THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Gabriella"
Originally posted on Feb. 2002(The author retains all rights to this material)
HI, My Name is Gabriella, and I'm an addict. AS Far back as I can remember, I can remember feeling "DIFFERENT", like I never fit in. Low self esteem was putting it mildly.
I was physically abused by my parents, every single day of my life from the time I was old enough to walk till I was about sixteen years old. I used to start fires, not to hurt any one, but all the physiatrists, and cops said I did it for attention. Well, that much was true; I certainly got everyone's attention, especially the state of New Jersey. I used to run away from home in order to avoid the daily beatings from my parents who were, by the way, abusive towards each other. I never went to school. I thought it was a much better idea to play hooky. I even failed gym.
I spent most of my adolescence in a Detention center for juveniles. I actually felt safe when they locked me in my room at night, safe from my abusive parents, and most of all the rest of the miserable world. But I found out later in life this was only the beginning of my resentments. When I was 16 I was sent to live at a boarding school for troubled youths, not locked up, actually free to run if I felt like it. And run I did, away from all my problems, my life, and anyone who tried to help me while I was there. Alas, I got caught every time I ran away from this school, and my father would pick me up and send me back.
So I decided to finish high school, a major accomplishment, actually I did very well. I went from D's and F's to A's and B's. Pretty good for a reject. When I got out at the age of 18 I found some people at my job that used drugs, but I was afraid of what these unknown substances would do to me. Funny, even in my youth, I always hung around with people who used drugs and alcohol. They were the only people who would accept me, or so I thought.
About a year later at the age of 19 I joined the United States Navy. Again drawn to people who were using, it was then I found my first love, Pot. I loved how it made me feel. I could escape from all those feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem, and finally I could feel like I was a part of society. But this was only an illusion. I could escape from those feelings of resentments against my parents, for all the physical abuse, and wanting to feel like I wanted to kill them. My life became very insane, and unmanageable, as the disease progressed. I used different combinations of drugs for the next 19 years, hoping on any given day that I just wouldn't wake up and put myself out of my misery.
My first bottom came in 1985, a girl I was in love with, tried to get me help. It was then that I was introduced to my first NA meeting. I walked in not knowing what to expect, I saw all these smiling faces, and everyone was happy. I can remember thinking, they have got to be using, and I'm going to find out the secret but I was not willing or ready. I chose to go back out for another 11 years. However the seed was planted I can remember hearing the "Serenity Prayer" over and over in my head. But I didn't know how to change my obsessive, compulsive thinking patterns. I was caught in the grip of the disease, big time. I wanted to be terminally hip and fatally cool. I would go to my death with a beer in one hand, and a joint in the other (insane? NAH...).
So in 1996, I hit my second bottom. I tried to kill this guy at work after an all nighter of smoking crack. 4 men had to pull me off of this guy. I told my boss that I wasn't feeling good, went to the nearest hospital and asked to be admitted to the detox. I was ready to surrender......I've been clean almost 6 years [March, 1 1996) but for the grace of God.
I'm working my steps and learning about unconditional love. I've learned to love myself, therefore I can love others. Funny I always thought Love was sex, well I shattered that illusion. I always settled for sex when I really wanted love. I follow all the suggestions on the meeting lists and call everyone that gives me their number. Even at 3 am when I'm hurting. Yes that's right, feelings don't go away just because we get clean... It's only the beginning my friends. I love you all, my true family, my true friends, my NA Family.
Thanks for allowing me to share. Gabriella M. Clean date 3-1-96, Long Branch, NJ