THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Hector R."
Originally posted in Oct. 2005(The author retains all rights to this material)
I FOUND A HOME
I believe it all began the day of my birth. The more I look back on my life I haven’t been able to pin point any specific incident that I could attribute to why my life went astray for the time it did. As of this day I am the person God has always intended me to be.
I was born the first male child of a very proud family. We didn’t have much but there was a lot of love in our home. I can’t say enough good things about my parents and how hard they tried to do the best job they could with what they had while raising three children. I attribute my success in life, in part, to the lessons they taught me which at the time I thought was just punishment for being such a rotten kid. I wanted to make them proud in the worst way but the choices I made led me astray from that desire. Every time I did the wrong thing, I knew exactly what I was doing. In spite of my best intentions to want to be a man of dignity and respect I just continued to make some very poor choices. This is where the insanity of this disease begins to consume my life.
By the time I was in the eighth grade I had chosen crime as the path I would take to obtain the things I wanted. Despite the pleas of my family, my mothers cries, and that look in my fathers eyes I found myself in the grip of a cunning and baffling disease called Addiction. My drug use escalated from day to day from the first time I was introduced to substances. My willingness to want to get out only came during the times when I would reach a state of disparity. That simple scream for help, that silent prayer, when I said “God please help me!” was always heard and answered. It seems that every single time this happened I very quickly forgot what it was like to be in that state and returned to the places, the people, and the things that brought me there.
The details of the horrors of my addiction I feel are now in my past. But, the pain that they brought upon me and everyone I associated with are very present in my mind to this day. Humiliation, degradation, disparity, giving up every principle that was so embedded in me by my progenitors, going against the grain of my being and everything I once believed in, breaking every promise I ever made, disappointing the very people who believed in me and myself, becoming that person I swore I’d never be. These are only some of the results of the great gifts the disease of addiction forwarded me. I had accepted by my 18th birthday that I was on free time just waiting to die the next moment.
My life, my childhood flew by. Every hope and dream had been robbed from me. The torment of the things that I had done up to this point to sustain my disease’s desires where the only clear thing on my mind amidst the cloud I lived in. The more I did the more I used to run away from my reality, my conscience, and myself. One day it just stopped working. No matter how much I used, how hard I ran, nothing, I mean NOTHING, could take away the pain of living. This is when I began to use against my will and without my permission.
Through every attempt my family and friends made to help, all their efforts seemed to be in vain. They gave up after awhile. My father told me a few years ago that he would stay up at night waiting for the phone call asking him to come identify the body. My mother, driven by my insanity, wished a sudden death upon me; she believed that this would end her suffering. She would’ve rather return me to my maker than to have to go through another day of not knowing. My amends to them is an ongoing process that the debt will never get paid.
Through my many experiences in attempting to get out of my worst nightmare I found myself arriving at my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting. There wasn’t a blinding moment at that meeting that made me want what they had to offer, but I heard the language of empathy. I understood people who spoke my language. I could see my story on a particular individuals face. I was freely given a Basic Text by one of the group members and I went home that night and I read it. The writers of this book had written my story. For the first time in my life someone had my number. Liberation for me came in the way of showing up at the next meeting and braking down on the arms of another man. Only another addict could understand the liberation of that moment. Men cry, real men do. I don’t remember the last time I had cried, but that day I did and for that moment my disease couldn’t put a hit on me. For the first time I felt free.
My recovery process has endured many challenges. The first few years became very bumpy as a result of my reluctance to apply spiritual principles. I quickly found out that “the disease of addiction can manifest itself in a variety of mental obsessions and compulsive actions that have nothing to do with drugs.” I ran that way for a long time, clean, nonetheless, until there wasn’t enough of anything outside of using drugs that could fill the void I had in my spirit. Through a serious of events during my fifth year of being “clean” involving the loss of my father from his physical presence on this world, divorce, and some brutal awakenings of the spirit, I became receptive to what this program really had to offer; “a set of principles written so simply that we could use them in our daily lives”. Yes, the step work! The day I began living the 12 and 12 is the day I began living instead of surviving.
In the last few years I have endured great challenges and adversities. All of them have brought about some great lessons. I have also received some of the greatest gifts life could offer. If you would’ve attempted to sell this to me based on the extent of my achievements to this point in life I would have called you a liar. I believe that to this day I have not gone through the greatest of pains nor received the greatest of joys so why worry so much? The one thing that is clear and certain is that without the support of my NA family, a higher power that I choose to call God and the process embedded within our steps and traditions I’d be DEAD. Furthermore, everything I’ve become (father, friend, husband, son, etc) is a result of living this thing we call NA.
I have found a life worth living. Everything that happened was a necessary part of my process. I am eternally grateful to this fellowship for doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself. For the people who believed in me when no one else did, for the hope they had in me when I became hopeless, for teaching me the meaning of having a home. I have a home in NA.
Love & Respect,