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Last Day of My Drug Use

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Last Day of My Drug Use

I became a drug addict when I was 47.? I began using street drugs to self-medicate from a crisis that left me wanting to kill myself.? I had given up hope, was to afraid to kill myself, and it was easier to get wasted on street drugs to forget, for a few moments, the hell that I was in at that point in my life.

Like the first time you get a buzz on alcohol, and want more, and more, I felt this way on crack cocaine.? In my early use of the drug, I thought that the drug use was temporary.? It was just to help me get through what was happening in my life.

A drug dealer let me use his apartment.? I had money, and he was always around to keep supplying me with more drugs.? At first, it felt good -- it was a "temporary" escape.? And I was so sure that I wouldn't wind up being "like those drug addicts" that I was hanging with.? I thought that?somehow life would turn for the better for me and I wouldn't need to be doing this.? But after a moment,? I found myself rushing to that drug dealer's apartment more and more.? I couldn't wait to take that first hit again.? Then one day, the dealier he looked at me, laughed and said:? "Congratulations!? You're now an addict!" I was in shock.? No, I am not one of those kind of people.? How dare he say this!? But he was right, and I could feel it:? I had become a drug addict.

For the next 9 years, I was in and out of the hospitals, the mental institutions, recovery centers, recover homes, lying to get money, lying about what I was doing, hating myself more and more each day, and just wanting to be dead.

That whole underground world of drug addiction is a dark world.? Always afraid of being busted, then losing my job, losing relationships to friends who would have never thought I could fall so hard like this.? I knew many people, and thought I had so many friends --? but when they saw my descent into the hell of addiction, only 1 of them stayed with me giving me her warm thoughts of encouragement and understanding.? And, I was so lucky that my family stood by me.? Still, I was killing them every time I went out on those 3-day binges, only to be crawling back home too wiped out to talk, and barely walk.

In junior high school, I remember a TV commercial of a brain sizzling in a frying pan and the caption was:? "This is your brain on drugs."? And that's what it felt like.? My brain was so impaired and full of all that toxic waste of those drugs, that it really did feel to be fizzling.? I was afraid that permanent damage was being done to my brain, and yet I couldn't stop.

Those were moments when I came so close to overdosing -- and it's a miracle that I didn't.? So many times, when I was alone, in a dingy backroom of a drug dealer's house, left alone to just smoke and smoke , i? thought for sure I was going to kill myself.

I would have never, in my earlier life,? thought that I could ever become an addict.

I went from a promising career, traveling all over the world on business, meeting with some of the richest of the rich, socializing with Presidents and Prime Ministers, to being in a world of other crack heads. I fell hard.

I lost my teeth.? I lost my looks.? I lost my friends.? I was so lucky that my family didn't give up on me.? And I was so lucky to have patient drug counselors who weren't judgmental.? I didn't think I would ever be pulled out of that hell, but my family, my counselors, my doctors, and my 1 true friend never gave up hope --? like they knew I could change and be back on my feet again.? I just couldn't see that happening.? I was so addicted and always wanting to be high.? That is what my life became.? Alone, in pain, and hopeless.

I have seen people get killed, people selling their bodies, human trafficking of young femail addicts.? I have seen violence, and hate, cruelity, false "friendships" with other addicts in the crack houses.

There were times I was so wasted, that I knew if I took just one more hit, that my heart would stop, and my body dumped off somewhere far away from there.? Dumped off, instead of being brought to the hosital.? Left for dead, instead of bringing me to a place for me to live.? It was a dark, evil world of drug dealers and drug addicts who just wanted me to stay addicted so they could keep taking my money.

I had to attend 12-steps programs and I thought, at first, that was worst than being in a drug house.? Who were these people?? They were losers just like me.? Why would I want to spend an hour listening to their life stories?? I hated those people.? I hated those meetings. ? I just wanted to go get high again, but I was forced to be there.

I had to be constantly drug tested in the programs I was in, and I finally gave up trying to beat the systems.? When I used drugs, it would show up in the tests.? So who was I fooling?? Just myself.

I found that I like going to AA meetings better than the 12-step drug addiction groups.? I found? support being with the "old timers" who were in their later years in life, who had been there and back, and they took notice of me and kept encouraging me to just keep coming back.? I'd go out and be using drugs for days, and wind up back at those AA meetings, trying to get help from those wise, caring, unjudgmental people.? They kept telling "don't stay out there -- keep coming back."? They cared and really meant it.? That was a welcome compared to being in the crack houses, and that evil world of drugs.

I was told to get?a sponsor and work the 12-steps.? But I was too afraid of getting that close to anyone. Then one day, at one of the AA meetings,?speaker?who told his life story just stood out to me.? I could hear that his story was similar to mine.? I was amazed at how he came out of his alcohol/drug hell, to now being a respected, much liked and very successful person.? I felt that if he could do it, then maybe I could do it too.

After the meeting, I approached him, trying to hold back my tears, and I begged him to be my sponsor.? I expected rejection, but instead he gave me the greatest smile, put his hands on my shoulders, and he looked into my eyes and said "Yes. I would? be so honored.? Yes, let me help you."? That began my ascent from the hell of my drug addiction.

From then, on, I began developing friends with? others in recovery. Still, I kept relapsing and going out.

