Overcoming Addiction

How I Overcame my Addiction

The End of the Line

There I was, sitting on the Red Line at 4:00 am in January and out of drugs. The rank smell of beer permeated the air. But, I was too miserable to notice.

“I blew everything I had on that God-forsaken stuff,” the thought settled in and smothered me with dejection. “Another vicious trap I created for myself. What do I do now; gnaw my foot off to get out? I can’t even afford a rat-infested hotel. I have nothing left in me.”

I neared the end of the Red Line; I knew that I would have to board the train going the other way. This was the only way that I could stay warm and get any sleep. I had reached the end of the line no matter how I looked at it.

I heard this faint whisper and it wasn’t from the drugs. “What’s it going to be Joseph; Life or Death? You chose me and I chose you. My arms are still reaching out.” What was I going to do? I had been to treatment and I thought I had done all the right things. I thought I was following God.

I started working in a restaurant again and that was when it all fell apart. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to put myself in a situation where I could drink. Yet, in my pride, I chose to take the job anyway. That’s where the problem lay. There is no “I” in ”Jesus.” Was I going to relapse repeatedly just to fade into statistical anonymity?

A few days later, God gave me the courage and humility to call my grandparents and my mother. We worked something out to where I could stay with them for a few months. I was finally turning my life around. I had saved enough money to get my own place. A year and a half later, I started attending Bethel College. I was fortunate.

The Steps of Reality

What is it that changed? What steps have I taken in order to move forward? When I was in jail, I realized that I needed help. This is the first step in any struggle. We have to understand that we cannot do anything on our own. If we think that we can then we are only fooling ourselves. I didn’t know where to turn or who to turn to but I did know that I needed more help than I could ever provide for myself. I found a place that would take people with no home or money in the heart of Greek town in Chicago. I learned about twelve-step programs and the physiological issues that come up in withdrawal.

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