One Addict's Experience, Strength, and Hope

One Addict's Experience, Strength, and Hope


Recovery Must Come First

If you haven't already noticed. This page primarily concerns itself with the nature of RECOVERY. So if you are ADDICTED in any way, and have found this page, Please give yourself a break and read it.

I have chosen to share with you "Those who think they may or may not have a problem with addiction" my experience Strength and hope. I would like to first say that this is only my personal experience and I only speak for myself and not as a representative for any of the twelve step fellowships I will be making reference to.

I found myself hopelessly and helplessly addicted some Five years ago and was blessed to find relief through the twelve step recovery process. I was introduced to the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous and in that fellowship met people like myself who were now living without it being necessary to alter their mood with the use of drugs. As I had done for the better portion of my life. At that time I didn't think it was possible to live and enjoy life without using some substance to enhance my mood, Which always needed enhancing. I had been feeling trapped by the life I was living and thought death was the only way out. I remember one night after having stolen a pair of diamond ear rings from my mother to get drugs feeling totally in the grip of a destructive power greater than myself. I sat alone all night trying to figure a way out. The answer had actually come in the beginning of this, the longest night of my life. At some point I cried LORD PLEASE HELP ME. I know today that that was my first sincere prayer. I had bargained many times before with god, Never offering Him anything. It usually went something like " If you Just let me come down this time I'll never use again, or if you just get me through this night I'll never drink again, Or please god don't let me get sick" Only to use again the next day. I remember a friend of mine sharing with me some years before this how he had gotten involved with crack cocaine, and how it had changed his life. He describe the progression of the disease and the different stages as they had occurred in his life. I thought he must have been weak and just couldn't handle it. When I started using crack myself within a year of his telling me of his ordeals with crack. I immediately recognized the symptoms as they begin to manifest themselves in my life. And just as with my friend I was unable to break the cycle once it started, This vicious cycle. I had known for some time that I needed help, but each time I thought of seeking help it was quickly followed by the thought of getting more drugs. The thought of getting more drugs always won out. After using I would again think of getting help, but always tomorrow. There were times when I thought that if I could only stop using My life would be so much better. At this point I was working a full time job Mon-Fri. I would do landscaping on the weekend and I also held a part time job. Every dime I earned went towards the purchase of drugs, Along with what ever I could steal, beg or borrow. My whole life and thinking was centered in drugs by this time, The getting and using and finding ways and means to get more. As I said earlier while in treatment for drug addiction I was introduced to the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous and the Twelve steps. I was told to attend ninety meetings in ninety days, get a sponsor and work the Steps. All of these things were new to me and frightening. I hear others share how they had worked the steps and yet they were in treatment again for the same thing. They talked about how much worse it was to go back to using after finding recovery. But in many cases had gone back several times. I begin to notice some similarities in their sharing. While they had worked the steps and attended meetings, they All stopped doing these things before they started using again. Since I didn't really plan in the beginning to stop using entirely anyway, I thought I was surely destined to use again also. But remember I said the answer had come during that long night of torment, "LORD PLEASE HELP ME". I was told that 100% of the people that want to recover can recover and that all I needed to do was to not pick up and my life would get better. Now that's what I really wanted. God has a since of humor. I was told that I would have to be "HONEST, OPEN-MINDED AND WILLING" and here is why.

THE TWELVE STEPS OF NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS

. 1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
. 2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
. 3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
. 4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
. 5. We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
. 6. We became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
. 7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
. 8. We made a list of all person's we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
. 9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscience contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, We tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

After working these steps with a sponsor, (Some one who seems reasonably happy and has a working knowledge of the twelve steps) I noticed a drastic change in my attitude towards life. "I no longer blamed People, Places, and Things for my addiction. I had learned to accept life on life's terms. And was given the ability to face my problems and my feelings. Today I am continually blessed in my recovery. I now sponsor people and in an effort to give back what has been freely given to me and in return have been afforded uninterrupted recovery since my introduction to the program. I am truly grateful to the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous for it's commitment to helping the still suffering addict. Today I have a share in a purpose and a purpose in sharing.

