It Never Gets Better Pt.4 – Ryan N_ Aug 2019

As time went by things got a lot easier. I left prison a free man in April of 2008. What I mean by a free man is I was done, I was off paper and it was finally over. To be honest I was more afraid this time than I was ever before because at least being on paper I still would have some sort of structure. As it was I was not worried, I totally had a plan. My mother and father picked me up on a Tuesday morning. On the way home my mom said, “Where do you want to go and eat?” My mother started making suggestions and out of nowhere a thought came to my mind. I said, “Let’s go to the Alano Club” and they both said “where?” I said, “The Alano Club, it’s that place by our house where I used to go to A.A. meetings. They have a small restaurant in the basement with the best home cooked meals ever. Plus I think it’s a good idea for me to get into a meeting as soon as possible if I want to make it.”

So on my first day out of prison I went to the Alano Club. I held back, I guess I was nervous and a bit reserved, but thinking back now I think that was okay for the circumstances. The only thing at this point that mattered was the simple fact that I was at a meeting because I wanted to be, not because a parole officer or judge told me I had to be. So for the first month I was out I went to 2 meetings a day. I started to open up and share and I started looking for a sponsor. They asked me to be a greeter and I would make coffee and make sure there were cups for everyone. I found myself spending a lot of time there. I was looking for work and was not having any luck. I was getting real discouraged. It was not long after that I got a job working through a temp agency. As I said before I was looking for a sponsor but with the level of my addiction I had many other issues as well. I had self-esteem issues, control issues, obsessive compulsive disorder, boundary issues and relationship problems. I also had been abused sexually, emotionally and physically so alcohol and drugs were just a small part of the problem.

So back to looking at this time, finding a sponsor was confusing for me. I spent so much time looking it was like shopping for the perfect car, but in my case I always found a sponsor that was good looking or partner material, someone that I was attracted to. My first sponsor was a good sponsor at first. As far as I knew he was a straight guy. One night after a meeting we went to his place to do some Big Book work and one thing led to another. We both crossed boundaries and had sex. Things were cool and then the next time we made plans to study he also planned on using and having some fun. So there I was, out of prison about 3 months and I had my first relapse and my sponsor continued to use. Our relationship from that point ended. I could not go back. I just kept telling myself, “I’m free. It’s just a small set back. It’s not too late to stop. I can fix this.” So I chose to go my way and he went his.

Now moving on I continued to go to meetings and I eventually found another sponsor. This time my sponsor was a little older than me. Things were going good, I was working 40+ hours a week and I was back to working the steps. My sponsor was a motivated guy and I looked up to him. I know that from the very beginning I had an attraction for him but I just left it at that. I really did not speak about my sexuality that much, I just always assumed that everyone knew or could tell that I was gay. While doing my 5th step with him it was very emotional. It was very hard and there were a lot of tears. We were both crying and then hugging and before I knew it we were kissing and well, there you have it. Once again I was out of a sponsor, but I was okay with that at the time.

Time went by and I continued to work the steps and was attending meetings. I gave up on any type of sponsor. I just felt that I did not want to be a part of anyone else’s problems or be the cause of them. I loved A.A. and the members of A.A. I had lots of fun while sober and that was something that I did not think was even possible. We went on camping trips, we went to Lake Powell and we had BBQs that were fun. The members of A.A. were so welcoming and supportive. Even though my addictions got the best of me more than not, I was able to get some sobriety time under my belt here and there. Like I said before, I left prison a free man and things were going okay for about 3 years.

Then I stopped going to meetings which at first was because I was working so much, but then life started happening. Things were not going good, I lost my job, I started using meth and drinking. My 21 year old nephew got killed in a high speed chase, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and two months after my nephews death I found out that I was H.I.V. positive. So you can already see where this is going. I went back to what I know best, running and gunning 24/7. As far as I was concerned my life was over so I was going to live it to the fullest doing what I enjoy most. Looking back now, I did not realize how much self-pity and shame I was drowning myself in. So for the next 2 years I spun around with not a clue in my mind, not even a worry or a thought of coming back to prison.

Once again I wound up back in prison. It was April of 2013 and this time my attitude had changed. I wanted to get all the help I could, so for the next 4 years I did all I could to better myself. I took all the classes and put together events like Recovery Day and Mustache March. I got involved in A.A. and was working the steps and sponsoring again. I ended up getting a 13 month time cut for my hard work and paroled in April of 2016. I did really good for about 18 months, then relapsed. Everything that I worked so hard for I lost. I know in my heart if I would have went back to A.A. and if I was honest with myself my time would be my time. Now I’m in the Utah State Prison fighting several charges and a 5 to life sure has me saying the serenity prayer.
-Ryan N.

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