THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Alyssa M."
Originally posted in Mar. 2013(The author retains all rights to this material)
I had absolutely no excuse to use drugs the way that I did. My family had given me love, material things, as well as many opportunities to succeed. Anything negative that happened in my life, more often than not, I had created. I started experimenting with drugs as early as twelve, and continued trying different drugs throughout high school. With an eventual realization that my sexuality was not conducive to what my Italian family had in store for me, I created even more of a distance between them and I, and used that as a way to feel sorry for myself. I moved to New York to attend college in the fall of 2008, in hopes to gain some sense of self, and be in an environment free to do so. Instead, I ended up leaving school for a relationship and moved back home within six months.
I started using harder drugs within months of returning home. My girlfriend and I did not have a lot of other responsibilities at the time, so I was always quick to blame my drug use on boredom. The next two years are difficult to remember. I lied a lot. I was stuck in my own reality thinking I wasn’t hurting anyone, especially myself. I confused myself into thinking that I was happy, that as long as I had my relationship, everything would be fine, completely ignoring the fact that I had just abandoned college and that maybe waking up sick every day was a sign I had a problem. After a lot of stealing, lying, getting clean attempts, and stealing and lying again, I finally got caught for the last time.
My parents sent me to a rehab facility in Minnesota in July of 2010. I stayed there for 30 days, and went on to a halfway house in the northwestern part of New Jersey, and stayed there for about 5 months. By January of 2011, I moved into the Long Branch Oxford House, and resided there until May 2012. In both the halfway house and Oxford House, I became an active member of Narcotics Anonymous. I now have my own place with a few other recovering addicts, and continue to experience the various gifts and benefits staying clean provides.
Aside from freedom from active addiction, which on most days is enough to keep me grounded, Narcotics Anonymous has given me a personality. For so long, indifference controlled my life, and the inability to care or feel feelings helped me to continue using longer than any value system would have normally allowed. Because of Narcotics Anonymous, I am learning how to see the good in myself, and indirectly learning how to see the good in other people. I have gained much more from NA than what I had anticipated. With over 2 ½ years clean, I am a college student again, I am employed, and I have a great relationship with my family. Above all else, I don’t have to look down so much anymore. My day-to-day life may be simple, but I am apart of something much larger than me, and while life is still very much life, I no longer have to hide behind drugs or relationships, and am free to be myself.