For the people that know me, its no secret that I am an addict. My drug of choice for 2 years was Cocaine, 4 years of Crack Cocaine, and for 4 more years on top of that I fell victim to the grips of Meth. I bare no shame in my past, because without it I wouldn’t be who I am today, and my story has helped many break fee of the chains of addiction, and inspires those still in active addiction to get clean. July 9th, 2019 I celebrated 6 years clean.
There was a time though, when there was nothing but darkness at the end of the tunnel. And my only concern was when I was going to score another rock, or who I was going to rob to pay for my next high.
I’m proud to say that life is behind me now. Sadly, its not far behind me and the devil himself to this day, still teases me with his convincing antics. Getting clean, and staying clean is not an easy feet. And yes, it can be a daily battle, even 6 years down the road of recovery.
So I thought I might share some of the things and choices I had to make to begin my life into recovery. I hope if you are reading this and you struggle with addiction and are looking for a way out, that this helps you to get started on your way to recovery. Also please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need suggestions. I am not a physician of any kind, I only speak from personal experience, and please keep in mind that everyone’s recovery is his own.
For those who are not addicts or maybe know an addict currently struggling with addiction, I hope this article gives you a peek into just how hard it is to get clean, and the sacrifices we as addicts make…even if you yourself don’t consider it a sacrifice. Recovery is a journey of thy self and sometimes its an UGLY journey.
A Few Things I Did To Get Started & Stay Clean
I had to accept that I had a problem. Literally that is the first step. No one likes to admit that they have been defeated or that they have a problem, or that they have lost control. We as humans like to always think that we are in control, and most of the time we are. But unfortunately, addiction comes with a very thick pair of blinders… and is really convincing that you don’t have a problem.
I had to be DESPRATE. Yes, I was desperate, and in recovery they call this the “Gift of Desperation”. I was so beyond desperate to get clean that I literally would have done anything!! I gave up….I literally dropped to my knees and prayed to a god that I wasn’t even sure existed. I went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, and I literally begged everyone in that meeting to please help………please please help me.
I went to Narcotics Anonymous Meetings. And when I say I went, that means I went every single day for 90 days straight and I went every day after that! And I kept going, I kept showing up. There were days in my early recovery when I wouldn’t even leave…I would sit there all day reading my book, drinking ungodly amounts of coffee, and chain smoking cigarettes like they were going out of fashion. I found a sponsor, one that had a good amount of recovery on her belt. We worked The 12 Steps, and anytime I started jonesin I would call her, and we would meet for coffee or just spend hours on the phone. I made “The Rooms” my new home. I mean I was there more than I was at my own house. If you are wondering how to find meeting near you you can down load a Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder. Also there is a hotline you can call. SAMHSA National Helpline is a FREE, CONFIDENTIAL, 24/7, 365 day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. 1-800-662-HELP (4357). I will list these and a couple other services that offer help for addiction at the end of this article.
I cut ANY and EVERY person that was associated with my addiction COMPLETELY out of my life! This was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Some of those people were the people I grew up with, since grade school, some of them were family. Most of these people I knew my entire life, long before we even became users. But the fact of the matter was, they were still using, and I didn’t want to use anymore. Seeing them or even hearing their name out loud would make want to get high so bad, cause now that is what I associated them with. This was also especially hard for me, cause they were the only friends I had. So now I felt more alone than I had ever before. I didn’t answer their calls, and blocked as many as I could, I wouldn’t answer the door…and honestly I’m pretty sure I still owed some of them money, but I let that go too. NO CONTACT AT ALL! If I seen them in public I would turn the other way and for real I would RUN!!! Sounds stupid, but its true. So yeah, it sucked big time. The only people I talked to or associated with from that point forward were recovering addicts in NA and people who didn’t use or never used.
Tried Different Hobbies. This one kind of makes me giggle. This might sound like an easy thing to do. Ya know, your sitting alone in your apartment and you have to find some things to do to keep your hands busy..“Idle hands are the devils playground”, so you ask yourself…. “What do I like to do?” For most people that would be a simple question right? Not for an addict…one who has spent the last 10+ years getting high, and nothing else. I had no idea what I liked to do. I never did anything else, so how would I know what I like!? So I started with some basic shit really. I tried painting. I painted just about anything that could be painted… bottles, my bed, my kitchen table, on canvas….just kept painting to stay busy. I started a collection of wired rocks..yep just plain ol’ rocks from outside. Baking, any kind of arts and crafts. I never did really find my niche till years after recovery, which was yoga, and I wish I had discovered it back then. Anyhow, as an addict I know all to well the reality of not knowing who the hell I was and what I liked. It was a crazy and scary journey discovering myself. There were things I didn’t like about myself and I learned things about myself that I never knew. And I learned these things by trial and error. Pick any kind of hobby, even if you find you didn’t ike it all that well, finish whatever it is you started. It helps. Trust me.
I talked about my addiction and recovery. I know this sounds like something an addict would not want to do. Who wants to tell the world they have a problem???…and its not easy convincing the people that know you that you are trying to recover, because chances are that you have tried before with no avail. SO WHAT!!!!!!!! Keep trying! And TALK TALK TALK TALK about it. If I could only count the number of people that laughed in my face when I told them I was getting clean, I’d be here for days! When I celebrated 30 days clean I was so damn proud, cause there were days when I didn’t think I was going to make it another 5 mins! Every 24 hours clean, and not using is a gift! Hell sometimes every 5 mins is a fucking achievement! And you have every god damned right to celebrate and share that gift with whom ever you damn well please. BE PROUD!! Scream it at the top of your fucking lungs so the entire world hears you! Telling people can also help hold you accountable. You will be surprised, (despite the assholes who doubt you), how many people will ask “So how are you doing?” And you can just tell they want to know if you are still clean….tell them! “Yes, I got another 24 hours on my belt, and 31 days.” if that’s the case. Don’t be ashamed of trying to get your life together…EVER! Sharing your story will give you more strength than you could ever imagine. Like I said in the beginning of this post, that the people who know me, know that my addiction is no secret. I’m very open about it…very raw…and real. Sometimes I have to hear myself talk about it to realize that I’m a badass because I am beating this! Its a great reminder. Pardon my language here but also….. FUCK the people that doubt you! You take that doubt and you use it as fuel to drive you! Nothing feels better than running into someone who doubted you, years into your recovery and being able to say “I just celebrated 6 years clean.” Don’t make your addiction or recovery the white elephant. It DESERVES recognition and so do you!
Now these are just a very small few things that I did when I started my recovery 6 years ago but they were HUGE STEPS! They were not easy by any means. But they can be done no matter how impossible they may seem. I know, cause I did them.
I’m not exactly sure if this will help someone else out there who struggles with this disease, but if it helps just ONE person to take a step in the right direction, then I have succeeded.
August 11th, 2018 I lost my baby sister Tara to a heroin addiction at the tender age of 26. Addiction is serious. There are two ends to an active addiction and that’s prison or death. If you or someone you know suffers from substance abuse, please reach out for help. Never stop reaching. Never give up. Keep pushing. If you fuck up and relapse, try again! Keep trying!!!
If you know someone who is in recovery, give them recognition, cause you have no idea the demons that they are facing as they try to piece together the person they are, that they never knew.
The Links and Numbers below are Free for anyone!!!!!! It’ ok! Go for it, I promise you with all that I am, its worth it, and YOU CAN RECOVER!
National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Move Forward Recovery – Free/State-Funded Rehab