~~I came into recovery at the age 26 not thinking I had a problem. I used marijuana and alcohol to cope with life as I knew. Where I grew up, everyone smoked marijuana. It was the norm and alcohol went hand in hand with it. I was always smart but could not find viable employment out of fear that I would be drug tested. If drug tested, another fear of giving up what I loved also surfaced. Since I could not find gainful employment, I had to settle for the public assistance system. The same social services agency gave me an ultimatum to get me to change my behaviors. I was offered an outpatient program and an inpatient residential program. I had no clue why I needed either of them. I had a college degree, my own apartment, my son was still in my care; I was not how a specific addict was characterized. Or so I thought! I attended the outpatient program, hoping that it would be over quickly. After almost 2 years, I completed the program and thought I could get back to my life finally. During those two years, I had been introduced to the recovery process by way of Narcotics Anonymous. I like to say I didn’t find Narcotics Anonymous; NA found me. The outpatient program took a group of clients on a van every other week to the same meeting where I found my current sponsor. In the beginning, I would compare stories, thinking I am not like these old heads. The suggestions were just something to do for me. I heard everything but did nothing but show up each day. I got a running buddy, made over 90 meetings in 90 days, got a sheet signed (proving attendance) and most importantly, I did not use. Making that first year clean was a miracle. Initially, I wanted to see if I could get the 13 years I used for back. Today, almost 14 years later, I identify with every member of NA, regardless of the drugs used. I remember hearing that if I stayed away from the “first one” the sky could be the limit. I have already obtained gainful employment, where I have been for the last 10 years. I have obtained a Master’s degree, a few different certifications and am working towards my Doctorate degree. Finally, I realize that drugs were just a symptom to a bigger life problem. I am living the best life possible and look forward to what recovery should offer from this point forward. I’m glad I have given the recovery process a chance…and myself.