The following is an excerpt from a piece written by Tracy McKay for LDS Living. To read the full article, click hereTracy McKay is the author of a new book detailing her family’s struggles with opioid addiction.  It is published through BCC Press and can be purchased through Amazon.

Latter-day Saints are known for clean living. We proudly declare that we don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or even use coffee or tea. The Word of Wisdom has become a defining characteristic of modern Mormonism.

But as careful as we are with what we ingest, we could use some care in how we use the word “addiction” for things that are generally harmless. Enjoying a cold Diet Coke or liking chocolate enthusiastically isn’t going to cost you your life or your family.

But prescription painkiller abuse might.

Two years ago, my former husband, a Latter-day Saint like me, died from abuse of prescription opiates. He was 49 years old. At the time of his death, our children were 13, 11 and 9. He was taken from us in the early waves of the opiate epidemic that has now become a tsunami in America.

David had everything to live for. He had a beautiful home, a loving wife, and three beautiful children who adored him. He had a good job, and had rapidly advanced in his company. I spent more than three years, and eight relapses, trying to love and pray him sober. He had a supportive ward, a connected family who did everything humanly possible, and a network of people pulling for him. If it was only that easy…

You can do everything in your power to help—you can show up, you can have them placed in in-treatment, out-treatment, or court-ordered treatment. You can have their civil rights temporarily suspended and have them committed against their will to a hospital. You can wipe their shivering brow in the bathtub as they withdraw yet again. You can threaten and cajole and plead and sob and break your heart open a hundred different ways.

But you can’t love an addict sober.

To read the full article on LDSLiving, click here