Stories

July 11, 2014 My name is MarkI am a recovered addict that has been given a new life by the care of God and by the support of The New Beginning Fellowship Center. On March 10, 2014, four days after my release from Theo Lacy Jail Facility in Orange, CA, i found my way to the doors of The New Beginning Fellowship Center. After an almost 2.5 year spin of heavy drug usage of Crystal Meth, my quicksand in life has finally drowned me to the point of misery and to the rock bottom end of nothing. Starting at an early age of 15 years old, my addiction was fueled by an insecurity of life, fear of rejection, fear of success and the urge to let one drug completely ignite a phenomenal disease that made me not want to stop no matter the condition. When I  walked into the the doors of The New Beginning Fellowship Center, the counselors their provided a deep education that carry the depth and weight a message should have in order for a seed to dive down deep inside me a grow.
The tainted soul inside me was already lost.
Even though i carried a sobriety of 7 years prior to my last run into drugs and alcohol, that sobriety without education wasn’t enough to hold me over. An education in California State University of Fullerton and a knack talent for photography was only a hold over from many other high educational learning gains I had prior my entrance to the United States Marine Corps back in 1998-2002. I’ve always been in college, Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, CA, Fullerton College in Fullerton, CA, GoldenWest College in Huntington Beach, CA and finally CSU Fullerton.
My spin on drugs was like a subway train, it had many stops, but no certain direction, though as each stop came; i fell, i dwindled and i spiraled.
Where some may ask? To a hidden destination of self-sabotage, self-pity and as the conductor of the train i would not stop until the wreckage of my final stop landed me into Orange County’s deepest black hole of drug paradise. This stop unleashed a beast inside me that combined my intellectual knowledge on life and my understanding of the streets (which means, understanding of homeless, gangs, junkies, prostitution, ghetto projects, underclass, middle class, etc…)  it had to be combinational adaptation of environment.
Shit i just needed the drugs.
In 2010 through 2012, I traveled to countries with some of the best non-profit medical groups in the world, in 2007 i had reconciled with my family and was finally release from Orange County Probation, in 2008 I entered into the highly competitive field of photojournalism, in 2009 i was accepted to CSU Fullerton, but this march to the American Dream all dissipated in one spark to a pipe that lead me back to the irreversible effects of Crystal Meth addiction. When losing my home in October 2012, the military side of me kicked in and it was a fight for survival, everything became an operation.
Through all this, i still needed to maintain a high, my body needed it, the urge was so strong, like an allergy, when pollen came a person had to sneeze, or like fat kid needing a Twinkie, the symptom of it was all or nothing.
No one ever wants to be a junkie, even those born to the streets of Beach Blvd, the ghettos of Santa Ana, the prostitution rows of Harbor Blvd, the heroin filled areas of South Orange County, i’ve been around it all. Life probably would be ok, if we younger and someone asked me “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  and in response society accepted the answer
“Duh, I want to be a junkie.”
Just maybe, this lifestyle would have been acceptable, but no, however, back to my story, this life was a whirlpool of self-deception and pride, I was an addict with reservations to become part of the melting pot of fast pace crime of drugs and money. Many people knew me in college to bare knowledge and a tenacity to bypass authority, it was the birth of an early god-complex for me. I was never afraid, approaching anything with steadfast tact, I was social butterfly that believed I had indestructible wings of gold. It made me good in collecting images as a photographer in my field, in the military I developed the instinct of shoot now ask later, my head was above the clouds, I overthought the concepts of the law of attraction and utilized it to place the highest belief of winning at any situation.
Ride or Die.  The setback here is, my disease towards my addiction fed on this.
