Just over a week ago now I lost another sponsee to a drug overdose. This was the fifth person I have worked with over the years in the 12 Steps who lost their life in this way and if I include them in the grand tally of all those I’ve known who’ve lost their lives to drug addiction, the total is probably well over 100 at this point.
Reports say that the war on drugs is better this year with a 5% decrease in overdoses. Personally, I think it’s extremely misleading to tell the public something like this, because for someone who’s deep in the trenches of alcohol and drug addiction, doing their best to save souls, I’ve seen anything but a decrease in recent times with this disease.
Yet, for as much as I’m grieving another big loss in my life due to addiction, I’m at least thankful that I’m still clean and sober. I must say though that the night I found out that another sponsee (and close friend at that) had died from an overdose, I really questioned whether I wanted to give up as well. For a moment there, or maybe several long moments, I actually thought about picking up alcohol, drugs, sex, etc., and just saying “F#$k it”.
Nevertheless, I ask myself what more can I do on this war with addiction. I say addiction in general, because I fight this war on multiple fronts and have seen the devastation other addictions do to people as well that destroy their families, their health, and frankly their souls. In the very same week this latest sponsee passed away, two other sponsees from my other 12 Step program let me know they relapsed as well. It surely is frustrating to give it your all and help another suffering individual who’s deeply struggling with an addiction when all you seem to hear about is relapses. But, as I’m so often reminded, what matters the most is this.
I’M STILL CLEAN AND SOBER.
Although I think that darkness/Devil/Satan, etc. would like to see it otherwise. The fact is I’m always one drink, one drug, one random sexual act, and so on, away from being right back on the other side of this disease and most likely becoming a stat myself. As they always say in my world of recovery, I may have another relapse, but there’s a good chance I may not ever have another recovery in me again. I’m not willing to take that chance and I must keep fighting the good fight, doing the best I can to keep spreading my message of experience, strength, and hope to those who want it, those who know that 12 Step recovery is something you do for the rest of your life and not just until you feel better. Because our addictions are always doing push-ups around the corner, waiting for us to re-engage.
My sponsee may not have another chance at recovery, but if you’re reading this and are still engaging in some type of addiction that’s robbing your life of any type of joy, you still have a chance. Don’t give up. I surely haven’t, even though I’ve gone through so much and endured incredible amounts of pain through it all. As Elton John once said, “I’m still standing” and with some recovery work, so can you.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson