Thursday, December 20, 2007

History - Part 1

The story I am here to tell won't make much sense without a litte history, so here's installment #1. These will be very shortened versions because if there's anything I hate it's a blog post that takes me more than 5 minutes to read. I grew up in a small town in Georgia, a few miles from Atlanta, the eldest daughter of three girls. Born in November of 1961, I barely missed the 60's generation and have always been just a little pissed off about that. There was nothing unusual about my childhood. I was cared for, loved and part of a normal, happy, if slightly dysfunctional, middle-class family.

At the age of 13, my relationship with my mother became somewhat complicated (yeah, yeah, I know, who's didn't?) and I began to act out with drugs. I started smoking pot and doing some drinking, but I still had lots of other interests that meant a lot more to me than any of that stuff. My parents caught me smoking pot early on and I put it all away for awhile.

I picked it back up my senior year in high school and by then it seemed that alcohol and drugs were a way for me to assert my independence, unfortunately having not found healther venues. At 18 years of age, I married a sweet boy and moved to California for two years - a couple of years I remember as mostly happy, carefree and fun. We did a lot of partying, were very much in love and were pretty much clueless about what real life entailed. When his time in the Navy was up we moved back to Georgia and I quickly decided that I was way too young for this married life. At the ripe old age of 20, I was a new divorcee', back in an element where I was comfortable and ready to get on with having some serious fun.

Enter a man I will call Sean for this story. Sean was/is 16 years my senior and he was a drug dealer at the time, dealing in cocaine. Unfortunately for us, Sean fell crazy in love with me and I feel crazy in love with his drugs. I'm not sure how I made it through the next 8 years, but I'm sitting here writing about it now, so I guess I did. These years were spent snorting, drinking and running the streets. I did manage to stay employed and take care of myself most of the time, but needless to say, it took a lot out of me. I would go weeks with little sleep, little food and lots of drugs and alcohol. The toll on my health was tremendous and after a few years of this I began to be sick a lot. Strep throat I had several times, bad flu's, long cold's - immune system stuff. I was sick so much I quit my job and went to work in my mother's flower shop. After a particularly nasty binge which lasted a couple of weeks, and in a state of complete exhaustion and guilt, I confessed to my parent's what I had been up to.

The next night I went to my first 12-step meeting. It was a Cocaine Anonymous meeting and I met people there that I am still friends with today. I celebrated my first 30 days clean with a nice pitcher of magaritas. It's 1986 now, and the next two years were spent in going to meetings, staying clean and sober for awhile and then relapsing. I began to feel that something really must be wrong with me, as other people seemed to find a "home" in the 12-step rooms, and while my intentions were good, it just wouldn't seem to stick on me. Everyone was entering "spa" treatment programs then and I decided this was what I needed. In July of 1988 I attended a 30-day inpatient treatment program and began a period of sobriety that would last six years. I fully immersed myself in AA culture and belief and it worked - for awhile.

5 comments:

thailandchani said...

Reading...

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Kikipotamus said...

Thank you for this history, part I. I look forward to more. I also started acting out at that age, smoking pot and getting drunk a lot. No coke for me, but I can still relate. (Thank goodness I didn't like cocaine the first time I tried it.)

Rick Hamrick said...

Angela--the tale is one lots of us can relate to, more so even than we may want to admit!

All of us who survived those days, be they in our 20's or 30's or even last week's binge, survived because we have stuff to do here before we leave.

I'm pretty sure your writing here is part of the stuff you have left to do. It's that powerful and compelling to read.

Thanks for surviving, and for writing about it!

Angela said...

You didn't like cocaine! I wonder how different my life would've been if I hadn't liked cocaine.

Angela said...

Rick,

Thank you so much. I hope it will be helfpul to someone. I thought I had added you to my blogroll long ago, but I see you're not there. I'm going to fix that post-haste. I love, especially, what you and your wife are doing together. Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.