familyMy son is a 19 year old heroin addict. He began abusing drugs at age 11. I am interested in sharing my perspectives in order to help other families going through the very disorienting storm caused by addiction.

As a devout member I found it difficult to maneuver through addiction recovery information to find the truths we needed to help our son and keep our family healthy. I have learned much through desperate research to understand what we were seeing. What addiction is and is not.  Like you, much of what I learned came through painful personal experience.

I found that very few members or leaders understand addiction.They offered love and support which was wonderful but we also needed solid information we could trust. We needed the truth. It took years to get the education and the truths I could have used right from the start.

I observed that families fell apart, were ashamed,or continued to think they could fix their child themselves and were confused about what addiction is and is not.

I have been told many times by both members and non-members that I am pretty strong to do the things we have done to help our son and our family. Maybe I am but truthfully I think I was blessed with a good support system , was willingto learn everything I could and lived by the spirit to get to the truths I finally found. I also live 5 minutes from the temple which my husband and I went to once a week for the last several years to regain our strength, seek for direction and support our marriage.

I was held up through many sources and recognize that my strength was not my own. Still, I often felt lonely in this journey. I found that the ignorance of addiction by leaders, family members and even  friends left me fighting a battle with little understanding for what my son really needed. There were times where I pleaded with the Lord to keep my son alive until I could get everyone on the same page to get the help we needed.I had my faith questioned because I believed my son needed more than love and a tough hand. I believed he needed serious long term care with intence therapy and people who understood addiction and thinking errors. I was even accused of causing his drug problem because I gave my son ADHD medication!

After several years of rehabs, IOP programs,alternative school, desperate attempts to find relief by sending him to relatives in remote locations, experiencing the death of his friend in our home and many other painful events and serious mistakes, I find I am still learning!

I don’t want others to suffer as long as we have if there is something that can be done. I was blessed to find truths but because of the confusion around me I had to fight against more than my sons addiction. I believe good solid education and information provided by the church would have been so helpful.

I found very little practical information for the parents and families living with addiction. We had one family member suffering from addiction but everyone in the family was suffering and we all needed help.

In January my son agreed to go to the kind of treatment I knew he needed years earlier. After so much pain and damage it was finally clear to everyone that he would die if he didn’t. In the weeks before I begged for the truth of our situation and asked that the Lord lead me to those who could provide the truth. He did and one after the other I was lead to people and places. I could feel with great power when I heard the truth and listened carefully, determined to follow through with the truths required if my son was going to have a chance at recovery.Hour by hour before he left we fought a war like no other we had faced. He finally left and within 48 hours one of his friends who had been with my son in our home the day before he left died of an overdose. That made 4 friends in 18 months who died in drug related deaths. Two others were in jail. It was a scary time and I was so exhausted I could hardly move. I wondered if this chaos would ever end. Would I ever be able to shield my younger daughter from the painful and ugly results of her brothers addiction.

For the first time my son who begged us to help him did embrace the program we sent him to and finished the program to the end.(90+ days). He is now in a transition style program to help him begin to live life outside rehab with support and continued therapy. The plan is for him to stay there for 6-9 months or less if we can’t pay for it anymore. The goal in all of this is recovery of body, mind , emotion and spirit. No where in that process is the goal for him to return home. It is hard but we accept it is for the best. In the end we have had to release him to Heavenly Fathers care and have faith in both of them that recovery is possible in spite of the dismal statistics. The Saviors atonement covers even what seems impossible. At this time he is praying and trying to build a relationship with God. He is not ready to embrace the gospel but we respect his agency and pray someday he will desire to return.

He is struggling currently to adjust to the, new program and is scared to have less structure and resists the personal responsibility he will have to take for his recovery. I do not know what will happen next but I know I can’t fix or rescue him.

There is much more to our story and what we have learned. I look forward to receiving your book and learning more. I am excited for your unique perspective. I believe your book is an answer to prayer as we navigate this next phase of all of our recovery. I have many questions concerning on going recovery and your thoughts on how I can help expand the churches ability to provide practical help and guidance to families. Even extended family like grandparents, aunts and uncles have the ability to help with the proper instruction and information. I faced some opposition and judgement from wonderful and loving family members who just didnt understand and thought they were justified by doctrine.It hurt but I decided they loved my son too and I knew they wanted him to get better as much as we did. The adversary was using any means he could to make it as hard as he could to destroy our family. We refused to let that happen so we voided bitterness and let grace take its place. It has been a process. It would be a shame not to use our first hand view, mistakes and found truths to help other families. I want to offer the information they will need to understand addiction and at the same time use the privileges and gifts the gospel provides. Thank you for your consideration and a platform for this conversation.