THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Starlet G."
Originally posted in Jun. 2011(The author retains all rights to this material)
Greetings NA members, my name is Starlet G. & I’m truly a blessed recovering addict, recovering from the disease of addiction one day at a time. First of all I must thank the God of my understanding for allowing me another chance at this gift called life; for placing me in a wonderful fellowship known as Narcotics Anonymous that helps me a day at a time to learn to live life on life terms, which today for me is living on God's terms.
I am a working 12 step member and it is the steps that have saved my life and help me to look at me and become willing to change my behaviors. Granted, I’m not perfect and I will never be. However, I strive to be the best person that I can be, first to myself, then to my children, my wonderful partner and then others.
I was first introduced to NA back in 1997. I remember my first NA meeting in West Long Branch at the noon meeting at the Lutheran church. Unfortunately, I didn’t really hear a thing because I used continuously after that until April 27, 1999. I could not stop using and I really didn’t have a desire to stop or stay stopped. That was because the pain was not great enough for me. I had to go to the bitter ends, which was jails and institutions, just like our preamble reads, you know ~ who’s an addict? I got locked up for my 2nd or 3rd felony charge and was sentenced to a long term drug treatment program and probation.
My first treatment facility was in Paterson New Jersey. This is where I was first introduced to H&I which stands for hospitals and institutions. They come into facilities that cannot take people out to regular meetings. If I didn’t hear anything else, I heard that when you leave this program, whether you complete or get discharged, make a meeting. Don’t unpack your bags, make a meeting. Well four months into the work therapy program, I got kicked out for fraternizing and threathing staff, but I didn’t use. I made it to a meeting that Wednesday night in Long Branch called the Womens Kicking Group of NA, which is still my home group today. I shared that I just came home, gotten kicked out of a program and that I was scared to death that I might use again with a little over what 90 days clean. The women in the fellowship embraced me and it felt good to know that I was not alone. I was in violation of my probations, but I believe that because I did not use and made a meeting, I was blessed by my higher power to try again. I am grateful to a nursing service that helped me get into another long term program in Marlboro, New Jersey, now, that program was no joke and it pulled up some issues for me to work on that I was not happy with but glad that the seed was planted, so when I finally got a sponsor and started my step working process, it wasn’t hard for me to surrender to telling the truth about me and letting my sponsor know all about me.
Although, I still did some negative behaviors such as fraternizing in that program as well, I managed to complete inpatient treatment and move onto outpatient treatment. I moved back home with my kids father and my daughters and was living a double life. I had a husband and a girlfriend and my insides were still raw from the wreckage of my past that I had caused first my family and myself. I was dealing with my sexuality issues, rape issues, molestation issues, physical, mental, and verbal abuse issues, I was still a hot mess without the use of drugs. However, being in a relationship with a woman was my new drug of choice. I had my cake and I was eating it too. I wasn’t happy though. I was still majorly hurt and confused about who starlet was and what starlet really wanted. I was writing on steps and I had a wonderful network of women and an awesome sponsor, but something was still missing in my life and at that point I could not figure out what it was. Today I know it was the fact that I was writing on steps but not applying the steps, nor applying certain steps, to my life to help me live a day at a time. Well I found out the hard way that the program of narcotics anonymous does not work that way.
April 27, 2002, I celebrated three years and before I knew it, on May 10, 2003, I relapsed. All the warning signs were there, all the behaviors were there and guess what, I used anyway. I was stuck in an unhealthy relationship that I was in denial about and I got high before I got her clean. I ran for two months in Union County and was beaten physically, mentally and emotionally. I came back home to Monmouth County in July 2002 and God had set it up that my sponsee family was actually meeting the day I came home. I had a broken jaw that was swollen and I had pulled some of the metal out of my mouth because it had interfered with me getting high, and I looked beat down, I don’t know how I made it to the beach that day, but my oldest daughter and I were there. The love that I received from my sponsor was so overwhelming at that time. She never gave up on me and she continued to talk to me even when I was in the grips of using. Even when her sponsor suggested that she shouldn’t. She went against the grain and held on no matter what. She prayed for me along with countless other women. My sponsee family embraced me that day and I surely needed the love that I was receiving. Unfortunately, I couldn’t manage to give myself a break because I had gotten a few months clean again and used again January 5, 2003. I got drunk as a skunk at a 40th birthday party and totally convinced myself that I was gonna just drink and not smoke ‘the stuff’. Yea well, that plan failed about after two weeks and before I knew it I was back in Asbury Park all over again. Just killing myself and doing things that could have and should have gotten me killed.
Finally after a four month battle of running, using, robbing, stealing, tricking with my husband, writing bad checks, etc., etc., etc., To get one more, I surrendered. May 20, 2003, is my new clean date and I have not found a reason to leave this program anymore. I did find myself in similar situations that feelings and emotions would have in the past caused me to go back out, but this time when it came around for me again, I stuck in there, felt my feelings, embraced the women of the program and worked the steps into my life. I didn’t give up on myself. I have lost a lot in recovery, and it’s still a little bit painful, just about 2 years ago, I lost my bestfriend in the fellowship because I decided that sleeping with her was what I always wanted because it was always something about her that just drew attention to me in a physical way, I wanted to believe that it was love, but was later to learn that there was so much lust within me that I was blinded by it all. I’ve always been able to convince myself of some stuff that wasn’t true and wasn’t good for me. I’m learning that feelings are not facts! That one bad decision has caused a great deal of much pain to a lot of wonderful people that I cared about and loved dearly. The disease of addiction doesn’t care about your steps or how much clean time you have, it will check in with you to see if you are ready to check out. I’m just really grateful that I got through that and even when it comes up for me today, I am able to apply my 12 steps to the feelings or situation and not use no matter what.
I now have allowed myself to know what real love is, first I keep God first in all that I do, which allows me to love myself by doing good to myself. That allows me to love others better, because today I try to treat others the way I want to be treated. I have a wonderful partner, lover and friend in this fellowship who is a ride or die woman for real! My current partner has opened me up to a whole new love world and I’m enjoying myself to the fullest! I have three brilliant daughters that are doing what they have to do and they are making their father and I the most proud parents in the whole wide world. I have a supportive church family that loves me just as I am and helps me spiritually grow, along with this wonderful program known as Narcotics Anonymous!