DOB: 10/7/52; Washington, D.C.
It became more and more important to me to be sitting in the bar, getting attention, than it would be at home developing myself.
Click Here for Addict Out of the Dark and into the Light -34_Marie.mp3
And this is one of the real tragedies for me of addiction of any type, that the God-given things that we have, or the ability that we have to love and care for people, are taken away. The ability we have to appreciate nature, to be in our environment, or just aware and intelligent, and searching for knowledge, is gone.
I am one of a very large family and we present a rather textbook case of addiction, although I as an individual am very different than my brothers and sisters. One parent’s an alcoholic, on that parent’s side all the siblings were alcoholic, and probably his father.
On my other parent’s side there is, I had a cousin who already died from addiction, and two more that are on their way. In my own family there is eleven of us and half of us are addicted to something chemical. The other half have what is called co-dependent problems or other sort of neurotic addictions to food, or there is some gambling in the family, there is some obsession with money.
And all this sounds terrible, we’re talking about people that are pretty much otherwise wonderful human beings, that as far as the real dark side of human nature, on a scale of one to ten, we don’t dip down below five, as far as having any people in prison, or acting very, very violent or . . . and I think that that had a lot to do with my up-bringing.
I was brought up into a middle to upper-middle class family, and I was sent to private schools, and although that doesn’t shield one from anything, it was very important in our family to appear normal and appear . . . well, achieve great things.
Like I said, we had eleven children. We all had college educations, and that I attribute to my father, who was not the actual disciplinarian from day to day — my mother was. He had a drive in him that exhibits in his children. And he pretty much was the one who was the authoritarian and the person you didn’t mess with too much. I’d say in one way or the other most of us are afraid, but I can only really talk about myself. I’ve had a fear of my father most of my life that has been greatly relieved from me since I have been clean.
And my last using date was January 8th, 1979, and so it’s about nine and a half years now since I have used any drugs. And during that time I’ve had the good fortune to mend some fences with my family, and reestablish relationships that I lost with them, as a result of being in recovery.
My first drink . . . I should say for myself, I must add that in our family we are Irish Catholics, descent. That doesn’t mean that you have to be an alcoholic, but it helps. And there were stories that my parents and my aunts and uncles tell of their Irish people who at one time — it was fashionable to take a pledge. And those that were definitely alcoholics that took the pledge just went crazy.
Because as I understand it today, that’s what happens to alcoholics and drug addicts that don’t imbibe or use, and don’t have another way to do things. Because the way that I understand the nature of addiction, is that one of the worst problems involved is what one thinks in one’s head and how one feels.
And if you have nothing to do or remedy that situation inside yourself, going crazy is probably the next step.
In fact, that’s what a lot of my, especially my drinking in my later years was. I think I was warding off nervous breakdowns, or emotional collapses, whatever you want to call it, because I grew to see that if I drank or that if I used something to manipulate my mood, it was much better than just being me.
Because my first drink . . . for myself, as I was saying, there was drinking in our family, so that it was never taboo was when I was about thirteen, and I was baby-sitting at someone else’s house, and I remember this well, because it was the first time that I poured my own drink.
And it was some kind of cordial or something, and I kind of kicked back, over across the street where I was baby-sitting, this gorgeous house with crystal decanters and silverware and two-inch rugs. And I kicked back and had that little drink and I was somewhere else that made me feel that I belonged in that house. And it made me feel like other people appeared to be living, it made me feel like I was sophisticated and I wasn’t gangly or chubby or pudgy or didn’t know enough, wasn’t embarrassed about myself or my body.
Alcohol did a lot of things for me. It wasn’t until later years that I started using other drugs. But that first memory that I had of having that drink all alone and going somewhere else in my head, I think is very important. I took little sips off of people’s drinks around the house and so forth. The cocktail hour in our house was ritual, the highballs were done, and my parents would always have a drink at night, always. My mother is not an alcoholic, so she would never have more than one.
But my father was big on ceremonies no matter. This always cracked me up, because this man, every time I saw him pour a drink in that house where we lived when I was a child, he poured drinks out in the jigger first and then put them in the glass. I never did that and later on I see that that was his attempt at being good. He thought that, how could he be an alcoholic if he measured his drinks, you know? He didn’t like slug it out of the bottle. But I learned that a lot of alcoholics do that to hide the fact from themselves that they are alcoholic.
Anyway, I went to a private high school, and like I said, it was very important for me to fit in. My childhood, to give an overview, I would say I was one of the crowd, I was never . . . I was one that didn’t stand out. I never wanted to embarrass my family. I would never want anybody to find out things that I did, so keeping secrets was big for me. We also told on each other.
