Today is my AA, CA, and NA, birthday! I got clean in 1990. I had all the usual stuff happen to me in my crack addiction. Selling most of my possessions for a fraction of what I had paid for them. I I traded a $500.00 stereo for a few rocks of cocaine. I sold a color TV for a rock. And another color TV. I literally sold the shirt off my back for a single $2.00 hit. I tried for five minutes to get the guy to take my shoes for another hit but he wouldn’t do it. I was getting strong armed robbed in a park one day, I resisted and someone from behind broke a wine bottle over my head. Or when I traded some guys car without his permission or knowledge for $60.00 worth of crack.I never knew how that ended up. But the big drug dealer I sold it to had his suspicions it wasn’t mine and he threatened to kill me if it turned out it was stolen. You get the idea. Stuff like that. And I wasn’t even a hard-core druggie. But no addict, lightweight or not, goes unscathed.
But there were two pivotal moments that got me clean. The first was that I was laying in bed watching TV in1988. I also have paranoid schizophrenia and I was suffering from BAD Akathesia. The leg-jerking, not being able to sit still, the restlessness. But I was forcing myself to watch MTV. A commercial came on about drug addiction and recovery.They gave a phone number to call. I was in the right place at the right time.The commercial realy hit home. I called the number and it told me where there was CA meetings nearby. I went to one, it was a small meeting, about ten people.I thought everybody in the room hated me and was laughing at me. But after the meeting, a few walked up to me and sincerely greeted me and they were the nicest, coolest people. If they had been mean I might have walked out with a bad feeling and never gone back. So my lesson I’m sharing with anybody reading this is give people a chance. There are friendly nice people in12-step programs. don’t jump to conclusions and give up on people. I have to say, the people were nice but I was still not done with drugs. I went to meetings but I was using in between. But the seed of recovery had been planted. I knew there was help. But I used for another 6 months.Then I relapsed in my mental illness.I had stayed out of the hospital since 1982 but I relapsed in1989 and had several hospitalizations, maybe triggered by my drug use. I was back suffering and miserable AND an addict. Not a pleasant time for me. So my dad didn’t know what to do with me. I was 29 years old and staying with him. He found a Residential Treatment home for me. To make a long story short. I was living in the treatment home (and drinking) but one night I was had been there a couple months and I walked downstairs from my bedroom and discovered that an AA meeting was taking place in our large dining room. I started attending. A chance at recovery had fallen into my lap. I got serious about my recovery, I found other meetings. I move into a Board & Care home and kept attending meetings. The meetings were interesting, besides being helpful and informative. Entertaining even.
I started taking the bus to 5 or 6 meetings a week. I got a sponsor, I worked the steps. My sponsor told me to never turn down an opportunity to speak in meetings. So every time the chairperson at my meetings asked (as they always do) if anyone had a burning desire to talk, I would raise my hand and get up in front of 10, 15, 40, a hundred people and I would share. I’ve been to a thousand or more meetings. I’ve learned a lot. I have tapered down in my meeting attendance, I go about once a month. But I’m working on going to more. People in AA are pretty tolerant. Many of them have been in jail or psyche wards themselves. So this is a little of my story. I hope someone can relate. And I would consider it an honor if I inspired even one person to seek recovery. And succeed. Thank you.