This is part two of my story that spans back 25 years. I was inspired to write about my road to recovery and the people that I was blessed to meet along the way. They were angels sent from God to encourage me and guide me along the way with their wisdom, love, and compassion. I hope you are inspired and blessed by reading this.
After leaving the the REAP facility I went to their half-way house called “The Stratford House”. I lived there for three months and got a one month extension so I had put together 5 months of supported sobriety. During my stay at the Stratford House the adventure continued with my cast of characters. Me, Les, Sam, short for Samatha who we call “Buzzy”, James, and another gentleman whose name eludes me at this time, we had all kinds of fun. We went to meetings, explored Austin, worked, and enjoyed the events of Austin, just all kinds of stuff. The one thing I don’t remember was being boarded. Sure it was a lifestyle change for me but everything was new for me. It was challenging and I would even say hard at times but the biggest memory I have is how much fun I had with them.
I work at Safeway in the meat market, I guessed I was following in my father’s footstep. I got this job while in the halfway house and it lasted for some time, I’m not sure how long. I had to ride the bus out to the west lake area and would get off after 9pm sometimes. The last bus would stop running at 9pm and you can guess that if I did not get out of work on time I would either have to get a ride or foot it. Foot it is a term that young people don’t use any more because the focus is so much on being cute (or handsome) that the thought of getting sweaty would totally mess up their look. But after being on speed, crank, cocaine, sets (tee & blues), praludes, ascid, mushrooms, brown bears, pink footballs, pink hearts, black mollies, sharm sticks, and I guess I should include the usual suspect, alcohol and marijuana, walking was the last of my concerns. (That was a little bike ride!) Ok I’m back. I would often get a ride because I had to be back in the halfway house by 11pm and some of my friends from the Stratford House would come and get me. There is a lot that happened during my 4 months in the Stratford House and I don’t think that I will need to get into it all but I would like to say that during this time I think my spiritual journey took a turn. Me and my roommates, James and Robert, who we called “Bob” (this is the guy who’s name I could not think of earlier) started doing bible readings before we went to bed. I think I was reading my bible some but I think James suggested the coming together before we went to sleep. So we would read together before we went to sleep and talk about what we read, trying to make sense of it. I know that this may sound bad but I discovered that when I read my bible before I went to sleep, I would fall to sleep faster as to say the devil would be like go to sleep so you can stop reading this stuff. Maybe that’s just me thinking like that.
I left the Stratford House around September of 1987, after being in treatment for around 6 months. The ADAC Unit for 28 days, REAPS for 28 days, and the Stratford House for 3 months with a 1 month extension. Now I was on my own. Part of being in the halfway house was you had to get a job and a bank account to show that you were saving some money to prepare you for your transition to independence. Now the time had come for me to leave the womb of treatment and the protection of my counselors and move into dealing with my life without immediate supervision. I was still on probation at the time so I had that to lean on but I didn’t really feel like I was on probation because my recovery had taken precedence. Anything that probation asked of me I was already doing so much more. I went to meetings all the time and surrounded myself with people who showed that they cared about me. You have to understand that most of the these people had only met me months ago but was showing me love on a level that could only come from a spiritual place that they had achieved from working an honest program. I could say it this way “they had a spiritual awakening as the result of the steps, they tried to carry the message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”. (Another bike ride) I feel as though God had picked my probation officer, she was a Hispanic lady. I would miss my appointment sometime and when I went to her office I would tell her “I don’t feel like I’m on probation!” and would you have to remember that you are. I never tested positive for any of her drug screenings because I was clean. When I was using I would always be afraid of going to my probation officer but when I got into recovery it was never a concern of mine. Just a side note about that is while I was in treatment I did not have to report so for 6 months I did not have to report to probation although they were monitoring the situation.