So it was easy for me to lie and not feel guilty about it, rather feel it was necessary. And there was also something that was going on that I have learned in later years, like mostly since I’ve learned being clean, because I didn’t have the knowledge then. That when you grow up around a group of people that are drinking, they often deny reality. And as long as the role models that I had were denying reality, I found it easy to do that too.
I believe that I was an alcoholic from the start. And I am not sure, I had no idea, and I don’t even care any more whether it’s genetic or psychological or something you caught from your neighbor. I don’t care any more. That is not important to me. It was at one time, but I think I was still struggling with if I was an alcoholic or not. Because all those facts mean nothing when you hear my story. Because the fact is that I drank uncontrollably and as much as I could for as long as I could. It doesn’t matter to me if I have a different gene or I had a screwed-up family or whatever. It’s sort of after the fact. We like to dicker about these things but to me it’s not important really.
I went to a private school and it was the kind of school where there was only about fifty people in my class. And anything you did, someone heard about it, and it was around the school the next day. So I had to be very careful about what I did in public. And so I controlled myself pretty much, and that school controlled me, and my parents controlled me, whatever, until I was about seventeen. I really wasn’t one of these wild kids in high school. I was about as wild as you could get in that situation. I broke the rules, the little rules. We weren’t supposed to smoke on campus. We would find a tree and climb it to smoke. But these as compared to what other kids were doing at the age of sixteen, ending up into delinquent homes, I wasn’t into that.
But I was into breaking rules whenever I could. And not that feeling of being different, somehow I could get away with things. Disobedience, and it’s disobedience no matter what you call it. In other words, if there was a rule I would dis¬obey it and think nothing of it. And I think that that was the difference for me at the time, to enable the way I was feeling, and the compulsion. I would have no limits, no boundaries as to what I would or wouldn’t do. Now that wasn’t always how I felt. I knew at times that I was doing something wrong. I knew it and I did it anyway. And as I understand it, without a spiritual life that’s the way one can live, that’s the way I lived.
I had God pretty much in my home, in my school, it was part of the culture, it was something that I had never questioned really. All of a sudden I just didn’t feel too hot on it. I was about the age of fifteen at that time, when all the — I had pretty high restrictions, pretty high morals taught to me, don’t ever do this or don’t do that. And so really doing anything that was pleasurable was probably sinful too. And I have come to understand that differently today.
But I think that I had a heavy sense of guilt that I had to fight all the time. And I think that where I began to shove out of my head, repress a lot of things that I did, I denied these things, I denied them because I didn’t want to own up to them. I didn’t want to face myself or face reality, whether it was stealing, or having sex with someone, or lying, or doing things to hurt people and calling it something else. Doing things for people’s own good that was painful and calling it something else. Meaning that I thought I was noble doing some of these things, and they were just plain hurtful to other people. My consciousness was very limited.
Even though I am pretty developed intellectually, none of it got below my neck. I could give you any information at any time on any sort of thing that I knew something about, but I never integrated it in my being or in my soul or my way of life. It was sort of superficial information that I was going to use at some later date.
And that was the pattern that followed, that I followed throughout in life before I recovered, is that I always seemed to be storing up things for some later time, and then never enjoying them, integrating them, really experiencing them. And as I understand it, when you drink and take drugs you can’t really experience much but your own high, or your own chemical effect.
But at the time, you see, I thought I was very sophisti¬cated. It was very important for me to be different than my family was, even though I was very much attached to them. I think that somewhere in me, because I knew that I was not nurtured or cared for directly in my family. My father was a physician. He was hardly ever home. When he was, he was drinking or doing something else. My mother was quite busy, because there were many of us, and I never had hands on. Or not much of it as I understand it today. Not a lot of one-to-one contact, except with my other siblings.
So I had an older sister that represented an authority to me. And I really had no other strong brother. So I think that’s why my father, in my head at least, remained the authority.
Through high school we would drink on the weekends. I started skipping school only in my senior year. I started wondering what it was like on the outside. I had always been an artist, since I was young, and it was never encouraged in me. In fact, when I would bring sketch pads home from the first art class that I took, my mother told me not to let my brothers and sisters see them, especially if there was any nudes in them. And it was something that people would pat me on the head and want to see my pictures, but it was never encouraged, to really become an insightful, intuitive individual. Anything that was out of the norm or not controlled by my environment wasn’t encouraged.
