by The Addict
When I was in my early twenties, my father’s long and horrible illness weighed heavily on us all, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do anymore. I couldn’t take the pain and pressure, so I fled. I left my boyfriend, five siblings, mother, and my slowly-dying father all behind in the Midwest and moved to California. I was restless, depressed, and confused about how to live life.
My father died shortly after I left. Instead of finding peace and happiness in California, I found isolation, more confusion, and unfortunately, a bad drug habit. The habit quickly turned into an addiction. Soon, I was in big trouble.
My family didn’t know the extent of my problem and couldn’t help from thousands of miles away. I didn’t open myself up totally to any of my friends, so they couldn’t help. I thrashed alone, making insane, life-threatening choices.
I lied constantly to cover things up. I knew this wasn’t the real me, but feared I was so far gone it didn’t matter. I didn’t want to live anymore, thus waited for something awful to happen. I waited to die.
Years later, my sister sent me an addiction memoir. I had tried reading countless addiction books, but nothing spoke to me personally. But this book was different. It wasn’t a normal formula-driven memoir with a happy ending. This book had a real edge — brutal honesty. I understood what this man was saying. For the first time, I felt hope.
After about a month clean, I emailed the author, thanking him for writing the book and asking him how he managed to stay clean for multiple years. I was sure I wouldn’t get a response.
He wrote back not ten minutes later and asked for my phone number. He said he would call and talk to me. He said he would help.
Over the next several months, this busy, best-selling author took time out of his life to help a complete stranger. He forged a friendship with me, emailed, called, and offered support. He taught me a different way to live, and asked for nothing in return.
I had no movie deal to offer, no lucrative partnership for him to pursue. I was no one, nothing. But he made time for me. He was never condescending or pretentious, never curt or hurried. He showed a truly generous spirit, patience, and genuine concern.
I’ve been clean for eight months now, and have a new life. I’m going back to school, pursuing my interests, and starting to hate myself less and less. I have real relationships with the people in my life now. I’m learning to take responsibility for my actions.
I finally feel like I have the strength within me to be strong, stay clean, and continue building a new life. For a girl who lived so long as a depressed, confused, self-victim, that’s an invaluable gift. I’ll never find the words to express my simple gratitude to this man.