Personal Stories About Addiction Recovery
My story began long after I was hooked on alcohol and cocaine. I had not been able to hold a job or pay for an apartment so I took to “borrowing” money from friends. I found that by living in my car I could avoid the cost of an apartment. Eating at fast food restaurants and getting a friend to pick up the tab became routine. I had bought an old beater car from one of those “buy here pay here” used car dealers that required me to pay them twice a month at some ridiculous interest rate. For a while I kept up the payments so I’d be sure of having a place to live, but eventually the drive to score another round, and then another, began taking even my car payment money.
My mom had raised me to be a church-going boy. As I got older she did everything she could to help me – including bailing me out of jail at two in the morning…more than once. DUI’s stacked up until I lost my driver license and finally saw no point in paying for the car. Little did I know it had a GPS tracker in it. The dealer found it, towed it away and repossessed it. The night I hit rock bottom was when the guy I bought coke from said, “Sorry buddy, no more for you tonight. You’re going to kill yourself on this stuff.”
I walked from the bar, completely stoned and drunk, and passed out on a bench in the public park. When I awoke the next morning I realized that if I kept up my addictive lifestyle I would definitely kill myself with drugs and alcohol.
Slowly…Changes Came to Me
I called an old high school friend I had borrowed a lot of money from and told him I needed his help. He thought I was about to ask for money. I broke down in tears and told him I am wasting my life…I am slowly killing myself. I asked for his help. “What can I do, David? Please help me!”
David asked where I was and said he’d drive down to pick me up. Within an hour he found me at the park and I climbed into his car still reeking of booze and with tears running down my face. “I need help, David. What can I do? Please help me!”
David pulled out his phone, found an AA group and made a call. A mentor answered the phone and told us the next meeting would be on Tuesday – almost a week away. I took the phone from David and talked with the person, explaining that I didn’t think I’d live until next week. He listened, then, after a moment told me where to meet him, so we drove to his house.
A Helping Hand
His name was Jim. He looked to be about 65 and I learned later that he’d been clean for 12 years. Jim listened to my wailings, my “life story” and suggested that I take a nap on a cot in his basement. He said we’d talk later, after I’d caught up on sleep and given my body some rest. I had never felt so welcome – so not-judged – in my life.
When I awoke later that evening Jim began talking to me about AA’s 12-step program. He told me how he’d lost his wife, alienated his children and family members and ultimately ended up living on the street just as I was doing now. He talked about a higher power that’s always here to help us if only we can open our minds to His guidance. His talk reminded me of what my mother had taught me as a child: God loves us and wants only the best for each of His children. It all seemed so foreign, so abstract. For a long while I could hear Jim’s words but they didn’t really mean much to me. I wanted another drink, another hit.
Jim turned out to be what I can only call one of God’s teachers. He talked with me, walked with me and slowly I began to get a glimmering of what he was talking about. Tuesday finally rolled around and Jim walked with me to the front of the room where, with tears in my eyes, I told all the people sitting in front of me that I was helpless and needed their help and God’s help to change my life.
The feeling of understanding and love the assembled people gave me was beyond anything I had ever experienced. Over time I began to understand the true meaning of a “higher power.” Had it not been for David’s kindness and concern for me…and Jim’s incredible willingness to take me under his wing, I don’t think I’d be here today to tell this story.
A New Life of Sobriety
Now it’s been two years since that “night in the park.” I’ve not had a drink and, thanks to the love and kindness of my true friends, coke is no longer part of my life either. I’ve dropped my old drinking and drug buddies. I drink Perrier water or Diet Coke when I want to socialize. I have learned to love my friends. I have learned to not-judge other people. The AA 12-step program has given me a life I could never have imagined, filled with peace and joy. I’ve been able to get a job, I’m repairing my credit and slowly paying my friends for all the money they “loaned” me. I look forward to all that life has to offer. AA has shown me how to become a more spiritual person and one who can deal with life even when I hit a speed bump or two on the way to tomorrow.