Al R.

alDOB: 11/3/58; Brunswick, New Jersey.


A lot of what I feel is controlled by fear. I was scared of living, I was scared of dying, I was scared of just about everything. I was scared of other people, just felt pretty much hopeless.

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Growing up, I never had a father till about age of seven years old. It was just me and my Mom. My Mom, I guess she did the best that she could to take care of us and work and do all the things that are necessary for our survival.


I’ve come to learn today how those things affected me. Just not having a father around the house, and till about the age of seven when my step father came into the picture. When he came into the picture, I got real close to him and really opened up a lot to him, and he really opened up a lot back to me.


And he . . . we started developing a good relationship. I would kiss him and hug him and I just felt good about having a man in my life, I guess for the first time. And he took me fishing, and taught me how to throw a baseball and stuff like that, stuff that I had needed for a long time.


At about the age of nine he for one reason of another started to tell me things like I can’t kiss him and hug him anymore because I am too old for that. And I used to have a bunch of stuffed animals that were kind of like my imaginary friends and he told me that I needed to get rid of my stuffed animals, because I was too old to do that, to have them. I just kind of felt at that point like our relationship just got cut off.


And I have come to learn that today, that I’ve had a problem all my life with just feeling different, feeling like I was in the wrong place, with the wrong people, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, always wanting that to be different and for most of my life I felt I never was.


I believe that I have a disease called addiction and I believer that I have had it all my life and that it is a disease that progressed, waiting for drugs to happen, and the drugs, were my way of trying to fix the problem. Drugs were my way of trying to fit in and fell a part of . . . Just to kind of drown out the loneliness and the feeling different, the feeling out of place and stuff like that, that I have experienced or felt all my life.


Why I began using drugs . . ? I didn’t use drugs because I wanted to use drugs. I used drugs to be accepted basically, and I have come to learn that I did a lot of things in my life to gain acceptance of people, mainly because I didn’t have any acceptance for myself.


But the experience with my step father kind of pointed out to me a lot of fears that I have about trusting other people and developing relationships with other people more I look at myself today and look at where I have been and where I am going, the more I come to realize that a lot of what I do and a lot of what I think and a lot of what I feel is controlled by fear.


Even still today, not so much today as it was back then, but even still today. I was scared of living, I was scared of dying, was scared of just about everything. I was scared of other people, just felt pretty much hopeless.


I used drugs for six years. It started out on weekends, and before I knew it the weekend was starting on Thursday night and ending on Monday night. And then the weekend was starting on Wednesday night and ending on Tuesday night. As time went on, it just became a thing, after a while, where it was something that I was doing everyday. In the beginning it was at night, and then it was like before school, during school, after school and every time in between.


By the time that I stopped using drugs I had gotten to a point in my life where I felt I had no purpose and no meaning in life. I felt as though I was twenty years old and I felt as though my life was over. I felt like killing myself on a daily basis. Just never had the guts to carry it out.


I would use drugs and then think to myself, “Why do I keep doing this?” I didn’t even want to do it any more. And so I would use drugs and think to myself, “Why am I continuing to do this? I don’t even want to do this anymore.” And then my next thought would be, “Where am I going to get my next drug from?”


And again my whole life was centered in fear in one form or another. I came to learn . . . I stopped using drugs at the age of twenty basically to save a relationship that I was in. I think it was more than that. Deep down inside, I knew that I needed to stop using. I knew that my life was going nowhere, that I couldn’t continue using the way that I was using any more, but my life was just going nowhere fast.


And I got involved with a program for recovering addicts, and I started to hear people talk about things that I had wanted to talk about for a long time. But I felt as though I was the only person who was feeling these things.


And there was a part of me just feeling different and apart from and out of place. Because talking about feelings and talking about being scared and talking about wanting to kill themselves and how they just felt different and out of place. There was something inside of me, when I started to go to these meetings, I started to feel like this is where I belong, that I came to know people who were not using drugs and who were finding a new way of life without using drugs. And there was a piece of me that really wanted that for myself.


And a few months later the relationship that I was in, had gotten clean for, had ended. And it was time for me to make a decision, and the decision that I made was to continue doing what I had stared doing, to stay clean and to be with these recovering addicts.


As far as some of the principles of the program, they are spiritual principles and some of them involve belief in a Higher Power. I was raised Catholic and I went through twelve years of Catholic school and somewhere along the way I kind of threw out that whole concept. I felt as though it was something that didn’t work for me, it was never going to work for me, and I guess somewhere about the age of fourteen or so, just before I started using drugs, I kind of threw that whole idea out the window.


