THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "A.J."
Originally posted on Dec. 2005(The author retains all rights to this material)
I FELT LIKE I DIDN'T BELONG
I was born in Lakewood, NJ. At the age of 5, we moved to Freehold Borough when my sister was born. Now that I look back at that time, my disease was evident and my complete self-centeredness was beginning to surface in my way of thinking and in the way was I acted toward my sister. I felt as if she should be punished for taking away my spotlight. I spent much of my childhood loathing her existence and finding any way that I could to make her feel like I felt. Even when I was in elementary school, I had separated myself from everyone else, but at the same time wishing that I could feel like everyone else appeared to feel. I felt like I didn't belong. My father was, and is, an active addict that would sometimes visit another fellowship. My mother used to come into my room and cry every time my dad would come home drunk. I remember those tears like it was yesterday.
After getting tired of living with a man that had no desire to change, my mother made the decision to leave him. At this time, I was half way through the 7th grade. I had a very hard time making friends being a poor kid in a school full of children that were picked up by parents that drove expensive cars. Soon I found friend friends that felt like me. And not far after that I found my first experience with drugs. At that moment I felt like I had found what I had been missing and so desperate needed to make me feel a part of.
Soon after that experience, I made it to high school where I continued to use drugs to feel a part of. It wasn't long before I tried cocaine and fell in love with it. I began selling drugs to support my habit at 14 years old. At 15 my dealer who was a heroin addict introduced me to his drug of choice, which I willingly accepted as my new drug of choice. I spent most my high school years in the woods using. I failed every class every year. I usually had my head down trying to recover from the night before. I was finally arrested in 10th grade for possession and put on probation, which didn't stop me from using.
One morning I woke up to find my best friend dead in my room from an overdose. My drug use began progressing rapidly despite being in an outpatient program. I knew that I was an addict, but I was perfectly content with using and using everything and everybody that I could get my hands on. I was stealing from my family and spending every moment hating the world around me. I found the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous between the ages of 15 and 16, but refused to believe that I had a problem. I began going to meetings regularly to get an attendance card signed for my outpatient program. I usually spent the hour and a half outside with the other people that didn't think that the meetings were of any importance too. A lot of the times, I would forget the signature. After failing drug tests every day, I was told by the school to get out. After using and using, I couldn't even look people in the face. I lacked the ability to carry a conversation with anyone that didn't involve drugs. I was at the point where I used in complete isolation. After seeing people get clean and be able to smile with their heads up, I began realizing that the way I was living wasn't the only way to live. I was sick and tired of living like I did, but I still couldn't stop using.
Thank God for a probation officer that knew when I was full of it. She set up a court date for me. I showed up for court alright but failed the drug test. Although I was 18, I was put on juvenile probation, which means that I was sent to the detention center until a bed opened up at a Therapeutic Community. After detoxing again in detention, I had a chance to clear my head of the drugs. I found myself happy to be going to the TC. When I was transferred, the ride up there was one of the happiest hours I had in a long time. I worked my butt off in the program and did every thing to the best of my ability. I finally wanted to live clean and would do whatever it took to stay clean. 9 ½ months later, when I got home I went to a meeting on Sunday morning in Freehold and shared that I was looking for a sponsor. After that meeting, I was approached by a man who handed me a sponsorship pamphlet with his phone number on it. He told me to call him every day.
This was this beginning of a life that I never imagined. I began working the steps and going to about 6 or 7 meetings a week. I got a year clean and started taking on multiple commitments on the group and area levels. I was tired of working physical labor. So when I was going over my first step, I discussed changing jobs with my sponsor. He got me a job with him selling mortgages. Isn't that crazy for a high school drop out? I am an imperfect being working the perfect program. Of course I act out and make bad decisions on an almost daily basis. But one day at a time, I am getting better. No longer do I wish for things, because I have dreams that are coming to life everyday through this fellowship. I am a very grateful addict named A. J., thanks for listening.