On the streets, life had turned into a game for me, a game where each move I had to always have drugs and security. As I jumped from motel, to hotel, from nights of being homeless underneath a commercial trash bin and waiting for security to leave a certain complex just to be able to live to smoke another puff from my pipe, live to crush another rock to snort, and live to repress any pain of my losses, I needed that ecstasy to last just a little longer. For 2.5 years, i grew with the streets, never finding it odd to be running about 3am in the morning, delivering drugs, cutting drugs and being so smoked out on crystal meth that it drove me into sleep deprivation so far, that it took a major amount of drugs to keep going.  Life was like high school prom and homecoming court, only the popular survived. I came to believe I had a network of friends that numbered into the hundreds, but today, the real friends I have I can only count on one hand. It was a delusion that my life as an addict was to die as an addict. Crystal Meth was the creator of my world, it was the master of my life, the captain of my ship. It sailed me to right into the Orange County Jail System, usually jails and prisons are enough to scare most individuals, i became comfortable in that orange smock, eating bologna sandwiches for lunch, a small portioned hot meal for dinner and jail house spread consisting of ramen noodles, cheetos, mayonnaise, cheez its all wrapped up in a sandwich bag filled with just a little hot water so the consistency was near similar texture of a mexican burrito. This had become my life, i had finally suppressed my past life, i have finally shunned out the dearest things to me, my friends, my family, my career and myself.
Standing on the corner of Beach blvd and Garden Grove Blvd, it finally dawned on me, I was tired of being tired. I was tired of constantly having to struggle to have something, tired of everything always being stolen, tired of breaking any law, just tired of repetitious mayhem that i thought was a challenged life by God.
All this I have finally surrendered to God, during my first week in recovery treatment at the New Beginning Fellowship Center (NBFC). Four months I stayed in recovery, moving into the Residential Sober Living Home where my life was slowly returned to me. I had to first and foremost had to admit to myself that I was an addict. This here is one of the hardest things to admit to one self, just saying the words “I AM AN ADDICT, I AM AN ALCOHOLIC” was almost like a damnation to my pride. Saying those words, were the first step of a 12 step program that made me admit that I was powerless over my addiction-that life was unmanageable. But made me see more than that, they made me see I was powerless over my fears, my selfishness, my self-centeredness, my self-delusion and basically powerless over myself. I was beyond human-aide. I had to learn to believe in a power greater than myself that I can be restored back to sanity. Because everything I did was thrown down a road of darkness, with the counselor having a flash light at the other end, i was slowly crawling out. Until I gave myself to God, Jesus Christ, completely, the guidance from the counselors would not be enough. Finally, my silence, my resentments in life, my self-pity was being unraveled by their guidance. Without them, without God, without the 12 step program, i’d be lost on a desolate road to nowhere.
I was reborn again with God’s will and with the fellowship, service and unity of the halls of the New Beginning Fellowship Center.
Today, July 11, 2014, I am 121 days in my recovery, the spiritual change and personality change in me after a constant drill of habit changing actions, I now walk with the confidence God has given me. Still early in my recovery, their are many things to learn. My self-knowledge is definitely not enough to hold me over, I constantly need a redefining from my God, the fellowship in the halls of AA, and an constant fearless inventory of my morals. As things are slowly coming back into my life that I have once lost, God has given me the sense that he is my power, with God and the guidance of the counselors of NBFC and for the constant grind of the Director Alonzo Mitchell, i believe,  with thorough work towards my recovery,
God has me where I need to be. No more and no less.
My name is Mark, I am an addict. I will never be ashamed of that again. Thank you NBFC for giving me the first step to recovery. Mark MS
July 10, 2014 Hello group. Ronny D. (Basehead and a Drunk) and I go “Coo-Coo After … One Puff! Not three, not five, not a ten, a five-O or a gram later, I go straight, crawl around the floor, butt-naked, peeking out the windows, ducking helicopters and all sorts of strange and insane silly type of $#!+, after one got damn puff! … But after being around the rooms a few holidays, it’s been revealed to me through the “Process of Recovery” outlined from the cover page through the 1st 103 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and “Other Books”, you people, this program and most of all by GOD, that I don’t even need a hit and I can go completely insane, sitting around these rooms sober! 
