My sentencing is coming up in May. It’s getting pretty close. It’s always on my mind!! I feel kind of ridiculous when I look back and take an inventory of what really happened that put me in this position. More than all of that what I really can’t wrap my head around is the fact that I lived through active addiction for 15 years without doing any prison time. Then, I managed to build a successful life with 33 years clean; crawling on my hands and knees to the top only to finally stand up; take some steps; start walking; trip over some rocks; continue to walk then one day find myself falling down and go crashing back down to the bottom…..where I started 33 years ago. Starting over ……….I really can’t say much…I’m still not allowed. My Attorney tells me once a week to make sure I don’t talk !! Do you know what it is like for Roz Sugarmann to keep her mouth shut? One day when I write my book I won’t have to keep my mouth shut!
So in the meantime, what I CAN talk about is what my life is like and who I am today. Maria (my daughter), Loopy & I were talking about what it would be like if there were only one 12 step program for everybody. By everybody I mean anyone and everyone who fills the void in the pit of their stomach with something or someone that makes them feel better! If I look back on my life to when I was a child I remember the “hole” I had in my gut. My father died suddenly when I was 10 years old and that is when I identify having that “hole”. Between 10 years old and 15 years old I can remember never feeling OK. At age 15 I picked up marijuana and I literally felt a sigh of relief. I continued to fill that hole in my gut with anything that made me not have to feel the void that was there. So I believe between the ages of say 15 and 29 I spent my life filling the void so I could be OK. The only time I felt OK is when I was using. I remember waking up one morning in rehab after I had kicked the heroin withdrawal and realizing that I felt that same hole all over again. I tried so hard to hide it and to pretend like it just wasn’t there. Unfortunately that didn’t work. There needs to be a fellowship where ALL of us can go who have a void and who try to fill it with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, pornography, shopping, cigarettes, gambling, Heroin, chicken wings, cocaine, Work, Money…….you name it !!!! If we could identify that void prior to filling it maybe just maybe we would be able to work on ourselves instead of focusing so much on what or how we used! Some might worry that the process of identification would be lost. I believe that the process of identification would strengthen. Wouldn’t it be awesome to work in a rehab and share in group about how we felt BEFORE we picked up whatever we used to fill the void.
Many years ago, I was sitting in my therapists office beating myself up because of what a loser I felt like because of my drug use. I’ll never ever forget what he said ….he looked straight in my eyes and said “there was nothing stupid about you using drugs…..considering the emotional pain you were in, using heroin to numb that pain was a pretty smart thing to do….”. After hearing those words, a lightbulb went off ! My first spiritual awakening ever!!! The beauty of all 12 step programs is the “WE”. The support that is there for each other.
Over the years I have seen many patients. All of them were broken. They were all filling a void with something. They were all in pain….and somewhere in their family was the “big white elephant” of “addiction.” I don’t want it to be called addiction though ….I want to call it “using something instead of dealing with the pain”.
I have to say that over the past year; I have had many losses…..ASI, Mary E. Steratore Rehab, 800 patients, the “I to We” Recovery Houses, possibly my home, my husbands health, an income, several material things, several overdoses of my patients. It has been a year of losses. I have been forced to take a personal inventory of myself.
I have learned that many times I do the “wrong thing for the right reasons.”
And now that I am aware of this; maybe and I mean maybe I will be willing to stop and think before I react.