I Was Spared
I was born to goodly parents who were strong examples to me in the Church. Because of their testimonies, I remained faithful in the gospel until I was about 15 years old. I began to stray as I became involved in questionable activities with friends who were not of my faith, and I started smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and engaging in immoral sexual behavior. What a grand life, I thought. It was much different from the life I had ever known before and it was exciting to me. But what seemed fun and harmless in the beginning quickly led to serious problems. My addictions became my life for the next 22 years.
My lifestyle caused me to encounter many dangerous situations. I spent time in jail for sexual crimes and drug-related incidents, leading me in and out of two marriages.
When I was 35 years old, I went through a particularly rough time. I felt extremely depressed one day and tried to commit suicide. I should have lost my life, but God saved me in his love and mercy. A friend I had tried calling earlier suddenly showed up at my front door. He had no idea of my situation, but he was there to help me. He immediately took me to the hospital and stayed with me until my situation was no longer dangerous. It was a miracle.
During my stay, the hospital introduced me to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. I slowly learned to believe again in the existence of the Supreme Being these programs refer to. This idea developed into a testimony of the God my parents had taught me about in my youth—a loving Heavenly Father who cared for me.
I started attending church again, which was very difficult at first. I did not know anyone and I felt that I was being judged for the rotten person I felt I was. But I wanted to find forgiveness for what I had done, and I also wanted to learn how to forgive myself. As time went by and I continued to try my faith, I found the joy I had once partaken of in my younger years. I was made strong through the Atonement of Christ and was able to re-develop my testimony into the stronghold it is today.
Now, after many years of a long and challenging fight, I am clean and sober from all my addictions. I am now a Melchizedek Priesthood holder and I serve in the temple weekly. I enjoy life with my wonderful children and grandchildren. I thank the Lord for all that He has done for me, because without Him I would not be around to enjoy the life I do now.* Name has been changed.