This is simply an essay about my recovery from drugs and alcohol.
My Recovery from an Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol
Before I get into my recovery from drugs and alcohol I would like to just give a short background on my life in the world of addiction. My mother gave birth to me and my twin brother in 1979 when she was 16 years old. She was a regular in the drug party scene, often leaving me and my brother with a babysitter - who was blind - while she went out with friends to parties. My father was in the Air Force at the time of my birth. He was a marijuana smoker and the occasional wine drinker back then. It wasn't until a couple of years after my birth that he began drinking beer and hard liquor more often than smoking marijuana and drinking wine. The introduction to hard liquor into his life ushered in physical abuse in my brother's and my lives for the next decade.
After watching my father's behavior over several years of my life, I had said to myself that I would never become like him. I stayed true to that in that I have never become an abusive addict. Unfortunately, I have become just like my father; I am an addict. I started using drugs (from this point onward drugs also includes alcohol, as I believe that alcohol is a drug) when I was 14 years old. I had left my brother, Kyle, at the time he was six years old, at his soccer practice alone while I went to a friend's house to drink for the first time. I wound up getting drunk, dropped off at my grandmother's house, and passed out on the front lawn. This caused a one month grounding and the loss of trust from my father.
Two weeks after the drinking incident I went outside, even though I was grounded. When I attempted to go back into the house, my father accused me of being out getting high. I told him I was only in the yard; an argument ensued and I ran away from home. I hitched a ride to a friend's house that evening. Once there I had noticed that everyone was partying - drinking, smoking marijuana, etc. I saw that one friend seemed higher than the rest, as if he had used something different. When I asked him what he was on he said he had taken LSD. My friend asked if I'd like to try some and I said I would. A short walk down the street and we were at his LSD dealer's home. We spent the night there, eating LSD and smoking marijuana. That night was my introduction to those two drugs and the beginning a life-long love affair with LSD.
Skipping ahead to the age of 21, I had become a daily drinker. I would drink to get drunk and blackout 3 to 4 days per week from drinking. When confronted by family and friends to stop, I would brush them off and choose my drinking over them. I would ingest or snort any drug offered to me. Though I would use practically any drug, I refused to ever inject anything. It makes me laugh today to think about how I wouldn't inject anything to get high, but I had ingested 30 ounces of rat poison to see if it would. From the age of 22 until I was 33 I spent a total of 8 years in and out of prison. Even while I was in prison, my addiction still had power over me. I would buy medications from other inmates. I was sniffing Klonopin on a near daily basis. At one point I even found an inmate who was prescribed Thorzine. We would even make pruno (jailhouse moonshine).
It wasn't until I went to rehab in 2012, when I was 33, that I realized I actually had a problem with drugs. It was halfway through rehab that I decided that my recovery was a priority in my life. I even broke up with my girlfriend and long-time friend, using the excuse that her abuse of pills was a hindrance to my recovery. I was released from rehab March 13, 2012. I got drunk March 13, 2012. I got drunk once or twice after that day. Two weeks later I started probation. One of my stipulations of probation was to not drink or use drugs. So I decided that I would do the right thing and not drink any more. On April 03, 2012 my brother, Kyle, died at the age of 24 due to a heroin overdose. I got drunk. On April 10 we buried Kyle. I went out with his friends that night and we all got drunk. When I walked into my probation officer's office on April, 11 I reeked of alcohol. He lectured me and made me promise not to do it again. He was understanding that it would be hard for any addict, especially one new to recovery, to stay clean when a loved one passes away. April 20, 2012 came along and I was invited to a party at my friend's house. I decided to go and make it my last time partying before I quit. The following week, when I saw my probation officer, he had asked if I had drunk. I did not lie. I told him I had. That is when he asked me if I wanted him to just write a Violation of Probation warrant then and there. I broke down. I told him I never wanted to go back to prison again and that I would do everything I could to stay clean.
My annual clean date had become April 21. Keeping my brother's death and the threat of prison in mind, I started attending weekly Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. By mid-January, 2013, I had started going to NA meetings on a daily basis. My cousin stated that he wanted to stay clean from his addiction, so we started going to meetings together seven days a week. Three months later, he stopped going to meetings, but I kept going every day. I started taking commitments at the meetings. I was a chairperson, a coffee maker, a greeter, a secretary, and an alternate general service representative. When I started attending NA meetings, it was the excitement of receiving key tags at major clean time stepping stones that kept me going to meetings, but that would change. My motivation of getting key tags had faded and the feeling of success over my addiction had become my prime motivation. I became so enveloped in the world of NA and recovery that even my probation officer started to refer his clients to me when they sought out their own recovery. I found my own sponsor, become a sponsor, and started working the 12 Steps out of the NA Step Working Guide.
I have since left the NA program due to some chaos I caused in 13th Stepping (having a sexual relationship with another member who is under one year clean). Even though I have not attended a meeting in a while, my sponsor still keeps in touch daily, I am free from prison; friends and family still seek me out when they need help in recovery, and I am being released three months early from probation. The things in my life I have experienced from the world of addiction may not be unique, but the recovery aspect is. Not many addicts even know that there is a way out of their lifestyle. Though there is no cure for addiction other than death, there is a way to overcome that addiction and live a happy, successful, and fulfilling life. I am living proof of the success of the Narcotics Anonymous program and the network of great supporting addicts within the rooms of the 12 Step programs. This has been a long hard journey and it has only just begun.