for the 12 steps! I can only thank the people in front of me. I heard a funny story a few years back. When i was a baby, I'd never had any sugar. For my first birthday, they gave me a cupcake. I took one bite, looked at my parents, and shoved the entire thing in my mouth to get more. Isn't it amazing how that sort of reaction to something can happen before we are even aware of the world? It seams to me like I was the last one to find out I was an addict, and honestly, quite surprised. I didn't think I was. I thought other people were. I was getting kicked out of school, stole from work all the time, drank regularly since i was 13 years old along with other drugs. But I was never "that guy". I saw other people did what i did and thought "losers". Even when i was homeless at 18, I thought i wasn't an addict. I had spent many years earning my PhD in denial! I'll skip the rest of the stories of degradation we all have. It's been said by many people many times. I did struggle early in recovery, trying to re invent the way addiction worked, and the way recovery worked. That got me arrested again, jailed, institutionalized and almost dead. I did the best I could. I came to NA hating it, them, the world, everything. But I kept coming back. And eventually, being outside of there stayed worse than being on the inside, and I stayed clean. I got a sponsor, a home group, some clean time. Then I did what a lot of us do when we have some relief from addiction: quit going My life went to hell in other ways, and after years, I was ready to use again. I called the one person I still knew that was in NA still, and he took me to a meeting. That man became my sponsor again, and I returned to the active program, and was able to get some counseling to help with other issues. Unfortunately, years later, he was unable to get the help he must have needed, and returned to self destruction, including using again. So I got a new sponsor and started over. It works still, and always has. This is already wordier than I was going to do, but there are a few things I have learned over the years that I think are important. They are: -addiction is something that needs cared for. It needs attention, you must respect it, deal with it, and care for it. it is a part of you and you are a part of it. -addiction is real. it is diagnosable. it is a physical and psychological disease with no known cure. it can be hereditary, and in fact they know what genes cause it, but at the moment it is untreatable. it's not your fault. -past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. if you are an addict, the results will absolutely be the same with any intoxicant. period. don't try to prove it or disprove it, that's been done. you can't teach and old disease new tricks. -wait. just wait. there were so many times i used and wished that i hadn't-but never once did i not use when i'd wanted to and then regretted it. -be careful what you condition your sobriety on. no matter what you may believe at the moment, using will not change reality around you. it wont get jobs or money or wives or husbands or lovers back. it simply cannot. but it will change your reality, and you will get hooked again. it's a chemical reaction, it's science, you cannot beat it. -the 12 steps don't fix depression. It can help you stay clean, but if you need mental help, you need it from doctors and therapists. we can help you stay clean, but that's it. Beware: if you have unresolved mental issues, even normal depression, your psyche will take itself out after enough pain. You will engage in self destructive behavior. For some people it's cutting, it's suicide, it's suicide attempts, its acting out violently. For addicts-it's usually relapse. -don't confuse the comfort you get in long term recovery with not being an addict. you still are. If you are once, you will always be. It's science, it's a fact. Don't mess with, don't poke at it, don't talk yourself into doing something you can't undo. Stay active, carry the flag, help new people, and maybe do your first step again I think that's all I wanted to type. If you are new, keep coming back. It gets different. 90 meetings in 90 days is a good idea, and we find it useful to get a sponsor and use that sponsor. Find a home group and learn how it works. There is free literature on the table back there, and please pick up your cigarette butts! And here is this, something I find so simple, yes so helpful. It was written by Portia Nelson. Chapter 1. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. Chapter 2. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I cant believe I am in this same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. Chapter 3. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in… its a habit. But, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. Chapter 4. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. Chapter 5. I walk down another street.