So long, and thanks for the memories in recovery.
J.D had “friends” in active addiction, but being free from drugs brought him true friendship in recovery, one of whom he said goodbye to this week.
In active addiction, I met a lot of people I thought were my friends. My best friend was my drug dealer. When I had no cash left to give him, I used my petrol card. We’d be sitting at the garage, as an attendant filled up the tank, and I’d tell him about what was going on in my life.
He used to give advice.
Ironically enough, when I asked him if he could get me (the now-completely illegal sleeping drug) Mandax, he lectured me about where it would lead. “You will lose everything,” he said.
I mean, white powder is fine, according to him, but white tablets? That s%!& will cost you more than waking hours.
(White powder, for the record, will also take everything. The only things it gives back is a septum holier than the Bible and cardiac arrest.)
True friendship in recovery- way better.
I have a particular friend, a Mediterranean chap, who I’ve gotten quite close to.
We wound up at the same halfway house, and have been roommates now for over six months. This week he moved on.
Halfway houses, such as the one that Houghton House has available for recovering addicts, are great places to re-enter society after treatment for addiction. They provide the structure necessary to help rebuild one’s life.
As I also have a mood disorder with the intensity of ten typhoons, I easily let routine slip by. Before I know it, I’m consumed by dreams of singing Valkyries in silver breast-plates, and waking up at a reasonable time is the last thing on my mind.
At the beginning of the year, I had direction-issues. Tough economy being what it is, I struggled to find a job. The few interviews I went to, I fumbled like an epileptic juggler. Then political events conspired to bring darkened storm clouds, and I struggled to see silver linings anywhere.
Formerly addicted to Walter White grade narcotics, he came into Houghton House, like the rest of us, bereft of hope.
While there, and with significant help from a member of Houghton’s great counselling team, he managed to fight off most of his demons.
Houghton House isn’t just about stopping drugs. It’s about finding the traits in you that will help you win against active addiction.
Case in point: in active addiction, in order to make ends meet, and to support his marijuana habit, he started his own business. Some addicts steal your silver, sofa, and kitchen sink. He went into a trade. It went well, because he had hope.
Of course, that fell apart in the end. Active addiction takes no prisoners. He lost everything. Possessions, places to live, people who cared for him. Even the car he was sleeping in, one night, was borrowed by four men carrying guns and never returned.
Jessa*, an addiction’s trained social worker, took a sliver of light, and ignited something deep within the darkness of his soul. Hope burned again.
When he came to share the room with me, he carried that torch with him.
I was devastated by what I saw as impending doom, for myself, and the world around me. Deep depression is the place circus clowns go to die. Recovering addicts are especially vulnerable to the dangers there, when they feel sorry for themselves.
He helped change me and my view.
He said, “Perception is Reality.” When you see the world as dark, it doesn’t just seem dark. It is dark. When you see the world as light, it is light. That was his message.
He reinforced positivity.
It can be hard to simply change your view by thinking positive thoughts when you’re inundated by negative ones.
So, he suggested I give myself to a positive world. Sound more airy than several mushroom-seated fairies? There’s an expression in the 12 Step Fellowships: “Fake it till you make it.”
He had a better one: “Faith it till you make it.”
That leap of faith that things will work out may or may not put you in Contact with a Grand Intelligence in Charge of The Universe©.
(This is obviously religious belief dependant.)
But it was like I was being reprogrammed by a benign computer technician.
Black mood lifted to sun-spun silk. Suddenly, I had more energy, I was more productive, and I was enthusiastic about opportunities.
I owe him a great debt for his role on my road of recovery.
He’s left the halfway this week. Our time as roommates is at an end.
Will we stay in contact, meet up with each other, or fade away as our lives move along different water currents? Who knows. But what I do know is, he was there when I needed him the most.
Just as my dark hunger for destructive drugs attracted a drug dealer into my life, my need for hope brought Samuel into my recovery.
It makes a world of difference who you have around you. It could mean dank despair or enthusiastic joy.
As Samuel said:
“Perception is Reality.”
So, mould your reality with the right people.
They can bring with them hope.
& true friendship in recovery.
*Not their real names.