THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Heather"
Originally posted in June 2000(The author retains all rights to this material)
I would like to start by thanking my Higher Power for giving me the strength and courage for another day clean and serene in this journey and process called RECOVERY.
Growing up, I have been fortunate in having a loving and supportive family. We had our problems…but who doesn’t. I was always shy and it was hard for me feel comfortable around people.
I was a typical teenager growing up….very naïve in fact, even though I was a good student and played by the rules…I was always looking for something more. You gave me an inch, I wanted a foot.
Drugs and alcohol didn’t come into my life until I went to study abroad freshman year of college. It was the first time away from home and I had my freedom to do what ever I wanted. That was the first time I drank. I was scared and didn’t know how else to fit in. Everybody was going to the bars. There was no drinking age so it was very open and free.
I soon found out that I wasn’t so shy around people anymore. I could flirt with the guys and I didn’t feel uncomfortable. To me this was the action and excitement I was always looking for. I started to experiment a lot more with guys sexually. During one of the holidays I decided to stay at the dorms instead of traveling. One night, one of my friends was very drunk and broke into my room. He held me against my will with a gun and sexually assaulted me. This was the first time I had sex. I didn’t know what to do. I told the people in charge of the program I was on, but didn’t want to make a deal out of it because they were funded by the government. I felt alone and scared. I started to drink even more. I felt dirty and ashamed for what happened. I thought it was my fault. I thought I had no control over my life. I ended up sleeping with guys thinking as long as I had the choice then it was ok.
My need for control was in fear of losing control. After I came home. I went back to normal life. I tried to forget what had happened to me. I did continue to drink. I would go to lots of parties and get very drunk. I started to see that my drinking was bothering my boyfriend at the time so I controlled how I drank. I found out that just getting a buzz was enough to numb me and make me feel more socially acceptable. I drank just enough to fit in.
I came home from a party one night to tell my mom that there were “street drugs” there and I didn’t know what they were. She then asked me if I wanted to light up with her. That was the first time I used a drug that wasn’t alcohol. I didn’t like it too much and only did it a few times. I never knew my parents did that before. It never crossed my mind that it was wrong because my parents were able to lead a productive normal life. How could it be so wrong? My mom told me I was an adult and I could handle it.
When I went away to college, I joined a sorority. I was always at frat parties and at the bars. I was made the Social VP of my sorority and thought that was cool. I prided myself for knowing where all the parties were and “booking” all the mixers. I thought it was cool that the bouncers stopped asking me for my ID and the bartender had my drink ready before I got to the bar. You think maybe it was because I was at the bars every night like a drunk. I meet this guy and he introduced me to my drug of choice. From the first time I did it I loved it. I was at his house every night asking for more. After a while it became a problem in our relationship. He would always ask me if I was with him, for him or the drugs. I always answered for him but I knew deep down I could care less and it was the drugs that kept calling me back. He wanted to control my using but could not. He was graduating soon so he ended the relationship. There were a couple times I tried to commit suicide. I was being evicted from my apartment and I tried to OD on pills I had in my room. My boyfriend was downstairs trying to convince the people I lived with to let me stay. I was so ashamed; I couldn’t look at anyone in the face, especially his. I just wanted to run. When it was finally over between us I couldn’t handle it. I thought I was going to hurt myself again and asked my family to admit me into a hospital. It was there that I was introduced to NA.
They put me into the psyche unit for 2 weeks. During those two weeks, I came to terms that there was a chance that I was an addict. They gave me literature and a meeting list. I saw on the list that there was a meeting downstairs from my unit on Wednesdays and Thursdays nights. I asked, actually made a fit, about going to a meeting. They finally let me go. From my first meeting, I was hooked. I finally found people that knew me, how I felt, and what I was going through. I made my own little meetings with whatever I was able to take back with me. I couldn’t wait for my next meeting. I’ve been making meetings on a regular basis ever since. It has been over three years since I picked up a drug including alcohol. In the beginning I was very caught up on fixing everything on the outside and not too much on myself. I went back to college and graduated. I got my license back and a car. I thought I had the so-called wonderful boyfriend. I didn’t get with the fact that social acceptability didn’t equal recovery. I filled that void with everything possible. No matter where I lived, who I was with or what kind of job I had….it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I totally surrendered that I began the process of real recovery.
Today I have honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. Bring the body and the mind will follow. That empty void I was trying to fill so much has been filled with a Higher Power that’s loving and caring in every which way. My fear of getting to know Heather has been replaced with faith. The anger and hate I had towards others and myself has been replaced with love and compassion. I can feel free and alive one day at a time. The gifts that recovery has given me, materialistic and spiritual, is only kept with responsibility and commitment. This commitment is what keeps me going in this process. May I never know what lies on the other side of serenity, for I have no more need to control the outcome. I don’t have to do this alone, because we all share our experience, strength and hope. My gratitude speaks when I share and care the NA way. One day at a time….