“Life’s Lesson – The Importance of the C.M.A. 12 Step Program”
Community Education Outreach is proud to announce our February 25th writing contest winner – Christopher Contonikolas – Here is his winning entry:
We are people who normally would not mix. Nevertheless, there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. Some of us are Doctors, some are Lawyers, and some of us are even criminals. Hell – look at Lance Armstrong!
If a person has cancer, all are sorry for him or her and no one is angry or hurt. Not so with the addicts illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worthwhile in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer’s. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends, and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad and hurt wives, husbands, and parents-anyone can increase the list.
We know that while the addict keeps away from substances, as he or she may do for months or even years, he or she reacts much like other men and women. We are equally positive that once he or she takes in any substances whatsoever into their system, something happens, both in the body and in mental senses, which makes it virtually impossible for them to stop. The experience of any addict (meth in particular) will abundantly confirm this.
The tragic truth is that if the man or woman be a real addict, the happy day of stopping on their own may not ever arrive. The fact is that most addicts, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in substances. Our so-called willpower becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of a week or even a month ago. We are without defense against the first hit, shot, line, bump, or whatever you may call it
We addicts are men and women who have lost the ability to control our using, we know that no real addict ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals usually brief were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced that addicts of our type are in the grip of “progressive illness”. Over any considerable period, we get worse, never better. In some instances, there has been brief recovery, followed always by a still worse relapse.
Though there is no way of proving it, we believe that early in our using careers most of us could have stopped, but the difficulty is that few addicts have enough desire to stop while there is yet time.
We, who are familiar with the symptoms, see large numbers of potential addicts among young people everywhere. But try to get them to see it. As we look back, we feel we had gone on using many years beyond the point where we could quit on our will power. If anyone questions whether he or she has entered this dangerous area, let him or her try leaving substances alone for one year. If he or she is a real addict and very far advanced, there is scant chance of success. In the early days of our using, we occasionally remained sober & clean for a year or more, becoming serious users again later. This is the baffling feature of addiction, as we know it- this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish
This is my greatest lesson in life and it is ongoing to this day. This is why I choose to live life one day at a time, with constant thoughts of how do I better myself. Because without a better me I will never be any good for anyone else.