There has always been a little controversy around the rooms for as long as I’ve been here, on the matter of “Recovering & Recovered!” And I arrived 12-11-91 … And I imagine it went on long before I got here. But I thought I’d try to shed a little light on the topic in hopes of passing on what I know to be the truth of the matter. 
“We Of Alcoholics Anonymous are more than one hundred men and women who have RECOVERED FROM A SEEMINGLY HOPELESS STATE OF MIND AND BODY.” (Pg. Xiii BB)
People, we will always be “recovering” from something, but we’re not listening to or reading the entire sentence. Contrary to a lot of uninformed people’s opinions, we do “RECOVER!” … Recover from what, is what seems to keep getting lost in the shuffle. I just quoted the entire sentence, yet some of us will apparently stop reading or understanding after the word, “Recovered!” Again; We, Of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered FROM A SEEMINGLY HOPELESS STATE OF MIND AND BODY … As it refers to our alcoholism folks, not my physical injuries, the loss of a loved one, a divorce, lost property, money or getting laid off from a particular job, although some of these we can actually recover as well, … but returning to a state of being responsible, accountable, trustworthy, upstanding and just all around good in character. Able to hold our heads high once again with integrity and dignity! No longer on the pity-pot screaming poor me, poor me, might as well pour me a drink! Around here, we get “BETTER” and eventually we do “Get Well” (Pg. 95 BB) But don’t confuse getting “Well” with cured. 
Using the analogy of the common cold, for which today there is still No CURE; It’s storming outside and we find ourselves on the couch let’s say, watching the Super Bowl … Friends are outside wrapped up and having a taste, a commercial comes on and we decide to just momentarily step outside half naked to have a quick drink or a hit with them. We get soaked in the “process” and run back in to get warm. We do this several times in succession and wonder why we woke up the following day with a terrible cold.
So we visit “The Doctor” who diagnosis “The Problem” and then prescribes for us; He says, stay out of the rain if possible or cover up, take two of these, drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. We do as “The Doctor” suggests a day or two and one side of our nose begins to open up. We begin to feel “BETTER.” We continue following “The Doctor’s” suggestions a few more days and we open up entirely. We are “Well!” Well enough to return to business as usual. But that doesn’t mean we are “Cured!” (Pg. 85 BB) Because if I take my happy half naked a$$ back out there into the storm and get drenched again, what’s going to happen? I’m doomed to get sick once more! … Sound familiar?
So what do I do to STAY “Well?” Well, I continue to follow the suggestions of “The Doctor’s” opinion of what I should do … First, I must stay out of the rain if possible or cover up if I must venture out into the storm … protect myself, remembering (Pg. 85 BB), “We are Not Cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” 
If you have not as of yet had a spiritual awakening as the result of the 12 Steps or in any other manner, as we do not claim to have a monopoly on recovery, I understand why it is you still claim to be “RECOVERING.” But if you have “RECOVERED” as the result of having had a spiritual awakening, know this … “Practical Experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive WORK with other alcoholics. It WORKS when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry THIS message to other alcoholics! You can HELP when no one else can.” (Pg. 89 – BB). 
“If You’re In A Suggestive Program, That Has A Big Book of Suggestive Suggestions, Then My Suggestion Is That You Follow The Suggestions That Are Suggested In The Big Book of Suggestive Suggestions As Suggested!”
“Because If You’re Not Following The Suggestions That Are Suggested In The Big Book of Suggestive Suggestions As Suggested, Then Once Again, You’re Doin $#!+ … You’re Way! And You’re Way Is What Got You Here!” 
“The Light Outta Come On Somewhere, Where You Can Clearly See That You’re Way Doesn’t Work! … Why Not Give The “GOD Of Your Understanding” Idea Another Try? It Just Might “CHANGE” Your Life!”
Thank you Alonzo and the rest of you out there, for listening and allowing me to share!
Ronny D. 12-11-91

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