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|07-30-2010, 03:03 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2010
I started drinking at a young age, but didn't pass the line to drinking alcohlically until after I got in the Army, which I joined at the age of 17. It was somewhere after the first couple of years in service that everytime I went out to drink I would get drunk. And I have to say, up front, I really don't believe my intentions were to get drunk, but once I started drinking I couldn't stop. And my drinking continued on like that for the next six years while in the Army.
When I got out I first moved in with my parents and my mother asked if I wouldn't come home drunk because of my 3 younger siblings that were home. So I honored my mothers wishes. Finally after a couple of months of trying to control my drinking, I had to move out and into my own place. Which allowed me to drink the way I wanted to. 1970 is when I got out of the Army, I was 25, and it was April of that year my mother died. My mother was my best friend and my confidant. After she died, all bets were off.
Summer of that year I moved to Chicago and that is where I started smoking a lot of pot and still drinking, but not like I was. Also dabbled in cocaine while I was there, but enjoyed pot more than anything. I stayed in Chicago for a year and a half and came back to Massachusetts. I picked up drinking again because at first pot was hard to find, But even after I found out where I could get pot, my drinking didn't slow down this time. For the next 10 years of so I was moving around a lot in the general area that I lived and was just going from job to job. Alcohol was calling the shots for me for sometime and was erasing a lot of things from my life. Especially one woman I fell in love with and did want to marry. But my drinking, my anger and my violence managed to take care of that.
It was around 1980 I started using cocaine on a regular basis and drinking went along fine with the coke. The coke enabled me to drink more. Nothing had changed in my life as far as any improvement. I was moving from place to place and job to job just about every year.
Was living in Londonderry, N.H. and I was stopped for drinking under the influence in 1985. My license was revoked for three months and I was suppose to pay a fine and go through some alcohol abuse classes. Instead, I moved backed to Massachusetts. Where 3 months later I hit a tree in a blackout and totaled my car. Was very lucky I didn't kill myself or anyone else for that matter. I was in the hospital for ten days and while there I was thinking, I am going to have to make a decision to either stop drinking or stop driving. I decided to stop driving. Besides the fact, my license was revoked and my car totaled so I wouldn't be able to drive anyway, this never entered my mind on my decision. It wasn't long after that I started smoking crack cocaine, this was somewhere in early spring of 1988. So now I'm smoking crack and drinking alcohol on a regular basis and it didn't take me long to become homeless. I got into a veterans alcohol and drug abuse rehab and stayed there for 3 months. And my war cry was, I just want to quit doing coke but I'll be okay just drinking and smoking pot. From there I got into a half-way-house for six months. I managed to get a job while I was there and was smoking pot before I graduated from there. Of course nobody new I was smoking pot. Before I graduated from there I had lined up a place to live. Once I moved into my place it didn't take me long to feel good about myself and started drinking again. I drank for the next nine months on a daily basis and drinking while I was working. I remember one time after I finished a bottle, I threw it in the trash and swore that come tomorrow I'm going to quit and not drink again. Next day after I woke up, I knew I needed a drink and off I went to the package store.
After nine months I went into another 10 day program and managed to stay clean and sober for 20 months, but doing it my way, without any meetings or anybody elses help.
Now in 1990, I'm living with my wife, we hadn't married yet, and we are both smoking crack. We both lost our jobs after about a year, and started getting evicted from one place to another. Allowing people to come to our places to smoke their crack with us, never sharing ours with anyone. We were both unemployable.
I had quit drinking after a little while because our drinking was becoming a problem for us and not only that, I couldn't afford both. And during all this time we were crack smoking buddies, we were putting each other through pure hell. There came a time that a building we were living in was getting condemned by the city and we were all to move out. My wife and I didn't have anywhere to go and all of our things were still in the building. So I broke in at night time and we stayed there for about a week. It was during a cold and snowy winter we were having here. We didn't have any heat, no electricity and no running water. But both of us thought it was okay for we weren't living in the streets. Then we managed to get a room in a rooming house. Small description of this place...roach infested, alcohol infested and drug infested. Exactly the place we needed. And in this one room, we had as many as 8 people sometime, besides my wife and I, in there, all of us smoking crack
It was here though after about a year, I started praying to God to get us to AA. After about 6 months, I just started asking God to take me in my sleep because I was getting tired of living this way. My life was like the movie "Groundhog Day," everyday was the same, nothing changed. At one point I was even thinking of stopping smoking crack and go back to drinking.
Almost 2 years go by, it's early December, and the city closes this building down for code violations and the owner had to move quite a few of us into a motel. I remember as we were going to enter our room, my wife asked what was going to happen now. For some reason or another, I said, I don't know but God will take care of us. We were there for a week and a couple of days and signed a release form, to release the owner for being responsible for us for the amount of $600.00. We left there and moved up the road to a cheaper motel and of course, used money to buy coke for crack. We managed to stay there for about 5 days.
