“This Too Shall Pass”
I am not sure what I can offer. My story is the same than everyone else’s. My recovery is the same as well. So what sets me apart? I have no idea. I am not sure how I got sober either. When Manuel asked me, I answered quick with the AA fellowship and the steps. However I have not worked all the steps yet and I have not talked to my sponsor in months. In fact I do not even have a San Antonio sponsor yet. I do know the entire deal was a process that started sixteen months ago. I was talking to Rudy. I knew where my life was headed, and I knew the decisions I would be making over the next few weeks would effect my life for the next fifteen to twenty years. So I made the decision to rent my house out to my sister-n-law. The sole reason being, the party had to stop. I did not want it too, but I did know it had to stop, and it started with this house. My plan was too rent out the house, and go live at the Haven For Hope, a homeless shelter in downtown San Antonio. This is right about the time I bought a pair of hair clippers and started giving myself fades. I wanted to save twenty bucks a month on hair cuts, so I could do more drugs, because in a year that was over two hundred dollars I would be wasting on things other than drugs and alcohol. I wanted to live free at the Haven For Hope and save the incoming rent money. I also wanted to talk to people living at the center, get their stories. The stories CNN dosen’t have time for. No one has time for in fact. Most the people are going to die addicts. Like Manuel. I give him no chance. Southsider, Mexican mafia, addicted to heroin. We had to finally tell him and his girlfriend they had to move out of the metal shed in the backyard of our rental house on the south side San Antonio, that they were living in. I remember a few weeks ago, when I first met Manuel. I told my Dad someone was living in the shed, my Dad blew me off as to say no way, no one could ever live in their especially with this over one hundred degree heat. My father is a very smart and intelligent man, however when comes to addiction and poverty, is has not the slightest clue. Not that he was born into old money, he has worked hard his entire life and gave my sisters and I everything we wanted and needed. But he just does not know the disease of addiction. So Manuel popped up at our rental after the people moved out, and said he gave the renters two hundred dollars a month to stay in the shed. My Dad could not believe it. I asked him what his deal was, he said heroin, and asked me how I could tell? I told because I was an addict also. Then he asked, then why aren’t you high? Because I am six months sober, I replied.
Then that’s when he asked me how?
I was in the metal shed today looking around at the little property that Manuel and his girlfriend had collected over the year of them staying there. I glass jar filled with lighters, I candle with a picture of Jesus Christ laid on the floor. A dingy full size mattress covered most of the cement slab. A loaf a bread on the make shift shelf that is the top of the tube television. Cigarette buds everywhere, dice, shoe string and a sticker that said SUPPORT YOU LOCAL SOUTHSIDE MC. Empty little boxes of anything and everything littered the entire floor. What caught my attention was a certificate, hanging on a nail above the TV and make shift shelf, partially hidden by another piece of paper that had the word JESUS written in pencil. The certificate said MANUEL DIAZ successfully completed DETOX 2012. I have no idea where he and his girl moved too. I heard maybe across the street to someone else’s backyard, yet I have not seen them around.
In a few days my wife and I will be moving back in together after nineteen months of separation. And YES I am nervous! Going up in front of the judge nervous.
Our house has been rented out for the past year and a half to her sister. Last weekend her family and I moved her sister out, and our belongings in. There is not a part in that house where I did not get high or drunk. Wait I take that back, I do not think I got high in the baby’s room, but everywhere else was a go. Attic, bathrooms, bedrooms, hallway, living room, den, both garages, back porch, every side of the house outside and my favorite the counter table which I spent so many nights alone getting high looking out the back window.
My palms sweat as I wrote that. Nearly six months of sobriety and sometimes it feels like day one.
So the move, It is interesting, I realized it is like we are starting our marriage over brand new, however sober. And it is weird because now that I am making a conscience effort to live on a daily basis in sobriety, my real issues shine bright and those are the things I need to work along with staying clean.
I guess the physical act of not using and drinking, after twenty-three years, is merely the beginning of my recovery. I have battled and struggled through, gangs, prison, my degree and horrible addiction, to find myself now about to be married once again to the beautiful woman who has emotionally stood by side this entire time.
So, I am nervous of being a sober part of a marriage, something I have never done before. However I guess if I stay focused on my daily sobriety, hopefully my marriage will have a different outcome than last.
So, to catch you up…
Shelly is a white girl crack head from Austin that I met at treatment in Wimberlee, Texas. After our discharge I went on to a sober home in San Marcos, Texas and she went on to relapse. I ended up running into her at an AA meeting in San Marcos and persuaded her to live at the sober home I was now managing when she gets out. And she did….however first how I even became a manager with only two months of sobriety…
Jack is a little man. A snake in the grass kind of little man, the sober-home grass. He’s got me by fifteen years in age maybe. He leases the thirteen acres the sober homes are set on, he is the reason why I am sober today. He has his own unique twelve step program that has kept him sober from drinking and crack for nearly twenty years. He is constantly moving, praying and doing service work around the property. But lately he has been acting sketching.
I woke up one morning and noticed Jacks van was no where on the block. That stuck me as odd, however as much as he moves around, I did not let the curiosity get to me. But, the thing that did concern me was the night before. Jack came in my room and we started reading the big book together. He said he was confused about his wife and his girlfriend Trudy. He was shaky. Then he left on a whim.
So, I did not see Jack all morning, and I started to think the worse. I was still trying to stay positive, however when Trudy asked me if I had talk to Jack today, I knew he went out. He was not answer her call, or anyone elses.
The next day, John, the other house manager, a crack-head that has a year of sobriety, said Jack called him, and said he had spun off on a crack binge and he was now in detox. Jack also said to tell me, I was in charge of the top floor, which is all women.
That night three other people used and drank and got kicked out. I had to escort them off the property in the middle of the night…..I almost drank and used myself, but that’s next weeks story.
I was not planning on sharing at the AA meeting this afternoon, however, Tom an older gentlemen that I once despised asked me to speak. I guess I could of said no, but in a way, yeah I had to get something out.
I am at a new club, the first four months I was in a different city, and now that I am back home, not everyone knows my story. So I touched on it a little, kind of formally introduced my alcoholic and drug addicted ass to the group.
I am thirty-eight years old and have been drinking and using since I was fourteen. At seventeen I was wanted for murder, at twenty-four the FEDs were looking for me. Twenty-six through thirty-one I was in prison. Got released, got my journalism degree and married over the next few years. Throughout all this time I was using and drinking. MY disease progressed, I lost jobs, houses, my family, and a small business, however everything was cool as long as I could still drink and get high.
My life came crashing down last summer, relapsed in December and now have over six straight months. That is the short and quick version of how I got here. I know it is broad, but there is no rush to get every little detail out. My primary purpose every day is to stay sober.