THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "L. G."
Originally posted in Feb. 2011(The author retains all rights to this material)
My Name Is L.G. I am a 44 year old Hispanic and I’ve being clean for 8 years I have three sons, a grandson and 11 siblings. July 5, 2002- I was introduced to NA through H & I and PI while detoxing from herion, alcohol and crack cocaine. I was living homeless for 13 years living from house to house. My children were suffering, so I gave my kids up to my family and I ran for another three years. That's the way I was living. I did not know how to stay stopped. I surrendered finally and my family member helped me to enter a detox facility. After detoxing I was placed into a 28-day rehab. During that time when I was in rehab I learned that there are tools to maintain abstinence. After that I was placed at a long halfway house for women. When I was at the half way house we were transported to NA meetings three times weekly.I was very willing to keep quiet and allowed someone to guide me in my journey. That's when it was suggested to get a sponsor and use her as a guide, make ninety meetings in ninety days, get a home group, and start with a coffee commitment. Well, didn't happen that way for me. Once when we were transported to a meeting, the room was empty and I notice an old timer sitting in a corner of the room. I asked him "Who was the chair person?” He looked me and said "YOU ARE!" I had 90 days clean when I started chairing. I felt excited and important. That's when "whatever unknown fear" I felt of not belonging or being part-of disappeared. That's when I realized that I needed to learned consistency with my recovery.
2002- I was diagnosed with HEP-C. I felt so scared; I saw myself in my grave; I cried for many months feeling less than, hopeless, confused and hurt. I thought that if I shared it on a group level I was going to be judged and were detaching from me. I felt that, but I kept sharing my illness even though it was unbearable for me. My sponsor, “P” would hear my every cry and my pain. She held on to me and called me every time I did not call her. She showed me empathy, which was a motivator to continue my painful process. A solution was presented to me by my doctor - a treatment called Interferon, which was a 15-month medication that consists of injections every week plus 8 pills every day.
After seven-months, on Feb 2, 2003, I moved on from the halfway house for women to an Oxford House where it helped me with my financial living arrangements. On the second day of moving to the Oxford house I started connecting to with people, networking on the phone. I was picked up for my first NA meeting in Lakewood. I was already on the road to my recovery, especially when I followed all the eight suggestions. I stayed connected for seven months with my commitments in Lakewood until I moved on to my own apartment. I showed up every night after work. I would start my morning at 4:00 a.m. to get on the 6:00 a.m. bus to Manalapan NJ. At 2:00 p.m. I would take the bus to my second job in Lakewood where it was more convenient for me to open the doors to the NA meeting in Lakewood for three days a week. Mondays I had coffee and chair commitments; Tuesdays I had the secretary and setting up the chairs commitments; and Wednesday nights I had the secretary and chair commitments. I had to be at the NA meeting at 7:00 p.m. On Saturdays I had an H &I commitment. I was there every Saturday with a group of five members. I decided to volunteer for after care on Thursdays because being so new to recovery I needed to explore more information. I wasn't stipulated to stay or to go to any 12 step meetings. Every decision I made was from a healthy fear. I did not want to suffer any more and I was willing to go all the way ‘One Day At a time’ or ‘Just For Today’. I needed to stay openminded and be responsible for my recovery. That is one of the most valuable slogans that it states in the first step in the basic text. I took it seriously into my loving heart I wanted to learn how to live.
September 1, 2003 - I finally moved on to my very own apartment in Long Branch, NJ. All meetings in Long Branch were familiar to me because the half way house for women took us to the NA meetings. I did not live to far from the NA meetings in Long Branch. By this time I bought my first car in recovery so I was more than happy to make as many NA meetings as possible. I made connections with other men and women who were willing to pick me or let me picked them up for NA meetings. I became involved with Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night groups and I also committed myself to H & I. I made sure that I kept an NA commitment. I truly believe that if I did not give what I had in recovery I would of lost my blessing of staying clean. I am a true, true, true believer that being an NA member has truly gave me a new way to live. Everything that I have earned today, all my blessing that my higher power has allowed me to receive, and through GODS grace and mercy, I have accomplished some freedom from active addiction.
March 14, 2004 - I was ask to work at the halfway house for women by the founder. This is where I once was a client and I was scared, however, I gave myself a chance. I made sure that my recovery was always first in my new way of life. I will never forget when a young man shared at a NA meeting about having a 5th grade education. I identified with his education level. I enrolled myself into the adult vocational school. I continued to participate for my future by continuing to further my education. I enrolled in what it is called CADC.
2005 - I made sure that I made NA meetings every day until I heard the massage and I did so for next year. I was sharing on my feelings about how scared I was while injecting my stomach every week. My heroin use triggers were popping up and resurfacing. I talked about my pain and the solutions for my pain.
2006 - At this time I had three years clean and participating in NA. I made my decision to start my treatment and I made NA meetings every day, sometimes two NA meetings a day, and shared about my side effects. It wasn't pretty and it didn't feel good. At this time, I was also in school. I continued to show up to the adult vocational high school while I was in physical pain, on an emotional roller coaster, and I did not want to eat. However through all the feelings that I was feeling I did not give up. New recovering addicts became involved in my life. People reached out to me and I made sure that I reached out to people no matter what. I was still participating in school even though I would cry due to the physical pain. I was on work release due to my medication and the side effects. I still made my NA meetings, kept a commitment, started sponsoring women and helping the newcomer, which is what my sponsor suggested! I kept an open mind.
On March 2007 - I returned to work as a CA. I was so happy that I was finished with the interferon. I had completed my treatment and I did not use drugs. I felt "what a relief and a blessing to be able to take care of me!" I continued to feel the side effects from the medication, and still I continued to show up for my recovery and continue going to school, no matter what!
June 2008 - I graduated from MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY with a cap and gown and got my High School diploma. I was so proud of myself. I had so much support, especially from my younger son. I am talking about a son whose life I wasn't involve with due to my addiction. He was right in the front line for the next two years, 2009-2010. I still continue to be involved with NA at a group level and Area level as a GSR. I have been involved with the Helpline since 2003 and I continue to write on my 12 steps one step at a time. I definitely apply the step work in my own personal life. I've being working and living the steps since 2002. This process is not a graduation is a just for today recovery.
2011 - This program of NA has helped me to stay clean and has been an amazing blessing. The journey of this program is that you have to keep coming back in order to recover. Back in 2008 my middle son was shot at 3 times. Today my son is alive and well. The blessing is that I was able to show up for him when he was injured. I traveled on a daily basis to Camden, NJ, until he recovered. When my mother died 2010, I was able to travel to Florida and be support to my family. I've been through two relationships that didn't work. I stayed connected to people with similar situations to share my identification and pain. I went to NA meetings and I did not use.
In Loving Memory for Narcotics Anonymous, L.G.