My name is TC, I was born in Vietnam 01/01/1983. My reason for writing my story is to share my experience, strength, and hope. I’ll be jumping from one subject to another as I reveal to you my journey. Don’t take anything personal if I say something that offends your religion or beliefs. Just remember that we do have the same disease despite our differences.
I came with my mother from Vietnam to Utah in 1993. On the airplane I asked her 100 times why are we leaving and why can’t the family come with us? She told me that we’re going to a place where I can have a better future and she promised me that our family will come to live with us one day. Well the promise of that one day never came and little did she know about my future of being a crack head and a tweaker from hell. Growing up without any of my family around me made it even easier for me to isolate myself in later years because I have always been a loner. At 13 I met some friends and through them I came in contact with beer, cigarettes, and marijuana. Later on I joined a Vietnamese gang and unfortunately they were all crack heads. We should have called ourselves the “crack head gang” that’s how bad it was. I also had some meth but was not hooked yet.
At 18 I was arrested for arson, and did three years. Got out, but got back with my girl and was right back on meds again. People often speak greatly of this thing called spirit or soul within us that never dies. I also wonder where the hell my spirit was when I was getting high. What kind of spirit stay up all night fixing a bike or cut grass at 4 am?
One day my friend, my drug dealer, asked me if I wanted to make some money. I expected it to be something illegal, instead he handed me a sheet of paper telling me that he was court ordered to go to AA meetings and that he would hook me up with the 20 sack if I went to the meetings for him. He also convinced me that to white people all Asians look alike so no one would ever know. So I found myself sitting in my very first meeting at Fellowship Hall. After being there I felt like these people needed to get a life. What made it worse was when guys tried to hold my hand to pray at the end.
After getting paid to go to these meetings I heard lots of stories and I thought to myself what a bunch of spoiled brats that get together and talk about how much they drank, and how much they smoked. But for me I have to come to these meetings just so my dealer would get me high. Even though people were pouring their hearts in the meeting my heart and ears were still hard and I couldn’t relate at all.
I thank God later in life for having my dealer pay me to go to meetings. One time while tweaking in my backyard two missionaries came to tell me that God loves me and he knows how many hairs I have on my head. I asked them, “How much do you get paid to do this?” I admired their selfless act for their God. I told them to keep coming back to visit with me. Even though I no longer believed in Mormonism, I will always thank God for sending those missionaries to plant the seed in my heart which motivated me to seek for truth and at last find the true living God of grace, full of mercy and abundant in love. If God never took me out of Vietnam for sure I would have become a Buddhist or some type of legalism where men are trying to earn heaven by doing good works in keeping the law. I used to kneel for hours in front of the statue until my knees went numb just to show my devotion. Not until I had a son of my own that I truly understood the relationship between me and God. I don’t want my son to go through some crazy ritual in order to come to me and neither did God.
After knowing and believing in the existence of God I got a little taste of true sobriety before I relapsed. I cut off all my old friends but didn’t make new ones. I was sober but still isolated. I thought about A.A. but I asked myself, “Why do I need meetings?” What can men teach me that God can’t? Of course I was wrong about that because obviously God does work through people. I went to church each Sunday, shaking hands and had some superficial conversations then went home. Without the support of true Fellowship of any kind I soon relapsed. I expected God to perform some magical sign to take away my addiction. I asked pastors to pray for me, I read spiritual books, I prayed to God for help. But there was one thing I couldn’t do, and that is letting the pipe go or say no when it came my way.
It’s funny how I used to blame everything on God as though he made me chase after the dope or something. It was not until I completely let go and checked myself in the rescue mission drug treatment program that I truly understood that it was not God abandoning me or that he didn’t hear my prayers. It is because I never gave him a chance because my days and nights were spent doing or getting drugs. He gave me a free will so of course he can’t come down from heaven to slap the pipe out of my mouth or take the bottle away. But ever since I let go I witnessed miracles in my life. If you ever feel like God has forsaken you and your prayers are in vain, cheer up. It’s not true!
God is waiting for you to let go of whatever it is that you are doing and give him some room to work in your life. Let go for one hour one day or whatever you can. I have learned that gratitude is the key to sobriety and I can’t make it alone. Just like the African buffalo in order to survive they must stand together with their horns facing the enemy, which are the lions. Lions sleep for only hours but the buffalo only sleep minutes at a time and they don’t all sleep once. Some sleep and some watch always staying alert. Some of us are sleeping and some of us are praying for each other. Some of us do the 12 steps and some of us are slacking but we must stick together if we want to live, at least soberly. I encourage you to drop your pride, get a sponsor, and get into service work because even if you are on the right track you will get run over if you only sit there. May God bless you in your journey!
~ T.C. – Salt Lake City