DOB: 6/21/34; Brooklyn, New York.
I always felt like I was on the outside looking in at what everybody else was doing.
I was born into a Catholic family with five brothers and another sister and my father was a cab driver in New York City
and he was the one that did all the drinking and my mother was the one that did all the nagging. I remember that I always felt sorry for him in particular.
I was very close to him. At night I used to think inside of me that I would rather be like him than my mother. At the end result I am more like my mother than I am like him today.
Pretty much a lot of drinkers, I’ve got a lot of Irishmen on my mother’s side of the family, and they celebrated all kinds of things and there was always a lot of booze.
I got in the habit of drinking after other people would leave their glasses there, and when I was real small — about four or five — my father took me down to a saloon on the corner, and to go down and buy what they called buckets to put some beer in. We’d stay at the bar for a while. I would sip the foam off the beer and pretty soon they put me up on the bar and I would play the jukebox and I would dance and then they would throw money.
I liked the way it felt because people were giving me a lot of attention. As I went through my life I think that I used to do everything I could in my power to get that attention, to committing crimes, doing insane things. I had been sexually abused when I was somewhere around five and it was downhill from that point. I could never understand what took place.
I remember going into big courts and looking at judges and being confined in a hospital. It was real scary. Nobody ever really — either they couldn’t explain or they didn’t even try. I felt guilty. What reinforced that was that after all that I went to this Catholic school and the things that they told me — they didn’t believe that I was guilty, that there was something wrong with me because I was not pure like it’s supposed to be.
By the time I got to about twelve years old I was pretty much a full-fledged alcoholic. I was never coming home, and sleeping all around, not with guys,, because I was still kind of afraid about what happened when I was younger but I used to be pretty insane. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in at what everybody else was doing.
I guess I did that my whole life. I never felt a part of what I was trying to do. I know today that it was trying to be loved and accepted. I did a lot of things to make that happen and it never really was, never did happen, nobody really could love me and accept me for who I was.
I used all the drugs I could get my hands on. I had a special love affair with heroin and I had a singleness of purpose. I dedicated my life to the next fix. And I didn’t care about nothing but it. And the whole time all this is going on, I was having kids. And neglecting them and treating them badly, but I didn’t know I was doing that. What I thought I was doing was okay.
I came to California because my mother had come out here to visit my brother and she wrote me to leave New York, that there wasn’t any drugs out here, and that was 1957 and there wasn’t a lot of heroin addicts at that time. Not that I could see. I am sure they were here but they weren’t in the small town I went to.
I stopped using heroin and I picked up the bottle and pills and pot and speed and I spent the next seventeen years doing that, with a short stay in New York five years after that time, where I got strung out again. I have five daughters, never could teach them anything, or learn how to love them. I couldn’t teach them love because I didn’t know how to love.
Thirteen and a half years ago I was with somebody that was a real groovy person. But I picked him so I know I needed to learn whatever I could from him. He brought me to my first meeting. A year and a half after that I stayed clean for a while, then used drugs on and off.
I decided for the last time that I couldn’t beat the game. I now have twelve years without taking any chemicals. I didn’t know when I got into recovery if I wrote a list of the things I wanted to do in recovery. I probably would have cut myself short because I’ve got a lot more than I’ve ever expected. I also got a lot of pain that I didn’t understand but what I have lost here was that loneliness, and that emptiness and what I gained was a lot of love and acceptance that I was seeking all my life.
My relationship with my children is a heck of a lot better than it has ever been. Everything isn’t smooth but it’s better than it was. I’ve done a lot of things in twelve years. I’ve been to a lot of states in this country. Involved in recovery for myself totally. Life works okay. I don’t make it happen — it happens. I worked eight years in recovery and decided that it was somebody else’s turn and I haven’t regretted that decision.
I got involved with doing some ceramics and paintings and I really enjoy it. I finish something that I started to create and it turns out good. Just involved myself in another business recently. I feel like it’s going to be real successful and all the good feelings, that are coming, just in doing all this stuff.
It was like when I went to Catholic school and I was in the third grade, I got pneumonia a lot and I was sick a lot and got rheumatic fever and I would sit at the back of the room. I knew I didn’t belong there. For some reason everyone else in that room was going to do okay and that I never was.
I don’t know what happened to all them people from the third grade but if they had to go through some of the things that I had to put myself through, they went on to be whatever. I am grateful and thankful that I am clean today.
Click Here for Addict Out of the Dark and into the Light