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Chapter 4 - Bobby
It was October, 2009. After rehab, I shipped myself to Florida to live with my cousin. I knew if I stayed in Philly, I would eventually start using again. If that happened, I didn’t think I would make it back alive.
My cousin’s girlfriend (now his wife) picked me up at Fort Lauderdale airport, and she took me right to a meeting. Her name is Cori. She helped save my life. After the meting, she took me to her house, fed me, and gave me a bed to sleep on.
Eventually, my cousin helped get me into a halfway house in Delray Beach Florida.
It turns out, Delray Beach is known for it’s sober community. It was a place where recovering addicts from all over the world came to, to attend rehab, and embark on this new way of life.
I had no idea about this. I was simply crashing on my cousin’s couch, because he has 3 years of sobriety and something in my gut told me it was the right thing to do.
Suddenly, there I was. I had to somehow come up with $225 a week to pay rent, I had to go to a meeting every day, I had to take random drug tests, and I had to follow the rules.
I was so desperate, that I would have agreed to whatever they told me to. I was ready and I was grateful.
Something Wrong With Me
In a 12 step program, you need to get a sponsor. You need someone who has been through the process before that will guide you.
Finding a sponsor is uncomfortable.
I was new to the rooms, I was still very insecure, and I was terrified of approaching another grown man and asking him he would be sponsor me. It felt more like asking a guy out on a date than asking someone for help.
However, I know I had to do it. Rather, my cousin told me I had to do it, and I was simply following his guidance on blind faith.
About 3 months in to my stay in Florida, I attended a men’s meeting in Boynton beach. I heard this guy speak. I don’t remember anything about what he said, I only remember him saying “I just felt like there was something wrong with me.”
After the meeting, I mustered up the courage to ask him if he would give me a ride home and then in the car, I asked him if he would sponsor me.
He was excited. He agreed. He said “sure man, I’ll help you out.”
His name was Bobby. He saved my life. There is nothing I can do to repay that man for teaching me how to live. The only option I have is to help others.
That was the start of my journey.
Bobby and I would meet once a week.
The truth is, I don’t remember those first few months very well. This may sound crazy, but it took me almost 6 months to completely finish detoxing. I had fever dreams every night, and each morning I woke up, I was covered in sweat and my sheets would be soaked.
It was terrible. I would throw up constantly and I got through it simply because I didn’t have any other options.
I was fucked. I had to get sober, and that was it.
Slowly, my life started getting better.
I got a contracting job. I had been a contractor for years, and I found a guy who would be pay me $10 an hour to help him build houses, paint, fix gutters, and do general contracting.
I would come home from work and play basketball. The sober living home I lived at had a basketball court in the back. I was so afraid to relapse that I hardly left the apartment complex. I worked, went to meetings, ate and slept. That was all I had time for, and that was a good thing.
In January of 2010, I went back to Philly to visit my family. A few months earlier, my mother had had major brain surgery, (more on that later) and I found it very difficult to be in Florida. I felt like I was abandoning her. I later came to realize that what I was actually feeling was fear of the unknown. I used my mom as an excuse to find my comfort zone. Stately enough, my comfort zone is what would try to kill me.
During those months, Philly was hit with a brutal snow storm. My flight back to Florida was cancelled. A new day came and then a new day passed. Each day away from my new sober community made it more and more difficult to return to my good habits that were keeping me sober.
Eventually, I stopped calling Bobby. Then I stopped answering his calls.
My cousin called me and I knew that he knew. I was in trouble and I was going downhill fast.
It didn’t take long for me to relapse.
It started with a shot of whiskey. It eventually ended as it always does, with me back on the streets, desperately looking for ways to find my next score.
The fun didn’t last long. In fact, it was never fun again.
It Takes The Fun Out Of It
Although I was still technically very new into my journey of sobriety, (before I relapsed I had almost 6 months sober), I had still been given the gift.
I saw there was a better way to live.
I saw how Bobby was living. He was in great shape, he was healthy and had a bright smile. He had a six pack and loved to work out and run like I did. He had a girlfriend and he had an apartment and he had a thing I couldn’t quite explain.
He had what I wanted, and he was proof the proof that the stories I had been telling myself were bullshit. The self inflicted wounds and the self conviction of how hard I had it, and how no one understood my pain, and how I was the only person who could possibly understand what I was going through.
Bobby blew all of that up. It was obvious. I wasn’t uniquely tortured, I was only afraid.
Lots of people had gone through tough experiences. In fact, many people went through more difficult experiences than I did. In the rooms, I heard these stories and I saw how people really could get their lives together.
These stories ruined my drinking and drug use. From that point forward, getting high didn’t give me the same comfort as it used to. It felt worse and worse.
I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow I got back to Florida.
What Are The Chances?
I was in hiding.
I was embarrassed. I had relapsed and I didn’t want anyone to know. So I would go to meeting where I didn’t think I would run into anyone who would recognize me.
In many ways, these first few weeks back in Florida were worse than any time in my recovery journey. I needed help, but I didn’t know where to go. I wanted to live and I knew that a good life was something that was possible, but I kept visualizing myself accidentally walking in front of a bus. It was dark and lonely. A true testament to what can happen when you allow a mind to become self absorbed.
But, somehow, I kept showing up to meetings. There was a meeting house called “Crossroads” that I went to every day. I went in the afternoon because I knew I wouldn’t see any of the friends I had made, as those people usually went to the nighttime meetings which were designed for young people.
One sunny afternoon, I sat down in the meeting. I sat in the back, like always.
I sat down in my seat and sitting a few rows in front of me was Bobby. He was turning around in his seat and he had a big smile on his face. He was so happy to see me. I was instantly shocked and embarrassed. I was scared to tell him what had happened. I didn’t want to let him down.
I resisted the urge to run out of the meeting and eventually the meeting ended. Bobby and I spoke outside. I wasn’t yet ready to tell him the truth. I hid the fact that I had relapsed from him, but I still let him know how I was feeling.
talk about the 6th and seventh step
talk about making it to midnight