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Don't Give Up

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Don't Give Up

I am 64 years old and I am an addict. I can look back now and see I had symptoms of addiction as a child. Though my childhood was not nearly so traumatic as many it was often marred by domestic violence and the trauma of alcoholics acting out and doing the crazy stuff they do. Both my parents and many other family members drank. Vowing that my life would be different, I occasionally experimented with alcohol but did not really get into drinking until in my early twenties.? Shortly before my 21st birthday I got a job where many of my co-workers drank. To be ??one of the guys?? I succumbed to peer pressure and started stopping off after work with the guys to have a couple of beers. It wasn??t until I was 25 on vacation with some of my co-workers that I got drunk for the first time. From that moment on the gates of my personal hell swung wide. I seemed never able to drink with moderation and always wound up drunk. I did the stupid things people do when in that condition and was often dangerously anti-social. One of the most dangerous anti-social activities I routinely engaged in was drunk driving. By age 35 my behavior forced me to admit I had a problem. I had tried repeatedly to stop on my own and failed. At this point, though I had not suffered loss of material things and prosecution , I had become as personally miserable as I could get. I seldom smiled or laughed. I hated myself and my life. I was almost always angry or depressed (or both). I thought about suicide. I was in a state of hopeless despair. Finally, after getting drunk one Friday and smashing some furniture, I called the AA help line. Two men came and talked to me and I went to my first meeting Sunday night. I walked into a room filled with happy laughing people. It took me a long time?to realize at that first meeting I recovered from a state of hopeless despair. Here were people who had found a solution for the problem I had.
However, I was not to become a 12 step poster guy. I am not a shining example of recovery. The primary reason being ME. Seems I have severe difficulty following directions. Though I eventually stopped drinking I switched off on marijuana and at age 58 I was still going to AA meetings ?? stoned. One day my 18 year old grand daughter came over and asked me ??Paw Paw let me bum a couple of joints off you.?? I have been clean form that moment. That was 4 years and 7 months ago. Today I am clean and active in both AA and NA. My granddaughter is in jail doing 20 days for shoplifting to support her habit.
To anyone recognizing they have a problem with substances and seemingly unable to stop on their own I would make the following recommendations:
1 Get Help ?? 12 Step programs aren??t for everyone but there are other methods of??? recovery. Seek counseling. Some people are able to recover through their religion. You DO NOT have to live in misery the rest of your life and die a miserable person.
2 Get a Program ?? A program is a set of predetermined actions which, when carried out, will yield known results. There are all kinds of programs in the world for everything from weight loss to financial security. Find a program for recovery from substance dependency AND FOLLOW IT. Don??t be like me. This is what I did wrong all those years. I didn??t follow the directions.
3 Don??t give up ?? This is the only thing I have done consistently right. Keep trying. If at first you don??t succeed try, try again. Thomas Edison is rumored to have tried 2000 materials for a light bulb filament before? he succeeded. Like diabetes, a saggy belly, a leaking roof, or so many other problems, substance abuse and all it entails only gets worse if you do nothing or keep doing what you??re doing.
Love and prayers to all.
Richard H.

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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