Of Great Worth
Lou Ann's Story
I spent 27 years of my life lost in the mist of darkness as my addictions progressed from alcohol and marijuana to cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.
Early in 2005 I got a life-threatening infection in my arm that required daily medical attention. I was homeless at the time. I slept in a dirty, cold garage by night and roamed the streets by day. I was a complete mess and unable to take care of myself properly. I reached out to my mother and asked her for help in getting back and forth to the hospital each day for the medical attention I required. As she helped me, she discussed the need to stop using drugs. Although I pretended to agree with her, I felt I would never be able to quit using drugs and that I would soon die in my addiction.
My mother did not give up, though. Years earlier, she had received a blessing when she was weighed down with grief over her wayward children. She was told that her children were worth more than the world to her Heavenly Father, so that became her mantra. She reminded me of my great worth every time I saw her. I did not believe her at first, but it did cause me to ponder.
I soon checked myself into a detoxification center. But after five days of being deathly ill, I could not take it any longer and chose to walk out. I hitchhiked to where my boyfriend was staying and used heroin. But because I had started going through detoxification, I suffered a respiratory arrest that nearly took my life. My boyfriend did CPR to revive me, but three hours later I used it again. I was hopelessly addicted. Not even near death could deter me from the poison that was killing me both physically and spiritually.
My mother told me that she always prayed for me, and one particular day she started pleading with her Heavenly Father for an intervention to save my life. She prayed like she had never prayed before. Two weeks later, in an answer to my mother’s fervent prayers, I was arrested. I was barely sane and had been homeless for nearly five years. I could not think past my next fix. But going to jail was a blessing and it saved my life. When I realized in jail that I was not going anywhere and probably not for a very long time, I was strangely relieved, even though I knew I was going to be violently sick as my body ridded itself of the poison I had become so dependent on. I was completely broken in body, mind, and spirit.
Over those first weeks in jail, I was deathly ill as my system felt the withdrawals from the drugs. I wished that I would die. I began receiving a prompting to go to the Lord in prayer. I resisted this prompting and pushed it away many times. I was afraid to fail because I had failed so many times before. I felt so ashamed and unworthy to go to the Lord in prayer. Thankfully, the promptings persisted. Finally, one day while pacing in my jail cell, a prayer just flowed out of my heart. As soon as the prayer crossed my lips, I felt the most amazing love my Savior had for me. I could feel Him right there with me in that jail cell. I also felt an overwhelming feeling of peace and hope that I had not felt in many years. As I pled with the Lord, healing tears flowed down my cheeks and I have continued coming to the Lord ever since.
My journey through recovery with my Savior has been miraculous. I continue to experience healing in my relationships with my family and friends. I am grateful for the blessing of self-reliance I have experienced in recovery. I never imagined that someone like me, a homeless heroin addict, could have the kind of life I have today. I have so much to be grateful for.
After acting as a facilitator in the Addiction Recovery Program for two years, the Lord prompted me to become a missionary in the program and share the message of hope with my sisters in jail. I hold one-on-one addiction recovery meetings with sisters in maximum security, as well as in other group settings. This is an amazing and sacred experience guided by the Spirit. It is awe-inspiring to me how the Lord can take something as ugly and destructive as my addiction and, through the atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ, heal me and use my addiction and recovery for good to build His Kingdom in a very powerful way. I love serving the Lord. I trust Him with everything that I am. I look forward with a perfect brightness of hope for what the Lord has next for me in recovery.