Chocolate Digestives and Everything: Part 1
The 12 Steps of Cocaine Anonymous
1.We admitted we were powerless over cocaine and all other mind altering substances -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5.Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7.Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10.Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12.Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
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Good evening everybody, and welcome to the first of these Tuesday night newcomers meeting of Cocaine Anonymous in Stepney. It’s pissing it down outside, but the kettles on over there and young Jason has brought the biscuits. Chocolate digestives and everything, nice one.
As I’m chairing tonight, and it’s the first meeting here in this crappy community centre, I thought that It might be a good idea to break with traditions and do the readings at the end just before we do the Serenity Prayer. I thought this because we don’t want to scare any newcomers, who might find it a bit too heavy at the beginning. Is that ok with everyone? Good. I’ve had a word with central office as well and they say that’s its fine. First time I’ve heard of them break a fucking rule, but I’m pleased they have.
Right. Shall we start then? Let me introduce myself. My name is Jack and I am an addict. No. I’m going to correct that. I’m a recovered addict. I know some of you in the room who have been about for a while are laughing at me when I say that, but fuck you. It can be done. Stop looking at your shoes Tommy. It is possible. Look at me in the eye Tommy, come on. I’ll always have that addictive nature. It will be there forever. But I can control it now. I really can.
It’s good to be here you know. First time in ages, in over a year. We will come to why that is a bit later.
If any of you are in this room for the first time. Then welcome to you especially. This meeting was designed for you in mind. You are in a safe place. We will keep you warm here. Listen to what we old hands have to say, our suggestions. Take it with you when you leave, and maybe you’ll come back. That is a start. And I know it sounds corny, but I believe in starts. This thing can be beaten. Hope springs eternal.
Yeah, as I just said. I’m recovered. Been clean from cocaine and crack now for over a year. Have not touched the powder or the pipe for a long while. It hasn’t been easy and it isn’t pretty. This recovery thing can be fucking ugly. The darkest place that any of us can go. That’s the black side. As nasty and as black as you over there Martin. And believe me, you were as black and nasty as they ever came Martin. You used to sell me the gear back in the day, you bastard.
Let me tell you this if you are a first timer here tonight. You have to know something important before you get into this, something vital. Some of you ain’t going to make it. The average recovery of drug addiction is just fifteen percent. Fifteen poxy percent. It’s not good enough, nowhere near. It’s a disgrace. When you walk through the door here. You must remember that you cannot think of this as some spiritual fucking funfair. Its not an alter of cool. A place where we all drink coffee and learn about peace and Buddhist cooking. There is a bit of that, but this gaff is worse than the army isn’t it Paul? And Paul has been in the army. The Salvation Army. He got kicked out for trying to snort a trumpet instead of blowing. Stop laughing. I can only tell enough jokes. But I’ll tell you; it can be harrowing, but twice as funny and rewarding some of the time. You can do this if you really want to, beat this disease. Because that’s what it is, a horrible, nasty and fucking cunning disease. Only if you want to be saved can this really be done. You must want to go to any lengths to get better. AND I MEAN ANY LENGTHS! It has to be your primary purpose in life to get well. I can tell you here and now. There have been many tears and thrown punches in my darkest hours over the last year. I lost a lot of stuff in this shitty thing called recovery, a fucking lot. The little pieces that I once thought were so important. But fuck all that now, they never were.
You know what. Sometimes the remorse has been worse than taking the fucking drug itself. I’ve lost loved ones, my head, my grace, my dignity. All in my time here in this room. Still it’s less than you can lose out there, if you think about it. If you cannot take that, do not have the guts to go all the way, then get out of here now. Go out there, outside, and buy a wrap of Charlie, or some rocks of Crack. Then let me watch you wriggle, fucking shit yourself, stink and shake through withdrawal. Let me see you hate yourself and all those that love you. Then you come back here and tell me about dignity. Because you will have none, not a fucking ounce. Stay here and learn some stuff and yeah, things can change. They really can, believe me.
This place has driven me potty, but has saved my life only to a certain point. As I said earlier, I’ll explain that point a bit later. I will. I’ve promised myself. Fuck it. I’ll give you a little clue now, just to add a bit more edge so that you don’t lose interest. Don’t want you lot getting itchy do we?
You know what? There have been times over the last year or so when I wanted you all to fuck off, times that I thought that you were nothing but a bunch of cunts. What with your steps, your serenity prayer, hugs, and your rules. Some of your rules are stupid. So fucking stupid.
