New Life Group

30th Anniversary Celebration – Theme: A Sufficient Substitute Fellowship, 50/50 Raffle, Dancing & Fun

Sahara Shrine Center Ball Room 820 S. Main St., Pine Bluff, AR 71601

Date: Aug. 29, 2020 Time: 6:00 pm Speaker: Ulysses G.

Today Was A Good Day

January 15th 2001. That’s the day that changed my life. I got into drugs at a very early age. Over the years I used them for many different reasons; to have fun, to relax, to get a rush, to fit in. To feel different than how I felt without them, alone and inadequate. With the drugs I was a leader, well-liked, super cool, afraid of nothing. Without them it was just the opposite. I was an intelligent kid, but I never felt that way. I always felt that I had missed something, that someone, everyone, knew something that I didn’t. Others always seemed to know how to handle life’s situations. Not me. The drugs helped. When using I could handle what ever you could throw at me, or else I just didn’t care.

Through my 37 years of using, I never saw any consequences. Not that there weren’t any, I just never saw them. After all, the only person I was hurting was myself, right? That’s what I thought. I never noticed the chaos that I caused in others lives. At the brief moments where I did, I would just use more to make it go away.

On January 15th 2001 the consequences caught up with me. Like an Appellation avalanche my life came crashing down around me. I wanted to die. For the first time I not only noticed how far into the mire I had sunk, but also how many others I had dragged down with me. Looking back, it was the best day of my life. That fateful day showed me, without a doubt, that I was an addict. For the next year I bare-knuckled it, I didn’t use, but life still sucked. I still had the same anxiety, the same hole in the pit of my stomach that I had always felt. Why? I had quit using; everything should be fine and dandy. Why wasn’t it fine and dandy? How was I supposed to deal with all the crap that life spat at me – without using?

Enter Cocaine Anonymous. When I went to my first meeting I found a bunch of guys, sitting around, laughing about things and situations that weren’t funny to me in the least. They told me of the horrors that they had faced, the terrible feelings that they had felt… I felt like that. They connected with me in a way that only another addict could. Then they told me; “We have a Solution”.

They began to tell me what C.A. had done for them. How working the Twelve Steps had changed their lives. How getting a sponsor and following his suggestions had led them to a Higher Power that they could understand and trust. They showed me hope. Still I fought it. I had to analyze the program. Figure out just how it worked before I would go any further. It just didn’t make sense to me. How could doing things for others have anything to do with fixing me? I didn’t get it. They told me to surrender. They told me to quit trying to figure it out and just do it, and that if I did, I would see how. I looked at them and their lives and I saw hope. So I did what they said.

Today I continue to try and do what they suggest and help others, to the best of my ability, and you’ll never guess what… It Works!!! I don’t know how. I don’t know why. But it does. Today I am able to handle situations that used to baffle me, and whenever I think I can’t, I call another addict. Today I wake up looking forward to what the day has to offer. Thanks Cocaine Anonymous. Thanks to you… Today was a good day.

– Mike R. 01/15/2001

Giving It Away to Get It & Keep It

My name is Harry T. and I’ve been in the fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous for a while now. I have been given so much from this simple program that I can’t begin to count the ways. What it has done is recreate my life. How do you repay something like that? I don’t think we can, but I can be grateful, which, as you know, means action. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery DEPENDS on C.A. unity.

What that says to me is that my very existence depends on the unity of Cocaine Anonymous. What I can bring to the table instead of what I can get was a concept I learned in the rooms of C.A. Through service work and self-sacrifice my recovery has risen to a new level. I am so grateful that I didn’t settle for less.

Today I realize that I can’t attend every meeting or event; that I can’t volunteer for every service position. But I have no excuse for never supporting everything. I do have a duty and responsibility; when an addict reaches out, the hand of C.A. will be there.

– Harry T.

The Makeover

I grew up believing in God but felt I was different from everybody; not pretty, no father, not normal like other children.  My mother was single and worked very hard raising 3 children with the help of her parents.  I attended church regularly, was a Confirmed Lutheran, Girl Scout, H.S. graduate, got married to an abusive man, had a child. One year later I was divorced.  Started dating another, got married without family approval, had 2 more children.  Lived in a somewhat happy atmosphere but was still unsettled, always wanting MY WAY. I divorced my 2nd husband and then decided to un-divorce him, 6 wks later he abused me and I filed for divorce again.  I did not know this wasn’t normal.  Everyone got divorced if they weren’t happy.  Then I moved away from Omaha and continued my spiral down, got married, divorced then got pregnant again.

WHY? Because I would turn to alcohol and drugs instead of God.  I would silence that voice that told me I wasn’t being too smart by using alcohol and cocaine.  Over a 20-year period I became Mother of 4; divorced 3x – Alcoholic, drug addict, bulimic, thief, depressed, suicidal.   Turning my back on God and everything? Selfishness, self-centeredness I learned was the root of my problems.

