Hi. My name is Penny. I’m an addict and I am 59 years old…I’ve been married for almost 30 years. I have an extraordinary husband and three amazing adult children who are actively involved in my recovery today. My life has changed dramatically and I have been clean for two years now, one day at a time.
My drug of choice was freebasing and crack cocaine. I used for the better part of 45 years. I used to live and lived to use. Nothing could stop my addiction. Nothing would subdue the obsessions or the cravings except ‘more’. More and more and then of course more was never enough. No jail, no institution, no intervention, no amount of love for my family, no amount of willpower, treatment center or psychiatrist, no therapies, no antidepressants, NOTHING would take away the obsession to use. The disease had a choke-hold on me. It robbed my every waking moment and haunted my dreams. Drugs started out innocently enough as something fun to do, a mild release, an ‘experience’, a sweet high. Then, I found myself using them to cope and to just feel normal. As my disease progressed, recreational use escalated to need. The drugs turned on me and my life became completely unmanageable. I felt imprisoned in some wild and evil sinister nightmare, an apocalyptic downward spiral into a hell beyond comprehension. There was no way out. This disease destroyed everything and everyone in my path including my relationship with my husband, my three children, my extended family and my friends.
One day, I just knew that I’d had enough! The drugs had devastated me and what was left of me was nothing more than a smidgen of fragmented hope. My family members were falling down and all around me was this pervasive absence of light, an almost indescribable, inconsolable darkness. I walked into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous so beaten down, empty, and desperate, completely ready and willing to do whatever I was told that might help me to save myself. I embraced all the suggestions that were so freely offered to me. I felt love and acceptance.
NA does not promise you that the world will become a better place or that you will get your family back. It does not promise that you will become wealthy or that you will live “happily ever after” or forever, nor does it promise you that you will have perfect health. What NA does promise however, is that you will have a daily reprieve and that if you follow the simple 12 step program of recovery, you will find freedom from active addiction. Truthfully, this is all I ever wanted.
I knew that if I could just put down that insane crack pipe that my life would be a life beyond my wildest dreams. Today I’m clean only by the grace of God and through the program of Narcotics Anonymous. Life is not perfect, not by a longshot. However, I’ve lost that heinous, monstrous obsession to use and that to me is the greatest gift of all. Thank you God and thank you NA. If you or anyone you know is suffering from the disease of alcoholism and/or addiction please pick up the phone and get help. The disease of addiction affects everyone. We reach out and we recover. We do it together in NA. You never have to feel this way ever again. You are not alone. That’s the promise of Narcotics Anonymous. Feel free to share this article in the hopes that it may reach other suffering addicts who don’t know that there is a better way to live. In NA we will love you until you love yourself and we will show you a “design for living”, a freedom you never thought possible.
Thank you for your time,
Addendum: Make sure to get a sponsor, someone with a year or more clean and sober who has a working knowledge of the 12 steps of AA /NA. Someone who believes in you and who will be there for you no matter what. Having an experienced ‘fellow’ to guide you through the steps and someone who can relate to what you are experiencing is crucial.