ISSUES OF FAITH: Still hope for the people struggling with addiction

HAVE YOU EVER had a brush with death?

When I was attending college, I was anxious about a 7 a.m. accounting test I had that morning.

On the way, I stopped at a gas station.

Someone knocked on my car window. I started to roll down the window and he opened my door and put a gun to my side.

He told me to slide over. He got into my truck and shut the door. Now I was on the passenger side. He sat with the gun pointed at me.

I knew that trying to unlock the door and jump out would take too long and would give him plenty of time to shoot. Also, I thought that trying to wrestle the gun from him could have killed me or him.

That morning the railroad crossing arms were malfunctioning and they were stuck down. An officer was there letting one car through the crossing at a time. We left the gas station and approached the officer. The policeman looked at me and then at him.

Then he said, “Pull over!”

The next thing I knew, we were in a high-speed chase. The police officer was hot on our tail. We made it to the next major intersection and were stuck in morning traffic. The police officer was behind us telling us to exit the vehicle on the loudspeaker.

This guy then handed me his gun and jumped out of my truck.

Police were surrounding us all with guns drawn, and I was in the truck holding a firearm. I sat the gun on the seat and stepped out of the truck. I thought that I was safe now.

The police yelled, “Spread eagle on the ground!”

I kept walking toward the officer thinking that he was speaking to the other guy.

Again he yelled, “Spread eagle on the ground!”

Now we were both on the ground. This guy then said to me that he wanted to get it all over with and that he was just going to stand up and let them shoot him. I knew that I could very likely become a casualty, so I talked him out of that.

They handcuffed him and took him to the station. I also got my fingerprints and mug shots, but they eventually believed my story.

I had missed the accounting test.

As I drove to college, I couldn’t believe what had happened. I was lucky.

As I’ve reflected on this, and looked at it with more of a faithful eye, I think that it was a tremendous blessing from our Father in Heaven.

I think angels protected me that day. It easily could have gone wrong.

I found out later that this person was only 25. His life was seemingly ruined. He was high on drugs. I wondered how he got to that point. I don’t know how or why he got into drugs.

In my faith, we believe in the Word of Wisdom.

We do not partake of certain things that are bad for our bodies. This has physical and spiritual benefits. We are to treat our bodies as temples as it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Alcohol and drugs can seem innocent until the grip of addiction takes control.

How many families have been broken and lives have been lost because of drugs and alcohol?

Our life is the sum of day-to-day choices.

Some of life’s sorrows can be avoided by staying far away from things that can be devastating to this mortal journey.

My heart sorrows for those fighting addiction. Substance abuse is a plague for our generation which leads to paths of regret and sorrow.

There is so much joy to be had in life. Don’t sell yourself short.

If you’ve gone down this road, there is always hope.

With faith and treatment, addictions can be overcome.

Keep trying. Lives can change.

God loves you.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Bishop Jason Bringhurst is the leader of the Mount Pleasant Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Angeles. His email is [email protected]

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