Denis Holiday D.
DOB: 6/9/50; Susanville, California. I was a hope-to-die junkie, I was a garbage-can junkie.
I was born in Susanville, California. I come from a very dysfunctional family. My mother and father used to beat me up all the time. My mother and father were alcoholics too. Somewhere between . . . I believe I was born an addict. I really do. It was just a matter of time before I was addicted to alcohol at an addict age.
It’s like, when I was out there, well, I didn’t take my first drug, but I drank my first drink at six years old. I remember that because my mother and father used to come home drunk all the time, they used to always have parties on the weekend. I remember I woke up one morning and I says, I am going to drink too. It wasn’t a premeditated thing. I guess it was kind of premeditated. It had been because I had thought about it and thought about it. And all of a sudden I acted on it. I jumped on it like stink on shit.
I woke up one morning and said I am going to get drunk too, just like my Mom and Dad, and I started drinking, and I’ll never forget that burning sensation of alcohol that went down into my stomach and it just felt really good. I felt like Jim Collin. I felt invulnerable. I felt I could live on the world’s head. And that was my first shot of alcohol.
Then, all of a sudden, while I was going to school, I was going . . . I would come home and get in fights. I used to always be a hell-raiser. A hell-raiser at heart. Then, all of a sudden I started getting kicked out of school for fighting, I started. I had a very revoltous image you might call it. I was also anti-social. I didn’t want to be part of anybody. I just wanted to be left alone.
Between six and thirteen was when I really started drinking a lot. There was lots of parties. Everywhere I went, I always had to be drunk. I always liked to be drunk to be somebody, got drunk to be somebody, and wasn’t. Until about when I hit thirteen, I started slamming heroin. That was the first major drug that I shot in my whole life, the first one I went for a ride.
You know, the cheap thrills of it all, cheap thrills. It was like fun. It was like fun. But when it started out, now it ended up horrors of addiction. Because it took me in and out of reform school, in and out of jails, institutions, and death. I died a couple of times too.
This disease of addiction. It wasn’t until, when I was in reform school, I remember that too, because shit, I used to always drink and get high up there. I was a connoisseur of all drugs. I got, I knew it all . . . I thought I was hot shit. I used to always want to be the center of attention.
When I was selling drugs, it was like I wanted to be noticed as somebody, and when I didn’t have the drugs I wasn’t nobody. And that kind of affected me. So I always wanted to be somebody.
But it wasn’t until almost, shit, almost two years later — I was a hope-to-die junkie, I was a garbage-can junkie. It took what it took to get me here, and it’s going to take what it takes to keep me here.
I have been in and out of recovery for almost nineteen years. I have been in and out like swinging doors. I’ll never forget the first-treatment center I went to was Delanty Street. That was a fucking demoralizing place. And I didn’t want to be there. And I did it for all the wrong reasons. I did it for my Mom and my Dad. I did it for my parole and probation partner department, my brothers and sisters, my old lady, my girl friends.
And I didn’t do it for myself. And that’s what makes me feel really grateful, that I did something for myself. Because when you do it for yourself, it feels a whole lot better.
But it wasn’t until like I said I went to, my first treatment center, shaved my head, and tried to talk bad about me, and I says, “Fuck, this shit, I can take my shit.” So I went through lost, dazed, and confused. I was always trying to seek help. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons.
This time I am doing it for the right reasons. But when I was in the penitentiary, it was like, fuck love, got twenty years for sales of heroin. They just nailed me to the cross, they just fucking, just nailed me to the cross.
It wasn’t until almost when I got out of prison that it was like, even when I was in prison, it was like, I’ve seen a lot of weird shit happen, race riots, fights. I used to see a lot of suicides, see a lot of fucking fighting, all this other shit going down.
It was like it really hurt me, to see all, my friends dying in there. There was about thirty five men in there who died behind — this disease of addiction. Because of race riots, and fights, and knives stuck in the back of the neck and throat.
And it wasn’t until I got out of prison, the drug wars between me and my disease of addiction really took place. The last ten years I was out there, I was using drugs. I wasn’t getting well. I was getting well, I wasn’t getting high, I was getting well. I was living from drug to drug. I lived to use and used to live.
When I finally came into recovery here this last time. I knew that I needed help — big time because I was dying on the inside and dying on the outside and dying on the streets.
And it was fucked, it really was, it was a nightmare out there. Because the life, like I said when I first started, was the cheap thrills of it all of a sudden . . . you get from the cheap thrills . . . of a sudden . . .
I can’t really say all my times have been bad times, but there was a lot of good times I had out there too, but towards the end of it, it just got to the horrors of addictions turned really into a fucking nightmare out there. It really did.
It wasn’t until I hit my bottom three and a half years ago, and like what I said, it took what it took to get me here, it’s going to take what it takes tb keep me here in recovery.
Why did I turn myself in for this last treatment? I said I did it for myself, because I needed help — big time — like I said, I was dying. I was meeting death. I was on a $450 dollar-a-day habit of heroin. And I was just down spiritually, emotionally, physically, bankrupt, in all areas. And financially too.
When I hit my bottom, I hit my bottom so hard I went through my bottom. By that I meant I was just entertaining thoughts of suicide. I didn’t know if I wanted to live. I didn’t know if I wanted to die. I was just miserable with myself, and when I turned myself in to a treatment center, I was down a hundred and fifty pounds, one hundred forty five pounds, skin and bones. I looked like death warmed over: a walking, talking skeleton.
And then I turned myself into this treatment center. I just felt, really felt I had been rescued. The first year of my recovery, in fact, the first ninety days, I went to two hundred and fifty, those first ninety days, and the first year I went to eight hundred and fifty meetings. It wasn’t easy. I almost wanted to jump ship the first year. I was here because . . . the fact . . . it was like all the trials and tribulations I’ve gone through, and I had to find a happy medium, and I came into recovery on blind faith. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I really didn’t.
I got a close friend in recovery who says you can borrow my God, but if you borrow my God, you have got to get your own. So I borrowed his God the first year and a half. Everything just fell into place.
Then all of a sudden I got involved with service, and that helped me stay clean, more than anything in the whole wide world. I made a commitment to myself and to stay clean. You only get out of recovery what you put into it. I ain’t quittin’ before the miracle works in my life.
Fuck that shit. I’m sticking around for the miracle to work in my life. Because every day you stay clean is a celebration. It really is.
But anyway, like the first year clean, I went on an emotional roller coaster, ups and downs, up and down. I didn’t know if I was coming or going, like I said, and mood swings left and right. Mood elevators, getting stuck on the bottom more than I was on the top.
Then, toward the second year things started to even out. I noticed I started to even out. All of a sudden the third year clean has been really good for me. Spiritual is spiritual — that I found. I’ve finally gotten in touch with God, as I understand Him. It’s like when I pray to my God in the morning time, I’ve got scabs on my knees from praying so much. I’ve got calluses on my knees from praying to God so much.
It’s like really neat to get into touch with myself and find out who I really am, without all those chemicals of any kind. I am helping about nine other guys with their recovery.
It has not been no bed of roses. Every day I stay clean is going to be peachy keen, every day. Some days are better than other days. Like I said, I am sticking around for the miracle to work.
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