Digging Deeper

My name is Shawn and I am an addict.

I do not speak on behalf of any 12 step program I share only of myself and my experience I pray the message of my pain and suffering will help another addict and that you will gain hope of recovery

This is an account of my life.

I was born a very sickly child and for some reason the doctor told my parents that if I was shown any affection or attention it would cause me to become a gay so out of fear they did as he said and I was never held or heard the words I love I never got any toys to play with as a kid which did affect the way I deal with people too the day. At the age of 5 my brother and I become very upset staying with our parents and we decided to run away from home in the middle of one night the next day we needed to eat so I stole food from the shop and I can say that’s where my addiction began to show signs of life! I loved the feeling that I could take what I wanted from whoever I wanted without consequences, addiction to me is my flawed mindset and drugs is a symptom of it, I can date my addiction/mindset to that age {5 years old} with all the lies manipulation my behaviour pattern was a riot act. When I turned 9 years old we went to my family for a major holiday and with the majority of my family being addicts and alcoholics everyone was rather tanked by lunch time so my 2 cousin’s my brother and I went for a walk and as we turned the corner we saw two guys having a fight and the one guy pulled out a knife and stabbed the other once in the chest and as he turned he stabbed him twice in the back of the neck then he saw us and ran away I remember standing next to his head watching him choke on his own blood I can still remember clearly he was looking in my eyes but the colour began to change and fade away he began to look in my eyes but he was looking through me as if I wasn’t there any more then I realized he was dead later the ambulance arrived this was my first experience with raw violence I remember the medics taking out a blood stained R2 note from his pocket…so I never really knew what to make of it… so we went back to the house and told the family what just happened and every one being all out hammered they made some heavy crude jokes like “they should make dog food” so this coming from multiple grownups and family I took it as it was acceptable which caused many problems till date with violence because the mixture of I can take as I please and when people get offensive with me it would turn violent for example a few weeks later at school the ice-cream vendor person arrived at the school gates and I just took an ice-cream and he shouted at me so I took a pole and attacked him needless to say I was expelled from school the very next day in grade 2. The same day we saw this murder take place I was very insolent with my mother and demanded she gave me a cigarette and so she did and she tried to teach me how to smoke this being my first time it really hurt my chest and I coughed so the whole family was watching and began to laugh at me this was very embarrassing for me and to a large extent I victimized myself with peer pressure and decided to “show them all” I can do it… and this is where I am convinced my physical addiction took route as the nature of addiction is aggressively progressive I opened the door for it this way I began to smoke in private exposing to myself the cunning nature of addiction, with all the lies and deceit and manipulation. For people to buy me cigarettes as I was under age to buy it for myself. This is where I began to gain practice and skill at lying. At the age of 10 my brother came to me and asked if I ever smoked weed and I never knew what it was and I asked, so I was told its really fresh tobacco. It honestly wouldn’t have made a difference if I was told it was a drug because of my state of rebellion I think it would’ve been better for me at the time to hear it was a drug.

I really wanted to impress my peers at the time so off we went and I had my first experience with mild narcotics at age ten the first few joints never did anything but the last two hit me and I simply fell in love with it I just couldn’t keep my hands off it…

As time went on it never gave me the high it first did so I wanted something stronger and the people saw they could trust me so I was given “mandrax” to smoke at first I never knew what to make of it but I was assured it was safe and I would enjoy it and so I did this being my first experience with straight forward chemical narcotic’s.

This was the beginning of the end of me and I engaged it with a smile exposing to myself the insanity of my mind set and actions and the wilful destruction of my life on every level people became fearful of me because of my actions and mindset so they began to distance themselves from me and I truly never saw my faults.

I began to become resentful towards society as a whole which just made it easier for me to justify stealing from people and the violence against them my believes of this became stronger and I became more set in my ways up to the point where no one could control me, not even myself, so as it is said the law had no choice but to intervene.

My mother was on first name basis with the police station commander I was at age 13 only proving the literature of the NA program to be true.

