Even though I was born and raised in an active LDS home, and
have been a very active member of the Church for the majority
of my life, I became addicted to a variety of substances.
Being very conscientious as to how things looked to the outward
world (and in my home town, that meant the Mormon culture
in our community), the majority of the substances I abused,
and finally became fully addicted to, were prescription medications
and food. These were acceptable after all. The prescriptions
came from a doctor and a pharmacy, not from the streets. How
oblivious I was to the seriousness of the drugs I was using.
Prescriptions or not, they were still drugs. And as to food,
well, in our culture, do I really need to explain the acceptability
and availability of food ?
My addictions began in my childhood. My mother abused prescriptions.
And she taught me well. Started me early. By saying this,
I do not mean that she was to blame for my addictions. Only
that she was a model of the strung out Molly Mormon, looking
"respectable," She even had me practice taking medications
when around other people without drawing attention to myself.
She was also a great cook and to not eat the bounties she
prepared was considered an insult to her. But it has been
and always will be my own vulnerabilities and disease that
brought me into full addiction. True to the example she set,
I did the Molly Mormon routine pretty well myself. I was fully
active in the Church, with responsible positions of leadership.
Strung out on drugs. Prescription drugs. Did you know that
one Xanax pill is equivalent in its effect on the mind and
body as one serving of liquor? People would flatter me and
say what a wonderful Relief Society president I was, and how
much I seemed to get done, never suspecting that I was ablaze
all the time. All this time, my abuses of my body and spirit
with food were just as excessive. Any complaints about that
were considered problems of vanity, not addiction.
I used lots of doctors and lots of pharmacies. I got so I
couldn't face a day without popping pills. I couldn't even
get out of bed without a "fix." The reverse was also
true. If I wanted to sleep, or sit through a meeting without
coming out of my skin, I needed barbiturates, narcotics, and
so on. For in between times, I managed to conveniently have
the right symptoms to get doctors to give me a variety of
pain pills and tranquilizers. Along with the progressive obsession
with and dependency on drugs, was an extreme compulsiveness
with food. I have weighed 220 pounds and I have weighed 100
pounds. I have been hospitalized with anorexia. A few years
later I was hospitalized with bulimia.
I had a pattern of secretive use of alcohol that was "like
unto a life apart." It was something that was so secret that
neither my children nor my husband knew anything about it.
It wasn't something that brought pleasure, only pain and degradation.
I first came to the 12 Step programs in 1977. I went to Al-Anon
because I was concerned about someone close to me. I wanted
the Al-Anon people to explain the alcoholic to me. This is
called total denial on my part. No acceptance of what was
going on in my own life. Seven years later, after more Al-Anon,
some attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous,
I finally admitted I had a problem. I made a date with God:
April 14, 1984. My supply would be gone then. It would be
a weekend. I just would not get anymore amphetamines. I would
rest over the weekend, and in my naivete, I thought all would
So, of course, I was surprised when I ended up in an emergency
room. The doctors said that with the level of amphetamine
use, let alone the other drugs, that I was using when I stopped,
it was a miracle that I didn't go into convulsions. I was
unable to function in my home, school, or career training
for nearly a month. To this very day, I know it was by the
loving grace of our Heavenly Father, and my Savior, that I
survived that period of time. I have gone on to experience
the recovery process since then.
The 12 Step fellowships, and the 12 Steps, as a practical
guide to living life on a spiritual basis, have brought amazing
changes in my life. The 18-1/2 years since that Saturday in
April have been full of ups and downs. I have had times of
being more focused on sobriety, recovery and spirituality
than others. But it has been a time of continual spiritual
In the year 2000, I became totally and permanently disabled.
It has been necessary for me to make drastic life changes.
Not only in adjusting to a different quality of health, but
a drastically different life style as well. The Lord has been
good to me and blessed me in a loving and protective way through
difficult medical procedures. Nevertheless, at the beginning
of the summer of 2002, I was full of despondency, anger, bitterness
and self-pity. It just wasn't a pretty picture. Because of
my health problems, I hadn't been able to go to 12-Step meetings
for quite awhile. But as my attitude worsened, and my spiritual
condition sickened, I decided to use the level of health and
energy that had been restored to me to go to 12-Step meetings
During this time, a friend who was concerned about me brought
me to an LDS Substance Abuse Recovery Group. At first I was
defensive. The plain and simple terms the spiritual recovery
is phrased in, as used in the original 12 Steps, were most
precious to me. Probably because of their plainness, I didn't
quite understand why the Church had chosen to rephrase those
plain and simple truths. The fact that scriptural references
were given to support each Step, as a divine principle from
our Heavenly Father, didn't bother me. But the changing of
the words did.
As is often true, when I become defensive, it means I have
something to learn. So, I got a copy of the workbook, "And
He Did Deliver Me From Bondage," that we were encouraged to
use in the LDS Recovery Groups. I made it a matter of intense
study, prayer and discussion with anyone and everyone who
would listen. As I went through this process, I found that
there areÊ immense differences between the standard Twelve
Steps and those of the LDS Recovery Groups. And those differences
have made all the difference to me.
First, the LDS Recovery Groups are presided over and conducted
by the priesthood. There is a missionary and companion, who
have been called of God to exercise the priesthood in those
groups. The powers of heaven are called down for the healing
of those of us in the groups. Sometimes the priesthood influence
is so strong, it is almost tangible. Second, the basis of
the spiritual steps for recovery in the LDS Substance Abuse
Recovery Groups is a personal relationship with our Savior,
Jesus Christ. In the other 12 Step programs, the basis of
the spiritual program is referred to as: "A...God, as
we understand Him." Each member is graciously given the opportunity
to design a God, or Higher Power, that fits their concept
of a power greater than themselves that is benevolent and
loving and always there for them. It would be hard to argue
that our Savior doesn't fit that description, because He does.
But faith, testimonies, scriptures and priesthood blessings
directing us to our Savior, to be blessed and healed by His
redemptive act of atonement, are not discussed in the original
12 Step fellowships.
What a great and wonderful blessing it has been for me to
be in the LDS Recovery Groups! To have the added benefit of
the Priesthood and the clear focus of building, and continually
strengthening, a personal, intimate relationship with my Savior,
I have been free of addictive use of amphetamines, narcotics
and alcohol for 18-1/2 years. I have been free of bulimic
behavior for 13 years. I am no longer bitter, angry, resentful
or full of self-pity. My testimony and understanding of the
Gospel have gone to a deeper level. Much deeper than ever
before. And I am by no means done. What a tender, loving journey
this life is, when it is in the company of our Lord and Savior,
and with the blessings of the Priesthood. This I say this
in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Please Buy: Understanding
Alcohol and Drug Addiction