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.