Experience, Strength & Hope
THIS IS MY STORY
I FIND MYSELF MISSING MY CHILDHOOD A LOT, AND ITÃ¢€™S FUNNY BECAUSE I DONÃ¢€™T KNOW HOW I CAN MISS SOMETHING I NEVER HAD. I STARTED SMOKING CIGARETTES AT 7. I WAS DRINKING AT 9, SMOKING WEED AT 11 AND A FULL BLOWN METH ADDICT BY 13. I HAD 30 DAYS CLEAN AT 16 AND WENT INTO USING PCP, ACID, WEED, ALCOHOL, ANYTHING I COULD GET MY HANDS ON. I STARTED BECAUSE ALL MY LIFE I FELT ALONE AND THE DRUGS MADE ME A PART OF AND TOOK ALL MY FEARS AND INHIBITIONS AWAY. MY SISTER AND BROTHER ARE 6 & 7 YRS OLDER THAN ME AND NEVER WANTED ME TO GO WITH THEM ANYWHERE OR HANG OUT WITH THEM. MY SISTER TRIED AFTER I GOT A LITTLE OLDER, BUT I THINK IT WAS TOO LATE BY THEN, I WAS OFF AND DOING MY OWN THING. IÃ¢€™VE RAN AWAY FROM HOME A HUNDRED TIMES AND IT WASNÃ¢€™T BECAUSE MY HOME LIFE WAS BAD, MY PARENTS WERE GREAT PARENTS AND NEVER DRANK OR USED EXCEPT THE OCCASIONAL CELEBRATORY DRINK. THEY ALWAYS SUPPORTED ME IN ANYTHING I WANTED TO DO (EXCEPT ACTIVE ADDICTION), THEY HAVE ALWAYS GONE THE EXTRA MILE TO TRY TO HELP ME. THEY TRIED PSYCHIATRY, JUVENILE DETENTION, REHAB, TOUGH LOVE, TOO MUCH LOVE, EVERYTHING. NO ONE COULD UNDERSTAND WHY I HAD TO EITHER BE DRINKING OR USING DRUGS AND WHEN I DIDNÃ¢€™T HAVE THOSE I TURNED TO SELF MUTILATION. OF COURSE, IT WASNÃ¢€™T UNTIL THE LAST DECADE WE FOUND OUT THAT IT IS AN INSIDE JOB AND THAT NOTHING THEY EVER DID WOULDÃ¢€™VE HELPED ME UNTIL I WANTED TO HELP MYSELF. I LOVE MY FAMILY VERY MUCH.
I ALSO STARTED WITH THE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AT A VERY EARLY AGE. I REMEMBER STEALING FROM THE LOCAL PARTY STORE JUST TO SEE IF I COULD GET AWAY WITH IT. AS I GOT OLDER EVERYTHING GOT WORSE. AT 13 I FIGURED OUT I COULD USE SEX TO GET WHAT I WANTED FROM MEN AND AT 16 FOUND OUT IT ALSO WORKED WITH WOMEN. I HAVE NEVER FOUND MYSELF, TRULY FIGURED OUT WHO I AM. I STILL DONÃ¢€™T KNOW JUST WHO I AM BUT AM WORKING ON THAT EVERY DAY, AND I THINK IT WILL ALWAYS BE A WORK IN PROGRESS AS WE AS HUMANS ARE ALWAYS CHANGING OUR LIKES AND DISLIKES, ETC.
LETÃ¢€™S SEE. I WAS THE LITTLE GIRL WHO WAS JUST A LITTLE TOO CHUNKY, I NEVER HAD A STRAIGHT BEAUTIFUL SMILE, I NEVER EXCEEDED IN ANYTHING I DID EXCEPT ACTIVE ADDICTION, I EXCELLED IN THAT VERY QUICKLY AND BECAME A PROFESSIONAL DOPE FIEND OVER NIGHT. I DID DO VERY WELL ONE TIME IN THE 5TH GRADE AT THE COUNTY SPELLING BEE I CAME IN 2ND PLACE. BUT I NEVER REALIZED WHAT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT WAS AT THE TIME UNTIL NOW. I NEVER FINISHED ANYTHING AND WOULD QUICKLY LOSE INTEREST IN EVERYTHING I DID. THE ONLY THING IT SEEMED I WAS WELL AT WAS BEING A DOPE FIEND AND CRIMINAL.firstname.lastname@example.org
I joined Face book nation recently. One of the questions that they ask when setting up is about the High School that was attended. So I put in the High School from the town I was in the longest, part of grade school, jr high school, and the beginning of High School. And I put in the year I would have graduated if I had not moved around so much, gotten so high all the time, and not failed twice resulting in dropping out at sixteen.