And it sounds a little, maybe I can say it another way. I think the egoisms in my family and environment were so strong that if you did something because you were selfish it was wrong. If you did something that was kooky or weird it was wrong. If you didn’t do something that was completely clean or socially acceptable it was wrong. It was this kind of idea. No one ever slapped me across the face and said, “What you’re doing is wrong.” But it was always implied. It was, by the things that weren’t said, by the attention that wasn’t given, and by the looks. So, as a result of that I never took the responsibility. Maybe it wasn’t a direct result of that. Because I had such low self-esteem I never thought really what I said or what I did was that important anyway.
At the end of high school I had to make choices in what I was going to do. So I did the socially acceptable thing, I went to an interior design school, and I can remember, I can remember being seriously depressed. Because I wasn’t the cute girl any more, I wasn’t going to high school proms any more, at which of course I got drunk, and my mother wasn’t told, everything was hidden, everything was hush hush, if there was an incident or a scene. But I went to this design school, and when I got there, that wasn’t quite there either. I had started gaining a lot of weight, and that’s when I first got in touch with the fact that I had an eating disorder.
Like I say, I wasn’t, I had a hard time passing from adolescence, I never really did the things that adolescents, as I understand today, normally do, break from their family, go out and do their own thing, want to go away to school. I didn’t want to go away from school, so I was a dichotomy. And once I got very tied to my family, and yet I didn’t want to be anything like them. I didn’t want to be a home-body. I wanted to be sophisticated, I went out to bars, downtown. If I had, my mother wasn’t aware of this; if she was she would have never approved of that. I liked wearing evening clothes. I liked going to cocktail parties. I liked getting with fast crowds.
At the same time I was deeply resentful, because the first time I went to art school, which was a couple of years later, I found that interior design really wasn’t it for me. I really wanted to paint, and I had a lot of talent inside of me that I didn’t know. When I went to art school I was deeply resentful, because the people that I went to school with had been developing a talent for awhile and I was — I felt stupid, I felt insecure, and inferior, and pretty much because I was. I wasn’t that developed, I wasn’t that much of a grown-up, and I was still very much of a little girl inside.
And at about the age of nineteen I began drinking regularly, and using marijuana and speed. That was the first time that went on a diet of any great consequence. And I lost about forty pounds that time. And I thought that was the best thing that I did. I met my future husband at that time. He was just crazy for me. I had sex for the first time. I was drunk when I had sex for the first time, and I was drunk pretty much every time I had sex from there after. Not stumbling drunk all the time, but at least influenced, put at ease.
It was weird, because I felt very much like that I was in love with this man. When I slept with him I wasn’t drunk all the time, but I very much was afraid of my body image. I was anxious about the way somebody would or wouldn’t reject me. I always had that underlying feeling, not especially with sex, but anywhere when I was outside of myself, I always had that feeling of unease or upset, just a little bit, something like maybe my motor was turned up too high. And I think that’s why I liked living with a fast crowd, kind of a hypertype.
There was also another side of me that was very much interested in the arts and dance. I had taken violin lessons when I was a child, and all of that. I would give that away to be accepted or be in a crowd of people. It became more and more important to me to be sitting in the bar, getting attention, than it would be at home developing myself. And this is one of the real tragedies for me of addiction of any type, that the God-given things that we have, or the ability that we have to love and care for people, are taken away. The ability we have to appreciate nature, to be in our environment, or just aware and intelligent, and searching for knowledge, is gone. The only time that’s there is when you’re competing with somebody.
I got older, I got worse. I started working in a bar. I started hanging around with bar people. So I was an artist by day, and a bar person by night. On vacations I would work full-time as a bartender. And for a little Catholic schoolgirl who used to wear plaid skirts, this is a different kind of life for me. I thought that this is really it. This was hot.
I was never real real big on doing illegal drugs, as far as what I termed as narcotics, but I was real big on smoking pot and taking speed anytime I could get my hands on it.
And it occurred to me later that one of the reasons for this is that physically when you drink a lot, it’s real hard to motivate yourself. And speed did that for me. I was getting up during the day and drinking myself down at night, and doing any different sort of treated grass, the more it put me out, the better I liked it. When I was out, I mean somewhere out of my head, not necessarily out cold, but that feeling of being in some kind of fantasy, or being just a lot more than I was.