Sometimes I have thought that a 3am rendezvous with a stinky brass in Hackney who has her tools, lipstick madness, and mattress has seemed like a better option to all this because of your stupid rules. In the end, Cocaine Anonymous changed my life for the better, but also broke my heart. That’s all way back when now. A ghost.
That’s woken you up hasn’t it? More of that later, I’ve got a lot to say and I’ve got to get on. Can I have a cigarette please? I’m allowed to smoke. Thanks. I’m a fucking addict right….
Hi. Come on in, join us, take a seat. Can someone get this young lady a cup of tea? Go on Jason. What’s your name? Welcome Julie, there are worse places that you can be on a Tuesday night in London town Julie. Yeah, you can smoke here too. Switch the mobile off though. There are rules in Cocaine Anonymous.
What I want to do here this evening is tell you my story, as best as I can see it, as best as I can remember. It’s a good one as well. I’ll leave out the rubbish bits. Listen. One of the rules of recovery is total, unflinching honesty. It’s fucking brutal. You have to get used to that. Because like it or not, we are all liars here. Big, fat, no holds barred fucking liars. There are things I’m going to tell you tonight that I have told no one. Not even my sponsor and friend Paul here when we did our step four all those months ago. I’ve got to say sorry Paul. Really sorry. You did not deserve that. I could not tell you some things because I was a coward and could not let go. I have to open up now because these things have shaped me, tore me apart, and I think made me do the things that I did to destroy others and myself. I’ve carried them around with me for over thirty years. They have been hidden. This will be the last nut on the bolt of my recovery. Nice and tight, nice and done.
I’m not using some of the things that happened to me as excuses. All of us have at the very beginning of our journey had the choice to become an addict or not. Whatever your poison is. But looking back, my story is a long pissed streaked alley on a dark night. Where my choices were limited. Yours were too I imagine. We have all seen the same in one form or another. It made me lonely and weak. I had no chance. It was fucking hopeless. I was never that strong enough.
If you like what I have said, or fucking despise me for it, we’ll have the chance for coffee and a bun in the café round the corner afterwards. We can sort it out then. Man, listen to that rain outside, it’s fucking hell out there.
So. Deep breath. Here goes everybody, try and stay with me and don’t judge too much.
I was born in Basildon. Don’t laugh. I know it’s a shithole. I have three brothers and a sister. My Dad has been addicted to greyhounds and horses all his life. On the first week of the national lottery he spent five hundred quid and won fucking nothing. My brothers are sound and wealthy. My sister, hard as nails with two kids. My Mum is an angel. They all still live there. I am just starting to love them.
I’ll cut to the chase. When I was a kid, something happened to me in Basildon that messed me up forever. I’ve told no one, not even my therapist when I used to go. Not even the ones that I have loved, and I’ve loved a few and ruined them. I have not told anyone because to be fucking honest I buried it. Did not even tell myself what had happened until recently. But these days’ things have to be clearer with me so that I can progress. I have to face it. I don’t think what happened made me a drug addict, but it certainly helped.
A man molested me when I was six years old. I was taken to a garage underneath the local shopping centre and interfered with. I remember the man, what he looked like. Dandruff, lamb chop sideburns and bad breath. Stop fucking laughing Kevin, this is not meant to be funny, you fucker. My brother Frank was meant to be looking after me but he was playing kiss chase. The man offered me lollipops, the big red traffic light ones. I used to love those lollipops. We used to get them on Sports Day at school, do you remember? He told me he was going to show me a tiger, that he actually had a fucking tiger in his garage. Now that is hilarious. He stuck two fingers up my arse and wanked over my shorts. He said that if I said anything to anyone then he would tell my Dad. He said that he knew my Dad and that the tiger must have ran away. He opened the garage door and let me go. I just walked home on my own afterwards as if nothing had happened, and went up to my room with my football stickers. It hurt though. There was a bit of blood. STOP FUCKING LAUGHING KEVIN YOU CUNT.
It’s stayed with me forever this. Stitched me up like a kipper. Hang on please; could you give me a moment please? I’m sorry, I’m hard enough, but this is emotional ok. No I’m not crying Kevin, I’m not. I’m letting it go, that’s all.
Yeah. I’ll think I’ll have another fag as well. Thanks Paul. You alright there Julie? It’s a bit heavy if you have not been here before I know. You’ll get used to it and one day maybe you’ll stand up here and tell us your story if you stick around a bit. I hope you do.
What happened next you might be asking? Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. I carried on with school, grew older, went to work and took shit loads of drugs. Actually a lot happened. You think what I just told you was a shocker. You have no idea. God. Grant me the serenity etc.
To be continued..