The final step of the Church’s Addiction Recovery Program states, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do.” On this week’s All In podcast, Keith and Brooke Meyer shared their story. Keith came into the Church in part due to his participation in the Addiction Recovery Program. The program changed his life and for 11 years following his participation in the Addiction Recovery Program, Keith remained sober. But last year, amidst the pandemic, Keith began to experience depression. That depression ultimately led to a feeling of despair. The despair led him to return to a bottle that he knew had taken pain away, albeit temporarily, earlier in his life. And he drank.
In the excerpt below, you will read what Keith and his wife, Brooke, have learned about dealing with a relapse and how they are choosing to approach the future with faith rather than fear.
This excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Morgan Jones: Keith, leading up to this, do you think either one of you anticipated [you] ever having a relapse? Or how does that work?
Keith Meyer: I don't think I imagined it happening. But now I look back—like I was just living day to day. But I look back now, and I wonder how in the world I stayed sober for 11 years. Like I really have no idea because after going through treatment, I really dealt with a lot of the core issues that were causing the addiction [and] I had no idea. So it's just stuff from childhood and relationships with, you know, family and others and reinforcing positive psychology, and really looking at some of the fundamentals, and also looking at what my triggers for the addiction are and how to deal with them at that time. Like, I didn't know how to deal with it. I didn't know I was depressed. I didn't know I was sad. I didn't know if I was happy. I had no idea of all those emotions. So I think the treatment definitely helped me get in touch with all the emotions so we can deal with them when there's a trigger, when there's something coming on now.
Morgan Jones: And so then, shifting to the future, I guess one thing as I was prepping for this interview that I kept thinking about is how do you—rather than worry that this could happen again in the future—how do you face the future with faith when you've dealt with addiction?
Brooke Meyer: I have this necklace on that I wear, it says "faith over fear." So we have faith. I mean, we've seen how God has blessed us through the hard things that we've had to do. And not even just addiction—we have a son with special needs, we've, you know, had a hard time having our children, like we've had hard things that we've had to deal with, and I think when you look back you see how God has been with us every step of the way. And so you look forward, Morgan, just that way. You say, ‘Okay, I've seen what He's done for us and I know that regardless of what the challenges of the future are, because if it's not addiction, or relapse, or something like that, there will certainly be some other challenge. And so you just have to know based on previous experience that He's not going anywhere, and that He'll be with us and help us do whatever we need to do.
Morgan Jones: Thank you for that. Keith, any thoughts on that?
Keith Meyer: It’s not quite answering your question. But I just think this happened for a reason. Late last year, I rode my bike across Utah to raise awareness to kind of kill the stigma of mental health awareness, right? And addiction and how bad it is, or whatever. But every day someone from high school, or someone I used to work with, or, you know, a good friend reaches out like, "Hey, thanks for sharing your story. I'm struggling with addiction," or "I've been doing cocaine for two years, like, how do I get out?" and I was writing people's names on my handlebars every day as a gesture. So I think I had to go through this again, also, almost like a reassurance of faith, [like], “Keith, don't, don't stray, Heavenly Father is with you. This is the plan, we're sorry you have to go through this kind of stuff.” But for me, I just I don't know if I needed a reminder, "You can't do this on your own, you need help," but it was such a blessing. It's so weird to say that, but I think I've been able to help others. And I hope that putting our story out there, once again, with you, is going to help somebody that's listening.
Brooke Meyer: Really quick to add something. My dad drove the U-Haul and I drove our car behind him across the country from Connecticut to Utah. It's a very long way. And there was nothing interesting to do because it was COVID, everything was shut down, so [I had] lots of time to think. And over and over it was just this inspiration, like, "This is a story you need to share." So it's not necessarily easy for us to share this story. There's a lot of pain, and it's definitely very vulnerable, but I think, like Keith said, there is a reason that we're here, and we have a story to share, and I hope that it can bring hope to people who maybe are worried about the stigma or what they're going through.
Morgan Jones: Well, I so appreciate both of you sharing your story. I think you're right. I'm a big believer that stories are powerful. And I think Keith, hearing you say, "It happened for a reason," I think the Lord works in such mysterious ways that often it's hard for us to recognize in the moment, Why would this be happening? But in retrospect, looking back we can often see—and I think the fact that you can see already that the Lord is blessing other people through your story and hopefully giving other people courage to get help—I think that that is powerful.