THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Anonymous"
Originally posted in Oct. 2011(The author retains all rights to this material)
My parents were divorced before I was born. I lived with my Mom; an enabler, and spent weekday evenings and every other weekend with my father; an abusive alcoholic. By the time I was 11, I had been diagnosed with clinical depression and medicated. I was in a constant state of misery and could not even look in the mirror without crying. I thought I was so ugly and that I was so different from all the other girls in my class. I had friends and was in the popular crowd, but I always felt different even when I was with the "cool" kids. I came from the poor side of town and most of my friend's parents did not like me. In fact, they would not allow their children to hang out with me and I would have to hide if they ever came around us. This contributed to my low self-worth.
I quickly found that my lot in the crowd was to be the bad seed that everyone assumed I already was. This made me cool and this gave me an identity. With this new mask, I was able to put on the persona that I did not care what you thought. I was the girl who smoked cigarettes. I was the girl who hung out with the older kids. I was the girl who never got in trouble at home and could do whatever I wanted. The first time I smoked pot, I was with the "love of my life". I did not get high, but I felt different because I thought I was cool. I knew then that this was a lifestyle that I was going to pursue. It was easy for me to find weed because my mother and my older brother and his friends smoked pot. It was accepted in my house as a lifestyle. Once my mom found out that I was smoking pot, she smoked with me and allowed me and my friends to get high at my house.
As time went on, I relied on using to get me through life's daily responsibilities more and more. I needed to use to wake up, to go to school, to watch television, to go to sleep, to do homework. I truly believed that drugs and getting high was the answer to the dilemma and not catalyst that brought me to my demise. I believed that drugs enabled me to be the person I wanted to be, to reach spiritual levels otherwise unattainable. I thought that if we were to become true friends, we need to use together to truly "bond". With this belief, I continued to seek out and use harder drugs. My whole life was looking forward to the next high. I did not look forward to school plays, soccer tournaments, the beach, or the movies. I wanted to hang out and get high and that was it. By the time I walked into my first day of high school, I weighed 75lbs. I looked disgusting and I still thought nothing was wrong. I thought I just need to stop "those" drugs and stick with the ones that I could "handle". I made it through my first year of high school with decent grades. I was not active in any hobbies or activities except getting high and skipping class. I did not think of the future, like college because I just never thought that I would amount to anything. Towards the end of my freshman year I met my first love.
He used just as much as I did except he had more means to get drugs and a car. We used destructively together for about a year. The drugs I told myself I had to stay away from when I went into high school, I found myself using every day. At first, it was fun! I was in love, it was euphoric and I thought it would always be like that. But, by the end, I was sick and strung out. I stopped going to school altogether to have more time to find ways and means to use. I pawned all my jewelry and all of my mom's jewelry. I stole thousands of dollars and the drugs I thought helped me become who I wanted be, had brought me to the person I never imagined I would become. Eventually my love story ended up in my first rehab. I stayed there for 2 months and learned about Narcotics Anonymous. I remember reading the Basic Text for the first time and crying, I felt like someone had written this book about me.
I really wanted to stay clean when I got out. I came home, switched schools and went to meetings. I got a sponsor and tried to continue my recovery. I didn't follow the 8 suggestions and I still talked to old people. Eventually I got high. Once I put the first one in my body, I couldn't stop. After only 6 weeks home, I ended up in jail. I stayed in jail for 2 months and then went to a long term program. I stayed in that program for one year. That program broke me down and built me back up. As I started to transition back home, I began coming to meetings and got a sponsor. I started working steps. When I came home this time, I followed the 8 suggestions. This time, I had surrendered to the fact that I was an addict. I surrendered to the fact that I could not stay clean my way and that I needed to follow direction. I wanted to stay clean! I was happy for the first time since I was 10 years old.
I started college and maintained my recovery for 5 years. However, my disease is cunning and always present. I stopped talking about the little things. It was hard to be in college where all the other people my age could socially drink and use recreationally. I was jealous of people that could use, but I did not talk with my sponsor about my feelings. I had gotten emotionally hurt by people whom I thought were my friends in the program and allowed that to isolate me from the program of Narcotics Anonymous. I stopped being vigilant with my step-work. I eventually stopped going to meetings. I believe my relapse started well over a year before I actually used. I forgot who I was and where I came from. I forgot about the rehabs, the jail, the degradation and being dope-sick. I convinced myself that all of that was a phase because I had been so young. I told myself that I had used because I was depressed, and now I was no longer depressed.
A few weeks after I celebrated 5 years clean, I had a beer with an old friend. A few weeks after that, I smoked some pot. I started hanging out with old people regularly. I did not talk to anyone in NA anymore. It appeared manageable, like I could now use successfully; I told you my disease was cunning and sneaky. See, I wanted so badly to keep the life that Narcotics Anonymous had provided me with. I was a straight A student in college. I was a married woman. I had my own apartment. I was confident. I could look in the mirror. I wanted to be able to use successfully, but "No matter how well we may appear to be in control, using drugs always brings us to out knees". And it did.
At first, by outside appearances, it seemed like I was able to use successfully, but after that first drink, the beast was awoken. I assumed because I knew about the disease, I had been through rehabs, step-work, and sponsorship, that I would be able to see all this coming, but I didn't. The denial, self-deception, and progression that fuel my disease didn't skip a single beat. I tried desperately to maintain my one life with the other; the social acceptability with the darkness of using; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The more I tried to hold on, the more out of control I became. After two years of using, I had lost everything that was truly of importance to me. I lost my husband. I lost my joy. I lost my confidence. I lost my sanity and I lost my hope. I was once again dope-sick, penniless, and suicidal. Many of my I-Nevers came true, ones that I didn't even know I had came true. I was so far gone spiritually that I didn't believe that Narcotics Anonymous could work for me again. Something other than myself drove me to come back to NA anyway. I didn't even want to get clean again at first. I just had no more money and it was the only way my husband would see me. It took me six months to get 30 days clean. I kept relapsing and relapsing. The hardest thing I ever had to do was to get clean again, but through the help of the fellowship and people that truly cared about me, I kept coming back and kept letting them carry me. I got a sponsor who let me in her back pocket and I am grateful every day for the love and the dedication she gave to me and still continues to give to me today.
Today, I am clean just about 2 years and five months and what a journey it has been. I never thought I would be the woman I am becoming. The character I am gaining through staying clean “NO MATTER WHAT” is deep. I have stayed clean through the loss of my career that I worked so hard for and dedicated six years of my life to, as a result of a felony conviction that is irrevocable. I have lost two pregnancies. I also just learned that I have Lupus. Guess what? I didn't use over any of those things. I am on a path to self-discovery. I am happy most days. I am proud of myself. I am learning to love myself and accept myself. I am happily married to the man of my deepest dreams. I have God's angels as friends through the room's of Narcotics Anonymous. I feel myself becoming strong through and through. I enjoy life! I have hope and gratitude. I don't have the desire to use. I don't live in insanity. I have gained all of this through working the program of Narcotics Anonymous. I seek out the women that are going to help me grow into a woman. I have a home group that I cherish and feel I belong to. I use my sponsor. I live steps. I participate in my recovery and as a result, I have a beautiful, humble and peaceful life without the desire to use. -Anonymous