So here it is, over thirty years later and all of a sudden I was looking at pictures of people whom I had seen about every day as a child but not since. And I knew, this being no shocker at all, that I did not like 99.9 percent of these people in the slightest. My school experience was not fun. And these expletives deleted played a huge part in that. So I just went and did the rest of the Facebook thing and figured that I would ignore this part of it.
But, an interesting thing happened. I kept going back and looking at these people. And I kept being curious about who they are today. But I also kept getting really upset while looking. And this was happening over and over again as I could not seem to leave it alone.
So last night, Sunday night, I was driving to a meeting. And as I was driving I began to just go over in my head all of this about my old school and the people in it. And what I realized is that I have been carrying this huge load of anger and hatred, generated by the fear that I lived with 24/7 in those days, for over three quarters of my life. I have been angry at them and the town and school system I was in, hated them all and the town and school system, and resented the living daylights out of them.
Now, on some level, I have been aware of this for a very long time. And I was really kinda comfortable with it. One of the true jokes that I tell is this, "Hey, there's been progress. I no longer wish it all to disappear in a small mushroom cloud. But if a fleet of bulldozers came along I would be all right with that." It was like an old set of comfortable clothes. They fit in all the right places.
But I also began to understand something else. That I was tired. I was really tired of carrying that load. That is one heck of a load to carry and I am tired of it. My spirit is weary and I want to set this down and let it go. But I don't know how. The old true joke about "Everything I ever let go of has had claw marks all over it" has always rang true for me. Even more so with this. Part of it is an acknowledgment that these people really did do some rotten expletive deleted things to me. And I must also acknowledge that I in turn lashed out whenever I could and did some rotten stuff in return. And there is the voice that says "But they deserved it." And also the fear, what will I become without this "justified" fear driven anger and hate? Who will I be?
But, I am tired. I do not want this load any more. I am tired.
One of the gifts that I get today is the ability to see myself in others. Before I was so self centered that I could not even truly see anyone else, never mind see myself in them.
What brought this on was Jonathan's check in this morning and yesterday. He talked about being physically unwell and having the tools to deal with it, as well as the attitudes that show up from "the old days" and let us know they are still there.
And it gave me cause to reflect back and see myself, because I could identify with what he was saying. And I truly feel that is a gift that allows me to be able to grow and become less self centered and truly of more service to all, both in the rooms and out.
And I get other gifts as well from this gift. Because my attitude and behaviors have changed, albeit very slowly, the attitudes and behaviors of my family and society around me have changed as well.
On Wednesday evening I received a phone call from one of my sisters. She was going to be unable to take her two youngest daughters and a friend to the mountain to ski/snowboard the next day and would I be willing to take her place if she gave me her ticket. Survey says, Oh You Bet Your Butt!!!
So on Thursday, yesterday, I got up way early and drove up to my sis's town. We swapped vehicles, her mini van for my small Saturn, and off we all went. Had a wonderful day with these youngsters. Took all the prerequisite ribbing for be an "old man", and got up and down the hill a lot.
And, about three in the afternoon, another gift happened. My body told me that I needed to stop now and instead of letting false pride and ego keep me going I listened and told the kids to have fun for the last hour and I would see them at the car.
So many gifts, so much of a new way of life. In my fellowship we have a saying, "One promise, many gifts". And I am seeing how true that is in so many different ways. Having my sister trust that I was able to be responsible with her children. Having a valid drivers license to be able to do. Being able to listen and enjoy instead of false ego offense. So many others. The list goes on.
