Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alcoholism & Addiction strategies

So this weekend I overheard details about someone with an alcoholism problem. An interesting aspect of my mission is that most of the present members at some point had a struggle with alcohol due to how common its usage is in the areas I served. There are a few things I learned about alcoholism and addiction in general:

1) This is specific to alcoholism - the brain can be tricked into thinking it's getting what it wants. I learned this because I've had the non-alcoholic versions of wine and beer given to me by either investigators and members. I thought they tasted disgusting, but something I noticed is that the people who gave them to me thought they tasted amazing. And I believe the reason is their brain was associating their flavor with the drug it got a long with the beverage, so a reasonable way to wean someone off of an alcoholic beverage may be to have them drink that instead when they're struggling with staying away from it during a period of rough times.

2) General towards all addiction - the addiction usually serves to fill a hole of some kind. It either provides some means of escapism and/or fights boredom/eats up time. I learned this from my own World of Warcraft addiction. You can't defeat an addiction by telling yourself you won't do it again. that's not enough. You need to get rid of it, all the paraphernalia associated with it and replace it with something else. When I quit World of Warcraft before my mission, I eventually went back for a while before I left on my mission because I didn't have anything else to do and even used that as my justification for returning. When I got home, I picked up swimming to fill that void. I could never go back to WoW because the things swimming gave me far outweigh what I ever got from WoW. I just don't have the time for both, so even when the temptation came back for a bit, I still didn't cave because what I found was so much better.

Granted, WoW also served as an escape for me before my mission as well. It was my way of running away from what I viewed were the negative opinions others had of me. When I got back from my mission, I just decided I didn't care what others thought anymore. So in addition to replacing an addiction, someone fighting an addiction needs to face whatever other demons they're using it to hide from. Whether it's the opinions of others, a bad childhood, etc., someone struggling from an addiction needs to come up with a change in mindset to undo the damage they're hiding from.

I may be oversimplifying some things, but I hope this helps anyone I know struggling with an addiction.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

For our day...

So just before I was going to bed tonight, I was doing some reading up on the Book of Mormon. I had actually found a link to the original version with some commentary (from a non-LDS source).

As I was reading the commentary I noticed a few things

1) It seemed more honest about the Book of Mormon than most of its critics are (like citing the fact that the changes made to it since its first publication were grammatical ones, not doctrinal).

2) It actually mentioned the fact the original contained more Hebraisms than the more modern version (interesting to note, because Joseph Smith didn't study Hebrew until after the translation, and I'm guessing like many of the Hebraisms I've already heard of, they weren't in the Bible, it also makes sense they would fade as the grammar was corrected. Good Hebrew grammar isn't good English grammar all of the time). Generally I've felt like outside sources have been less likely to point out any evidence that it may be true, so the fact that it's mentioning them makes me a bit more proud of the scholars who wrote that commentary than most.

3)What I thought was interesting was a part of the commentary that talked about how the Book of Mormon seemed to discuss pretty much any topic Christianity had been struggling with at the time of the restoration (infant baptism, the trinity, etc.). What I thought was cool was as I read that statement, a flood of inspiration hit me. I realized that the records the Nephites had talked about tons of things, they were so huge the prophet-historian Mormon had to abridge them into what is now the Book of Mormon. Is it coincidence he was inspired to answer every question Christianity had been struggling with at the time? I got the feeling Heavenly Father knew the state Christianity would be in at the time and wanted to give those willing to listen the answers. As this feeling came to me I looked at my arm and realized the goosebumps across it. Because of that I realized those thoughts didn't come from me, but the Holy Spirit (goosebumps aren't always a sign of the Spirit for me, but it's not uncommon I get them when I receive inspiration). You know even though I've known the Book of Mormon to be true for a long time now, I'm grateful Heavenly Father keeps giving me confirmation it's true and keeps leading me throughout my life.

With that note I'd like to close with my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that our Heavenly Father wants to lead and guide us through this crazy thing we call life. His son, Jesus Christ made it possible for us to make it back to Him and he sends prophets now to lead and guide us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Diablo 3 Classes and Builds

Well just so the world knows, I game, but not to the point that it is something that rules my life. It's usually something I just do to pass time when I'm not busy, not something I do religiously to a point that it defines me. Despite this, I have my favourite games and series. One of those is the Diablo series (in case you couldn't already tell from my other posts lol!).

So a new game in this series is coming out soon, Diablo 3. There are two classes that really stuck out to me based on their descriptions:

1) The Wizard


2) The Demon Hunter

The wizard sticks out because at first glance, the girl just seems plain insane an uncontrollable. Now that I think about it. I didn't notice it because of those attributes, I noticed it because I like to play casters, and that's the caster in this game that isn't creepy (black magic of the witchdoctor isn't really my thing...).

The second class that caught my attention is the demon hunter. Now I don't run around with feelings of vengeance in my heart (because hatred is a poisonous emotion), but what strikes me about this character is that they have an experience that changes them forever. This experience turns out to be something that defines them for the rest of their life and becomes the core of their reason for existence. Have I experienced something similar? Yes. Do I want to go into detail here? No.