THAT JUST FOR TODAY
NO ADDICT SEEKING RECOVERY NEED EVER DIE FROM THE HORRORS OF ADDICTION

Thanks for letting me share

Written in 1997

It is now the year 2000 and a new Millennium. My recovery remains uninterrupted and in the last three years I have had an opportunity to accomplish some of what I thought were lost dreams. My involvement in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous remains my number one priority. I have become even more committed to doing my part to help the still suffering addict. I have found that the selfless attitude of giving unconditionally and leaving my own well being in the hands of God as I understand God has yielded unimaginable benefits and rewards. Every time I have been able to get out of myself and help another in need, I have been witness to Gods abundant and unequaled Grace and mercy as my own problems and situations have all been resolved. I have found that the principles in the steps when applied to any area of life makes it possible to live and cope with life on life's terms. They have shown me that I have no need to change my perception of reality, as I had tried for so many years with drugs, but I can face reality and what ever life brings just as it really is. This freedom was Promised to me long before I ever decided to seek it. In the message of hope that is the primary purpose of every Narcotics Anonymous Group. "That an addict any addict can stop using drugs, loose the desire to use, and find a new way of life. Our message is hope and the promise of freedom" Today I hold a share in the responsibility of carrying this message and only pray that I am able to live up to this responsibility that comes with so great a blessing. For anyone seeking recovery, the path is simple. Surrender to the principles of recovery, Trust in a Power greater than yourself, and do your part to help those that come after you, and far most on a personal note. Remember this.

IT GETS BETTER :)

2003 11 YEARS AND COUNTING

If I had only known that life could ever be this good. In the last three years my life has once again been transformed for the better. The basic text of Narcotics Anonymous states "We believe that the sooner we face our problems within our society, in everyday living, just that much faster do we become acceptable, responsible, and productive members of that society" I want to just take a look at how this statement has been live through my experience. There was a time when the only people who would have any involvement in my life were my immediate family, and I believe that was mostly due to a feeling of obligation or a commitment to family. Over the past couple of years thou I have noticed that my list of friends and those who genuinely care for me has grown beyond my ability to count. There's a young man that I met on the job "Leon T. III aka Trae" I was sharing with him one day that I am an addict in recovery when he asked me if I would come to his father's church to speak to the youth there. That was the start of one of my most rewarding friendships. His family now considers me a part of the family calling me their adopted son. I am invited to all family functions and I usually attend. It just amazes me how they have really taken to me and continue to show unconditional love on an unprecedented level. I've also gotten married and purchased a home. I am watching as all of my childhood dreams that I'd given up hope of ever accomplishing are being manifested in my life. Once again I now have self-respect. Which was lost a long time ago to active addiction. This disease is not as powerful as some give it credit. Anything it can take from you the program can give back. And they say that giving back is what the program is really all about. "We keep what we have by giving it away"

 

