THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Ralph P."
Originally posted in Jan. 1999(The author retains all rights to this material)
I'm an addict named Ralph. First I want to thank my Higher Power for waking me up and allowing me another day clean, the program of Narcotics Anonymous for showing me a new way of life and the disease of addiction for thoroughly kicking my ass because if it hadn't, I might think I could use successfully.
I started using drugs around 11 years old and used until I was 27 before I even thought that I had a problem. When I tried, I failed . And each time I failed, my using got worse. I went to many lengths to for more, from stealing from my parents loved ones and myself , to even trying to snatch a purse on the street. My criminal career came to a screeching halt when a doorman stuck out his leg and tripped me. I ended up with 5 years probation on a felony charge. I tried geographic cures which took me from the Bronx to Edmonton, Canada. Everywhere I went, the cycle continued. I play music for a living thanks to a gift from my Higher Power and when my life reached a point when I could not make a gig across town because I couldn't stop getting high, and I faked a injury to play it off. I knew I needed help. Now I had already done all the things the Basic Text talks about in the 3rd Tradition. I had been prayed over, been beaten, locked up, counseled, threatened, reasoned with, analyzed. I even did hypnotherapy, and taking drugs (anti-depressant) to stop using drugs (everything else). Nothing was working and I felt hopeless.
While in treatment I was introduced to Narcotics Anonymous and the disease concept of addiction. I also met some recovering addicts that believed in me and made themselves available to help me in my recovery, after I got out, I found a sponsor that did make me write. When he said "I only write on the 4th and 8th Step", I asked him to sponsor me. I actually stayed "clean" for a year. My life was getting better and I was back in my daughter's life and was working and traveling again. Instead of making 2 and 3 meetings a day, I started doing other things and not going to meetings. The things I was doing weren't bad things but they became more important than making my home group or calling my sponsor and eventually I was to busy to pray. I had time in recovery but no recovery in my time. I was clean but I was heading straight for a relapse and just short of my 15th month clean in St. Thomas, Virgin Island, I picked up. My relapse lasted 2 years and I am actually grateful it did. I'm grateful because if it had not, if it had only lasted 2 weeks or 2 days and come back to the rooms, I might still think that I could do that again. During my relapse, I did all the things I had done before plus some of the things I swore I'd never do. I got to a point in my relapse where I did not care anymore whether I played music or not and began washing dishes to make money. I got on a bus for a weekend at my parents, you know, to rest up for the next run and by the time I got to my hometown I knew that I would never go back.
First, I broke down and surrendered to my parents and my father picked up the phone, made a 2 minute call and about 2 minutes later a recovering addict showed up at the house, told that if I was ready to stop I could stop and he would help me. He took me to a meeting and that night I asked him to be my sponsor. This time I gave up all conditions on getting clean and did exactly what was suggested. I wrote on every Step. Got a home group and got in service for the right reason, not to check out women, and made about 250-300 meetings in my first 90 days.
I have learned a lot through the step process about myself and about living life on life's terms. The steps have helped me grow as a person because it wasn't until I got clean did I really realize just how sick I was and how the disease of addiction goes much deeper than the use of drugs. I have a different sponsor now but I am grateful to call all my former sponsors my friends. I'm beginning my 8th step for the second because I went back and did another 4th Step when I changed sponsors. I sponsor another recovering addict and continue to apply the spiritual principles in all areas of my life. I'm not perfect or well but I am getting better. And I believe that as long as I don't use, go to meetings, work and live the Steps and Traditions in my life my life will continue to get better, so I'll keep coming back!
THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO SHARE!!