Born in Salem, Oregon on June 7, 1951.
Parents were divorced in 1957, my Mother was 16 when I was born; oldest of 3 children.
We moved to Reedsport, OR from Mad River, CA after the divorce. Remember very little about what happened from 4-6 years old.
My Brother went to live with Grandmother at this time, she is a Native American and her husband a West Virginia coal minor.
He was not our biological Grandfather. We were very poor, boyfriend of Mother left an Elk on our back porch to rot, really wanted to eat it.
Mother was a Bartender and an alcoholic, we were left alone a lot. My sister was 2 years younger, very brave and would become a heroin addict.
Grew up on the coast of Oregon; great for a young kid to explore the marsh, lake, ocean, sand dunes ect.
This area would feed me in the summer for the most part.
Mother married my Step-Father when I was in the 3rd grade, very kind and loving finnish man, also an alcoholic. Moved to Winchester Bay from North Bend at the age of 13, almost heaven in the sense that there was plenty of food and things to do.
When I was younger, watching a movie with my Mother there was a scene in the movie that showed a woman driving a Buick over the cliff; it was a convertable and it scared me very much.
I told my Mother to never get a Buick. We had a Buick in Winchester Bay, I dreamed one night that my Mother died, woke up in a sweat, I realized she was still alive.
On my way to a game at the High School 2 weeks later I was given a ride by my new friends parents to see the football game, meet my new cheerleader girl friend and things were good.
We went about a half mile, there was a back signal light sticking out of the marsh level with the highway, got another woogie. At half time I heard my name over the intercom to report to one of the gates.
My Step-Father was there. It was difficult for him to tell me that my Mother had an accident, he could not continue, so his friend told me she had passed away.
My sister and I moved to Eugene,Oregon with my Father and his wife, 2 children and his wife did not really like this. Went into High School at the age of 16; an athlete with natural talent and little discipline.
Started drinking at the age of 17 and would give the impression that I drank more then I really did.
This is 1968, the entire world is changing a lot. Left home the summer of 1968 and began using drugs. Living in this era was magic, sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Smoked lots of pot, used LSD daily, other drugs like this, lived on the streets with hundreds of people doing the same thing. Used sodium seconal for months, sopers, alcohol and slept through my first call to join the war.
Lyle who was a casual friend came out to the house one day, managed to wake me up, asked me if it was Ham and Eggs or Speed and away we went. Again it was magic, like I had found out who I was and I was God. This magic would continue for another year.
My friend Lyle came to me on acid one night and said to me, we need to make a decision; go on with what we are doing or stop, (speed) I chose to stop, he dies a few years later in jail hanging from his belt.
There were a lot of us; brothers in arm, in what I call the drug wars. Most of us would start drinking a lot and this would continue for a long time. Periodic drug use, huge drunken parties.
This leads me to my Step-Father, when I was 18 a friend contacted me to tell me he died in an apartment fire, was awakened to walk into the closet where he died. My sister met a friend of mine that I protected in High School, very wealthy family (real money) ans she married him.
They had a child together, divorced after 5-6 years, he was valuim, cocaine and pot; she was opiates. Not long after this she went to see a MD about a lump under her arm, he informed her it was because she used IV. She found a lump in her breast a few months later, saw another MD and he had he in the hospital 3 days later.
They removed her breast and 14 months later she passed away. She was 27, Mother was 29, Step-Father 41. My little brother died at the age of 50 alcoholic and drug addict; casue of death unknown, I was walking the streets, having done as much alcohol, all drugs, all combinations of drugs and alcohol until I had only the cloths on my back. It was night; I looked at the houses with the warm light in the windows and I wanted a new life.
It had nothing to do with alcohol or drugs in that moment. I went over to a friends house a few months later. I had been living with a beautiful young woman and her daughter. Sleeping with her, never having sex and one night she tells me to go. So I go to this apartment, my beat friend Bill is with this girl they call Bullwhip Betty and he will not give me any percocet.
I am up the next morning, pouring rain, grey skies and I walk to my OP appointment sober. I am 5 minutes late and she tells me for the 4th time they cannot admit me because I am late.
I asked her to call Buckley detox(I did not do this) walked the many blocks, checked in for 3 days and had no idea what to do.
I completed, checked out and walked the 5 blocks to the club. Went in, sat down, thought to myself I hate these people and I will not take those steps. I also thought that I will never leave, I have found home for the 1st time in my life. I went to meetings 3 times a day for 2 years, found a home with my half brother, became the best damned dishwasher I could be in a Chinese food restrauant. Met the young, the old, the inbetween, all of humanity showed up to help make me a miracle. Went to two meetings a week for the next 3 years.
Read the book everyday as if my life depended on it. I had a sponser, an old guy that spoke of love and AA diatribe, also talked about being sexually abused by his Father in those meetings( God they did not like this) We listened to Bob Earle on tapes, danced, learned how to brush our teeth, learned wet work, and we talked of life.
I read everything that was spiritual, had my first spiritual experience with a raccoon, a moment of clarity with a fir tree. I learned that if I did not drink I would not get drunk. Period. After a few very sick relationships, 18 years of therapy before and after I met my wife. Prior to this I had a vision, walking out of my home; doing heavy meditation I looked up into a beautiful spring day and I saw my daughter. In the womb, she hovered there as if it was real.
Now 6 months later I have been dating a young woman with multiple personalities and HIV, it is not working (fascinating) due to many of the personalities did not like me and I caused her to switch a lot. A girl walks into the club; ( I ask myself who is that bitch) then this smoky thing happens like a trail to me. Meeting ends, my best friend Bill (died 3 years ago, could not get it) asks her to go to coffee with us.
Well things went very fast, she is pregnant and has difficulty going to term since living near construction of a reacter. We make it 9 months and my daughter is born. Well I have thousands of words, many other experiences, the kind that if they don’t kill you they make you stronger and so many beautiful moments. I have listened to the music of the 12 Steps and I am the better for it. Every second I used, every life I met, each death, each birth, all the grace I have been given leads me to right now.
“We so much is insure immunity against drinking,” as intense work (paraphrase). I have known hundred of thousands of alcoholic/addicts, each and everyone of them deserve grace. I am deeply concerned about anyone out there that is unable to walk this path. Cannot or will not.
My style is instinct, experience, education, taking a risk, empathy, dignity and grace. Thank you, I know it is too long. God knows it would be a book if I could write it.
Chris I appreciate your steadfast attempt to bring some truth to those individuals that have commented on your post and mine. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict of 25 years (9-22-86).
I believe in 12 Step and more importantly in the Book. I was deeply impressed with the 2nd letter to Bill W. from Carl Jung.
On a professional note I am a liaison for the State of Oregon contracted by a multiple level treatment facility. I am able to access the State, Drug Court, network throughout the State and elsewhere for resources to help the people that have very few resources.
I am looking for healthy D&A treatment facilities, though will sacrifice some values to get them help.
Oregon and the Oregon Coast as well is rural communities have been hit hard by this epidemic, so my early training in 12 Step, my education,experience,research has lead me to this place in my life.
Thank You Richard T – thayer.richard@GMail.com