I first walked into my first CMA meeting in 2005 – fresh out of rehab and not a clue about working the 12 steps. I was scared. What got me into rehab was secretly using Crystal, going on line and having sex with men. I am a straight man. I ended up very sick because I did things with the way I used and my behavior, that sober, I would not do.
I had hoped in my first year after spending much time relapsing, sitting in the rooms of AA and therapy that my sexual orientation was my problem. I hoped in many ways it would be revealed that in fact I was really gay and that’s why I used and had sex with men (MSM). I also thought if that was the answer I could skip the whole 12-step thing and continue to occasionally use and go online and have proper sex with men. It was clear to me that the issue was not my behavior; it was being a Crystal Meth addict and now HIV positive. I did not feel comfortable sharing these aspects of my addiction in AA, and it didn’t seem appropriate in any case. But when I walked into a CMA meeting, even though there was other HIV-positive men to identify with, I only saw all the differences. Truth be told I was not ready to hear the message or share my story.
So off I went to the rooms of AA and put almost two years together, only to find myself once again, dying inside and fat. My solution was to use and go right back to the same behavior. I was able to keep my job but struggled to keep my sanity. I argued with my sponsor that I could not go into rehab because of the responsibilities I had to support my daughter. It was this kind of distorted thinking that somehow I could manage my using and its consequences in my life; I began to realize something was not right. Then it was the call from one of my employees, wondering why had I not shown up for work and had not called. The call woke me up in more ways then one, it scared me enough to get into an outpatient program.
That was 2007 I was able to stay sober for 3 years and 11 months but I once again found myself alone, afraid, angry, resentful at AA and determined to stop my pain; so I went out for what would be another four months. Unwilling to return to the rooms of AA I found my way to a CMA meeting, Monday evening NCJW. I was almost 24 hours away from my last use, but far from sober. I folded my arms, kept my mouth shut and did not identify. I once again looked at the differences and had trust issues with people and especially gay men. But I heard something, a little something, I heard recovery, unity and service. I was scared and hoping that I could find at least one straight person, but I showed up at another meeting and I heard parts of my story and realized the people in the room often used how I used. The other thing that happened was that I finally understood the phenomena of craving. I never got it in AA. But I understood that once I used Crystal, all bets were off.
I experimented many times and recycled many a newcomer chip in the process. Same result, it ended with me wanting to stop but couldn’t. I had to take that first step --admitting powerlessness and unmanageability.
I know that I could at any moment go out and use again. I have to constantly remind myself about the easy access to drugs and the pain and struggle to walk back into the rooms of recovery. My choices of having any peace vanish and I become an obsessive slave to the computer and the need to use. I end up alone, afraid and deeply depressed.
Early sobriety can be hard and my disease fights like a MF’er as I get some time away from Crystal. It tells me I can do it just one more time, you won’t stroke out, you won’t have a heart attack, you won’t die. But in the short time of my current sobriety, I have heard of one death from an OD, a heart attack and a brain aneurysm, all involving people younger then me. Yet my thinking would have me using, I have to move my feet and keep sharing and being vulnerable, I have to set aside the fact I want to say I don’t belong because… x,y,z [blah, blah, blah.)
I am a Crystal Meth addict and the solution is in the meetings, in the steps and in the shared experiences of those who have found a common solution. I have chosen to recover from a hopeless state of mind and body. I belong here.