My life is immersed in my search for freedom from active addiction through Narcotics Anonymous. Being a drug addict is an additional stigma to being HIV positive. And while I haven't found much support for HIV positive people in St. Louis, I have found support for my drug addiction. It is hard for family members and friends to understand drug addict thinking (or lack thereof) and actions. In active addiction it was all about the drugs, the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more drugs. I ignored the consequences of my behavior and choices. I was in denial, telling myself I wasn't doing anything wrong because I got my drugs from a doctor. Ignoring the fact that I would nod off standing up or on the toilet.
I got fired from my job because I was too high to perform my duties. I was very fortunate that I did not get into any traffic accidents or legal issues as a result of my drug use. I embarrassed my son by being late or forgetting to pick him up. He had to call my parents a few times because I was so out of it. Finally I overdosed and ended up in the hospital which was the beginning of my wake up call. I was also reported to the Department of Children and Family Services for not supervising my son properly. I knew I had to make some changes. I was tired of being sick and tired.
I needed a new way of life. I had gotten clean in 1986 in NA and stayed clean for about 10 years. I became infected with HIV in the rooms of NA which changed life as I knew it. I also knew that even though part of my life was lost, those years also gave me a new way to live. So I went back to NA. At first I would go to meetings and get high afterwards. Finally I surrendered and began to stay clean one day at a time. I began going to more meetings and allowed people to love and support me. NA is a close knit group. It is the only place I can go and not feel crazy about the thoughts I have. I have come to believe in a power greater than myself which I choose to call God. I know God cares for me and will provide all that I need. I am still numb in many ways but I am learning how to deal with my feelings without using drugs. On May 1st I will have 11 months clean. I go to 4-5 meetings a week. I call other recovering addicts. I am working the 12 steps and learning to live clean. I am becoming a better parent, daughter and friend thanks to all the people in NA.
Today I look forward to the future. I am discovering who I am and that is something I could never do while using!