Written August 28, 2016
In light of the drug epidemic going on I wanted to share this. I don’t think that one area of the country is worse than another because the loss of any life is always bad. I write this in no way to boast or brag but to show that it can be done. I work a program of staying clean no matter what. I do my best to work a program of Spiritual Principles that has helped me to lose the desire to use drugs AND the need to pull out those old behaviors. It’s also a program of living Just for Today. I am very grateful to my Higher Power today even tho I hated him for leaving my side almost a decade ago. Today I know that I turned my back on Him. My only hope is that my story empowers and inspires others to stay clean, at least Just for Today.
(As the applause quiets down after asking who’s celebrating “X” amount of clean time…) Another addict asks, “Who are you and how’d you do it?”…
Hello my family, my brothers and sisters. I wanted to share something with you that you may not know or figured out by now. My name is Anonymous and I am a grateful, recovering addict. My name is Anonymous because I am you or someone you know who was caught up in the hell of active addiction. I share this for multiple reasons, mainly to perhaps help another addict or family member like I was helped these last few years. Also to show it CAN be done. An addict, any addict, can stop using, lose the desire to use and learn a new way of life.
My story does not involve a drug-a-log. If you’re looking for a story like that or one that glorifies the using or the ways and means to get more drugs than stop reading now. My story is about finding recovery and how much better life in general is. I still go thru days when the shit fairy makes a visit and I stay clean even thru those days. With that said, here is my story.
Today I celebrate 5yrs clean. That’s 60.03 months, or 1,827 Just for Todays, or 43,853 Just for This Hour, however you want to look at it. As I look at the app on my phone, I have to chuckle – it says I came back from my(hopefully) last relapse on a Sunday in 2011. Today happens to be Sunday. Coincidence? Who knows? To me this day is priceless.
Today marks the 3rd clean date anniversary since my divorce 2 1/2yrs ago. At one point in time I saw my ex husband as my hero, my knight in shining armor who had rescued me from that rabbit hole I was going down. He also was a reservation in my early years of recovery. Thankfully I worked thru it before my current mess. Tho I had my times in the last 5 years, more so the last couple of years, that I wanted to give up but I didn’t thanks to many people in my life. These people are my true friends and some of them I call my family.
I admit I am proud of myself for being able to make it to the other side of that and going thru “it” again, but I am being humble too because I don’t want to get cocky. My addiction is still an arms length away and if I let down my guard the monster will rise up again to take me out of this world.
Before my addiction, I was a pretty good person with some flaws. I helped or took care of people to the best of my ability and many times I helped to much to a point that I lost myself in the process. During my addiction I was a lying, manipulative, conning, self centered bitch. I got to a point of desperation and total self imposed isolation. I pushed everyone away either because I felt they didn’t understand me or they criticized me. I was also afraid they wanted me to share my stuff. There were times I felt like a monster.
Despite everyone’s begging and pleading I felt like I wasn’t an addict. “I can control my using. I can still pull myself together and function just fine(actually I could barely function). I’m not like THOSE people. I’m not some dirty homeless person with a needle in my arm. My DOC’s(Drugs Of Choice – plural) were prescribed to me. They’re legal.” I felt and thought like this until that fateful weekend that changed my life forever.
I was caring for my step son for a weekend while his dad was out of town. That weekend I couldn’t even stop using for half an hour. I puked all over myself while he, then 8 or 10 years old, cleaned me up. I couldn’t even stand on my own 2 feet. I decided to send my step son home early then I went and talked with my parents.
I reached out for help and I got it, even tho I still didn’t feel I needed it or belonged where I ended up to start getting clean – rehab. Since then I have had a couple of life changes. I have had 3 relapses, 2 which were overdoses and 1 of those I was found with my dog licking my face to keep me alive. When the paramedics showed up, my heart beating 8 beats per minute. I have been thru a divorce, another relationship after that, a few deaths of loved ones, financial problems, and now I have health issues to deal with.
While being in recovery I’ve had some pretty rough times, even times that I almost said f*** it and went to get high. But I’ve also had some awesome times too. Today I know what will happen if I go back out. I play the “What if I…then I…” tape thru to the end – me in a coffin.
I have grown a lot since I’ve been in recovery. The trying times I’ve had while in recovery have taught me many lessons for which I am SO grateful. Today, no longer am I a lying, thieving, conning, manipulative, self centered little girl with ulterior motives when I help someone. No longer am I isolated and feeling lonely. Today I have MANY, MANY friends in and out of recovery and even around the world!
There was one person who helped me a lot. I found him in a social media support group and we chatting thru our messenger service. His name is Doug. When I came across Doug’s Daily Reflections a couple years ago I was in a very dark place in my life and I just wanted to run away and never come back. His words that would appear on my screen helped me more than I can say. It’s no wonder that his passing away was a total shock and it devastated me inside, as I know it has for his family and the multitude of his friends.
While chatting with his family about continuing to share his work, I was asked something unexpected. I was requested to add my own words of experience, strength and hope. Then, sometime down the road when I felt comfortable, I was asked to write my own stuff. Never in my life did I expect his family to share his work with me, let alone have faith and confidence in me to honor Doug’s memory and be able to write my thoughts. I’ve never really been a writer. I’ve been creative in other areas of my life. Since then(about a year and a half now) I’ve rediscovered who I am and discovered new things about myself and new passions. Writing is becoming a passion along with gardening and hiking. Sharing my thoughts, experience, strength, hopes, fears…all that stuff has been very cathartic for me since I have a difficult time expressing myself verbally(my brain either goes faster or slower than my mouth.
These days I’m not as much of a people pleaser as I once was, a character defect I struggle with. Today I’m taking better care of me. Today I have a better understanding of who I am as a woman and what I want in life. I’ve rediscovered myself and discovered new things about myself and new passions. People who’ve known me for many years say I’m different now than before and during my addiction. Truth is, I’m still me, just improved.
Today, despite of and in spite of all that’s happened and the naysayers I celebrate 5 years clean. I normally say I have a few 24hrs clean so that it’s not overwhelming to a newcomer just trying to get 1 day clean. Today, more so than most days, I celebrate myself and life in general. Today I can safely say that if I can get and stay clean thru all the crap I’ve been thru while ignoring the voices in or out of my head that talk shit to me sometimes daily, well, so can any addict. I have SO MUCH gratitude for and am SO VERY blessed to have everyone who’s helped me get and stay clean.
To all who have fewer 24hrs than me, hang on. Keep putting 1 foot in front of the other and keep doing the next right thing for the right reason and you can make it too. To all who’ve helped me make it – whether you’re the addict still out there, or those of you with 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1, 5, 10, or more years, the relapser, the addict who died clean, the addict who’s overdosed and has lived or died I thank you. To the haters, naysayers, and all who’ve supported me, I humbly and gratefully thank you too. Family, friends, addicts, non addicts, professionals, clergy, and my Facebook peeps near and far. People I love, like, dislike and those I despise. People who have passed on. I thank you all. Most importantly I am SO VERY grateful for my Higher Power saving me and either putting or taking away people and situations in my life. Without any one of you I don’t think I’d be here. I truly understand when they say that people are put into or taken away from my path to either teach me or to help me grow. Thank you for helping me to get thru these last few years.