When I was still a chid I was rather religious. One day I was told I had no say and I had to attend a church service at the time I would go to clubs in a place known as the “Bronx” or “hell’s kitchen” the next morning I climbed off the train from a heavy night of clubbing an drugging an walked across town and went to church. At the time I was a full street punk tight jeans punk T-shirt knee high boots and a very long Mohawk and around 40 to 50 piercings in my face and just walked into the church an sat down and pasted out…

Now being logical, there was serious reaction to that with my state of mind being the way it was. I found no fault in my actions and blamed them for it and the state of rebellion I was in. What was logical for me at the time I went to “war” with them, and the only way I could do it is by me engaging in Satanism, {for around 13 years} which seriously tainted my understanding of any good, clean, spiritual principle.

What I have come to learn and love about the 12 step program is patience and serenity it offers and delivers. This 12 step program delivers a true sense of love serenity that is undeniably real and strips me of the lies I chose to believe.  Through working the steps and teaches me to make peace with the things outside of my control. And understand I do not have to follow the dictatorship of my addict mindset I have freedom because of this an serenity a dream I chased for many years!

At age 14 I had my first encounter with rehab treatment and the NA program at the time I had no understanding of the term surrender, to me it was the ultimate form of weakness and I wasn’t ready to let go of the drugs, my friends, or the life style I had. It was all I ever knew and the idea of change was just too scary I now know this to be reservations, and the danger of holding on to them, so I was asked to leave the rehab centre as I was a danger to other patients. I had lost all sense of sanity and there was zero control over me or my life I was thrown out of the house a lot more frequently and for longer periods of time. I began to experience the full destruction of my addiction and its callas nature. The only way I knew how to attend to my needs like food clothes and of course my drugs was to resort to harder forms of crime the nature of my disease and mind set was at full term I was arrested on drug charges and convicted on 4 charges and sentenced to 3 years in prison with a 7 year suspended sentence of which I served 32 months and completed my suspended sentence.

Most people would say that would’ve done the job to bring me into recovery but as it is said the nature of this disease is powerful, cunning and baffling. The only lessons learnt in prison was to become a more successful criminal!

I came to see this through my own experience as I watched grown men get raped only a few feet away from me men getting stabbed and killed over issues like cigarettes gaining rank in gangs or plain right aggression.  When it is said there are only 4 ways out of active addiction this is the truth jails institutions or death and my favourite – recovery!

I did try many ways to come into recovery, but each of them failed.

I tried the religion route I studied to become a full time minister. I tried the psychiatry spending many years in counselling learning basics of physiology and how to manipulate it. I took myself as far away from society as possible and secluded myself in the mountains for many months {twice} and relapsed the moment I came back. Now understanding that my addict was alive and well never leaving me and not learning how to put any measure of control over it!

Where I saw the level of destruction and pain this disease can deliver to loved ones is when my little sister was shot and killed at age 15 by drug dealer turf fight.  I stood at the foot of my little sister’s grave holding my mother as we both wept bitter tears, swearing we will never touch another drug again. Not even this level of pain could halt our addiction. It was only a few weeks and we were as high as before, buried under our guilt and shame. But that only made it worse because now we had the tools to rationalize our using.

As is I needed to be crushed and broken in order to understand surrender and learn the true meaning of desperation.

The next few years did that for me. It was a build up of insanity and pain I yet to experience when I became so familiar with the street life gangs and so on. At this point I was a gang member for around 16 years I had seen an done things that still to the day cause me great pain to look back on! I lost 9 close friends through a gun fight 2 men with AK-47’s and 2 men with 9mm pistols came to a house we used an just opened fire… it was through the gang member days I learnt a warped sense of pride never to back down we were in an intense street fight and I saw a close friend of mine about to take his last hit he could barely stand up but yet he did only to take the last blow to the head and die with pride…

I became a full time member of a Nigerian syndicate where I was involved with local drug trafficking and trafficking of prostitutes my understanding of morals at the time was I would not take them as a working girl and make them sleep with me as the rest did and treat them as my property but I would put a price tag on them and sell them. Age race height and so on was how I made the price. I remember living in the one crack house I passed out in the room down the passage and woke up to the screams of the one prostitute. At first I thought she was getting attacked so I raced across expecting a good fight. As I got in I witnessed the full measure of the drugs I was trafficking and saw a boy had overdosed during the night and no one noticed because of their drugged haze. He was bloated and had changed to a dark purple colour.

