THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Joey S."
I'm an addict recovering from the disease of addiction, my name is Joseph S.
When I was a child, I never would have imagined that I’d be sharing my experience, strength, and hope. I didn’t have the confidence within myself that people would listen to anything I had to say.
Before coming to Narcotics Anonymous and doing some work on myself (I say "on myself" because I had to do the inside work), my insides were damaged and I was a fractured person. I suppressed my emotions because I never learned healthy coping skills. After some time, I’ve come to realize that all I had to do was ask for help when the schools tried to step in. I was abused when I was a kid and I always felt if I said something I’d be made fun of and be made the outcast. After awhile in life I began hiding my true self and putting on different masks. It made me feel as though nobody could hurt me. Needless to say, this life brought me to drugs and I felt instantly better. I could always run away from life, run away from fighting and not being good enough to my family, run away from being the problem step-child, run away from feeling different from my friends that had encouraging parents. I found an excuse for every single thing.
I had always known there was a 12-step recovery program called NA, because I had an addict father and there were many addicts around my family. In high school I got kicked out and sent to an alternative school. During my time there, a teacher I had, began taking us out to meetings. I never admitted anything to anyone, i just could not bring myself to say, "I’m Joey and I’m an addict." Over the years, after highschool, I was in and out of treatment, jail, and a four year prison stretch, but I still struggled to identify myself as an addict. It took a few more years and having a child for me to get the courage to try the program again. I started going to meetings and stuck around for awhile. I acquired some clean time but I just struggled to fully surrender to the program and put the work in. I ended up going back out and using.
After losing a custody battle, overdosing, and a number of other dark and painful experiences, I made it back to the rooms. I was so desperate, beaten, and broken. It was then that I finally surrendered and was ready and willing to do the work. I got a sponsor and I got involved: from group-level commitments, to H&I, and Area. I’ve shared my Experience, Strength, and Hope many times because it shows that any addict can lose the desire to use and find a new way to live. I try to embody that “new way to live” mentality. All I ever wanted was a new way to live ever since I was younger. Today I have a lot of great things, but most importantly I have a relationship with a God of my understanding, and a great relationship with my son. I am forever grateful for the blessings that this program has afforded me! No addict need ever die from the horrors of addiction.
Joey S., Addict