Simon’s Moment of Clarity

post1In reading Simon’s Recovery Story, it seems that he had two major Moments of Clarity. Mind you, I’m sure he had many others along his recovery journey!

‘One day, I received a letter from the head of faculty, asking me to come to see him in his office. I’d stopped attending lectures and tutorials, and I was only attending university to collect giro cheques from my mailbox.

I knew that my addiction had come out on top again, and that I’d need all my wits about me if everything was not all going to fall down around me – my brittle facade of lies and last chances and denial that I would retreat into every time I was challenged.

I knocked on the door and entered the room. He was on the phone and gestured to me to sit. What happened next sits outside my rational understanding even now. I started to cry. He noticed my distress and ended his call. I uttered out loud something I hadn’t consciously considered, “I’m a heroin addict and I can’t stop and I don’t know what to do.”

I believe that this was one of the most important moments in my life. It was certainly the first time I’d said this to someone else. It was also the first time I’d admitted this to myself, I think – making the connection between my behaviour and my condition.’

Simon then went to a ‘rehab’.

‘The short time I spent in rehab was to have a profound effect on the rest of my life. I am one of the people who arrived at the doors of that “big house on a hill” completely ready for what I was to experience. However, I had no idea that this was the case and spent the first week or so in a vain attempt to defend my behaviour.

I was, however, amongst experts, and it was soon clear to me that my behaviour didn’t merit defending. I’d long ago run out of excuses, and had been running on empty for a while. This didn’t stop me from defending everything I’d become as best I could – in the face of all the evidence.

Things changed for me on the first Sunday evening. There was an in-house Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting – the first I’d attended – and it was to alter the way I viewed pretty much everything. I often refer to that first meeting as a pivotal moment, around which the direction and context of my life turned.

What I most remember from that first meeting was a real sense of unease about the quasi-religious appearance of it. I have a sister who is a committed Christian and I had tried Christianity myself, but couldn’t make any sense of it at all.

On this Sunday evening, there was a poster on the wall with the 12-Steps on it. What I saw on it was the word God – capital G – and some other words. I was waiting for someone to pull a guitar out from under a chair and start singing. I remember feeling very defensive and nervous.

I often speak about that first meeting as an example of the idea that what I bring into a room affects what happens there. My sense of unease was based on my history, not on anything else. I had made a whole lot of assumptions about that meeting, and of the people in it, within seconds of arriving, and without any real evidence.

As I listened to people reading the pieces of NA literature that are read at the beginning of every meeting, something stirred inside me. I heard a description of an addict, and realised that I was one. I heard how addiction ‘was an isolating, chronic, progressive condition, with the only outcomes being jails, institutions and death.’  [Narcotics Anonymous, Basic Text]

I heard why everyone was gathered together, about how I was ‘powerless over my addiction’, and how the members of NA had turned ‘in desperation’ to each other, and had found a way to freedom from their addiction.

I also remember the man who gave the ‘share’ at the beginning. I’m pretty sure his name was Micky and that he’s dead now. It was the first time in my life that I’d heard anyone speak about using drugs like I’d used drugs. It was also the first time I’d seen anyone who’d stopped using – actually chosen to stop, and who was at peace with their decision. I’d stopped using a lot, but always because I either had no money or no access to drugs.

The results of that first meeting, and the effect on my life, were immense. I’m certain that there is a small element of hope – or faith or some kind of spiritual flame – that burns inside us all. I believe it’s never completely extinguished, but can become so dim that it’s almost invisible to us.

It was rather like that flame was fanned by my experiences at my first meetings, and I became aware again of hope. And the present, not just the past and the future.’

Please check out Simon’s Recovery Story, Gratitude for the life I thought was over… It’s a great read! And Simon has gone on to do great things with his life, in particular in helping other people.