THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Gloria R."
Originally posted in Oct. 2003(The author retains all rights to this material)
I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING A BAD DAY
I’m a Recovering Addict, and my name is Gloria. When I arrived to Narcotics Anonymous in 1992, I wasn’t an addict. I got arrested after copping crack, and I thought I was just having a bad day. I had been copping and going home to use, so I wasn’t like you. I went to work – sometimes. When I got to work, I couldn’t stay at work; I had to leave to use. But I wasn’t an addict. I had a car; I wasn’t walking the streets like those people I copped from. I didn’t use in the neighborhood, outdoors, behind buildings, cars, or trees. I went home and used, so I wasn’t like you. I hadn’t gone to any store with plans to steal for money, or stood on the corner with hopes of selling my body for a fix, and I hadn’t pawned my TV for cash for the next hit. I wasn’t like you, but I truly was misinformed about who an addict could be, and how an addict should behave.
After I had been arrested and released, I continued to believe that I wasn’t addict, and that I had just had a bad day. A long-time coworker asked me to have a cup of coffee with him. We (more like “he”) sat down to talk. He asked me if I wanted help. Why would I want help? I explained that life was against me and that I had had a bad day. He took my hand in both of his hands and said, “You really don’t like yourself, do you?” I started to cry. What was he talking about? Of course I liked myself! He replied, “If you really liked yourself, then you wouldn’t be doing the things you’re doing to yourself, like using drugs.” I couldn’t stop crying. As matter of fact, I’m crying now. I thank the God of my understanding for sending this addict into my life. The next thing I thought he said was: “Do you want to save your job so you can continue using?” (This disease is all that!). And I said, “Yes.” He suggested two things: 1) Go to the Employee Assistance Program for counseling, and 2) Go to meetings. I did both.
In the beginning, I went to the mother/father fellowship (AA). I went to meetings high, and I didn’t understand what they were talking about. They weren’t the same color as I was. Nothing they talked about related to me. I couldn’t identify. My counselor suggested I go to NA meetings, so I did. I went to my very first NA meeting high. I had drugs and paraphernalia in my pocketbook at the meeting because I never went anywhere without my stuff. My plan was to arrive late, but when I got there, the meeting had just begun. In the meeting they asked if there were any “Newcomers”. I didn’t want to raise my hand, but I did. Someone across the room introduced themselves as an addict. I thought, “Oh! I’m not one of them!” Then it was my turn. I was scared, and I didn’t know what the truth was, but I introduced myself as “Gloria, addict.”
I continued to use. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t know how. Two days later, at my second NA meeting, I met someone who was just like me! She worked where I worked, she made the same kind of money that I made; she was the same color as me, she had a car, and she didn’t look like an addict. Her first remark to me was, “I was wondering when you were going to get here.” I asked that woman to be my sponsor. She was the first person I could get honest with. I told her that I was still using, and that I couldn’t stop. She told me how she got clean (rehab), so I took her suggestion and began the recovery process. Unfortunately, or fortunately, after 30+ days after rehab, I relapsed. I didn’t tell anybody for a whole year, but I kept coming back and I haven’t picked up again.
I place my recovery before anything and everything. My life is good. After 11 years clean, I still make meetings regularly. I identify, not compare, with those who share in meetings. I have a sponsor and I sponsor women. I have a home group where I am the treasurer. I answer phone calls from the NA help-line. I participate in my recovery, and I don’t use one day at a time. I haven’t had one bad day since I arrived at NA. I’ve had disappointments, setbacks, tribulations, and opportunities to grow spiritually, but no more bad days. NA has and is saving my life and I am forever grateful to the program and to the fellowship.
Thanks for letting me share.