By Chris Freeman
When I was just a young kid, 11 years old, I did something that would have an effect on my entire future. I took my first drink as well as my first puff of reefer. Now mind you, it seemed innocent enough and did not cause any immediate turmoil or strife, or so I thought.
What it did do that day, long ago, was set up my life to be filled with misery and suffering of which I could not have ever imagined. In fact from the age of 11 up until just a few years ago, I was plagued by an incessant urge to change my reality and find solace and comfort from any type of substance that might do so. The professional would say I was a poly-substance abuser. I would say that I was just a drug addict and alcoholic.
I remember the day when I crossed the invisible line from which there is no return. I was 13 years old.
From that very first day I became engaged into a life which was completely involved with a deadly and destructive lifestyle. Many, many times I should not have lived through it as I have. I did, however, and I am now in a position to share my experience with other people who may be seeking a solution to their alcohol and drug problems. In fact, this has become my mission, my sole purpose in life, to help others as someone once helped me.
As I write these short articles I shall try to express and share my thoughts, ideas and understanding of what it is that I have found during the years of struggle and then the years of freedom I have experienced. It is my hope that the readers will find my stories informative and engaging, with the ultimate outcome of that being – finding the same release from what I like to call: “The Monster’s Grip”.
Most of you might guess that with the time that I have been exposed to addiction and recovery, 47 years, I should have a fairly good knowledge of the material from which most treatment programs base their recovery process from. The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as prescribed from the book, commonly referred to as the “Big Book”.
For me to find a starting point for this series would be difficult as we all come from different backgrounds, situations, and circumstances. However, our differences and individual stories do not separate us as you might think and believe they should. Our diversity is more of a strength as it binds us together. Our literature paints a picture of us as being passengers of ocean liner.
“We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness, and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to captain’s table.” Big Book, There Is a Solution, p.17
Addiction fuels itself with isolation and separation. It splits us apart from life. In every department of our lives, the problems we occur become amazingly difficult to solve. Our relationships with friends and families are damaged and for some, it seems as if there is no way of amending the harms done. We become alone with our desolation and anguished misery, full of sorrow, depression, and sadness. Hoping against hope that we can somehow escape its wrath. The “Monster’s Grip” tightens, building the tension and pressure from within, overwhelming and unrelenting.
Like a snake that is eating its own tail, our dependence on the idea that we will gain relief from the next drink or drug becomes our primary option. As soon as we give in to the desire for comfort and relief, the pattern of our destructive behavior is set for another go-round. Over and over and over, addiction drives us into the dirt.
Anther quote from our literature states:
“Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn’t quite belong.” 12×12 Step Five, p.57
The realities of our dilemma are not at all easy one to accept. Alcoholism and addiction have touched us in a way as no other. It brings us all to a point of surrender or death. Not one person I know, who has undergone the process of recovery has ever related their transformation to me, as being comfortable or easy. How could it be anything else but difficult and painful?
We who experienced the transition into recovery are living our lives with a great purpose, fulfillment, and meaning. We are all grateful to have escaped the clutches of the merciless and horrendous destroyer. We are all free from the obsession to use and drink. We have recovered.
We no longer suffer and live in the isolation of addiction. We wish you to share that with us. We are numbered in the millions. From all walks of life, rich and poor, left and right, from every town, city, state, province and country.
Some of us are very fortunate to give all out time to our work of reaching out to people that have been seeking answers and hoping for a new life without the need or want of drinking and drugging. I am dedicated to you who read this, whether you’re in recovery or still looking for a solution.
During this series of stories I shall share my great hope for you. That you find us and follow our steps to freedom. My name is Chris Freeman and I am a recovered alcoholic and drug addict. Thank you for your time today and see you down the road at bit.