THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Judi A."
Originally posted in Spring 1998(The author retains all rights to this material)
Hi. I'm an addict named Judi.
For me I believe I was born an addict. My first drug was sugar. I would lie or steal to get candy or anything sweet. I would hide candy and lie about how much I was using. I had all of the active addicts’ attitudes and behaviors. At very early age I felt I did not fit in. I was different. It was always one extreme or another. Either I was so much better then you or I was so much worst then you.
I always wanted to grow up and be just like my father. This being a family disease that is just what happened. I grew up and become a functioning addict. Both of my parents were active addicts throughout my childhood. I know that 18 years ago when they got clean that is when the healing for the whole family started. It took me another 12 years and many bottoms to find NA but the seed was planted the day they got clean.
I used and abused drugs for 22 years. When I could not get "street" drugs I would use over-the-counter drugs. A drug is a drug. At the end of my active addiction I was living in a basement with no windows. I hadn’t lost any friends because I had no friends to lose. I would sit in my basement, by myself and use. I would throw up in a zip lock bag and throw them away without anyone knowing. I told myself that I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. That is why I hid how sick I got and how often. I know now it was the disease talking to me. The disease just wants me dead. If it can make me suffer for a very long time first all the better, but ultimately it wants me dead. It was the disease telling me to be quiet about how sick I always was so I could keep using. I almost died 3 times and still I kept using.
In a moment of sanity I surrendered and called my Employee Assistance Program. I was completely honest with them on what and how much I used. Needless to say I was in rehab the next day. I went through what I think many of us go through. Once I started feeling better I wanted to leave the rehab. I thank my Higher Power that another recovering addict reminded me that the disease wants us dead and leaving the rehab would be my death warrant. I also thank my Higher Power for the open mindedness to listen and stay where I needed to be.
Recovery has given me so many gifts. Not just my life back but a life worth living. I like myself. I never really liked myself before. I never believed anyone could like me. I had such a deep and dark pit of despair and desperation in me. Today that pit is filling up with self, service, community and most important my Higher Power.
Recovery has changed my life. It has not always been easy but it has always been worth it. I now know I am a valuable person and an asset to any relationship. Not better then you and not worst then you either.
I have women friends today that care about me. They don’t care if I have money or a car or any of those material things. They care just about me as a person. They love me enough to be there for me even when I can not be there for them.
This did not happen by itself. I had to do the footwork. First I had to put down the drugs, all drugs. I thank my Higher Power that the obsession to use has been lifted, for today, but I am an addict and I need to remember where I came from and use my tools to stay clean and recover. I go to meetings on a regular basis. I share at those meeting and have commitments. I work the steps with the help and guidance of my sponsor. Because of the steps I am starting to recover. I have learned how to be honest with myself and others. I have a Higher Power in my life today. That is such a gift. When I was out there I definitely had a Lower Power, the disease. I would do anything it said. Lie, cheat, steal, betray myself or others to get my drugs. Today my Higher Power helps me be honest, open-minded and willing to grow and change into the person I really am. That person is a wonderful loving woman.
I thank NA for the gift of me.