And I had trouble with the concept of God in the beginning, because of the of views that I had that I was brought up with. And after a time I came to realize that the program and this fellowship of recovering addicts was mor than just a way of, like without using drugs, that I could learn to become a person that deep down inside I have always wanted to be, and the way that I could do that was with the fellowship of recovering addicts, and making new friends who weren’t using drugs, and having a program to follow, and trying to follow to the best of my ability.


I have come to believe that addiction is a physical, it’s a mental and spiritual disease, and it affects every area of life. It’s just not connected with my drug use. But it’s connected with me and it is me. I have a disease and every area of my lie is incorporated in that disease.


That it’s the thing that makes me use drugs or makes me want to use other things, wants me to do anything and everything to get out of myself. I can use a variety of, a number of things, even today sometimes I can use other things, anything to get out of myself, anything to not feel, to know who I am, to not be who I am.


And that’s where this disease takes me, the physical aspect being compulsion and continuing to do and seek out these ways of getting out of myself, and the obsession to do that is the mental aspect. The spiritual aspect being total self-centeredness. And I’m coming to realize today that that total self centeredness is incorporated in my defect of character, that is where that self centeredness comes into play.


Coming to learn through doing some writing and doing a lot of writing, coming to learn about my anger and about my fear and about my resentments and my jealousy and about my envy, pride, ego, and lust and greed and coming to realize that those things are all a natural part of me.


And there are also things that actually begin to take over and to run my life, that these defects of character come to run my life. My recovery helps me to not do that, through first admitting that I am powerless over my addiction, and that my life is unmanageable.


And coming to believe in a power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity. And making the decision to turn my will and y life over to the care of God as I understand him.


And my understanding of God today is much different than it used to be. My understanding of God in the beginning, when I first got clean, was just that. It was working, there was a spirit behind what other people were doing, and it was working for them and maybe it could work for me too.


And my concept is growing today. And I have come to believe in a God that’s a spirit or a force that is behind everything and anything, that it’s a part of every person, and it’s a part of life. That it’s a part of everything.


Coming to believe that spirit or that force or God, however you want to put it, helps me in my life. And helps me to be rid of my defects of character, and be rid of that obsession and that compulsion to constantly want to get out of myself and to help me with my defects of character, so that I can learn to grow and I can become the person that deep down inside that I really want to be today. And stop sabotaging my life, and stop sabotaging my relationships with other people.


And I’ve also taken many inventories of myself, written, moral, spiritual inventories, and that’s where I’ve come to recognize that my fear runs my life, and these defects of character, how they run my life.


How they keep me away from my spiritual self, hot they keep me from being the person I really want to be. I kind of relate the disease of addiction to a dog that has lost its spirit. The people who have this disease, it’s kind of like if you beat a dog every day, day after day, after a long time, after a while it cowers around, and it has it’s tail between its legs, and every time anyone makes a sudden move around it, it scudders away.


I feel this disease does this to addicts. What working this program does is help us to regain that spirit. It’s an awakening of that spirit inside of us and helping us to learn to live, basically because I really believe that before I made it to recovery, I didn’t have the first fucking clue about how to live.


And that this is where I have learned ho to live, this is how to start to become the person that I want to b today, and I also realize at the same time that I have a real long way to go, as far as that’s concerned.


I’ve come to learn about lack of trust and the fear that I have in relationships with otehr people, and how I really want out of life. That this disease just kind of comes in and permeates everything that I do. It tries to break don everything that I try to do for myself, and tries to break down and keep me from being the person that I want to be.


My belief in God today is the most important thing in my life. I believe that without that, without the fellowship, without being around other recovering addicts on a regular basis, that I really believe that I would be dead. I believe that this disease will kill me. It calls me to destroy myself.


Because that’s what I was doing before I got here. And the most important thing about it is that I know and I realize that I don’t have to do that today, and I know and I realize that other people who have this disease don’t have to do that today. There is a way out, there is a better way of life. If you choose to life by it.


The things that help me the most in my relationship with God, having people in my life who believe in me and want to help me in my recovery, and just trying to plug along and do the best I can and try to learn about who I am, where I am at, and where I am going. My life is pretty good today.


It’s not perfect. Some days it’s not great, but it’s pretty good, and it’s light years fro where it used to be. I guess that’s the most important part is that it is a long way from where it used to be. And I know that it can only get better. It depends on my and the work that I am willing to do for my recovery.


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