I had begun taking drugs as a young child. Growing up with an abusive mother with no love. I had no self esteem. I left home two weeks after I turned fourteen, and was beaten and raped three days later. Drugs allowed me, so I thought, to stand up from a fetal position of fear and deal with all the evils in my life. The things and people who hurt me, made me sad, afraid and angry.
Drugs helped me to accept living in my own skin. But dealing I was not, confronting I was not. Drugs just made me “think” I was okay, but what happened instead was, I curled up tighter and went further inside of myself, away from life, away from reality. Recovery in Narcotics Anonymous taught me that I could not live curled up in a ball if I wanted to confront life. I could no longer gaze through eyes that filtered out the truth of what I saw, if I wanted to see the world around me as it was. I could no longer hide if I wanted to find myself. I could no longer hate if I wanted to love. I could no longer take drugs if I wanted to live. Listening to other addicts share in meetings gave me hope.
Working my first step with my sponsor was an amazing experience for me. The acceptance I got from for her helped me to accept myself for who I was. I realized that for 31 years, I was sleep walking through life. And it was finally time to wake up. I spent all those years, moving and acting without conscience, without a conscious understanding that I was at the driver’s seat, in charge of my own actions. Working through the steps I became comfortable with living in my own skin. I learned to accept responsibility for myself, and my actions. Accepting responsibility for myself, my life, and my addiction, then developing the courage to change, were gigantic miracles in my life. Without them, I could have died in my addiction.. Instead, here I am enjoying recovery, and life. I can honestly say that because of Narcotics Anonymous, I can now look into my own eyes and like who I see. I have come a very long way in my recovery, but I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to share with others. Narcotics Anonymous taught me how to live. And for that I am forever grateful.
Lori L. Stephens

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