My New Outlook on Life
I was born in Laredo, Texas on July 15, 1978. Coming from a border town, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to begin drinking at a very young age and have my parents sign off on it. By my senior year in high school, however, I was a full-fledged cocaine addict and alcoholic. I survived a cocaine overdose while at my 18th birthday party. My first attempt at sobriety came shortly after a brutal sexual assault in Mexico. I moved to San Antonio in an attempt to leave my past behind me but didn’t realize I was still in the picture. Within weeks of being in San Antonio I was back to drinking and doing cocaine. While spending 8 years in SA, my drug use spiraled out of control. I was diagnosed with HIV on April, 19 2001 as a result of my drug fueled promiscuity. I was sexually assaulted again while in search of cocaine. I was devastated. And while trying to pacify the fear and the pain of having been diagnosed and my life becoming completely unmanageable, I shot cocaine intravenously for the first time. Shortly after, I tried crystal meth since the cocaine and the K and the X and the heroin and the pills and the opium and the pot weren’t enough. Crystal finally disconnected me entirely from my feelings. To me it was a solution; unfortunately it consumed me. I continued using through 2005. I had a career in the medical field by now and was dispensing medication to long term care patients. Any opportunity I had I was stealing narcotics from patients that had “expired” or were too sedated to notice. I had hit a new low. I had no real friends and my dignity and moral compass were paralyzed. After a 5 day bender around the holidays, I finally contacted a treatment facility in Fredericksburg, Texas and was placed on their waiting list. After barely surviving the new year, I contacted them again desperately pleading for them to expedite my admission and on January 6, 2006 I was admitted to the detox portion of treatment at Serenity House in Abilene, Texas. After 5 excruciatingly sobering days, I was transferred to the inpatient program in Fredericksburg. There I jumped right into the program. It was easy as I had been completely defeated by this disease. I was discharged on February 9 and went home to Laredo. I quickly realized that staying sober there was going to prove challenging as it was my one of my old stomping grounds. My best friend who I had shared a colorful past with in San Antonio had reached out to me post treatment and was raving about the sober community in Austin. Without much thought I packed my bags and moved. I quickly embraced 4 Points as my home group. I was diligent and desperate to get my life back on track but life on life’s terms was preparing to execute an emotional curveball. In the spring of 2009 after accruing 3 years of continuous sobriety, three very dear friends of mine all of whom I’d used with, committed suicide within a month and a half time frame. By the fall I had thoroughly convinced myself that I couldn’t possibly be an addict or an alcoholic since I hadn’t ended up like them. By August I had made a conscious decision to relinquish my sobriety. After 5 months and two failed suicide attempts I crawled back into the rooms of recovery on January 8, 2010. I haven’t had a drink or a drug since. In recovery I have regained relationships with my family, I have made lifelong friends and even changed my career. I have been given an opportunity to give back to the community that so selflessly saved my life through many facets of service work, from sponsorship to chairing meetings to be able to travel the country and attending conferences and expanding my sober network. I am currently the chair of the Austin Roundup, the only LGBT recovery conference in Austin. I am an active member of CMA turning point as well as Lambda South but I’m grateful that ANY recovery group is home. I’ve been able to lend my talents as a 22 year drag performer to numerous sober functions as I feel it’s important to prove that sobriety can be fun. I have four sponsees and I try to say yes to as many service commitments as my newfound life can accommodate. I’ve found the courage to change my life for the better. Self-seeking has slipped away. My whole attitude and outlook on life has changed. My feelings of uselessness and self-pity have disappeared. I’m familiar with a new freedom and a new happiness. I see clearly now how my experience can benefit others. I do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. I’ve come to realize that my higher power is doing for me what I could not do for myself. I wake up every day with an immense amount of gratitude and because of that, I keep coming back.