I think alcohol and drugs directly affected and distorted my ego. I think that is probably one of the pits of the disease, one of the cores of the disease, is that it is an ego thing. Always hiding that low image I had of myself, or that inadequacy that I fed on, and personal hell began to build in me. And I personally think that a personal hell is very important to an addict, because if you don’t have a personal hell, then you see you have no reason to take all those drugs. And whether that’s psychological or biological or physiological I’m not sure, but I know that what was in my head was far different than the way I was acting.
I always had an inbred sense of tragedy. I appealed to the underdog a lot. I just had this thing about justice, that it seemed like nobody ever got justice. I would sit around and think about these things. I was very much into music. I would compulsively buy records that spoke to me. Really into myself, really into what I thought, what I felt. But of course that was my secret, because I never communicated that information to anybody else.
After a struggle I went to an art school full time here in Washington, and I would produce really good work, and then somehow blow it. Like at the end of my second semester of my second year, I compulsively married a man, this man that I fell in love with, and it was a sense of that I had to have him, or I couldn’t bear to be rejected by this man. He had dated other women, and we had a very stormy relationship. We never sat down and realistically talked about marriage. We just wanted each other. It was just one of those things,
So I quit school, I quit the best thing that I ever had, to marry this guy, because that’s what he wanted. And of course that led me to a lot of disillusionment, and resentment at him, in the long run, because I returned to school a few years later. By that time I was full-blown into an eating disorder anorexia the foremost. And mostly what I did was, I tried to do things to keep people quiet, and keep them off my back.
And I drank a lot. I went out and partied with my friends, and I drank often. I embarrassed myself, and I got drunk a lot. My husband, as far as I know, was not an alcoholic. But his mother was, and they told me in treatment that sort of coupling up was in the stars, that it was not unusual for the son of an alcoholic to marry an alcoholic.
It all began to make sense to me a few years into recovery, and I put it all together — that we fed on each other. All the time I am losing a little bit here and there, contact with my family, didn’t want to tell them how depressed I was, didn’t want to tell them how shitty my life was. I looked great, we owned property, I had a good job here and there. I never got fired from a job, probably because I never showed up drunk. The times that I did, I was working by myself so that the owners didn’t find out. And at one point I was trying desperately not to drink.
In the early Seventies, by the time I was twenty two, I was a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. And see, I had gotten the message, you see. That the man that I was living with didn’t like this., I had gotten that message real clear. And so what I would do around him, I would smoke dope, because he didn’t see that marked falling down personality change in me. It was okay with him if I smoked dope or if I had drugs. And he was the type if I had anything to drink he could tell. So this not only became a struggle in myself, but a struggle with him, a struggle with my parents.
I had numerous car accidents in my drinking, and some bodily injuries, meaning I had broken some bones. I had an eye injury one night in some kind of confused state. In other words, there were things, if someone got drunk and that kind of crap happened, they probably wouldn’t get drunk again. But not me, I’d do it again. And then I was one of these, that if somebody was doing drugs and they looked like they were pretty fucked up, I would say, “Well, why don’t you give me some of that?” I wouldn’t ask what it was, where they got it, who bought it, or can it kill me? I’d do it.
By the time I went to treatment I weighed about eighty two pounds. I had been in a serious, near fatal car accident, as a result of which I am permanently disabled, seven years into my recovery. I wore a cast on my arm as a result of that, and that night I was in a hurry to get to a bar. I had gone to the psychiatrist that day, after I drank about four beers, to go tell him what my problem was. And this man was a good man, he was recovering himself, and he had been telling me for weeks that I was an alcoholic. I went in to talk about how I had felt, I didn’t fool him for a minute.
I had had a couple of intraventions done on me, I had been living on and off in my car, on and off in my husbands house, and on and off with my parents by that time, and I was every¬body’s problem. I was unemployable. The last I person that I worked for — I worked in my father’s office and he fired me because I showed up one morning drunk.
He was the only person that told me not to come to work. I thought, “Of all people, how embarrassing, my own father!” The thing that was funny about him is that he checked out some recovery meetings for alcoholics about a year before that, and he stopped drinking. It was the first time in my whole life that I ever saw him stop drinking.
So I had been going to meetings for about six months, but I wasn’t serious about the whole thing. At that point, as I understand it today, I was physically close to death a lot of times, as far as overdose, jaundice, liver disease. I spent a lot of time drinking by myself for the last few years, because I could no longer go out or drive or hope to drink in public and get home safely by myself.
My husband wouldn’t drink with me at all. And he was constantly watching me when we were with friends or somewhere because I was uncontrollable, I was impulsive, I would show up drunk places and he would swear, how would I get to it? He would lock the liquor up. He did all these kinds of things.
