Advice to My Younger Self
I know your heart is breaking; you feel alone and very fearful, and you feel it is your fault. You’re wondering what you could have done as a father to avoid your two sons falling into a heroin addiction. I know you feel anger and resentment because of how your boys are acting. I know you are wondering if they will ever be able to overcome this addiction. You’re worried they might die. You are asking yourself, “Why did we do all those scripture studies, family home evenings, and prayers together as a family? Wasn’t that supposed to prevent this type of thing?” I know you even feel some anger towards your Heavenly Father. I know exactly how you feel. May I share with you what I have learned over the past eight years since addiction struck our home?
I have learned that Heavenly Father knows and loves our two boys more than we do and that He had a plan all along for them. I learned that Heavenly Father trusted our family enough to allow addiction to almost take our two sons’ lives because He knew we would get through it as a family and that this experience would bring us great blessings in the future. Addiction accomplished a wonderful and miraculous purpose. If you could see your two boys now, you would be amazed at the miracles that have happened in both of their lives. For not only are they clean and sober and have been for many years, but through the enabling power of the Savior’s Atonement, their very natures have been changed. They both have been sealed in the temple to their eternal companions and are leading lives of service.
Rick, I want you to know something that I’ve learned. I truly believe that if our two boys had not gone through the struggle of addiction, they would not be the priesthood men of God that they are today! Honestly, I am grateful that addiction came into our family; not only has it affected our boys in a positive way, but it has affected me in a most profound way. For I have now learned how to develop a personal relationship with Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ like I never knew was possible. I’ve also learned that the Savior’s Atonement can not only change our hearts but also change our very personalities, our very natures. I have learned through this trial that with God all things are possible and that He loves our family intimately. I’ve learned that when family relationships feel broken and shattered, through the Savior’s Atonement, they can be healed.
Please do not worry. This is not your fault. Your family is forever. I would encourage you to be humble and patient. The Lord will lead you by the hand and give answers to your prayers. All these things will work together for your good. The relationships you will soon have with your sons will be amazing!