When first the light hit my eyes, I was covered in my mother’s fluids. This is not the most appealing image, but the grotesque nature of this scene still possessed its own type of beauty. At least, to my mother, I would imagine this was so.
I say imagine because it precisely describes my relationship with her. Why?
Because that relationship is imaginary at best. My mother is a paranoid schizophrenic who left our family when I was three. Not before she dumped me and my sisters in a crackhouse for six months.
I do not believe this was something she ever intended. Her disease struck without notice and from what my sisters have told me she had been a very loving, caring mother before the tragic loss of her mind.
It is said that addictions are often just a way of hiding ourselves from other, underlying problems. Though this was only one of many in my life, it was the first experience to break my heart, and it was certainly one that I could not understand in my innocence.
As my life progressed, I was unaware of the direction from which many negative emotions slipped into my subconscious. Some of those emotions came from the events that occurred while we were abandoned at that place.
My dad searched for us the entire time, unable to find us. We had been living in Chicago, Illinois, but our mother had hidden a knife beneath the seat and told us that our dad was going to kill all of us. She then proceeded to take us to that putrid house in Seattle, Washington, where we would spend some long days, aching.
Over time, those bad emotions bred more bad emotions. They became unmanageable and I found myself engaging in, what I now know, was escapism.
I started out with pills and pot. Eventually, I discovered that I liked to drink. Everything that I ever did, I overdid. The overindulgence continued until my life became unmanageable, again.
I was always a worker, and I worked hard at every job I had. I worked to impress, but as the disease of addiction took hold, I found myself unable to manage my working schedule against my using schedule.
This resulted in the loss of jobs, relationships, and virtually everything that I owned. The cycle continued. On and on it went for years. The alcohol nearly killed me by the time I was 24 the same year that I got my DUII. I was told I was on the verge of cirrhosis, and if I didn’t stop drinking I would die before I was 30.
I used methamphetamine to help curb my appetite for alcohol. It worked, but in turn, I developed a new addiction to overindulge in. I couldn’t afford my habit anymore, having no job and so I started selling to stay high.
This ended up landing me my first felony and a prison sentence, which I served out. I did okay, for a bit after getting out of prison, but my sobriety was not based on anything. I didn’t really have a goal to stay sober, and I still felt that I could use and be okay. My moral compass was skewed by my disease.
I got a job at a plywood mill, and I did well for a couple of months. That quickly ended, and I chose to use meth again. I led out the next three years, dodging cops and getting high. Going to jail repeatedly. Gaining weight, losing weight. I lived mostly in the woods of the Empire District in the Coos Bay area.
I fell in love. Love and drugs don’t mix. The world has branded me with the knowledge, and we are lucky to have made it to the other side of our addiction, still together and stronger than ever.
I was still struggling against addiction when I started doing my A&D classes with Curry Community Health. My counselor asked me if I “really want to do this.” I gave it a week to think, and the next week I confirmed that I was, upon arrival in his office.
I began to learn tools of recovery in class and implementing them into my life. My girlfriend had also started going to Adapt in Coos Bay, so we were in the same kind of program together.
To be honest, I don’t think it would have without God. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a person cannot make significant changes in their life until they first have the basics. Food, water, shelter. We were living out of our van, and we did not always have these three things. In fact, when we first started fighting against our addictions, we didn’t even have a van. We were outside in the rain.
However, the help that I received in recovery at Curry Community Health, and the help that my girlfriend received at Adapt, most certainly was useful. It benefited us tremendously. We learned to see our addiction as a disease.
As previously stated, addictions are born from negative emotions, resulting in the user seeking escape. The tool to achieve that escape comes in the form of a drug, drink, sex addiction, gambling addiction, or any other form of addiction that helps us to escape those negative emotions.
The more we get those bad emotions, the more we drink and use to escape them. After a while, the coping skills that we used to have are gone. We are left only with the drug, drink, or other addiction. We then become slaves to our emotions.
I am aware that I am supposed to know the laws about drinking and driving. I do know the laws, but the reality is this: I just can’t drink or use - AT ALL.
I am not one of those people who picks something up and puts it down after the weekend. I am balls-to-the-wall in everything I do. This is why drinking a little without driving is really not an option for me.
I have 130 days clean, today, and I am never going back! I am developing myself as a freelance writer, doing sales copywriting, blog writing, among other things. I am approximately 25,000 words into my first book which is a Dystopian Fiction.
I am loving life!
My girlfriend and I no longer live in our van. We have a 31’ Chieftain, and we are happy. I love sobriety. Though I may derive the ability to help others from the experiences of my old life, I am so happy to be DONE WITH IT!
The program at Curry Community Health has been beneficial to our triumph over this disease. It would take many pages to get through all of the information that I learned, so I will sum it up.
This fight is an EVERYDAY fight!
Here is my sober living plan:
Praise God with everything I am. Thank Him for how He has helped me through the hard times. If I have any urge to use, think my way through it. Never forget how unmanageable my life had become.
Don’t glorify those things that ruined my life in the first place. Stay away from situations involving increased risk to my sobriety. It only takes one time, so I don’t ever tempt myself!
Fill my time with things that are good. Look back at the progress that I have made. Be grateful, again. Live each day, sober and to the fullest!
Written by Jonathan Caleb Williams