And so at one point in my life, when I had everything to live for, I continued to drink. And it was at the end of this, where I really had nothing going for me, I mean I was really fucked up. I was physically very very ill. I was psychologically almost — I was criminally insane.
Between alcoholism and drug addiction, anorexia, I was a social outcast; and I was thrown out of my family. Pretty much, I was like the black sheep there. You know, this promising, talented girl that always got straight A’s in high school, and was beautiful at times — that was what I was told before I had really messed myself up, that at the time I should have been at the top of the world, I felt terrible.
I think it was a conglomeration of things, it is an accumulation of a lifetime of poor perception of myself, and of reality especially, and I don’t think there is all just one quick answer.
But I do know this. I never had that feeling of going outside of myself for help. I never really, I gave lip service to it, but I never really broke out. I was very tough inside. I felt secure, because my brothers raised me. I had six brothers. I thought I knew everything. I was very tough, kind of street-wise for going to private schools. I liked bad boys. I liked guys that, especially if their intellectual level was lower than mine, the fast cars, guns and stuff.
I had gotten pulled over by cops. I had. . . I was in Puerto Rico one time with a friend of mine. We went down there on one of our fun runs, and got arrested on the beach with no pants on, coming out of a blackout. It was like it got so unpredictable for me. But I would drink again or take drugs again.
I was caught that time with some drug dealer who was on exile from New York. I mean, the cops were watching him. I never used my brains. But I got very loose and very dangerous. Even stuff that probably didn’t mean much to anybody. But I could just imagine if someone had seen me doing something.
I was coming up from work one night. I had, I was working in Georgetown in a shop. Apparently I closed the shop up, and had a few drinks and took a nap. I woke up at four o’clock in the morning on the floor of this shop. And I can remember that, because I was walking up M Street to my car, and I just remember coming out of a blackout, and my blouse was unbuttoned, I was walking up there with an open blouse, still half-drunk, dazed. I mean anything could have happened to me.
There is many times I have looked back, and I like to use the phrase, “the Grace of God,” but there were many times that I look back and I was so close to trouble. And I was taken to the emergency room a couple of times, in blackouts, revived. I had, like I said, several car accidents. When I had the last accident that I had, I was hit by a car. I was walking, and that almost killed me. So I wish I could say after that accident I wised up.
But it was two months before I went to treatment. I felt like everything was gone, absolutely everything. I was left-handed, and as an artist it was my left arm that I shattered. So the only thing that I could think was, I had suicidal thoughts many times. But it struck me then that the only real thing that I felt that I owned, which was my ability to draw, was gone. For some reason the family didn’t matter at that point, my husband didn’t matter, money didn’t matter, unemployable didn’t matter.
But the shame came to me when I could not physically, could not lift myself up to a sitting position, and that people had to be there. People had to aid me. It produced the most unbelievable amount of anxiety in me. And I started taking fistfuls of pills, narcotics that they gave me for pain, to deal with that, at more with that than the pain. Although it was an incredibly painful situation.
So I stayed pretty much knocked out of it past Christmas that year, and I didn’t come to treatment until January. And I think what happened for me is that I got out of my environ¬ment for a month, I got off the street. I couldn’t run out and get drunk. I was very, I was what they labeled a poor candidate for impulse control, very poor compulsion, or self-disciplined, so I took Antabuse for the first year. It was easy for me to somehow knock the drugs off. The speed I had taken years before had made me crazy. So I was off of speed for a while, and the last time I had cocaine was earlier that year, so I wasn’t withdrawing off of all that, I was withdrawing off of all this medication that I was on and liquor.
I didn’t believe anything. I didn’t believe in the recovery meeting, or anything, indifferent therapy groups that I went to. And I had been five years trying to stop drinking and drugging. The first time I went was back in 1974, to an outpatient treatment facility. I had gone to seven different psychiatrists, and I got every explanation from “It’s your birth control pills” to “Your father’s an alcoholic and that’s why you’re fucked up.”
I had gotten every kind of stupid answer, as I call stupid today because no one ever said, “Well, what about you? You’re fucked up. You’re in bad shape.” Until that last shrink put me into treatment, and I owe a debt of gratitude to him, and to my ex-husband, who was my ex-husband, because without him I could have never made it my first couple of years in recovery. He supported me financially, he was there at least for me, coming in and out of the hospital when I was operated on medically, I had my arm put back together for over the next seven years, and it was a very difficult and a very enlightened struggle for me.