But because I have a close affinity to the back stories of these classes, they're going to be the ones I play when I play the game (I hope my laptop can handle it..., hopefully I can get into the beta so I can know for sure if I can play it). I've already made some builds using the calculator Blizzard posted:

1) Demon Hunter Build - The name of the game with this build is critical strikes, crossbows and caltrops. My only concern about it is resource management. None of my abilities (passive or active) focuses on resource replenishment. If gear can help enough with that, it might not be an issue.

2) Wizard Build - This build is pretty straightforward. You have 3 nukes, 2 of with are spammable, the other is not and the other abilities just boost your damage and survivability. This is a pretty "glass-cannon" style build, with the main focus being on upping damage and teleporting away when things get tough. I would have gone with mirror image and the rune stone that gives them damage instead of familiar but then I realized that depending on what class you're fighting in an arena, the health on your images may be low enough that other classes could 1-shot them and essentially waste your cooldown. I believe mirror image with that rune would be a better choice though in terms of damage when playing normal game play. If you use your mirror image every time it's up, (and you're constantly fighting) it essentially gives an 84% damage increase, and I'm sure the AI on the enemy monsters will be too dumb to target your images.

To be honest, I'm really excited to try both, but the demon hunter a little bit more than the wizard. The demon hunter gameplay will rely a lot more on luck and his abilities are different from what I'm used to (because I normally play casters). But I'm sure the wizard will have its moments too.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Love is Spoken here

So lately I've been kind of worried about my sister, I won't go into specifics, but I care a lot about her and decided to fast for her last fast sunday (yesterday).

About an hour after I had broken my fast, I got a text from her asking for a blessing. It seemed like the answer to a prayer. I knew what I wanted to say, but I realized that what I wanted to say might not have been what the Lord wanted for her, so I started praying for an open heart and also for forgiveness for my imperfections (I've realized that sincerely showing the Lord that you're willing to repent makes you a better conduit for the spirit during a blessing). I also got dressed up in my Sunday clothes for the blessing (I usually don't get dressed up for blessings, but I knew this had to be something special and I wanted to show the Lord I understood that).

Initially, I was going to go alone, but I had the feeling I should invite my brother-in-law to assist. And then my little brother. My little brother didn't pick up, but I let my little sister know who else was going to be there. She called my older sister and brother-in-law and we went to my older sister's house for the blessing. Something really cool was my little brother was home when we were picking my little sister up and he decided to come when we invited him to come (he lives in the same complex as my sister).

So I gave my sister the blessing per her request with my brother and brother-in-law assisting. The counsel I was inspired to give her definitely wasn't my own and I felt privileged to give the blessing and also comforted that my fasting on my sister's behalf was answered. I knew it wasn't a coincidence she came to me after I had been fasting for her. Then I asked my brother-in-law to give me a blessing, my brother asked me for one and my brother-in-law asked for one. The counsel we were giving each other was amazing. My brother in law knew exactly what to say despite knowing little of what I was dealing with. I also realized my little brother has a special gift when he gave my brother-in-law his blessing. I realized that he could SEE in his mind's eye what he was supposed to say as opposed how I get my inspiration: a voice in my head.

So my sister asked for a blessing from my little brother. That hurt my self-esteem just a bit, I was thinking was what I did not good enough? Well when we were about to start, my brother stopped and said "I need to pray first." So he did, we waited 5-10 minutes for him to finish and he came back. It was really cool when he gave the blessing because his blessing EXPOUNDED on mine. It made me think back to the scriptures where it talks about the importance of two witnesses in establishing the word of the Lord. That's why I never went solo as a missionary. I didn't feel dwarfed and it was cool because I could tell my brother wasn't trying to just saying something to agree with me, what he was getting was inspiration and didn't come from just listening to what I said and saying something similar, it was real inspiration building on what I said.

The most awesome part was how strong the spirit was after we were done giving blessings, it was like you could cut it with a knife it felt so thick. My older sister took that opportunity to bear her testimony to us of the scriptures and their importance. I know there's a lot of darkness in this world, but I knew when I was standing there in that moment that the Devil and forces of darkness had no place in that home and that it felt like a Zion, a place of refuge from the dark.

It's times like this that bolster my testimony in the restored Gospel and the priesthood that was brought back with it. Because it's times like this that show me the Melchizedek priesthood my Dad gave me when I was 21 is something real and that the source he got it from is real (a lineage going back to to Jesus Christ himself going through the ancient apostles and Joseph Smith). I know the Lord hears our prayers and loves us. I bear this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

In case you aren't LDS and made it this far, I'd like you to know the title of this blog post comes from the song I learned as a child called "Love is spoken here." There's a part where the father is singer and he says "Mine is a home where every hour is blessed by the strength of Priesthood power..." And that's what that night reminded me of so I decided to use that as the title of this post.