The Search for Something More
When I was very young, my mother married a man who was an alcoholic, who physically abused my mother and me. I turned to alcohol and drugs as an escape and became an addict by the age of 12. Through the years that followed, I used cigarettes, sex, alcohol, and drugs to get away from my painful reality. I felt I only fit in with drug addicts and other misfits because of what my life had become.
When I entered my 30s, I grew tired of the misery and pain that came with the lifestyle of a drug addict. I decided to go home in search of love and reconciliation with my family, but I was unsuccessful. I then turned to organized religion for the first time in my adult life. I experienced some comfort and satisfaction as I visited many churches, looking for answers to a better life. I ended up settling with one church, but I was soon kicked out and given the status of “mark and avoid” because of my lifestyle. Due to this experience, I gave up on religion and began drinking heavily again. Life went downhill from there as I lost my job and spent almost every cent I made on drugs and alcohol.
Some years later, I received a phone call from a former supervisor, asking me to work for him in another city. I took the job and moved, but it only took a couple of weeks and one paycheck before I found the drug houses and continued to waste everything I earned.
In spite of my addictions, I was able to perform tolerably at my new work. I even received raises and promotions during this time, but every weekend I always went straight to the crack houses. Desiring a change in my life, I walked into the closest LDS chapel in my neighborhood and found the missionaries there. I told them my desires and began taking the lessons. I felt the Spirit and knew what they were teaching me was true. I stopped my addictive behavior and soon accepted the challenge to be baptized. I was so happy, hoping that I would finally be able to stay free from my addictions.
However, just a few years later, an incident with my family left me feeling rejected, so I ended up returning to the drug houses. I walked away from my good-paying job and ultimately became homeless to support my addictions. During this hard time, I was referred to the Addiction Recovery Program by my bishop and began attending meetings.
Through the inspired principles taught in this program, I began the slow process of recovery. I made good progress and eventually was able to become sober and serve as a meeting facilitator. After I met and married my wife, we were called to serve as missionaries in the program.
The gospel principles taught through the 12 steps of ARP worked wonders in my life, but eight months into our mission, a difficult event happened in my life that sent me back to my some of old habits. I struggled as I learned that I had more change and healing to do before I could finally overcome the usual triggers that aided my addictions. But after a time of trial, I worked to bring my life back into order and I finally live a life free of addiction.
I have a solid testimony that addiction can be overcome as we rely upon the power of the Savior and His Atonement. I am a living, breathing example of the truth of the gospel; it transformed my heart into what God would have me be.