THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Dawn"
Originally posted on Jan. 2004(The author retains all rights to this material)
A FIRE BURING OUT OF CONTROL
In just a few short months, I learned what it really meant to be clean. I had spent six and a half years of my life feeling like I was doing all that I needed to do. And that was staying clean, staying away from old people, places, and things, and most of all not using no matter what.
I would go to work, and not even realizing it, I substituted the job for my drugs. From morning till night I did what I thought I was supposed to do, don’t use. Had I known that substitution is another part of my disease trying to get at me, I would have taken the time needed to attend meetings. And get the help that I so desperately needed, to live and grow in my recovery.
I had not surrendered completely, even though I thought I had. Once I had even tried my hand at a getting a sponsor. And when she didn’t work out, I walked away. Working the steps was not a part of my recovery story, neither were meetings. And if I thought that I had a support network, I was only fooling myself.
Clean and crazy, but going through the motions of talking to customers at my job, as if I had it going on. How wrong I was. I began to revert back to my old ways and actions. Confused and caught up in money, property, and prestige, I was lost.
My higher power placed me in a situation that at one time in my life, I would have run to the coke man. Instead I ran to the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. I was scared, lonely, desperate, guilty and embarrassed, I needed help.
I walked into a meeting and looked around, there were some of the old faces that I remembered. That showed me that this process was still working. Then I noticed some new faces, they looked as I had six and a half years ago. Scared and unsure if they really fit in or that they would be accepted. And for the first time, that saying of when your ass gets on fire, you’ll start working your program hit me.
So the fire was burning out of control, I was looking at 2 years in the Clinton Correctional Facility, the loss of my Driver’s license for 18 months, and probation. So I did what I had to do, I jumped into the program with both feet. I was mandated to an outpatient group, which covered my Wednesdays. The rest of the days in the week I made many, many meetings.
In a matter of weeks I had a sponsor, a network, and a program that was working for me. I used the phone, shared with my sponsor and committed myself to my recovery. In the beginning, I shared at almost every meeting. I also got names and phone numbers from women. Unfortunately my answering machine was on the fritz, and that caused me to miss out on the help that I needed. And also the help that I could have given by returning those phone calls. So I got a new one.
It didn’t seem important years ago but it was, oh so important now. I started to feel like a real person, I could laugh and really laugh out loud. I became a part of something that I cherished. I even started doing step work. I purchased all the literature: the Basic Text, Just For Today, It Works – How and Why, & The Step Working Guide.
After losing the job that I felt was the worse thing that could have ever happened to me. I thought that my life was over. Recovery today is more than I could have ever imagined. I started to complete some things, 90 meetings in 90 days, and my outpatient program. Today I am working on me, loving me because for a long, long time I had to rely on NA to love me until I could learn to love myself.
Yet I had no idea of what to do with me. Meetings, networking, and NA functions were not enough to support me. So I began to share about the boredom. And help came from the speakers and the people who shared about going back to school and doing something different.
Learn something new? Who me? Why not, so I went back to school. I got a BSA Certificate, I am very proud of it, because it shows me completion. Striving to get through the difficult times weren’t so bad because I didn’t have to do it alone.
Today I have a job, where I don’t have to work 12 to 14 hour days, which leaves my nights open for my meetings and step work. I’m willing today, and before I make a bad choice I run it by my sponsor or my network.
The men and women in this fellowship have been there when I thought that the fetal position was all that I had left. I remember when taking the cotton out of my ears and sticking it into my mouth was important. Sometimes, just for today, I have to go back to the old days and do just that. Thank god for NA, and thank you NA for helping me to find a God of my own understanding.
Today my family believes in me and they help me. Not over help me because by working this program, I’m learning to do some things for myself. Sometimes my life can still be unmanageable and many times I have to surrender to the disease of addiction, which for me can be food, clothes, and going places. Once in a while I have to stop and take a breath and just exhale. Because tomorrow is a brand new day and thanks to Narcotics Anonymous, I am looking forward to another day. I am addict named Dawn.