It Never Gets Better Pt.1 – Ryan N_ May 2019

MY true freedom began in the rooms of A.A. at the Utah State Prison. My addiction began at the age of 11 years old. I believe it was 1981. I used to take drinks out of my father’s beer and or mixed drinks. It’s amazing how well I can remember those times. I remember taking the first swallow. I couldn’t wait for the next opportunity. Eventually when the opportunity was there, I would take a can or two to my room and I would drink them. At first it would be slowly but eventually I could not get them down fast enough. I remember the first time I woke up from a black-out. The feeling I had was as if everything was going to be ok from there on out.
My addiction began with alcohol. At first I just drank it because it’s what I saw as normal. Everywhere I went with my family, all the adults were drinking, and it’s what everyone did. Around the age of 12 or 13 my older sister introduced me to pot which was amazing. I don’t think I would have made it through junior high school without it. I did not like school from the very first day. Kindergarten all the way to the 9th grade. I felt awkward and did not fit in. I was bullied and called names like “sissy faggot” and “pretty boy”.
There was also some abuse taking place at home; sexual, emotional and physical, which made things even more difficult and overwhelming. But over time I was able to find ways to deal with it. High School went a lot better for me. I got my first job and my driver’s license. I met a lot of new people and became more popular. I stopped smoking pot so much because I was working a full time job. I was able to get work release credits which was good. I only had to go to school a half a day. When I was 16 years old I met a 19 year old girl at work, she was my supervisor. Long story short, she became pregnant. At first I thought things were going to work out for us, however one month after my son was born, something happened between the two of us and we split up. My son was born July 26 1989 and I haven’t seen him since he was a month old.
This was around the time I started having run-ins with the law. I got my first DUI when I was 16 years old. By the time I was legally old enough to drink alcohol I had five DUIs. I think I went to jail on my 3rd one for 3 months. My forth one was 1 year but I got time off for good time, so I only did 9 months. My 5th one I was locked up for a year with no good time. When I got out I was told I had to go to A.A. and DUI classes. I lost my drivers’ license so I had to find some place close to my house, and found the Alano Club.
My dad drove me there and dropped me off. When we pulled in I thought to myself, “this is not for me”. I was nervous and did not want to go in, in fact I just wanted to leave. I decided to smoke a cigarette before I went in. I was just about done with my smoke when a loud but happy older lady walked up and instantly reached for my hand. She said, “hi there! I’m Nancy, be welcome. Are you a newcomer?” She did not even give me a chance to answer. She said, “Of course you are! Come with me.” She showed me around and introduced me to a bunch of drunks.
As this was all happening, I was telling myself, “this is not for me, I’m not like these people”. So we went into the meeting room and I was shocked at how many were there, men and women of all ages, in fact I think I remember some young children coloring or crying in the background. The meeting started with a guy that said, “My name is Mike and I’m an alcoholic. Are there any newcomers here for the first time?” Several people stood and introduced themselves and received newcomer chips, but not me. I was not planning on returning. First a moment of silence and the serenity prayer…what the hell was this? Some religious cult? There were two big signs hanging on the wall. As the meeting went by I looked them over, one was the 12 steps and the other was the 12 traditions.
Step one, that was a given. At the age of 21 I was powerless over alcohol and my life was definitely unmanageable. Step 2 on the other hand was something I was not wanting to do at this point. What power could restore me to sanity other than a set of hand cuffs and a ride to the old SLC metro jail? I guess I could say its possible when I had to wake up and share my breakfast with the cockroaches. Now here was the big one, step 3. Make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. Not happening. My thoughts were if there is a god and if he is who I am told he is, then why is my life so messed up? If anything I was blaming God for the cards I was delt. My life sucked and I had many resentments and God was one of them. Step 4, what the hell? Make a searching and fearless inventory of myself? Right there in my mind I was at a loss. What does this even mean?
Then all of the sudden my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of chairs scraping against the hard wood floor. Then everyone shuffled their way to the outer edge of the room where a large circle was formed. The next thing I knew, we were saying the serenity prayer. When we were done they said, “Keep coming back because it works if you work it”.
I’ll be honest, my thoughts at this point were not very positive. As far as I was concerned I was not like all these drunks. I found the exit sign and started to work my way there. As I walked out of the room I looked up and there was Nancy and some guy standing at the bottom of the stairs patiently waiting for me.
Next thing I know I’m backed in the corner of this little restaurant eating the best cheeseburger and chili cheese fries I had ever eaten. The three of us talked for about an hour. The guy with Nancy offered me his number and told me that it would be wise of me to get a sponsor. I said, “How do I do that?” He said, “My name is John, this is my number and here is a Big Book. Read it and call me tomorrow morning.” I was sort of lost for words but replied with an “ok, what time?” He said, “Around 9am”. I said thank you and went out to the parking lot to smoke and wait for my ride.
The next morning I called John, he answered and asked me if I had read any of the book. I said yes but not much. He asked how I was doing and what my plans were for the day. I said, “Not much, I should be looking for a job.” John spoke up and said, “Why don’t you come to a meeting with me today. It’s at noon and there’s some people I would like you to meet”. I said, “I don’t have a drivers’ license, can you pick me up?’ He said, “Of course. I’ll be there around 11:30″. I went to the meeting and was introduced to several old timers, and given a job as a hod tender, which was probably the hardest work I have ever done. John became my sponsor and I had about 2.5 years of sobriety when I stopped going to meetings, changed jobs and stopped calling my sponsor. Then I got into a relationship and we moved in together after only 3 weeks… (to be continued in Lifeline June 2019)

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *