I never thought that I was going to grow up to be an addict or addicted to a substance. My childhood was great having wonderful parents. For years, all my needs were met and most of my wants. By the time I graduated high school, I could have probably counted on one hand the amount of drinks I had. In fact, if I found out that anyone I knew even smoked a joint; I would point the finger and call them a drug addict.
At the age of eighteen, I left home for college to chase my dream of being a commercial pilot. After my first year of college, I had already obtained my private pilot’s license, made the dean’s list and was well on my way to achieving my dream. While sitting at the airport waiting for my fight instructor for my second year of school, the airport notified me that my instructor had flown into the side of a mountain in upstate New York. Subsequently, the flight school was closed during the crash investigation and my dream of being a pilot had been put on hold. When I returned home I discussed my school situation with my parents. They expressed concern and out of fear for my safety, they did not want to continue paying for my flight schooling. I became angry and rebellious. Soon after, I left home and enrolled in classes at a local college. My selected course of study was computer programming. Still stewing in my rage and thinking I had something to prove to my parents, I started working in the casinos of Atlantic City. From that income I was able to support my living expenses and college tuition.
To my own detriment, I hung on to my resentments towards my parents and used that as a weapon against them. I got caught up in the fantasy of Atlantic City because I was stuck in anger, hostility and resentment. Atlantic City was a new and growing gambling town. As such, it was the perfect escape for me. Escorting high rollers and entertainers was one of my job responsibilities. Around his time I got involved in a romantic relationship with an employee at the hotel. I would go to college during the day, work in the evenings and visit my girlfriend after I finished work. During one of my visits, I walked in to find my girlfriend doing drugs. My first feeling was one of fear as I had never witnessed anyone using drugs. At which point, I proceeded to leave. However, she asked me to stay and then convinced me that this drug would help me study at school and be more productive at work. So, I chose to use drugs for the first time and loved it. That was the first time I ever used any drug other than alcohol.
Thirteen years later, after substituting one drug for another, living on the streets from time to time and completely hating myself; I returned home and asked for help. I never believed that I would become the addict that I had at one time pointed my finger at. I entered treatment in February on a Friday the 13th of 1997. The first meeting was a twelve step hospitals and institutions meeting. The speaker that night shared my story. At the end of his share, he said with a smile on his face, “Just for today, I know I never have to use again”. I remember wanting to know if that was even possible for me. I left that treatment facility twenty eight days later in March on a Friday the 13th. I still continue to believe that Friday the 13th is my lucky day because it introduced me to a twelve step fellowship that helped save and change my life.
Over the past sixteen plus years, through working with a sponsor, making a whole lot of meetings and being of service; I am grateful to know that there is no shame in being an addict. In fact, it was that simple admission that helped save and change my life. I never believed I would lose the desire to use drugs but by asking for help and following suggestions, I know in my heart that just for today I never have to use again. I am still a proud member of that same twelve step fellowship trying my best to give back what has been so freely given to me. I am grateful to be an addict in recovery.
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