At that moment I experienced the true insanity of my addiction. I was so angry that this kid died in my crack house wasting my drug time and causing the whole house hold to leave and find a new place to stay, because the police would come and close us down. I saw his brother a few weeks later in the next crack house we occupied….

A few days before I placed myself in treatment I was busy with a small heroine deal  of a quarter kilogram an old drug friend of mine tracked me down and spent the night with me there and he was speaking to me of coming into recovery.  So while I caused him to relapse, I got the details for the rehab centre, and about 3 nights after that there was another raid on the crack house and the police –  very well knowing who I was, got hold of me and proceeded to beat the crap out of me yet again.  I had broken ribs. I wasn’t able to walk for a few days after that round.

I remember sitting there looking around me at all the filth – as in ripped up rubbish bags garbage scattered around, people coming in and out as high as can be seeing the desperation to get more drugs people feeding their lust with the prostitutes and I asked myself plain out “what the fuck am I doing here like this? “

So I got hold of around 20 grams of heroin and decided to use it as fast as possible with the intention of suicide and if survived I would do literally whatever it took to come into recovery, stay in recovery and make a success out of my life.  I can only say it is purely by the grace of my Higher Power I survived not just the attempt of suicide but the whole ordeal of my prior life style.

When I came into the centre I still had a few reservations left, like I wasn’t ready to let old friends go the idea of 12 simple steps changing my life was just nowhere near enough, and meetings so often. I thought what was the benefit in sitting there and telling strangers my story and where I came from we had meetings every night of the week and in the meetings I kept hearing people from the outside coming in with good clean time leading happy and normal lives.

I sat there and said to myself this is what I wanted and I will follow the same measures they spoke of and so I did I got a sponsor and began to work the steps. I began to attend meetings every night. I began to work the program to the fullest extent that I could and I could see the changes within me begin to take place, I began to feel comfortable with in my own mind set and skin.

I began the journey of self acceptance and the daily surrender to my Higher Power every day I wake up in my own warm bed. I climb out the bed with the knowledge that no matter what happens I don’t have to pick up! Then as I make my way through the house to get some coffee I am greeted with smiles! I afford myself the opportunity to do the next right thing through the day and therefore I gain a level of control over the course of the day.

With the understanding of the concept “just for today” it becomes so much easier for me because I strip myself of the fear of futurising. Through working the steps I afford myself the chance to gain an understanding of who I truly am after years of running away from myself.  This way I get to build a solid relationship with myself. And I have! I now know who I am and love the “me” I have come to be I have a full understanding of my Higher Power and His will for me.

What I have found recovery is the dictionary word version I recovery my morals and my dignity and so much more and it is not just me who recovers, the loved ones around me recover too my brother and father! They recover from the pain and suffering I dealt out to them! They now have a brother and son as do I have a brother and father.

I recover my spiritual principles after 22 months of sobriety and clean time every day I still learn more of myself every day is a new opportunity to experience a life of serenity love and hope I was told because of the drugs I took and the length of time I used them for (21 years active addiction} I would never be a member of the society I would not accept that I would never be able to get a proper job and lead a good social life with friends who are clean and sober and I am on the very last stages of studies for world currency analysis using methods of high grade maths such as scare geometry and very successfully.

I now have the life that I have only dreamed of purely because I acted out on doing the next right thing and surrendering myself will to the loving Higher Power of my understanding.

I live in a state of gratitude and humble humility I found this way I remain teachable and I don’t lose track of where I came from and where I strive to be.

Thank you for affording me the time to get to know me and share of myself with you may your Higher Power be with you and your loved ones as you journey the road of recovery.