It is December 27th, 2000, we wake up in the morning, and we have to leave, with nowhere to go. We were homeless. So we go to a shelter for the homeless and got beds there.
That night after supper, my wife says that she doesn't want to hang around there and so we just just go walking the streets till we have to come back, which is 8 PM. This is winter time and it is cold and there is snow on the ground. From past experiences with AA, I knew there was a meeting, half a block up the street that started at 7:30 PM. So I suggested that we just go there, stay out of the cold and off the snowy streets. We'll be warm and they'll have coffee. She said okay and so we went inside and got forms that allow us to go to a meeting, that would have to be signed by the secretary. But this way, if we straggle back from the meeting, we get into the shelter at 9:30. We had been walking the streets the majority of the day, so we were already tired and should be able to go to sleep and lights go out at 10 PM.
Before going into the meeting I told my wife explicitly, I have no intentions of getting clean and sober, and she just said okay. At half time we go outside so I could smoke a cigarette and my wife holds onto one of my arms with both of hers, tears about ready to come from her eyes, and she says, what are we going to do now. All I could say was, "I Don't Know." This was a speaker meeting and for the first half, until this day, I don't know how many people got up to speak nor what they said. My mind was running around in a thousand directions, I wasn't able to hear a thing. So we go back in and after everyone is seated and quiet they start the meeting back up. They start it by giving out the chips from 9 months down to One Day. When they finally got to, "One Day at A Time, for the newcomer or those just coming back." I looked at my wife and said, I'm going up to get one, you coming? She said no. I went up and got my white chip, and for the first time in my life, I felt hope, real hope. I Looked up, raised my hand with the chip in it and said "Thank You God." My prayers were answered.
On the way back to the shelter I felt better about myself than I had ever felt in my life. I just knew, something good has just begun.
My wife and I started going to meetings 2 or 3 times a day. There was an Open Discussion meeting from 2 to 3 in the shelter every afternoon and tried to get called everytime just to say, I'm scared, I'm angry and I need help.
During the 5 months we were in the shelter, I was walking the streets to get paperwork in for public housing, which was a lot of walking around and my wife got a job. Just to back up a little, after we both lost our jobs, my wife still had alimoney from her divorce from her first husband for a few years and was also receiving money from a house they sold while they were married and somebody was still paying the mortage to them on it. I say that, because for the longest time, that is what we lived off. I have a lower back problem and a hip problem and couldn't work, so while in the shelter my wife did work. And as I said, I walked the streets getting things done for housing, applying for Social Security Disabilty and Veterans Pension, non-service connected injuries.
After a couple of months my wife working, she came down with pneumonia, went back to work and a couple of weeks later she got pneumonia again. She had her spleen removed so is and was suseptible to these things. And her doctor told her she would have to quit her job. Three weeks before we do leave the shelter I get approved for housing, but our numbers on the waiting list were like, we would be here in the shelter for sometime. So we went to her doctor, and had him make a letter for us stating why she couldn't work, because she was catching pneumonia, the biggest cause was being in the shelter. I went to our Congressman's Office and asked them for help and two weeks later, on the 1st of June 2000, we moved into Federal Housing. and one week after moving in, I got a letter from the Veterans Administration notifying me that I was approved for VA Pension.
We continued going to meetings and I already had my sponsor, got him after about a month and a half, and was always in touch with him. After a year and a half, it seemed every meeting we went to, I was hearing people talk about their freedom and how happy they were. Found out, these people had been through the process of the steps. It was the start of the New Year, the beginning of our third year, I started going to a Big Book Step Study Meeting. This one guy got my attention and I asked him to be my Big Book Step Study sponor and he agreed.
Over time, my wife had developed a severe case of fibromyalgia, in both legs and other parts of her body and severe arthritis in both hands. So I would still go to meetings daily and my wife and I would continue to go to our Home Group Meeting every Sunday morning. But she wasn't getting any better and while I was at meetings she was having a real difficult time getting things done and had fallen a couple of times. So it was just about a year and a half ago I decided to stay at home to help out there, and help my wife out when she needs it.
We have been married now for nine years and our marriage and relationship is just great. Our relationship has made a complete circle compared to what it was like before we got clean and sober. Our life together is so much better because of the people we have become.
And the reason I'm here at SoberRecovery is to continue on the path in my recovery. I just don't want to be without a connection to other sober people and people in recovery.
My name is Harry, and I am an alcoholic and an addict.
What I am is a gift from God, what I make of myself is my gift to Him.
Sometimes I think I have all the answers. What I am starting to realize now though is that I don't know all the questions.
BB Quotes - 1st Edition
Last edited by CarolD; 07-30-2010 at 08:01 PM. Reason: Corrected Title per SR guideline
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