I Am Loved

Staci's Story

A woman smiling hopefully.

My life has been surrounded by people with addictions. I grew up in a home with siblings who had addictions to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and compulsive spending. But even with this background, my boyfriend of four years had an addiction that affected me the most—pornography.

He admitted he had a pornography addiction before we began dating. At the time, I didn’t understand exactly what that meant. I figured he could just stop it anytime he chose, and that certainly he would never relapse now that we were in a relationship.

Nine months after we started dating, and with an impending engagement, he confessed to a relapse. He felt so bad about it, so surely now he would never relapse again. But I was wrong—he continued to return often to his addiction.

I determined I was going to fix his problem myself. I was sure that if he would just listen to me and do what I was telling him, he would get better. I became fixated on this idea, but I didn’t understand addiction at all – his or mine. I couldn’t let go of what I couldn’t control.

My life soon became harder than I had originally thought as I struggled with my feelings over my boyfriend’s addiction. I soon learned about the Addiction Recovery Program and its support group. I decided to attend to see how I could find help. When I went to my first meeting, I was seeking suggestions on what I could do to make my boyfriend change. Instead, I received suggestions on what I could do to fix myself. At first, I didn’t see why I needed the help. I wasn’t doing anything nearly as wrong as he was. But the gospel principles in ARP helped me to realize that I needed to stop trying to fix others and work on myself. This helped me to take the necessary steps I needed to walk on my own.

After four years together and several relapses, my boyfriend ended our relationship. He decided he couldn’t overcome his addiction and he wanted me to move on with my life. I felt dead and numb with grief. I thought I had failed and that my life was over. I knew I needed some heavenly help and comfort, so I went to the nearest temple visitors’ center. While there, I noticed a scripture written on the wall that said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25, emphasis added.) I realized that in order to feel alive again, I needed to turn to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I knew the gospel principles I had been learning to apply during ARP meetings would help me do this.

I began the healing process by opening my heart to God, communicating with Him as a friend and sharing what was in my heart. I told myself repeatedly throughout the day that I was a daughter of God and that He loved me. It was hard at first because I didn’t believe my own words; I was sure He was too busy for someone like me. But through patience and persistence, I found a tremendous outpouring of love from God. When I finally believed in that love, I saw myself the way that God saw me. I finally started to love myself, and I felt His love continuously.

I had been taught my whole life about my worth, but I was never able to feel it until then. Through learning about how much God loved me, I discovered I had developed a greater love for God. I gained a stronger desire to do His will and keep His commandments.  Now, even when I fall short, I find it easier to repent, as I know He really does care for me and wants me to come to Him. 

Through my experiences, I have begun to see His children from His point of view. This has helped me forgive those who have hurt me. I have also found a greater desire to serve those who don’t know how much God loves them.

Without my Heavenly Father, the principles taught in the Addiction Recovery Program, and the trials I have endured because of addiction, I would not be who I am today. I would not have the same testimony of the Atonement. I have come to realize the powerful role it can play in my life, no matter what type of trial and sorrow that comes along. I know that my Heavenly Father truly loves me, He knows who I am, He knows what I am going through, and I am His beloved daughter.