THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Peter N."
Originally posted in Mar. 2012(The author retains all rights to this material)
She looked at me as though she was looking into a coffin. It had been 19 years, the last few horrible. I turned around, went for the phone, called my sister and told her I needed to go somewhere. She said " you mean a rehab?" "I guess that’s what I mean." I turned around to see where those words came from, because they didn’t come from me. My first sign of a higher power.
I was done. I surrendered. Now all I needed was to find out what I had to do in order not to have to continue to live the way I had lived for so long, if you call that living. Guilt, shame, financial destruction, desperation and such hopelessness, that I wanted to die. Most of all, a horrible excuse for a son, parent, brother and husband. They were all just waiting to find out where I was to be buried.
She told me about a meeting Wednesday night at 8pm. She would meet me and to her surprise, I showed up. It was weird. No one looked like I felt. That Friday I was driven to treatment. I didn’t have any idea on what was going to be done there, but I was all ears, I was desperate and willing. I just didn’t want to go back to living the way I had. I wanted to live, for the first time in years.
Essentially, they taught me what I would need to do when I left…work the steps and follow the suggestions. First one was meeting makers made it. I was going to be a meeting maker. They said, stay away from old people, I called Bell Telephone and changed my number to an unpublished new number. They said no relationships for a year and no major decisions either. I said, which is it, not going home to my wife or going home, given not going home was a major decision. They said "keep the focus on your recovery"! The first year is about learning how to stay clean by going through the steps with a sponsor. Most important was I was working, using the first 3 steps. I didn’t understand it all, but I was clean and for the first time in years, believing that my life was now about service to god and people that needed help. I felt that my life had some value. Something I hadn’t believed in a long time!
I completed the 28 days, knew what meeting I was going to the day I got out and, as timid as I was (yes, I was terrified ) I raised my hand and received many meeting lists. Asked a guy with a huge amount of clean time to sponsor me (maybe 7 years) and he said he had too many already. Another guy with about 25 years in the program directed me to a meeting, told me to tell the leader I needed a sponsor and that’s exactly what I did. She introduced to a guy who grabbed the first man he saw and said "Peter, this is Michael, he is your sponsor!" See how much I had to do. Not much at all. Follow direction and thank god, people continued to be put in my life for me to follow. They told me what to do and I did exactly that because, god speaks through people. All I need to do is listen for god’s will.
No difference today, 25 1/2 years later. I am following the same suggestions (rules), practice these principles in all my affairs and I am successful in my life. People are no longer wondering where I’m going to be buried. People look to me for support and guidance, in and out of recovery. Most of all, I am grateful. I never imagined my life, not the way it is today. Like I said, I am grateful to god and the program!