Jun 052010

Early sobriety for me was extremely crucial to figure out I could have fun without drugs or alcohol.  I had been through a drug treatment program that was pretty hardcore.  It was like a “boot camp for druggies” as one person put, but it was exactly what I needed at 21 years old having shunned any sense of responsibility for most of my life.  I attended ACYPAA events like going to Magic Mountain, going to dances on New Years Eve and even CA conventions in Palm Springs for a time.  I had a group of sober friends that would go out at night in Hollywood after meetings on the weekends too.  I was willing to just go out and be stupid and it seemed to work.  I was young and had that sense that if I wasn’t out doing something I was missing out on something good.  Sometimes that complacency can be dangerous but I directed it into sober activities and it really seemed to work.  Sober picnics and cookouts were a great opportunity for me to just not be alone and have people start to recognize me when I was attending lots of social sober functions.  I committed to lots of meetings fresh out of rehab.  I had been told that if I didn’t immerse myself in 12-step meetings and activities that I wouldn’t last very long.  I see this to be extremely true in my case but it took me a long time to recognize that I wasn’t as “terminally unique” as I thought I was for a good portion of my life.

When I separated myself from the groups of people I was surrounded by I seemed to not be able to relate to them very well.

This was potentially dangerous behavior and I didn’t figure it out until a few years into my life free from drugs and alcohol.  Nevertheless Sober activities were what truly helped me succeed in, not only getting to know other sober people but becoming a part of a new lifestyle.  It’s a daunting task sometimes, like being the new kid at a school.  You feel like you want to stand in the back of the room and make sure you have a quick get-away sitting next to the doors.  If you are a young person in Alcoholics Anonymous you will probably hear things like icypaa and acypaa depending on where you are located in the states.

These are conventions of Young People of Alcoholics Anonymous and genuinely make it easy to meet people your age who are sober and doing fun things.  A few of these resources to find young sober people in your area are listed below:

ICYPAA was founded for the purpose of providing a setting for an annual celebration of sobriety among young people, now having turned into events often to celebrate holidays, 3 day weekends, summer and other times of the year.

ACYPAA All California Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous.

NYCPAA New York City Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous.

NYCCPAA North Carolina Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous.

WICYPAA Wisconsin Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Just to name a few.  The easiest way to find a place in your area is to do a search online for the city you are in.

Jun 042010

Attached is a video from a writer friend of mine about his experience getting sober and addressing the demons of addiction.

In this video he talks about his addiction, about his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol and about recovery fellowship.  Thanks Mx for your contribution to my site.

Michael Xavier is a Los Angeles based underground author that writes about the grit, struggles, and ultimate triumphs of the everyday men and women who struggle with lifes demons.

His books “The Demon In My Brain” and his Novel, “LULLABY” are due out next year. You can see more of his work at:

May 222010

With an introduction to Narcotics Anonymous and drug rehab at an early age, I wasn’t sure I had a problem at that point.  I was 17 and my major tendency was just getting into trouble.  Once again I had been in trouble with the law and was trying to please my parents and the courts by going into rehab (not to mention the fear of being locked up).  I was amazed at the stories I heard.  I was even taken back a bit  because my addiction hadn’t gotten to the where I was hearing about in comparison to others, or so I thought

.  So on my merry way after 3 months and not in any trouble with the law anymore and off and running I went.  A few years later, at 21, I was again in trouble with the police and still wanted to blame it on anything besides my drinking and using.  I did recognize that I had a drug problem, but being so young, clearly it wasn’t life threatening, I just didn’t want to continue with getting in trouble and dealing with the consequences.

Mind you my consequences were getting much bigger each time, but I couldn’t, or didn’t, recognize them for what they were yet.  I was facing more problems, being estranged from a loving family, and wasn’t willing to go

to any lengths. This time I spent almost 9 months either in a drug rehab facility or in jail getting my “problems” cleared up.  I had a good head start and was going to meetings when I got out of the treatment center that I went through.  I spent a total of 4 1/2 years sober this time.  I was on top of the world, that young, arrogant attitude got the best of me at some point and I had slipped away from doing what I was supposed to do to remain sober.  I would just check in on meetings here and there and my priorities were to make money and get laid.  I didn’t have much of a sense for what life would have in store for me though.

Eventually I had a slip.  My minor slip lasted a total of 5 years and things got progressively worse.  Those damn people in the meetings were right!  I wasn’t as unique as I truly thought.  I was starting to get a grasp on things now and my addiction had beaten a good dose of humility in me.  For me it was all about being willing to change my life.  I came back in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous a beaten man, not such a smart ass boy I had once left them.  I was using needles (something I never thought would become of me).  I was working at a phone room lying to people about investments to make money for my addiction.  I was in trouble with the law again.  It was all coming back to me how my life was a consistent up and down and this time I was older and alone.

The legal system again intervened in my using and I was grateful for it this time.  I was sentenced to outpatient drug rehab by the courts and ordered to maintain a residence at a sober living facility.  It was a knife with two sharp edges for me, I was trying to get out of trouble and this time save my life in the process.  I diligently started working the 12 steps like my life depended on it.  I was grasping at any spiritual connection I could to maintain some sort of mental sanity through the process, be it church or meditation classes and even a Buddhist temple once a week.  I found peace in my life and a great support group going to lots of meetings.  The manager at my sober living told me that I had something to offer because of my prior experience in AA and it made me feel like I was needed.

Today I lead an exciting life without drugs or alcohol.  I’ve been sober longer than I thought was possible.  I have people I sponsor and they help me stay on track, reminding me of the things I used to think were so important.  My sponsor always tells me to focus on what’s good and working in my life and other good things will make themselves known in the process.  Those are words I live by today.

My family is back in my life and I have been able to be there for them through some tough times that life has brought to them.  I was in a motorcycle accident close to my 4th AA birthday and the fellowship helped support me through having to take medication (which scared me to no end).  I’ve been able to deal with 18 major surgeries I’ve had on my leg because of that accident and with a positive attitude went from the doctors telling me that I was probably going to lose my leg to spending the winter snowboarding and this summer back to surfing again and I’m only 2 years out from that accident.

Even that accident brought me a great perspective on where my life is now.  Going from real close to being a pirate with a wooden leg, everything is easy to deal with.

Today I don’t think about myself so much.  I concentrate on how I can be of service to life.  I’m not a saint by any means but there’s no reason not to shoot for the stars.  I recognize that not everybody is going to be happy with me but I try to make amends to those I upset and stay on track.

May 212010

Letter to a Case Manager:

Friday dinner with my parents, three brothers, my sister and brother in law and daughter Ashley was an evening I will always cherish.  I do not recall ever being as vulnerable and honest.  It was freeing.  I shared with them my feelings as I never have in my life.  I felt strong.  There is a peace in my soul. My work at Seasons is not a dream.  I did not betray myself with my family. I am authentic.

I am a real person no longer split off from my self.  I am in tune with myself, my family and God.  I am a real person.  I have my Self back with me.  I am a happy man. I am a man.  For the first time in my life ” I Am”.   Tonight at our Shaver cabin I did not rehearse my comments.  I expressed myself in a new and fresh way.  Oh my dear sweet God I am not locked up.  I am not being smothered by inner shame and endless doubt. My heart is full.

I’m alive.  I will sleep soundly tonight. Wow…I have tears of gratitude and faith and no shame. Kevin…..the real Kevin