My name is Jackie and I'm an addict. I lost my biological family, including my mother, at age 3/4 that hurt me a lot and after some time in Dr Banardos homes, was adopted around age 5/6. I was a 'difficult'/damaged child, very gifted artistically, intelligent, and loved to escape into fantasy. My addictive behaviour began when I used to steal sweets from the local shops as a child, and started smoking cigarettes at school at 13. I started using around age 14, cannabis, acid, thats what my new friends did, some of them had come to town after the 1970 Isle of Wight pop festival. I soon found a dealer in town, and climbed out of my bedroom window at night and went out to a local 'hippy' bar and sneak back later (most of the time without the police catching me and bringing me home to my distraught adopted parents). At 15, I left home with my boyfriend, we smoked a lot of dope and drank. Eventually, I was caught by the police, and taken back. I was suspended from school, and became 'out of care and control' by the local authority, and went to live in a half-way house for runaways, or girls from mental hospitals. My boyfriend came to work there as a gardener, and we continued using. We travelled around a lot,had a good job in London, but drank and used a lot, got married and had a son, and split up when my son was aged 2/3.I started seeing a male dealer in London and he moved in with me. This guy was into harder drugs like cocaine and heroin which I had mostly managed to avoid up to that point. We had a daughter. I became involved with left-wing politics. By the time we broke up, I was addicted to heroin, and got a methadone script so that I could work and attempt to care for the children. The prescriptions for methadone, benzodiazipines and anti -depressants continued for another 15 years. As my using progressed, my behaviour deteriorated, so did my relationships, which had been very dependant and selfish. I hated myself and society, although I longed for love, and could be loving. I was dishonest. I began to get caught thieving, eventually, first my son, then my daughter went to live with their fathers. I got into other relationships, and in one of them had another son, and also lost him in a court case. Once all my children had gone, I really spiralled downhill and barely cared if I lived or died. I went to a few NA meetings when I was trying to get clean for court, but my emotional pain prevented me from being able to stay clean. I did however meet the woman who is my present day sponsor. That was 15 years ago.When I saw a vision of my children burying me as a hopeless junkie, and realising that I could not live this way any more, I got some help, went to a rehab, and got clean in 2003. I did not know why I had been saved, when so many of my friends had died.I still had the obsession to use weed and couldn't stay clean until 2005, and had lost a years cleantime for a few smokes.The last relapse forced me to face the disease and codependency in my family, and following a suggestion from my sponsor, attended Al-anon, as well as NA. I have done service all of my recovery and had a home group, sponsor, worked the steps and done as many meetings as posssible.With the love of my sponsor and my faith in a Higher Power, a lot of the damage has been healed. I found love in NA. I found people who cared even though they had also been damaged. I heard that we had been chosen for recovery, I found that an incredible concept; I still do. I found my creativity again. I became reunited with myself, my spirit. I am 4 years clean and have a loving sponsor and sponsee.I have attained an honours science degree, done volutary work in a treatment centre and arts college. I have great friends, and am a productive member of society. I have done courses in complimentary therapies and I am a Reiki healer. I have recently looked at some more of my relationship/love/sex/fantasy issues in the SLAA fellowship. I continue to learn about life, how to feel powerful feelings, have learned to meditate, love yoga and tai-chi, and after these few years have become quite good at it. I live alone, work hard, but know how to relax and be happy for the first time in my life, and be grateful for what I have. I have a life worth living. Thank you for letting me share, i cannot do this alone.Jackie M SuffolkEngland, CD 07/14/05
Hello All, I was on my way back from my jail commitment tonight and, after spending time with the other two panel members having coffee and discussion, was listening to National Public Radio. They were carrying a live broadcast of James Taylor doing a benefit for Haiti. Just as I tuned in he did his song called "Fire and Rain". Now this song is a song of loss, and very beautiful as well. And I started thinking about all of the people that have been, in one way or another, lost to me over the years. And there was a feeling of sadness that accompanied these reflections as well. Now some of these people have been lost in the usual fashion, they have relapsed and either died or never come back. And as I was thinking of them I was very glad that I had them in my life for the time that I did, even though there is pain in that remembrance. I was also glad that I have developed the ability to allow people into my life in that fashion even with the risk that they will go away, which I still hate. And other of these are people who never made it into recovery in any way, they just went on with the hell they lived in and, either drifted away or passed away. And as I thought of these people I was sad for them that they were not able to find this life that we have, with all the joys and sorrows of life included. And finally I thought of the people who just drifted away as our lives went in the directions that they went. And I was able to reflect on the joy of the time we had and the wish for the best possible future, with some regret that they are no longer a part of my life today. The next song that he played was called "Shower the people you Love with Love". And as I listened to that song I was made aware of how difficult that is for me with some. I can hug people in meetings, share my most intimate thoughts and feelings, yet when I leave I still shell up some. And with my blood family it is even more difficult. And, having just finished writing my sixth step, I recognize why. I am afraid. I am afraid to change the relationship that I have with them because I do not know what the outcome will be. I am afraid, in some cases, to let go of my resentment and judgment, because then what do I have left? I am afraid. So, as you can see, I have had a busy night. There is much here to reflect on and speak of with my sponsor, and finally let go of. But it had to start here. Because if I do not tell all of you, ala the fifth step, then I can still deny that it is true and stay stuck in the sickness. I am,
