction, his actions would ultimately result in his wife and daughter being left alone on this earth. He chose to change.

  1. Seek forgiveness

Jordan states that in the Addiction Recovery Program one of the first tasks is to make a list of people you have harmed. Jordan explained that if he previously had visited a friend and found painkillers in a medicine cabinet, his addiction would take over. His primary objective would be to steal the pills. He had never previously experienced the desire to steal, but his addiction impacted his actions. These moments in an addict’s journey are taken into account as he or she asks for forgiveness.

Explain to each person why you harmed him or her and then ask for her forgiveness. “It is scary,” Jordan says, “This process pieces trust back together.” Hansen says that when an addict is sincere, even the victims of the addict will receive the apology well and be willing to help.

  1. Celebrate the small things

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Jordan explains that if an addict is able to break his addiction for progressively longer periods of time, such an achievement is worthy of celebration each time.

In the beginning, Jordan didn’t know how to celebrate these moments. Rather, when he relapsed he would think negatively about himself, believing he had to push the reset button and start all over. Learn not to view those moments as failures. Don’t believe that because you relapsed you cannot ultimately break free.

Jordan had to relearn habits on a daily basis in order to quit. In his I-have-to-use-it-now moments, he had to switch what he was doing, walk away, and ask for help. He says, “I had to force myself to change what I was doing and ask for help. Addicts don’t understand how willing people are to help.”

For the supporter or spouse:

  1. Seek to understand

Jordan’s wife and main source of support, Kara Hansen, had to learn to distinguish between "addict" Jordan and “her” Jordan. She says that the addiction "is really not them; it’s something in their mind chemically that is altering their thinking.”

Knowing that an addict is not acting as his or her real self can help the supporter to understand not to take the addiction personally. For most addicts, nothing else matters in their moments of want besides their drug.

  1. Be calm

For years Kara reacted with anger and the silent treatment. Eventually, she learned that yelling, the silent treatment, and a harsh tone wouldn’t help her efforts. She says that the best thing a supporter can do is to remain calm.

If you find evidence of the addiction, know that you can confront the addict. However, don’t be harsh or demanding of answers. An addict will often react by creating lies or getting in flight-or-fight mode. You want the addict to be open and to talk about it honestly, so be calm.

Kara learned to confront Jordan with a calm tone. First she took time to calm herself, and then she would confront him. She would ask, “Jordan, what is this? Why did you get it? Where did you get it from?” She stated, “I’m going to be very calm with you, and I’m open to talk. I’m going to ask you questions and they may be hard questions to answer, but I’m going to ask them and let’s talk about it openly.”

It’s a difficult situation and you feel like you’ve been lied to over and over again. It’s a hard situation to stay calm in but it’s the only way things are going to get done and are going to change.

*Jordan is now a facilitator in the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP). He and Kara want our readers to know that there is also a program for the loved ones of an addict within the ARP.