Former missionary finds hope after becoming an addict
Jul 3, 2019, 2:27 PM
Josh Lynch was once a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but now he raises awareness surrounding drug and alcohol abuse after years of suffering from his addiction to heroin.
On the latest episode of ‘Project Recovery,’ Josh details his journey from being raised in a Latter-day Saints household to starting to drink at the age of 12 years old to the moment that ultimately led him to reach out and seek help for his addiction.
How struggling with depression led to shame
In the podcast, Josh describes growing up in a loving family, including five sisters, but still feeling mental anguish and depression, even on the brightest of days.
“I remember waking up on a summer day and just being, kind of depressed,” Josh said. “I always felt like I should be happy, I should have this but I wasn’t.”
Josh’s inability to be overcome his depression is what eventually led to the experimentation of his first alcoholic beverage at the young age of twelve.
“12 years old … had my first drink and right out of the gate, I didn’t know when to stop,” he added.
Due to Josh’s upbringing, he only explored the consumption of alcohol at friends’ houses, under peer pressure and with the fear of standing out if he said no.
But that same upbringing generated feelings of shame while Josh was attending parties.
“It was a huge conflict. I liked it and enjoyed it and it made me feel more comfortable but at the same time, there was something wrong and it wasn’t right and I had to hide it. Nobody could know about it except for the friends who were doing it with me.” Josh described. “The shame kicked in big time.”
From LDS missionary to addict
Josh would continue to experiment with alcohol and marijuana throughout high school but a football-related injury led to the seclusion of his friends who had been abusing drugs and alcohol.
He also decided that it was time to try and adjust his lifestyle, which led him to commit to serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
But even completing a two-year-long mission that Josh found to be life-changing, he went back to experimenting with alcohol and opioids only four months after returning.
“I had an incredible mission. I loved my mission … I had a really good time but you get back and you’re lost,” Josh described. “I just fell back into it.”
The impact addiction has on a family
Years later, Josh eventually started a career in construction and began to start a family with his wife, but the addiction was still present in Josh’s life, even as Josh’s wife was giving birth to their son.
“I remember we’re in the [delivery] room, my wife’s in labor with my boy and I was in the bathroom and I got so loaded in that bathroom. I came out and I thought everybody in the room was looking at me,” he explained.
Josh also spoke about how the moment he realized that he needed to seek help: that same day while holding his newborn.
“Later that night, I was holding my boy and I couldn’t remember anything. I could not remember that day and that’s when it sunk in: I’ve got a problem,” Josh added.
How sobriety and Josh’s faith became his savior
While Josh realized that he needed to make a change, it took a long time for him to figure out what would work for him on his road to sobriety.
He experimented with multiple recovery programs that could ultimately help him stay sober and save himself and his family.
The one program that eventually spoke to him was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ 12-step program.
“I stayed active in the church, went to my Sunday meetings and I started going a lot more to the LDS church,” Josh said. “It really sunk in that was the meeting for me. It just felt right.”
After years of addiction, Josh has finally found solace in his life, thanks to a loving family and the help of multiple programs.