There is a kind of darkness that can descend in the throes of active addiction, inky and thick, that obscures the hope of recovery. I could see it closing in on me. I really should have been pointing myself to inpatient treatment; I was that far gone. I had made some pitiable efforts to reengage with my core supports but couldn’t make it stick again. I’d pull together 5 days sober and the voices in my head would start to get louder–not actual voices, just the one that says “you’re never going to be happy, you’re never going to amount to anything, no one is ever going to love you, just use.” And I would.
A few months into that and I had sold my house. I had over $100,000 in my checking account and connections. And I remember this moment when I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror and said, out loud, “Oh my God. You’re going to ride this all the way down, aren’t you.”
I shrugged. I wept briefly. And I returned to my room to inject another half a gram of methamphetamine unskillfully into my arm.
If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.
I was already so solidly into the blotting out cycle that I couldn’t have asked for spiritual help, even though I wanted to. And I didn’t know where to turn at that point. My beloved sponsor Joe K. was dead. I didn’t trust the people I knew in the rooms, so many had turned away when I first started reaching out for help.
Five hundred and two days clean now, I feel solidly back in my right mind. It isn’t always easy to stay there but at the moment it is always possible. I am employed and I’ve never missed a day of work unless I was hospitalized. I have a home group (the same one as before) and a service commitment (the same as the one before). In my spare time I do things like train the staff of recovery residences in how to recognize and respond to overdose.
I am not particularly Christian except by the tradition of my childhood faith, but I often return to it as a framework for understanding my experience. The birth of Jesus Christ is sometimes called the Birth of Hope. In the spirit of that hope I just want to take a brief moment to acknowledge the people (the Angels of the Lord) who, in my darkest night, announced hope to me and those around me (Magi) who surround me and celebrate its rebirth.
May all our lives have meaning, all our bodies have health, and our spirits be gracious. May we ask for and receive spiritual help. May this day and every day be a day we carry the vision of Divine Will into the world, as it is in Heaven, for me, and for you and for all mankind.