FROM PRISON TO RECOVERY
Hi my names Anthony and I'm a recovered drug addict.
When I state I'm recovered it's because my life is no longer plagued with an overpowering desire to use drugs on a daily basis. I'm just a normal guy, good family and with no real reason to end up as I did. I ended up this way because I'm an addict. I have no power over the first drug and no matter how long I leave it alone, I always end up ruining it all again. As soon as I put any mind altering substance into my body, I become OBSESSED immediately.
I believe I was born a certain way. That's about as much as I care to ponder on it as today my life is more about what I want to do about it and live successfully. I'm someone who has always felt like I'm watching the world, even when I was, seemingly, taking part. A good example of what I mean is from my mum, who used to see me watching the boys play football, instead of joining in when I was invited. I'd be sat on a wall, just watching. This kind of behaviour has been with me all of my life and, even today.
Don't get me wrong, I joined in plenty of times and had lots of friends but this was just the starting signs of something that grew in me as I got older. It progressed along side me. I always remember the first time I smoked weed. I was drinking with some older boys who offered it to me. The fear of saying no and being ridiculed made me take it. I threw myself into smoking weed everyday and, quickly, thought I had found something so amazing. I, obviously, didn't realise I was dealing with something that was, and is, going to be bigger and stronger than I would ever be. Like most addicts, my relationship with drugs progressed and I ended up in the gutter, taking hard drugs just to blot out my horrific existence.
I would make regular efforts to stop - and fail. Sometimes I'd stop for weeks and other times it wouldn't last very long at all. I managed to stop lots of times but there was always the day when it seemed like a good idea to do it again. I watched my friends and family grow and move on in life and I stagnated and stayed the same. I felt like a pathetic moron. Clueless and with no hope. (A perfect reason to carry on. I mean why bother?)
I faced lots of consequences and illness. Almost lost my family. Almost died. None of this was enough to stop the day when it would seem like a good idea to use again. I was finally taken of the streets and put in prison. I am so grateful for this today as it was the first time I managed some real clean time. I got healthy and woke up a little. (By this time in my life, my illness had progressed that I found being around people painfully uncomfortable). I was due for early release and was petrified. My life was ok, I felt healthier than ever before and yet I was scared because I knew I was in trouble. I knew if I didn't seek help, I was going to use drugs again. The world scared me and I had no way of coping.
I sought out help. I found a bunch of guys who were working the 12 steps. I went along to see what it was all about and whether they could help me. They told me that drugs were not my problem and that they were the solution to someone like me. The problem lies much much deeper and I would have to put in some work to be able to live ok in the world. If I wanted freedom, I would have to work the steps as they had done. I joined in and found that it worked for me. I didn't want to use drugs!! I carried on this way for a while and enjoyed myself but I failed to do it properly. I failed to give it my all and, inevitably, left and went back to using. (Sounds kinda drastic but for someone like me , it's reality.) I managed to pull the roof in on my life again and got to a real bad place both mentally and physically.
Thank God I survived it and knew I needed to come back. I found a sponsor and started working the steps again. This time propelled with a real honest desire to do whatever was asked of me and to give this program as much attention as I gave my using. This time, I've done it properly and listened. I've learned that even though the desire to stop using goes, I need to have a defence against the first use up and the thinking that goes before it.
I'm a flawed individual and the steps have enabled me to tap into a power in my life. A power that keeps me sane. A power that has given me a new chance at life again. A power to be a daddy to my beautiful children. A power to be a good son, brother and partner. A power to get up in the morning and go to work and do all the things that 'normal' people do with relative ease.
A power that I choose to call god. This program allows me to choose this power and to call it whatever I like. It's NOT religion. I just have to be willing to believe and try. My life now is remarkably different than 17 months ago (when I came back). Externally, things are the same but I've not felt like using and am able to be ok in the world. I'm able to embrace the blind love that my kids give to me, instead of hurrying them away so I can do what I need to do. I have a job and it's the longest I've ever been employed. My family don't go to bed and worry about me anymore. I'm a loving, considerate partner. You see, these things sound like the things that normal people do all the time, but to someone like me, they're painfully difficult. I just don't care about anything but me and my feelings. This program and the power I have in my life gives me the ability to walk shoulder to shoulder with the world.
Unfortunately, we don't recover from life and life is hard sometimes but not once have I wanted to use drugs. No one asked me for anything as payment for this. The only thing is that I'm willing to give this back to someone else when I'm able to. A very small price to pay for the new way of life I have and all the friends I make along the way.