Strength to Overcome
My son had reached a point of desperation from his addiction to prescription drugs. Not only was he sick, but he was ashamed. We did not know how long he had been hiding his problem from us, but now we had an explanation for his recent uncharacteristic behavior.
As his mother, I did not know what to do. I felt intense fear, grief, and even anger. I desperately wanted to keep my family from falling apart. The first step was seeking the counsel of our bishop, but that was only a beginning. I knew that there would be a long road ahead for my son—and for me as well. Although I knew that my son had made his own decisions, I felt guilt and the deepest sorrow. I found myself slipping into the abyss of dark depression.
In searching LDS.org one day for help, I typed the words “addiction recovery,” which in turn led me to AddictionRecovery.lds.org. There, I found stories and videos from individuals who shared their own experiences with addiction. There was also information about the Addiction Recovery Program [ARP], a Church-sponsored service designed to help both those suffering with addictions as well as their family members. The ARP program follows a twelve-step approach which includes studying and applying the principles of the gospel. It teaches how to find forgiveness, hope, and healing through Christ’s Atonement.
With help from our doctor, my son went through the difficult process of becoming drug-free. But as I found out, addictions do not just suddenly stop; the temptation persists. Emotional support was very important for the healing process to continue. So we searched the Addiction Recovery site to find ARP meetings in our area.
My son didn’t know what to expect when he first sat down in an ARP meeting the next Wednesday evening. He was welcomed by a missionary couple and a fine young man named Ray. Ray explained that he was himself a recovering addict of many years and was there to help guide the discussion and provide personal insights. The group consisted of a variety of people—rich and poor, old and young, and with a variety of addictions. Differences faded, however, as each opened up to share his or her own efforts toward healing.
Family members of those with addictions also joined together in a group to support one another. I came to know one dear lady whose son had been an addict for several years and, in doing so, discovered that I was not alone—many others were walking the same difficult path that I was, and we could gain strength by walking it together. I learned that we all had something very much in common: a desire to for both our loved ones and ourselves to be healed. We shared our feelings and lifted one another. I left the meeting with a renewal of spirit and the encouragement to move on toward a better day. Over time, as my son and I continued to attend meetings, we both progressed toward recovery.
My testimony is that, through the power of the Atonement and with the support of others, each of us can find the strength to overcome.