Your Brother in Recovery,
"God Glasses"The daily meditation reminded me of a piece I wrote a while back called "God Glasses," and was probably what inspired me to write it! When I opened that article up, I found another piece that I had begun, but never finished about our soul's garden. I added a little to that today, though I think it needs some work, but thought I would share it with you. Let me know what you think! I"m also enclosing at the bottom the Just for Today meditation and my rendition of "God Glasses." Much love to you and yours today, and may you allow the nurturing waters of Love to flow through you to others you come in contact with! Be well, john ThereÃ¢€™s a place inside of me that I donÃ¢€™t nurture nearly enough. It is my garden of gratitude that lies within each one of us full of the fruits of the spirit Ã¢€â€ compassion, empathy, forgiveness, mercy, unity, harmony, truth, generosity, humility, and faith. These are constantly watered by an ever-reaching, never ceasing spring of love that flows through the universe and through every spirit of life. Now, though the spring never ceases, I block and dam it up many times, with rocks of resentment, self-righteousness, ego, self-centeredness, indulgence, envy, criticism and dishonesty. I neglect my garden too often, concerning myself instead with the day to day distractions this world has to offer. During these times, my gardenÃ¢€™s fruits go into a dormant stage, as if a winter has fallen on my soul.Would that I had courage, strength, and purity of purpose. Would that I had a clear focus of today, and a perfect vision of tomorrow. Let me grow in my spirit God, that I may be direct in my following of Your Good Will. Fortify my soul, that it stands against the demons my mind may conjure up, against the ravages this world throws in my path. Nourish my Love Lord; Your Love flowing through me to touch others, to heal wounds and hurts, to bolster Hope and SerenityÃ¢€â€œJoy.There is an innate peace, when we access our God-spirit, when we can push aside the calamity of the day and rest in the knowledge that we are God-SpiritsÃ¢€â€œentities of Love, Light, Hope and Healing. To feel we are not worthy of this gift is built in us, but it is built by us, by our parents shame, by marketing strategies to make us buy, do or follow paths laid before us by others who felt unworthy themselves. We are told that we are constructed in GodÃ¢€™s image and in truth we are Ã¢€â€œ drops of God in a sea of God Ã¢€â€œ grains of pure Love on an endless beach, stretching and embracing GodÃ¢€™s sea and each other. Still, we fall prey to the erosion of fear endless times throughout our day. We suffer with our insecurities or are made victims by the insecurities of others. Let us allay those fears this morning, to embrace the nurturing waters of pure Love and allow our gardens, our seas, our souls to flourish! Look at the world with your God glasses onÃ¢€â€œaccepting the hardships as they come, yet seeing the underlying miracles that abound within and through them, whether it be a vision of joy in the midst of great sorrow, or the unity that results from shared pain.Look at the world with your God glasses on-relishing the pleasures this life has to offer, yet seeing the supreme joy of the life yet to come, as we become more focused on our true nature, one of encouraging, of harmony, and of true love for one another.Look at the world with your God glasses on-and see the underlying good within each one of us, falling short and failing a lot of the time, through our defects and difficulties, yet rising to miraculous heights at others as the God-centeredness shines without.Look at the world with your God glasses on-and see the pure reflection of love and care that emanates from within each of our spirits, masked as it may be by the momentary circumstances we find ourselves in.Look at the world with your God glasses on-and truly appreciate all of the joys and miracles taking place within each second, each heartbeat, every breath that you take Ã¢€â€œ and be grateful.
Directions to NA: Just go straight to hell and make a u-turn.
NA: Being a part of something is more important that being the center of attention.
NA is the only place where you can walk into a room full of strangers and reminisce.
NA romance.... the odds are good... but the goods are odd.
NA: Look for a way in; not for a way out.
NA: We are not reformed drug userss, but informed addicts.
NA has no fixed address -- you can take it with you.
NA: We are here for a reason, not for the season
NA Groups: A NA group will be judged by the worst behavior of its members
Before I came to NA I was dead, but did not know enough to lie down.
In NA there are no losers -- just slow winners
Addict (as defined by self): A piece of crap that the universe revolves around.
Addict: Someone who refuses to give up a life of failure without a fight.
Addict: A person who when s/he goes to a wedding, wants to be the bride and when she/he
goes to a funeral, wants to be the corpse.
An addict is someone who wants to be held while isolating.
Addict: "I may not be much, but I'm all I think about."
Addict: "If I could use like a normal addict, I'd use all the time!"
Addicts burn their bridges in front of them.
An addict is someone who finds something that works and then stops doing it.
If you think that you are an addict, chances are you are.
An addict is a person with two feet planted firmly in mid-air.
Non-addicts change their behavior to meet their goals; addicts change their goals to meet their behavior.
An addict can be in the gutter and still look down on people.
High bottoms have trap doors
If the cure works, chances are you have the disease.