I don’t have a normal story. I had a very disheartening experience, disillusionary experience, because I never had to pay for any trouble that I caused when I was out there using drugs. The trouble that I paid for was when I was clean. Because everything that I had done chased me right into my recovery. My physical condition, I had to go into psychiatric treatment to deal with anorexia. Thank God I found a man who could deal with that. He knew that I was an alcoholic, primarily alcoholic, and primarily anorexic. I mean this man nursed me back, the man got me back in school.
He didn’t do it, but the way he treated me, I was in good enough mental shape at that time, I could follow what he told me to do. Because he knew before I did what I needed. I had a great friend to help me with my recovery. I didn’t know that I could go get social security for being-disabled. Stuff like that. I was advised financially. I had to leave my husband. I was divorced my third year into recovery.
I don’t want to make it like he wanted me because he didn’t. He decided that a long time ago. But I guess he was just feeling sorry for me for the first two years. We didn’t live together the second year. He left when I was six months clean. He couldn’t take the medical situation that I was in and he just couldn’t take me anymore for real. And that turned out more to be a blessing more than anything else. I didn’t understand that at the time. Because to me I saw that as a loss, because of my addiction, which it was.
The most important thing for me is all this grim shit which I came into recovery, which slowly, over the years got much better, because of the work that I did on me, and the help that people gave me. But I don’t think anyone in recovery gets anything unless they are the ones who never want to want and are willing to work for it.
Because, quite frankly, there have been some things that I have wanted, and I didn’t do the work and I didn’t get it. Or it took me longer to get them because I was trying to do something else and I didn’t want to go to the Directorate. I didn’t want to be honest, I didn’t want to do the leg work, or I couldn’t. I thought I was too scared.
But the most important part of all this is that, you see I wanted to kill myself. I thought when I was ready, kind of like okay, the world finally pissed me off enough I was going to do it. And when I was injured so severely, and I didn’t die, it struck me that maybe I wasn’t going to choose, maybe something else was in charge here. And that idea probably came from a meeting really, because so much has come from recovery meetings, yeah, it came through my ears. Because I was sitting there, but the inspiration came from somewhere else, not inside of me.
But the fear that I had of that kind of bottom has aided me a lot in my recovery. It has kept me clean at times, when there was no reason to be clean. I didn’t have a compulsion necessarily, but the memory of repeating anything that remotely was like the life that I was leading scared the hell out of me. Because I have no question in my mind that I would go and do that again. I know that chemicals in me are like floodgates. Man, everything would break open.
But there was hope that was instilled in me and faith that I gained mainly through experience. It wasn’t because someone told me that there was a God in heaven and he takes care of children and drunks. That’s what you hear. That’s not how it came, it came through me, through positive experience of walking through fear, of having people who I didn’t even know help me. People that I would never in the farthest reaches of my mind ever associate with my family help me. It came from people that I didn’t know essentially, and they had no motiva¬tion to help me, and they didn’t want anything from me.
And I think this is essential, as far as a program of recovery is concerned. It is essential that I remain available for that and that I speak or I share or I make phone calls or receive phone calls when I am asked. It’s very important, and I am of the belief now that we are given, many conditions in our lives, and it’s up to us into how do we respond to that. Meaning that it is my job to be the person I need to be, and that’s the only way that I can keep any sense of integrity.
I think integrity of one’s self and feeling that I have done things in a proper way, proper according to me, with values rather than conditions, is what keeps me with a zest for life, and a meaning in life and motivated. I had started my own business, and it kept me fair, it kept me out of the compulsive, money-hungry pit for a while.
I have experienced many things in my recovery. I have been deeply in love and I have had my heart broken. I have been able to maintain long and satisfying friendships, and been able to get over a lot of emotional hurdles with my parents and family, to enjoy family life. I had the same address for nine years and phone number to a recovering addict. This is a big deal. I recently moved, went through a bunch of upheavals again in almost ten years. It was a very strange experience to me. I never lost that solid core of . . . I can’t give up now. I am going to be okay.
And that is pretty much where I am at now. I think I am better at pictures than with words. I think that if I had to describe what filled up emptiness I am not quite sure of that all the time. I know that I am not that real tough any more, I know that I cry a lot, especially lately. I really wanted to be close to people, which is something that I never wanted to do.
I gained an amount of trust that I have never experienced before, and I have learned pretty much of how to take care of myself in a way that I never did, and I have seen recovery on all fronts. I am healthy physically, I’m pretty healthy mentally, I have put a lot behind me, and all to the credit of the people in the recovery meetings that I do go.
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