Since I began my journey in recovery I have been asked by many people.
What can I do?
Whether it’s a person who is in active addiction or the parent’s of someone who is suffering from the disease of addiction. I believe the first step is the same. Stop Using. I tell people that it doesn’t matter how much a person has used or what they have done in the past. The first step to recovery is to not take that first drug, drink or whatever, Staying away from the first one is key because it is the first one that starts the vicious cycle all over again.
Now with that being said. I also have to say that it’s not easy.
I have shared my story openly and honestly and I will be the first to tell you that my journey was a struggle. I could not stay away from the first one to save my life. I couldn’t understand “if you don’t pick it up, you won’t get high”. I mean after all I have picked it up for years. I have had many times when I wasn’t able to pick it up because I was in a protected environment provided by the state. ( Jails and institutions) but when I got out I would always return to using. Staying away from the first one was the last thing on my mind because.
1. I didn’t think I had a problem. I was in deep denial about my situation and didn’t see it as a problem until late in life.
2. Using was a form of escape from my present reality. I always wanted to be someone else or somewhere else.
3. By the time I really wanted to stop, I couldn’t. My addiction was deep rooted and had become a way of life.
It takes commitment to be able to stay clean. It is a process that starts and ends with me. I had to become 100% sick and tired of using and losing. I had to become honest with myself about my problem and willing to ask for help. I had to be willing to accept the help that was being given to me. I had to put aside my ego and become humble and admit that I did not know how to stay clean. I had no idea how to go about any of this until I became a member of Narcotics Anonymous.
Once I was able to learn how to stay away from the first one there was some other things I had to do.
I had to become honest with myself and others. I had to re-learn honesty because I was not the most honest person. I lied to get by. Dishonesty became a way of life and eventually consumed my every waking day. I had to come to realize that I am not going to be able to receive the proper help if I am not truthful about my situation and what my problem is. I had to be willing to share my story, all the deep dark secrets that I thought I would never tell another person because I thought they were so horrible. I buried them so no one would find out, but I know now that secrets keep me sick so I began to expose them and came to realize that I am not alone. That those secrets weren’t so horrible after all. Others were able to identify with my story and I began to heal from my past.
I had to become open minded. Recovery was new ground and at first the idea alone was scary. I didn’t know what to expect and I almost allowed my fear to stop me from trying. Open minded to new ideas, new people, a new routine of making meetings everyday, of sharing my experiences with others, of working the program as it is suggested and not the way I want to work it. I had to become open minded to the fact that there is another way to live life that is better than the way I have been living it. Open to hearing that the things I thought were truth and the way life is supposed to be were wrong. Open to learning how to change those things. Open minded to a new way of life.
I had to become willing. Willingness is a major component because I had to learn new things. I had to be willing to take some risks and do things differently. I had to become willing to find a higher power. A God of my own understanding that is loving and caring. God = Good Orderly Direction. I had to become willing to allow another recovering addict to guide me in this process. I had to be able to trust those who have been doing this before me and willing to try to do what they are doing and what is working for them. I had to learn to become willing to change. I had to change everything that I knew to be true and codes I lived by learned from the streets. I had to become willing to leave all that behind.
I had to change my thinking. My thinking is what got me into all of this in the first place.
I know that I am still a work in progress and always will be. I am willing to continue to learn new things and change old ones. Recovery is for those who want it. I know plenty of people who need it but until they want it for themselves there isn’t much we can do to help them. My thoughts and opinions are based on my life and are not in any way meant to disqualify anyone. I can only share my experiences, strength and hope. These are the things that worked and are still working for me.
RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE
Thank you for allowing me to share.