ANOTHER STORY OF HOPE AND RECOVERY

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    Brian Burgess
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    This is a story of a young man whom i had known during my growing up years and his name is Mike.When he was very young, his mother married a man who was an alcoholic, who physically abused his mother and him. Mike too turned to alcohol and drugs as an escape and became an addict by the age of 12. Through the years that followed, he used cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs to get away from his painful reality as he felt he would only fit in with drug addicts and other misfits because of what his life had become.

    When Mike entered his 30s, he grew tired of the misery and pain that came with the lifestyle of a drug addict. He decided to go home in search of love and reconciliation with his family, but he was unsuccessful. He then turned to organized religion for the first time in his adult life. He experienced some comfort and satisfaction as he visited many churches, looking for answers to a better life. Mike ended up settling with one church, but was soon kicked out and given the status of “mark and avoid” because of his lifestyle. Due to this experience, he gave up on religion and began drinking heavily again. Life went downhill from there as he lost his job and spent almost every cent he had made on drugs and alcohol.

    Some years later, Mike received a phone call from a former supervisor, asking him to work for him in another city. He took the job and moved, but it only took a couple of weeks and one paycheck before he found the drug houses and continued to waste everything he earned.

    In spite of the addictions, he was able to perform tolerably at his new work. He even received raises and promotions during this time, but every weekend he always went straight to the crack houses. Desiring a change in his life, he walked into the closest chapel in the neighborhood and found the missionaries there. He told them his desires and began taking the lessons. He felt the Spirit and knew what they were teaching him was true. He stopped his addictive behavior and soon accepted the challenge to be baptized. He was so happy, hoping that he would finally be able to stay free from his addictions.

    However, just a few years later, an incident with his family left him feeling rejected, so he ended up returning to the drug houses. He walked away from his good-paying job and ultimately became homeless to support his addictions. During this hard time, he was referred to the Addiction Recovery Program by his bishop and began attending meetings.

    Through the inspired principles taught in this program, he began the slow process of recovery. He made good progress and eventually was able to become sober and serve as a meeting facilitator. After he met and married his wife, they were called to serve as missionaries in the program.

    The gospel principles taught through the 12 steps of ARP worked wonders in his life and he worked to bring his life back into order and finally live a life free of addiction.

    He is a solid testimony that addiction can be overcome as we rely upon the power of the Savior and His Atonement. Mike is a living, breathing example of the truth of the gospel; it transformed his heart into what God would have him be.This is the story told to me when I happened to meet Mike one day while returning from work.

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