2006 14 YEARS AND COUNTING

Recovery still being my number one priority, things are now getting interesting. I am from the city of New Orleans and we are in the rebuilding process from effects of Hurricane Katrina. In the beginning of my recovery I heard it shared that if you weren't sure whether or not you wanted to be in recovery. That you should give yourself a break and try it for a year and if you don't like it you could always go back to active addiction. Since then I have developed a practice of assessing my year, usually around December I begin to look at the year in review to see what difficulties I have successfully cope with while staying clean. I also look at the joyful experiences I have gone through. Recovery has afforded me the opportunity to accomplish many of my life long dreams. In 2003 I purchased my first Harley Davidson motorcycle. It was the 100 anniversary addiction Sportster 1200 custom. A dream come true. I had been ridden on a twelve hundred in 1979 and always wanted my own since. This was now a part of my next dream come true, "to see the Grand Canyon". I planed to ride there during the month of December 05 while my wife was visiting her family in Equador.  However on August 28th my wife, mother, and myself evacuated New Orleans and headed to Dallas while one of our sons went along with his sister to Houston and the third child was in Florida working. We packed enough clothes for three days and away we went. While leaving I begin to call my friends in recovery as all of my family was out of the city and safe. Nearly all, in fact all my friends that I did reach on my way out of town said the same thing, "we are going to ride it out here". This really bothered me, I had been watching the storm on the news all weekend and knew it was going to be disastrous. Once arriving in Dallas I made contact with the Fellowship there and begin to wait to go home. As news came in of the levee breaks and subsequent flooding I begin trying to reach my friends again to no success. Then having to watch the news and the see chaos that followed for the next few days was probably the worst thing I have had to face in life. I sat in several meetings in the Dallas area crying in the grief of not knowing what had become of my friends. Just when we should have been allowed to return home there came another Storm "Rita" Is this some kind of twisted joke. NO It's really happening. By now I have sought to regain some semblance of normalcy. I thought to reunite my family sooner, I could go along with a group of drug dealers who where staying at the same Hotel as I to Philadelphia so set up shop. "Deal drugs" Instead I sat in my car and cried a moment then prayed and again the answer came. Go to a meeting. This time I left the meeting and tried calling my best friend again and this time I got through. He gave me the phone number of a friend in Lake Charles who gave me the phone number of one of the guys he sponsors in a small town named Many LA. south of Shreveport. He only asked how many was traveling with me and invited us to stay as long we needed. My favorite places are wooded areas and areas near bodies of water, there I find peace. Brian's home sits on the banks of Toledo Bend in a very wooded area. The perfect place to find peace. After a few days of rest I was able to get back on track. I contacted my job and was able to return to work. Eventually we were able to return home and begin rebuilding. Recovery afforded me the benefit of Home owners insurance as well as insurance on that dream come true Harley. The bike had been left in the city for the storm. I thought I would have to begin again accomplishing my dreams but instead only postpone them. Truthfully my belief was that I had been given every thing I had ever asked God for and since there was nothing else I wanted then basically I could pass into the next life now without any regrets. But God obviously is not through with me yet. I now have my second Harley and plan once again to visit the Canyon in December 06 my home is nearly repaired and all of my friends survived the storm. Even though we are now scattered all over the country. And through it all I am still enjoying uninterrupted recovery. There is no excuse to use.

 

2008 16 YEARS AND COUNTING

I have now been clean for nearly 16 Years without interruption. This is contrary to popular belief as now with the advent of reality TV has come a new show called intervention.This show perpetuates the lie that "once an addict always an addict" It follows the lives of people who have been force to seek help for their drug problem. This show proves one of the things that I don't particularly agree with but find it hard to argue the point when confronted with this kind of proof. That point is "Recovery is not for those that need it but for those that want it" Our literature states that "an addict who does not want to stop using will not stop using. They can be analyzed, counseled, reasoned with, prayed over, threatened, beaten, or locked up, but they will not stop until they want to stop" Now this show comes along that takes those very same people and present them to the world as the typical addict in need. While that may be true it is not the typical addict in need and want of help. One of the things our literature also states is that we have never and I repeat NEVER seen an addict relapse who lives the Narcotics anonymous program. Recovery has taught me that with the help of my higher power and the faith to beleive I can do and face anything. Now if you don't know it here it is. The time has come when that tired old lie "once an addict always an addict" will no longer be tolerated by either society or the addict himself.

"WE DO RECOVER"

If you are thinking you or someone you love might have a problem with ADDICTION. Help and / or more information is available through the following services


Alcoholics Anonymous World Services
P.O. Box 459 Grand Central Station
New York, New york 10163
(212) 686-1100

AA Central Offices, Intergroups and Answering Services for the U.S. and Canada


Al-Anon/Alateen Family Group Headquarters
P.O. Box 862
Midtown Station
New York, New York 11018
1-800-356-9996


Cocain Anonymous World Services
1-800-347-8998

CA Local Group Hotline Numbers and WWW Links


Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous International Service Office
P.O. Box 17173, Los Angeles, CA. 90017
(213) 386-8789


Narcotics Anonymous World Service Office Home Page
P.O. Box 9999
Van Nuys, California 91409
(818) 780-3951



National Council on Alcoholism and Drug
Dependency
1-800-622-2255



National Institute on Drug Abuse Hotline
1-800-622-4357



American Council on Alcoholism Helpline
1-800-527-5344



800 Cocain-An Information and Referral Hotline
1-800-262-2463

Suport for Friends and Family of Drug or Alcohol Abusers


Nar-Anon Family Group Headquarters
P.O. Box 2562
Palos Verdes Peninsula, California 90274-0119
(213) 547-5800




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