Dual Recovery Anonymous™ is an independent, nonprofessional, Twelve Step, self-help membership organization for people with a dual diagnosis.
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My story starts back when I was in grade school. I never felt like I fit in with everyone. I felt like I was different but I didn’t know why. My parents let me run the neighborhood.
When I was eight years old I was walking down the street when I was grabbed by two young men. I would say they were about 18 or 19 years old and they drug me into an apartment and sexually abused me. Back then you didn’t talk about stuff like that or you were a bad person.
They told me if I ever told anyone that they would come back after my family and me, so I kept everything in. I remember watching my dad literally bounce my brothers off the walls and I was scared of him. Him and my mom would get into arguments especially when he drank, so I leaned toward my mom for protection. Little did I know that I needed protection from her as well. I got to a point where I just kept all the sexual, mental, and physical abuse inside of me. I stuffed it so deep that I believed there wasn’t nothing wrong with me at all. I do recall going to the nurse’s office in grade school all the time.
When I was 12, my brothers and sisters introduced me to pot. They held me down and blew me a shotgun. That scared me. I remember going home crying to my mom. She was upset about it also. About a week later I thought how when they blew me the shotgun and how it took away the feeling and made me feel like I was a normal person so I started smoking weed. First it was just a little. Then by age 14, I was smoking 5 to 10 joints a day. After that some of my friends introduced me to alcohol, which I liked.
When I entered Junior High, kids always picked on me and played jokes. Then one day I had enough of it and I told the one kid that after class, he was mine. Well after class when we got in the hallway I pushed him and he punched me one time and that was all it wrote. I wigged out. I remember that it took a few teachers and a couple friends to pull me off him. After that everyone thought I was crazy, well that’s what I thought anyway. I got suspended from school for a week and when I came back, no one messed with me.
There was like a raging volcano inside of me. I was scared of it because I never knew if it would blow again, so I continued to stuff everything. By now I started skipping school and staying out late. Doing what I thought was normal. At age 16, I started stealing from whomever to get my drugs and alcohol.
When I was 17, I found myself becoming very manipulative. I was so good at it I could even fool myself into believing whatever I said. When I was 18, I got into my first real relationship. I met this girl over the summer at a campground.
We started going together and around Christmas, I thought we were doing so good but then she just dumped me after Christmas. It hurt me very badly so I turned to the drugs even more than before. They had helped in the past so I figured they would get me through it again. They did temporarily but about that time I had got caught at school with pot.
They gave me a choice, I could quit school on my own or I could be expelled and it would go on my record. I quit. My addiction at this time was going strong so I did what any addict would do, I ran. I ran straight into the Army.
I went, I took the test, and I was excited they were going to take me and train me– HA HA. So in February I went into basic training still remorsing over my ex-girlfriend. I found my self in the Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky. About 2 weeks in, I got my flu shot, got sick, went to the hospital where they gave me meds. I didn’t feel like I belonged there so I wrote a note and told one of the guys to give it to the drill sergeant.
Right after I gave it to them I took the whole bottle of script meds that the hospital gave me. When I took them the drill sergeant came and got me then took me to the commander’s office where I tried to get away–NOT! They kept me put until the ambulance got me and took me to the hospital and pumped my stomach.
About two weeks later I was released from the Army. So when I got home what did I do, I started drugging even more than before. I thought it was just the Army. Well when I got home I found a job laboring so I could supply my usage. It seemed like the more money I got, the less I had.
Well now I’m about 20 years old and this continued for A COUPLE MORE YEARS. Then I met this girl. It was summer and we had good times. Then towards the fall I was hitting the bars. I was around 22 yrs old. I was at a party with her and I went up from the beach to get another bottle of liquor. I found her in some guy’s van having sex with him. I hopped in my car and just left her there. I kept hitting the bars for the next couple of weeks and then one night I tried to kill myself by driving my car off a bridge. I couldn’t even do that right. I got out of that with a reckless pop and a couple of days of observation for my injuries.
