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"Show Me Don't Tell Me ------ Jason Addict "

Mood: Other
Date: Jan. 02, 2007

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The information in this paper started a few years back when I came into recovery. For the most part this paper/story was written and completed the night that Neil died. It was later turned in as an English Composition Paper. 'A first person narrative on a life changing event.' With as little editing as possible.
This was a turning point in my life which I sometimes forget the importance of. Today, Just for today- I do my best to make a positive difference in other peoples lives. At times this only means that I do my best to not be an asshole.
Neil reached out to me The N.A.-Way and my life's coarse changed because of him. For this I'm eternally grateful.

English 1110

Helping a Good Man Die

Walking down the hallway, I'm filled with anxiety. I have no idea what I'm going to find in Room 321. The doctors and nurses pass me without a glance. I hear the television as I pass Room 312. The opening theme song for some TV show which I can not place. I hope I'm not too late.
Entering the room I see Neil B. in bed, eyes closed, breathing shallow, and labored. He seems to be asleep. There are a few of 'Us' sitting around the bed. I'm thankful for the familiar faces. Neil's wife stands to hug me, trying to smile. I can see the pain on her face, which only increases my anxiety. She explains to me what the doctors have said .. " That Neil will be 'going' at anytime."
I pull up a chair next to the bed. Neil is covered in a New York Yankees blanket. I have to smile. He loved to give us sh*t when his team beat our Cleveland Indians. He was a true New Yorker in every way. As I sit and watch Neil's breaths grow slower, I listen to the other people in the room talk about their personal experiences with Neil and how he had touched their lives. The atmosphere in the room is a happy one. I think back to the night I met Neil.
I was filled with gut wrenching fear, as I walked into my very first meeting. After 21 years of "using" and spending 15 days in detoxification, I had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. The drugs and all that went with it were gone. I felt alone and isolated in my thoughts. All I knew was that I wanted to stop "using." The Social Worker at the hospital Detox told me that morning to go to that church at 7:30 pm for a meeting.
As I entered the room that night I smelled coffee, and I heard people laughing. I looked around the room, seeing people that appeared to be happy, I was surprised. I didn't know what I expected but laughter was not it.
My fear was out of control. My body still rebelled from the lack of drugs; My insides were on fire; my outsides trembled; my skin burned to the touch. I could feel every muscle in my body ache with each step I took. My mind ran at top speed, not able to stay with one thing for more than a few seconds. The withdrawal was still on me.
At the time I just wanted to run and hide. Instead I made my way to the corner of the room without making eye contact with anyone, finding a chair I sat down. I wasn't sitting long when a large man approached me. He had a smile on his face, a little sparkle in his eye. He reminded me of Santa - Santa, with a receding hair line. I stood to get a cup of coffee, trying to avoid having to make eye contact, or having to speak to him. He stepped in front of me and said, "Hi I'm Neil and I'm an Addict." Then he proceeded to hug me. The shock must have registered on my face. Because he said "Oh, I'm sorry, at our meetings we hug each other." I was speechless. The world I came from hugging, or any signs of weakness, were dangerous. It was funny though because the hug felt good. I felt the defenses I worked so hard building over the years, start to come down. This only added to my confusion. I felt extremely vulnerable and weak.
I made it to the coffee pot with Neil by my side. He had some papers and a book in his hand by then. He was explaining to me what each one was, and as much as I wanted to, I couldn't focus on what he was saying; all I could do was try to focus on keeping the coffee in the cup. I was shaking so badly that I was not sure that I'd be able to make it back to my chair without spilling it all. Neil took the cup from me, and handed me the paperwork he was holding. "I'll trade ya" he said "Come on, let's go sit"?
Sitting next to Neil I looked around the room. Everyone in the room was talking, laughing and joking. I felt out of place. I remember thinking, "How can those people be so happy,"? Even the idea of a smile hurt me. And to laugh..? I couldn't even remember the last time I had laughed. A month, six months, a year..? I didn't know.
Neil was explaining to me what each piece of literature was. I heard him, but nothing was registering. I couldn't slow my mind down enough to comprehend anything. The meeting started and I was thankful. I was free to be distracted again.
Before I knew it everyone was standing at their chairs around the table, arm in arm, and I followed suit. My arm around Neil's big shoulder. My other arm, around a young kid, a smile on his face, he whispered, "Don't worry. It gets better". Then I heard the guy that opened the meeting say - "Can we have a moment of silence for the Addict who still suffers, that may just be in this room-- The Addict that will pick up for the first time tonight-- and the Addict that will die tonight. Followed by the serenity prayer." After a few seconds everyone started to say the prayer. I moved my mouth pretending to know the words.
As I was grabbing my coat Neil handed me a small book. He said, "This is a Schedule Book for our area, and here in the back, are the phone numbers of all the men that were here tonight. If you want to "use", call someone first". I looked down at the small book in my hands and saw the words "Call Before Not After" printed on one side. I leafed through the book and saw that there really were names and phone numbers written in the back. The thought of calling anyone terrified me, but I knew it must happen. I wouldn't be able to do it alone. God knew I had tried many times.
As I looked up there were a few people standing in front of me. One by one they all hugged me. I was stunned and speechless. The woman that introduced herself as Chris said to me, "Don't use no matter what, and everything else will fall into place." I nodded with false understanding. I didn't think she knew the pain, and fear I was feeling at the time. The guy to my left said. "How long you been clean?" I explained that I was 15 days without dope, and it had been that long since I slept. That all I wanted to do was "use" and make all this insanity in my head, and the pain in my body, go away. He told me, "I didn't sleep for a week coming off the dope." Then he went on to say that he was clean for 39 days and things were getting better, and he was able to sleep a few hours each night now. At that point I realized for the first time that maybe I'm not different after all. Maybe, I was in the right place. Most of all I was not alone anymore.
Before I could get out the door I was hugged by a few more of the people in the room. With each hug, each kind face; I began to feel that maybe there was a little something there. Maybe there was another way to live after all. I had no clue what that little bit of hope would turn into in those the next few months. It was March 25, 2002, and I felt some relief. I smiled as I pushed open the door to leave that night.
Neil's breathing is very slow now. I count almost eight seconds between each breath. It won't be long now. I wish I had the chance to tell him how much his "Goodwill" affected me that night at my first meeting. I wish I could tell him that he and those Addicts in that room that night changed my life forever. That night I realized for the first time that I was not alone in my struggle with addiction.
As Neil takes his last breaths, I'm thinking about how important it is to welcome the Newcomer at our meetings. Our literature says that "The Newcomer is the most important person at any meeting." I make a promise to myself that I will do my best to welcome every Newcomer I see. I hope that I can be a part of the process for someone else - The process that saved my life.
I hope that when the time comes for me to die, I will die as a Recovering Addict, surrounded by my friends and family. I'd like to think that Neil heard our stories tonight. I'd like to think that Neil knew how much he was loved. I'd like to think it helped in some way.


From: jrf2112
January 3, 2007, 7:16 pm


Show Me Don't Tell Me ------ Jason Addict

From: Joani
January 2, 2007, 12:28 pm
Wow I tried to tell you this is an amazing blog and very powerful to read for me. It reaffirms that one addict helping another is without parallel.


Happy Joyous and Free