THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Dawn R."
Originally posted on Apr. 2007(The author retains all rights to this material)
A VISION OF HOPE
It's been more than 10 years since I walked through the doors of a detox as a patient. My whole objective on that chilly March day was to go to rehab, complete the program and be placed in an apartment for my son and myself. Little did I know that detox was the first step in my journey of recovery.
Actually thinking that once all was said and done I'd be able to change the way that I used. No more using before 10 pm, how about only on weekends nor would I have the traffic that became a permanent lifestyle for me. I'd be the mother that I used to be, giving my son the undivided attention that I had ultimately laxed for oh so long.
Remembering back to when I was placed in that detox room, that contained a single bed with a mattress so thin I could almost see through it, a dresser and a nightstand, I sat on the side of that paper thin bed and thought to myself "how in the hell did I get here"? And my next words were, "God how do I get out"?
I spent three days in detox then was sent downstairs to rehab, I had no idea what to expect, but I was still holding onto the promise that Dyfs had made to me, that if I completed the program they would place us in an apartment, that was my hope.
I sat through the groups, lectures, one on ones and AA/NA meetings. By the third week my whole vision of hope had broadened. I heard some things and felt different about me. My desire to use had been arrested and waking up each morning was more appealing to me, in fact I wanted more of the changes that were coming my way.
I felt a since of being, a need to wake up to the sun and go to sleep at a decent hour, to get a good nights rest, to know that tomorrow would be a better day. I heard the message that was brought in by H and I, and they became my hope. That one day I would be able to live life on life's terms without the use of drugs.
I can remember asking my counselor if I could go to a halfway house, I had heard the women from H and I speaking of getting the additional help through the process of a halfway house and the counselors that worked there and I wanted what they had so I had to do what they did. She cried, and so did I, her tears were of joy, mine of another step that I wasn't quite sure of but the willingness was there and at that time that was all I needed.
My stay in the halfway house was short, but well worth the effort. I meet some women who were just like me. They had put the drugs before their families, jobs and self as I had done. Their lives were coming together with the help of one another and I saw a bigger vision of hope. Using drugs to cover up the painful loss of a loved one, the joy of a newborn baby, the fear of getting caught in a raid and being homeless on the streets of Asbury Park no longer existed to me.
I learned from those women, to clean, to cook, to bathe daily, to be employable and to like me today. We attended meetings, functions and groups together. We talked about the things that made me use, I found that it all stemmed from the fear of feeling. We shared about the solutions. How strange, yet how simple.
One dark rainy night I was asked to leave the house because I wasn't doing what they wanted me to do, their words, "I had taken my will back". I was devastated, but I packed my bags and got on the train to Asbury Park. Knowing that one of the suggestions on the meeting list states, stay away from old people, places and things you used with and at, I had no where else to go. The trip back to this place called hell to me was exhausting and overwhelming but I carried on.
I met a woman on my journey back to the town that I hated because of where I had let the drugs take me. She listened to my story and did not judge me, she encouraged me to continue on this path of recovery, she told me that I could do this if I put my heart into it and believed. "God got you", she stated as she glared at me, I felt a since of relief.
Arriving in Asbury Park tired, frustrated and scared not sure what to do, I remembered what was told to me in the house, "when you get home, make a meeting before you do ANYTHING". I pulled out the meeting list from my back pocket, found the day, time and place of the next meeting and thanked God that a meeting was just about to start.
The cab pulled up in front of a place where I used to cop and my stomach began to cramp. I went up to the door and a woman was standing there, I asked," Is this where the meeting is", "Yes" she said and gave me my first hug, God it felt like she had breathed life into me. She had some of the other members help to get my stuff out of the cab and told me that I was in the right place. Still today this woman remains in my life she is indeed a recovering addict, my go to person, my vision of hope.
I walked into that meeting shaky, mouth dry, heart racing but I remembered what I was told in the detox, the halfway house and by the people from H and I, so I raised my hand and said, "Hi my name is Dawn and I'm an addict and I need help. In unity they all "said Welcome". Those members became my Vision of Hope.
After the meeting I told her that I had nowhere to go, she suggested that I call my sister and taking my first suggestion wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, so I called my sister and she too welcomed me with open arms as did my mom and little sister. My sons love me and respect me, today I am a grandmother and I thank God that my grandson never has to know the old me, or the horrors of my past.
I came into this process on March 23rd 1996, after three days in detox I made March 26 th 1996 my clean date, the day that I went downstairs to rehab, as of this date I have found no reason to go back out. I've weathered multiple storms, failed relationships, termination from good jobs, death of family members and friends. I've rode on many, many pink clouds, such as having my own apartment, getting a great job, falling in love, the birth of my grandson and most of all staying clean another day. I've meet so many wonderful people in this process that encourage me and help me to get through the day today life situations.
I work on me by attending meetings on a regular basis, I share when needed and I listen to learn, I have a sponsor that I use to work steps and traditions, a network and sponsee's that I share my stuff with, the things that may not be appropriate to be put on the floor of the meetings. I'm living and enjoying life without the use of drugs and loving it. I have a God of my own understanding, I ask that, he take my will and my life, guide in my recovery and show me how to live, my favorite line in the Basic Text pg 25.
It has been told to me that today I am a Vision Of Hope, I'm a little partial to that, because I just want to be there for the newcomer who is the most important person at any meeting or anyone that may need help in this process of recovery. God has afforded me some things and I just want to give back what was given so freely to me.
Thank you, for the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous, for the experience strength and hope that has been given to me by the members of Narcotics Anonymous.