We are all divinely created different. We all have strengths and weakness that show themselves at different times of our lives. Our mortal goal is to pattern our lives as closer to Christ’s perfect life as we can with all our might, mind, and strength. When we do so Christ paid an unimaginable price so we can rely on His grace when we come up short, which we will.
Everyday we will “fail”, feel less than, think we are totally losing control of what we imagine “should be”.
My very close friend recently had a baby. As she adjusted to a new baby and a toddler at home I sent her an article that stated over and over again different scenarios that all ended with “you aren’t doing it wrong, it’s just that hard.” I sent her the article because it was specific to motherhood. However it can be applied to every aspect of our mortal life.
We are all trying our best to navigate through life, and we will always think to ourselves as we are finding our way and the going gets rough, “why am I failing over and over again?”
Well, you aren’t, it’s just that hard!
When this is applied to addiction, my initial thoughts in active addiction were “Why in the heck can’t I stop using pills?! I’m a mother, wife, nurse, Mormon. Why am I failing at all of those?”
Well addiction is just that hard!
Once I stopped thinking I was unique in the sense that I shouldn’t be tested was when God was able to pierce my soul. Yes, I am divinely different and yes I still have strengths, but also I learned that I have weaknesses, something prior to recovery I wasn’t willing to admit.
I would joke about small weaknesses, but pride (the enmity of all that is good) got the best of me.
Addiction has no bounds and addiction comes in all shapes, sizes, races, genders, occupations, etc.
When I would picture addiction that leads to jails or death – I related that to extreme addicts. I always had a thought, “that doesn’t happen to normal people trying their best and living normal lives.”
Boy were my eyes opened.
I’m not unique, as I have seen addiction touch lives of people who think as I previously thought “would never affect”.
Here’s my example.
I grew up in a home full of love, I was raised in the LDS faith and as I did rely on testimonies of others for the most part, I did learn the principles of faith, Christlike love, acceptance, and service. I graduated high school, I was a four sport athlete and received a scholarship for my dedication to athletics. I received what is called a “tiger pride” award because I lettered more than 18 times.
I was the HOSA President my senior year (health occupation students of America) I went to state for athletic training and took first place, this took me to nationals, wasn’t as successful there I took 34th. I was in the National Honors Society and walked across the stage with a little yellow rope draped over me.
I went to college straight out of high school where I earned my nursing degree in three years. Two years later I got my bachelors of nursing. I worked in the nursing field mostly with a pediatric focus and on a step down ICU unit for 8 years.
Rewind a hair to nursing school, when I met my amazing husband and got married in a short 9 months in the Salt Lake City LDS temple. A month before I was married we purchased the home we still live in now. Shortly after I was married I was called to be in the young women’s presidency in which I served for four years. (Keep reading this has nothing to do with tooting my own horn)
My husband and I struggled with infertility for three years which led to the pregnancy of my daughter Meiken. After her birth I was a stay at home mom and that is when it all hit the fan.
I was arrested with charges of theft and prescription fraud, for which I served close to a month in jail.
My husband was currently serving as the young men’s president (side note he is a software engineer) when all of the problems of depression and addiction began.
Addiction didn’t look at my picture perfect life and think “hmmmm ya I’ll skip that family – they have it “all together” and they have suffered enough from infertility. I’ll just go ahead and move to someone who is less fortunate.”
Bottom line. Addiction doesn’t care if you are a doctor, lawyer, nurse, engineer, journalist, millionaire, the list can go on here, but I just named a list of people I know personally with those careers that are addicts.
With this knowledge know you are not alone. You are not a piece of shiz who belongs down in the homeless shelter with a needle in your arm. But also don’t think as though you are unique. I can relate to any addiction and anyone who is an addict because my brain is wired the same way as theirs. I’m not unique and neither is the person shooting up heroin, and neither is the pornography addict.
We are all the same and once that is established the same goes for the Atonement of Christ…it is the same for everyone. The choice is ours to utilize its power and gain faith and knowledge that Christ is there to give you peace and offer His grace because He has been there.
We don’t have to suffer with any affliction because He already has and is waiting for you to turn to Him because there…. you will find exactly what is meant for you, happiness and peace.
Success stories need to be shared because in the midst of addiction I felt as though I would never become “great” again.
Let me tell you… life is better than ever before. Repentance is real and allows the mistakes of the past to be completely erased. I am grateful for the memory of them, so I can always reflect on how far God has been able to carry me and how much grace Christ was able to offer me.
The following has nothing to do with tooting my own horn yet again, but to shed light that it doesn’t matter where you have been – repentance and forgiveness from our Loving God makes beautiful things happen.
I serve in my calling as the Stake temple and family history specialist, when two and a half years ago I didn’t hold a temple recommend. I also teach relief society in my ward. My husband serves as a counselor in the bishopric.
I say these things to show that opportunities come that are bigger than we can ever imagine and God can better use you in His church because of your trials – because as a result of them you are better and have come closer to Christ.
Trials are placed in our mortal path because God is giving us something that will strengthen you, but more importantly in turn it will change others lives.
Our trials are divinely created for us, lessons we need, and after the dust has settled the story of that scar on your life that has been healed needs to be shared with others. God wants and more importantly NEEDS you to find your strengths and bless others and humble ourselves and admit our weaknesses.
“We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are.” Ezra Taft Benson
I am Lizzy, I am a wife, mother, and member of the LDS faith. I am currently serving as the Stake Temple and Family Specialist, teach relief society in my ward and I am a prescription opiate addict in recovery. I started a blog that I share my story and daily journey of overcoming my opiate addiction that led me to jail and rehab but ultimately I gained knowledge that Christ makes up all the difference for my shortcomings daily and does for me what I cannot do for myself. My blog consists of sharing my truths and prayerfully giving hope to others that people can and do change, which I feel is the best news of the gospel. I have a firm testimony that my Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness had to include addiction to develop a rock solid testimony of my Savior’s Atoning sacrifice for me. I constantly stand in awe of the repentance process, the cleansing power and how through the trials I have overcome I am a much better, stronger person and have so much faith, hope and have learned in the smallest way possible how to love like Christ. Read more of Lizzy’s story here.