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Former cocaine addict and atheist shares about her powerful conversion

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Courtesy of Brigitte Bédard

Brigitte Bédard

Mathilde De Robien - published on 09/09/22

After years under the influence of drugs, emotional dependence, and depression, Brigitte Bédard turned to God.

It’s inspiring to hear the testimony of a person whose life has been so completely changed by Christ. After many years spent astray under the influence of drugs, emotional dependence, and a serious depression, Brigitte Bédard experienced a powerful conversion. From that moment on, she has never ceased to testify loudly and clearly that Christ has set her free.

She began using drugs at the age of 11. This addiction lasted 10 years, at the end of which she fell into another addiction—to sex and attention. “For another 10 years I was desperate, searching for my sexual orientation, looking to get some love through sex,” she tells Aleteia. “I had given up drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes, but I was still collecting conquests in love.”

This continued until the day when, with her head full of suicidal ideas, she went to a retreat at the abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac (in Quebec, Canada), at the invitation of a person she had met at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting. There, the ex-cocaine addict, atheist, and bisexual feminist (as she was at the time) spent the three days of the retreat pouring out her anger on a monk who would later become her spiritual father. “I yelled at him! For three days. Throwing all my rage at him. He listened to me without flinching. He didn’t talk about Jesus, but he was Jesus,” she recalls. “He looked at me with love. He prayed over me. He laid his hands on me. And the Holy Spirit came down on me. I understood that I was God’s beloved daughter, that Jesus was alive, truly risen. It was a revelation.”

From that day on, she decided “to put God at the center of her life.” As a single mother of two children, she discovered friendship and the life of the Church. She made a pilgrimage to Rome, and got up every day at 4 a.m. to pray for an hour and a half. “I have a very strong temperament,” she says. A few years later, she met Hugues on the Internet. They got married on September 30, 2006, and have two children together. Hugues also has two children from a first union, so they form a large family.

Letting herself be loved … by her husband

After having let herself be loved by Christ, she now had to let herself be loved by her husband. While the beginnings of their marriage were characterized by close unity, married life was far from being rosy.

“We each lived a little on our own; God was not at the center of our lives. It’s not that because we’re Christians we don’t have problems,” she says. Caught up in the whirlwind of her busy job, she never missed an opportunity to testify about her conversion, traveled across the country to give conferences, and engaged with her husband in various forms of service in the Church. Her husband struggled with an addiction to pornography. They went through a marriage crisis that lasted two years, and were accompanied psychologically and spiritually by the Chemin Neuf community.

“What changed our lives was when we started praying as a couple every morning,” she says. “It was a way to put God at the center, to review our priorities. And what became a priority in prayer was our personal relationship with God. How far should our conversion go? Even to our bed! But there were many obstacles, given our past wounds, which prevented us from living a sexual communion.”

Gradually, Bédard was able to present to God in prayer her difficulties, her fears, and her frustrations. She knew that God wanted to rebuild her marriage, to restore it. She knew that He did not judge them and welcomed them where they were at. “It helped me to welcome Hugues where he was at, to welcome him as he was.”

Praying as a couple “forced” us to live in the truth

At that moment, a piece of advice from a psychologist left a deep impression on them: “You have to take care of each other’s wounds.” Thus, prayer helped them to remain anchored in patience, trust, sensitivity, and gentleness. “God taught us to love each other by ridding us of all the false ideas we had. Our failures were there to help us build love, and praying as a couple ‘forced’ us to live in the truth.”

That journey still bears fruit today. She joyfully testifies to these experiences through her participation on the television program The Victory of Love (La Victoire de l’Amour, TVA) and in the Catholic magazine Le Verbe, as well as in her latest book I Let Myself be Loved … and the Holy Spirit Carried Me Away (Je me suis laissé aimer… Et l’Esprit Saint m’a emprés).

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