Finding the Real Me

“My testimony is that you can overcome.”

After 21 years in a volatile marriage, my husband passed away, leaving me alone with my three children and grandson. He was an alcoholic and drug addict, continually in and out of prison. It was after his death that my own alcoholism kicked in. Two days before Christmas, I was arrested on a DUI. My brother talked me into joining an addiction recovery program sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This brought me hope for the first time since I was a teenage girl. It really changed my life. I have attended three meetings a week ever since. I am now a facilitator for the program—a mentor for others who are looking to find hope for improving their broken lives. After years of being ashamed, I am now open and willing to share the story of my dysfunctional life. I have grown and learned from my past. I believe that others will see through my example, that if I can do it, then they can too. It is my hope that I might be a ray of light and an example to others. 

When I was let go from my job, I thought my whole world had fallen apart. This challenge, however, became an amazing opportunity to learn how to become a better person. My bishop was inspired when he referred me to Deseret Industries. Without this experience, I could not have become a person others would want to look to for comfort or advice. From the good examples of the staff at DI, I discovered and developed my own unique qualities, and I learned that being a successful person is more than a job.

Qualities that I will take with me include being a good listener and being someone who shares genuine appreciation for others. When we truly listen, others are more open and willing to communicate their ideas and needs. Genuine praise motivates us to work harder. These are two qualities the DI staff used to help me feel the love of my Heavenly Father and gave me the strength to overcome everything. This realization became a turning point for how I now effectively supervise others.

I have accomplished every goal I have set for myself at Deseret Industries, but perhaps the one I am most proud of is receiving my GED. This is amazing. During my senior year of high school, I quit just two classes short of graduating. I waited 25 years to fix that. Had it not been for the missionaries in the GED program and my job coaches, I never would have done it. Not worrying about how I was going to pay for it was also a big help. This was a huge achievement in my life.  I am frightened, yet proud, that I will be starting college. Now I can be an example for my boys. I want them to see that I can do it. 

My testimony is that you can overcome. I rely on prayer every day to help me know how to deal with people and handle new situations. I am very grateful for my experiences at DI. They have taught me a new definition of success, one that doesn’t have anything to do with money or position, but has to do with being the real me. The real me is someone to be proud of. I can do hard things. I have overcome hardship. I now understand what happiness feels like and the true joy that comes from being with my family. 

 “Qualities that I will take with me include being a good listener and being someone who shares genuine appreciation for others.”

For more amazing stories like Michelle’s, visit the DI’s Facebook page by clicking here.