In 1984, I went with a friend of mine to an AA meeting. Afterwards, I broke down and told someone what I had done (trying to kill myself). The next thing I knew I was in a state mental hospital for thirty days. When I got out first thing my family doctor told me was there wasn’t anything wrong with me and I didn’t need the meds I was put on. So I stopped taking them and started going through the cycle of using and drinking again. In 1985, I met my first wife.
We jumped into the marriage. She didn’t drink or do drugs and boy was she ever naive. We had two kids together and I continued my usage but by hiding it from her. This went on for about five years. It was just about Christmas in 1989, we were talking about having another kid, and two days after Christmas she asked for a divorce. She had found my stash.
My daughter had pulled it out from under the couch. So I gave it to her. In February I went through an outpatient drug center that referred me back to a mental health agency for my other conditions. I was in their Emergency Stabilization Program for about two weeks when they said they were going to release me. I told them I wasn’t ready but they did it anyway. I ended up O.D.ing on my prescriptions which put me in the ICU overnight and the next day I was released back to the ESP program. I was in there another couple of weeks then they released me and had me in day treatment. I was starting to feel better about myself but had no clue that part of my problem was the drugs and alcohol still.
In the spring of 1990, my divorce was final. I knew I had lost my wife so I hit the drugs and alcohol again. This happened for about 6 to 8 months. Then I felt like I was going crazy so I tried a geographical cure. I went to Tampa, Florida, climbed about 500 feet up on a crane and was going to jump. I couldn’t even do that right.
I was in and out of a county hospital down there and in jail for a week for shoplifting (I could pay for my drugs but not my cigarettes). Well I got tired of it and moved back home again with mom and dad. Well for a year or two, I took care of my dad who was elderly and going down hill. After two years of it and having no life except from drinking and drugging and going back to a state hospital again, I found my self in day treatment. I was starting to feel better about my self. The mental health agency helped me get my own place. I met this lady. Little did I know then she would end up to be my present wife. I met her when I was in day treatment. I had been clean for a while, had my own place, started working, and was doing good.
Then boom, here comes the addiction again. She didn’t use with me at first because she was on probation and was trying to get her kids back. Well, we finally got her kids back and we had our ups and downs like any couple. Then when she got off probation she started using with me.
This went on till 1998. We came into a 12 Step program called Narcotics Anonymous. We seemed to get clean for stretches of 60 days then we would relapse. This went on till the spring of 2000 when she went into a treatment center. She was in for 70 some days. When she was in there, the kids were in school during the day, while I ended up back in day treatment, where I met this nice lady in charge of a dual diagnosis group. Well by now I had a good understanding of how the 12 steps worked but I couldn’t relate.
Then this lady introduced me the Dual Disorders Recovery Book. She suggested that I read Chapter Two first (Hope and Healing: A Comprehensive Approach to Dual Disorders). Oh my, did I ever get and eye opener! I never liked reading but once I started reading it, it grabbed me and woke me up. I finally found my home. I met people who went through what I did and they made it through it. Well day treatment was like a 90-day thing I graduated early from it thanks to her, N.A., and D.R.A., which showed me how I could do this in a way that I could understand. In April of 2000, I started our county’s first D.R.A. group with the help of my son’s case manager.
When I started the DRA meeting, I had no Idea that I would end up working those Steps. My sponsor at the time, who went to another fellowship, agreed to help me work on the Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous. I found myself in a bind for a while, because when we would go over the Steps he would tell me this was wrong and that was wrong. Well I took it in stride and went back through and corrected the things that he said was wrong. Even though I had a number of people tell me what he was doing wasn’t right because we are suppose to work them to the best of our ability. So I continued working them.
When I was on Step Two we went through them and the same thing again, so I corrected them again, and Step Three was the same way. Well when I did Step Four and he started telling me about things being wrong, I stood my ground by using “I statements.” It wasn’t long after that I dropped him as my sponsor and continued working the Steps. I am currently on Step Five, which I know I need to get my butt in gear and get it done. I’m writing this on my One Year anniversary of coming clean from drugs and alcohol. Today I am working, feeling better about myself, and trying to reach out to help others who suffer also.