What we did: Overcoming or avoiding temptation

Avoid temptation

Encourage friends, loved ones to do the basics to be receptive to the power of the Comforter — sincere prayer, scripture study, attending Church. By doing this, I testify that anyone can overcome or avoid the temptation to use drugs, whatever form they may take. If you have never tried drugs, learn from the experience of those of us who have — they are Satan's attempt at offering the comfort that only the Savior's love can give, and drugs come with all the consequences of following Satan's way.

As a recent convert to the Church, I have managed to turn my back on 20 years of drug use and abuse. Drugs seemed to offer a certain feeling of security and protection from life's woes, but left a gaping void if I tried to kick them. Freedom from the evil clutches of drugs has been a natural consequence of finding and accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ. The feeling that I get when the Holy Ghost testifies to the truth of the gospel far outshines anything I ever felt on drugs. — Julian DuFresne, Nelson, New Zealand

Main tool to protect

I was very lucky to discover when my son had just begun to experiment. I prayed a lot and consulted with a trusted professional before discussing it with him. My husband and I prepared what to say and talked to him together, and I prayed for days to prepare for this.

We told him what we knew and asked him to confirm it. He did. We did not issue ultimatums or punishments at all. We talked about the long-term costs of drug abuse in specific people we knew. We shared painful personal confidences. We reinforced his gift of agency by telling him he alone could choose, and that we would support fully his choice not to use and would not support with all our power if he chose to be a user. Then we left off discussing it. Instead, we took some family trips and arranged to visit with family members who had successfully struggled with this problem. We went to Especially for Youth, which he enjoyed. He was away from his friends for awhile. I didn't forbid him to associate with his friends, but I canceled overnight stays and I supervised them closely. I am available as their driver. So far, my son has not pursued drug use. He willingly attends Church and is active in quorum leadership.

In addition, I keep trying to be honest in working out the problems within our family and especially my problems, because those are the only ones I have direct power over. This is very hard and slow work, but it is essential if you want to have a relationship with your children. Your relationship with them is your main tool to protect them from drug abuse. — Name and location withheld

Precious gifts

Understand and have a testimony of the Word of Wisdom. Our bodies are precious gifts from our Heavenly Father. He has given us a few instructions to help us to take care of and respect these gifts. If we act against these instructions, we are going against the will of God, and this is sin.

Have faith that the Lord will help. Taking care of our bodies is a commandment, and He has provided a way. (Please see 1 Ne. 3:7.) If we seek diligently through prayer, scriptures, fasting, etc., He will be there.

Love, respect the loved one or friend. Never give up on loved ones. Give encouraging advice and support. Avoid judgment. Respect moral agency.

In years past, my mom did everything she could to help me avoid drug use. She taught me the principles of the gospel, including where to turn in times of need. I struggled, and after years of "warfare," I realized that I was responsible for who I was, and who I would become. I decided to change my life. This was not an easy process, but I didn't expect it to be. I applied the principles of prayer and scripture study. With these things, along with the trust and support of family and friends, I made it through— Name withheld, Florianopolis, Brazil

Inner conflict

Family love and support from my bishopric and counseling from LDS Social Services has helped me.

If you are helping loved ones with drug problems, then encourage them to eliminate anything in their lives that are a reminder of the old life. One must dispose of all letters, trinkets and things which will remind them of the "old days" and "old times." One must forget addresses, telephone numbers, people, places and situations from the sinful past, and build a new life. — Eileen Mauk, Newbury Park, Calif.

Love them

Teach your children to make the decision before the decision needs to be made.

Foster strong parenting. Always hug your children; tell them you love them and try to live your life the way our Heavenly Father would hope we would.

Read the scriptures daily with your children. Share your testimony with them whenever you can.

And if these things don't work and you have a loved one with a problem, steer him/her to LDS Social Services. — Name withheld, Utah

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