Power to Change09286_000_012
Although I was born into the Church and was active through the age of 15, I wandered from the gospel during young adulthood. During that time, in search of something that could make me happy, I turned to drugs.
I struggled with an ever-increasing addiction, and my life felt like some sort of bad movie I could not turn off. Although I wanted to stop, I found I had hardly any control over my thoughts or actions. It wasn’t until I was serving a prison sentence for a drug-related crime that I found what I had lost. I had a copy of the Book of Mormon and came across Alma 5:7: “Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word.”
I knew I was in the midst of darkness, and I wanted to have my heart changed.
It wasn’t that I hadn’t tried changing before. I had participated in various recovery programs. I had tried quitting for myself and for my family. Those things all worked for a little while, but I always slipped. This verse in Alma offered me hope in Jesus Christ—hope that even if I didn’t have the power to change myself (and I knew I didn’t), He could change me.
I remember turning the burden of my addiction over to the Savior. I prayed and admitted to Heavenly Father, “I cannot do this on my own.”
I entered the LDS addiction recovery program, a 12-step class taught by two missionaries, a husband and wife. What they taught in that class saved me. They nurtured the seed of faith that had been planted many years earlier, when as a child I attended church with my mother. The missionaries taught me about repentance and forgiveness. More important, they showed me love and told me I could find even greater love from my Heavenly Father and Savior. I felt “a mighty change wrought in [my] heart” (Alma 5:12), and I found that the happiness I had so long been searching for had been in the gospel all along.
It has been six years since I decided to turn to my Savior. It has been a lot of hard work, but through the strength of the Lord, I have overcome many obstacles.
I never would have imagined the happiness and joy I now have in my life with my wife and children. I hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and have received temple ordinances. I attribute these positive life transformations to Jesus Christ. He is the power to change.
I testify to others who are struggling as I did—and to those who love them—that change is possible and that it’s very real. You need not give up hope. There is a way to return to happiness, and it is through Jesus Christ.
For information about the addiction recovery program, please see your priesthood leader or visit www.ldsfamilyservices.org. The program’s manual, Addiction Recovery Program: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing (item no. 36764), is available in many languages.
Turning the burden of my addiction over to the Savior, I prayed and admitted to Heavenly Father, “I cannot do this on my own.”
Healing the Broken Heart, by Michael T. Malm