THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Steve"
Originally posted in Jan. 2007(The author retains all rights to this material)
My name is Steve and I am an addict.
I came to my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting on July 17, 1995. It was an attraction from my old running partner who had gotten clean two years earlier that led me to my first meeting. I remember, in 1993, when he got arrested and I didn’t and he went away to the rehab and I didn’t and I thought,” thank god he went away and I didn’t”. At the time he was working for me and my family in our family business. I remember him coming from this rehab with a smile on his face. I was a boss yet I was a disgrace. For almost two years we worked together and I watched as he showed up every day happy and just had a general glow about him that I couldn’t understand or pinpoint. He was able to save money and take vacations. I thought he must have figured out a way to use successfully. I thought whatever the case was, I wanted some of that. Some stuff was happening in my life on or about July of 1995, my brother had gotten arrested again for drugs, I had gotten scared and I called my friend and he took me to my first meeting at the Carteret “Open up and let it Rip” group July 17, 1995. I didn’t know what to expect. I was told by my friend that if I didn’t use for just that one day and went to the meeting with him I would have a chance. So I got through the day of work without getting high, went directly to his house after work, and there were four addicts waiting for me and they told me they were from Narcotics Anonymous, and they hugged me and they told me all these things and I didn’t know what to think. They told me to go to ninety meetings in ninety days and to not pick up a drug in that time and I knew I had to give it a shot, I felt like this was my last chance. We went to the meeting, and I felt a sort of magic when people shared and when people told me it was okay, and I watched when they did clean time celebration and a guy I used to party with celebrated 90 days clean, and I thought to myself that if he could do that, just maybe I can too. I really felt relieved, that I had found something that I had been missing my whole life.
The next day, I went to work and got through the day without using. I called Tom, and Tom and his four friends came and took me to what was to become my home group for the next four years. We went to a step meeting and we stayed at the end of the meeting for a business meeting. They put me in the group book and volunteered me to make the coffee. I said I didn’t know how to make coffee and someone offered to come an hour early and help me make it. They gave me keys to the church and I was taking my first step becoming a part of this fellowship. The next three or four days Tom (my friend who attracted me to the program of N.A.) or one of his friends came with me to a meeting in my area and introduced me to different people and told me the people that I see in meetings regularly are the ones working a program. I was scared, and worried that they were going to try and brainwash me. And a friend of mine pointed out that if that’s what brainwashing was, then I needed a double dose of the heavy duty cycle. I am forever grateful that I stuck and stayed. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days, I started calling people who I didn’t know, I had no idea what I was supposed to say but I just said I had no idea what I was supposed to say or do, I was just doing what was suggested. I met a lot of friends that way. I came early and stayed late at meetings. I got a sponsor and started working steps. I got a home group that I participated in. I stayed away from all people, places and things that I used with and at. I really felt a connection with the people in Narcotics Anonymous. I knew some of them were full of it, but I knew that others weren’t and I wanted that. I was married with two beautiful children that were petrified of me, of who I had become. And after going to meetings for about three months, I really felt that there was hope in the relationships I had damaged so severely. Somewhere around three months clean, the overwhelming obsession to use was lifted. I started to believe that this program can and would work for me. I was very connected in this fellowship; I had commitments with H&I. I cannot stress how important it was and still is for me to have a commitment in Narcotics Anonymous. It has been a crucial part of my recovery. It keeps me connected, makes me feel like a part of and in doing so I am helping others.
When I had 18 months clean, I had a 24 year old brother who had just celebrated 90 days. He chose to use once more which ultimately was the last time he used. He died as result. When he died it really made me think how powerful this disease really is. To my amazement the people from Narcotics Anonymous held me up and told me that it was going to be ok and I didn’t have to use over it. Those people were really there for me the way no one else had ever been there for me. They have truly been like family for me. I saw that no matter what, I didn’t have to use and there was no excuse great enough for using. I continued to work a program, go to meetings, follow suggestions and stay clean.
Around three years clean, my wife threw me out, told me she didn’t love me, and when I called up my mother who was also my close friend, both her and my dad gave me the key to their Beach home and said to stay there until I could figure out what to do. Once again, the people from Narcotics Anonymous held my hand and told me I didn’t have to use over this. Life doesn’t always run smooth and sometimes bad things happen, but when we work a program, we get better at accepting life or what it truly is. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching, along with twelve steps and I’ve realized all I’ve ever really wanted to be is genuinely happy. I moved on, got a divorce, and I didn’t have to use.
I started dating a woman in the program, who had a couple of years clean and we really fell in love. I asked her to marry me, and we didn’t use. My life felt so awesome and so fulfilled and all I had to do was a few of simple things. Around the same time one of my closest friends won a trip to England and invited me to go along with him. Blown away, I agreed to go. We had a lot of “situations” arise in England. There were problems from the minute I got there. The hotel wasn’t being paid for by the radio station, I tried renting a car and didn’t realize how difficult it was to drive on the opposite side of the road and I guess it was all just overwhelming. So I returned the car, looked up the NA hotline number and found out where they directed me to a meeting. When I walked into the meeting and heard the readings I knew it was Ok and I felt relief. It is so awesome to have a place to go, even on another continent, and feel like I am at home. Things got worked out and we had a safe journey home.
Once I came home I made a decision to sell my Harley so that I could buy a home for the new family that was being created. We bought a house in Ocean County, and had to leave my area and go to another Narcotics Anonymous area and I knew it was going to be okay. I got a commitment and the people were there for me once again. It took some getting used to but I came to love my new area. I let people know who I was and what I was about and I was not alone. People welcomed me like they did when I first got clean.
We were planning a large wedding but opted to get married in our backyard. We had a small but awesome wedding and my father was not only able to see me get married, but welcome my new bride into the family. He had gotten very sick. Two months later, my father passed away. And the people from Narcotics Anonymous held me up, and were there for me and my family like nothing I had ever seen before. I had never experienced such anguish as when my father died. He had become my best friend. I was able to show up for him like never before because I had become a member of the fellowship. People in NA taught me that. They showed me how to become the best father, son, brother and friend that I could be. They showed up for me in the dozens and stayed by my side. They cried with me and listened to me. They held me up and reminded me that using wouldn’t fix anything. The day he died I went to a meeting and shared because that is what I was taught to do. I am so grateful for this fellowship that saved my life. No matter what I knew that using would be stupid and I stayed connected in the fellowship.
I have had three more children with my wife and have since moved back to Monmouth County. We were welcomed back and I got a commitment in order to reconnect with the area. My wife and I love this fellowship, we go to conventions, we’ve traveled out of the country, our life has been so awesome with Narcotics Anonymous, I am forever grateful.
Then on August 9, 2006, my wife and I were riding our motorcycles back from a meeting and my wife was involved in an accident and was seriously injured and hospitalized for almost 3 weeks. I am the one who financially supports our family of seven and she was the one who provided care for our family. Our kids were 1, 2, 4, 13 and 14. This devastating blow showed me once again how amazing the people in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous are. They stood up and held us up and together in our time of crisis. They stayed and watched our children, they helped with everything that was possible and still to the day, it brings tears to my eyes, the power of the unity that this fellowship offers. They showed up more than our biological families even could. I am forever indebted and grateful to all the miracles that occurred since I first walked into my first meeting on July 17, 1995.
I am still clean on this 7th day of January, 2007 and I say that to let you know that if I can do it anyone can do it. I felt hopeless and helpless. I did not want to live the way I was living before the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. I have found a new way of life and know that as long as I don’t use NO MATTER WHAT, anything is possible.
Thanks for Letting Me Share
My name is Steve I am a grateful addict.