And I was killing my parents every time I disappeared for a few days? while I was out there doing drugs.? My mother never knew that I would ever return back alive.? I was kililng them.? The stress was causing them serious health problems.

I began having longer and longer periods of being clean.? And then for 3 years I could make it to 12-months clean, and then out of nowhere I was back out there using drugs.? I hated it when someone would ask me how long I had been "clean".? I lied once, pretending that I had meet another 1-year-clean mark.? That person I lied to was my sponsor.? He looked into my eyes, and I knew that he knew I was lying.? He just keep looking at me.? Instead of judging me, he encouraged me to come to the next meeting with him.

Still I felt so much guilt at what I had done.? I went back on a long binge of several months of taking drugs, and when I thought iI was at my lowest, I called him from that crack house and asked for his help.? He offered to come pick me up, but i didn't want him to see the hell that I was in.? I agreed to meet him the next day.

When we met, he said:? "OK, you tried it your way.? That didn't work.? Now, I'm going to show you how to do it the AA way."? I agreed to do anything and everything he told me to do.

I began, in earnest now, to work the 12-steps with him.? I wish I had been taught these in college.? I learned so much about myself, and I could see clarity in what I was thinking that kept me using drugs to escape.

I kept meeting more wonderful people in those AA meetings, and started to do fun things within AA at their dances, out-of-town meetings, dinners, etc. Those people became my real friends.? And, slowly, I began feeling that there was hope that I could change the life I had been living.

I would still go out using again -- but doing less of it each time.

The? last 2 times that I used crack were life changing events.? On each time, my father would call to tell me tell me that my mother was in the hospital, and he told me:? 'If you want to kill your mother, you're doing a good job at it!"? My mother was in the hospital, dying, and I was in a crack house too wasted away to get in my car to go home, clean up,? get some rest and be by her side in the hospital.

I asked God, like I had been begging from Him for all of the past 9 years, to please help me stop using drugs.

Now, with my mother in the hospital, the drugs and that whole life of drug addiction looked so diferent. ? God showed me things in my mind as I laid there on the floor of that hotel room with all of those other addicts in their craziness.

On that last day of using drugs, God changed my thoughts.? It was so surreal.? I put the crack pipe down and gave the drugs back to the dealers.? I told them that it was over.? They laughed and offered me even more drugs "on the house", but I didn't have any more desire for it.? I have had those moments so many times before though all of those 9 years.? But that last time was so different.? What would have taken a day to sober up again before I could drive, I sobered up in 1 hour.? They were surprised that I was leaving them so soon.? I told them that it was over.

As I drove home, the whole world looked so different.? Bright.? So clear.? And as I was driving back home, a voice in my head said:? "Grow up.? It's time to grow up."? That thought was so absolute.? It was like God had picked me up off of one chair, and put me in the right chair.? I knew that He was turning my life around at that very moment.? That voice kept coming up, and I could feel my that my life had come to a major turning point

That was my last day of using drugs.

I was selfish in my addiction.? Now, I surrendeered myself to God as he was talking with me in that drive back home, and I promised that if He could get me? back home safely, let me get cleaned up, and then be by my Mother's side in the hospital, that I would never go out again.? I called it my "God Promise".? A promise that I could never break, because I was making it to God.? I fear God to much to lie to Him.? I surely didn't want to spent my life in hell for eternity if I lied to Him.? I took it that seriously.

When I made it to the hospital, it was rather late at night.? I stayed by my Mother's side and she didn't know where she was, and who anyone was.? She would wake up ever hour that night, and in a panic ask whether her son was home and whether he was OK.? I would answer her, "Yes, he is home and safe.? Everything is fine.? You can go back to sleep, he is at home and safe now."? She would give a sigh of relief and say "Thank you, God."? Then she would go back to sleep.

My obsession to use drugs?ended on that last night.

I then dedicated my life to being of service to my ailing parents.? I found that the more I stopped being selfish, the stronger my new life became.

it's been over 2 years now of me being clean.? I see the world as I once had before the drug life.? My mind is clear.? Life is life, and there are the ups and the downs.? But I know longer have the urge to leave this good life and return to that hell of drugs.

I have learned, in living here with my parents and taking care of them from the moment they awoke, helping them through the day, taking them to doctors appointments, helping them with their medications, bathing and cleaning them -- that my new life is now measured by each 24-hour period of me being here to help them.? Some of the "old timers" I had met in AA, have pasted away.? My parents can pass away any moment now too.? Each day that they are alive is precious in ways that I had never imaged I could feel.

From time to time, I have seen drug use in movies and for a very, very brief moment, that would trigger memories of when I was out there doing drugs like that too.? And for just a very brief moment, I could feel the addiction and that initial impule of an urge to use.? But now, just as I was looking at the movie and I knew I wasn't it in, I can see back to that addiction and know that I wasn't in it.

I sure hope that my story can help others.? If you are in your addiction, don't lose hope.? When you fall down, ask God to help pull you back up.? There will come a time when you will feel in every fiber of your body, in every thought in your brain, that you aren't going to go back out there again, that you are well again.?

Someone I had begged for help one day on my cellphone told me just these few words before he hung up:? "Choose life!"? After all the ups and downs, the ins and the outs, God has brought me back to life.? I pray that you will feel this way soon.?

If you are a parent of an addict, please don't give up hope.

This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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