When I used alcohol and cocaine I couldn’t stop, no matter how I tried.  When I did eat I would eat so much that I would throw up because I felt I wasn’t skinny enough, I wanted to be perfect.  I could not think clearly anymore, all I could think about was my next drink or hit and in the end even that did not satisfy my desire for ‘the something’ I was looking for.  I had damaged my brain; my thought patterns were all out of whack.   It became a disease like cancer; it is an allergy to alcohol and chemicals.  Could not clean, could not cook, could not take care of my children.  Could not function as a normal human being and didn’t CARE too.  Didn’t care or love anything anymore.  Lost my interest in life.  DEAD on the inside, I wanted to die and tried to kill myself over and over but it wasn’t working, nothing I did worked. I couldn’t do enough drugs to kill me because my tolerance was so high.  April 1, 1995; I had parked my car on the RR tracks because I wanted my ex-husband to believe that a train had hit me.  Upon leaving the car something INSIDE (which I believe now to be my Higher Power) reminded me – ‘what about the other people who love you; your Mother, your children, your Grandparents that cared for you watching from Heaven? ‘ Do you want them to suffer this mental anguish YOU would be causing?” Of course the answer was NO.   I panicked, getting back into my car, tried to get the car back off the RR tracks, but it would not go in reverse, so I plummeted forward into the ravine.  The car was off the tracks.  The next morning I realized that I should get the car out of there, ASAP, before it was discovered by anyone (like the police).  I called a towing company. Sitting on the hill watching my car get hauled backwards out of ravine, I remember praying asking God why WHY I was still alive?  Little did I know He had other plans for me.  I went on until July 4, 1995 blotting out all the things I had become, scared to let anyone help me.  Why should I ask, who am I, I had let everyone else down?

July 5, 1995 I called in sick to work (like I usually did the day after the holiday) and my supervisor called my bluff.   I had run this gambit with them before.  They said I would lose my job if I did not comply with the EAP (Employee Assistant Program), So I started an outpatient Treatment for Chemical Dependency (again) per their suggestions.  I discovered with the help of a lot of friends (angels) that my problems had not only become physical and mental but also spiritual.

With the help of Cocaine Anonymous, I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God.  It was very hard to surrender; I still wanted control. I remember one time when I was in In-Patient treatment that my Pastor called me and I was whining to him “what about my children, I need to be with my children” and he said “Becky, if you take care of yourself, God will take care of your children”.  I learned that once I had done this, accepted that my life was unmanageable the way I was living it, accepted my character defects, asked for forgiveness, tried to follow God’s will – all my sins had been removed. The desire to use mind-altering chemicals was removed.  I would learn to trust God and pray instead of using drugs and alcohol.   I would learn to face my fears knowing God was my support.   God did for me what I could not do for myself.  He restored me to sanity.  EVERYTHING has been restored and more.

I learned humility.  I no longer feel like I have to pretend to know everything. I can ask someone for help when I don’t know the answer.  I have learned to be responsible. If I cannot do something, I try not to make excuses, but I tell the truth.  I have learned that I cannot change anyone but myself and that I need to rely on God to help others.  I can help them by praying for them, but even then I do not ask for things.  I pray specifically for God’s will to be done.  Even when I had to admit I was a newcomer again it was relatively easy because it was the right thing to do.   Honest, Open and Willing.

How much did this makeover cost?   It was FREE- but I have to give it away to keep it.  I try to help God whenever possible – which was part of my deal with him.  Besides my full time job and part-time job, and being a full time mom, I attend 2 CA meetings regularly, Area Sec, GSR, Treasurer (one in a homeless shelter, monthly in the Work Release Center for Jails); sponsor other addicts in need, serve on committees for that group, I volunteer and attend church regularly, sing in the Choir, teach Sunday School, am a member of church committees. I give rides whenever needed (how else do you expect God to get His children to practice they can’t drive?).   What have I gained besides MY LIFE??   Many Blessings:  All 4 of my children are part of my life again, I have seen 3 of them confirmed and graduate from H.S., my niece, my daughter’s and my brother’s weddings, the birth of multiple children in my family; I have maintained my Job for over 10 years now, become a Choir Director (and can see how that has blossomed). I play the piano now (which really amazes me that I can learn something new).   I OWN a home now and each day when I back out of the drive I thank God for another day to serve Him.  I try to carry an attitude of gratitude in everything I do today

I tell my story because this is the foundation that God has laid for me.  I have built up from the pits of my own hell and have built a wonderful life in serving my Higher Power.   I turn everything over to God and He helps me match chaos with serenity.   6 words sum it up- Trust God, Clean House (BE Honest), Help Others and God will take care of the rest and DOES!!!

– Becky L.

Good Orderly Direction!

A few twenty-four hours ago, along with being two thousand miles away from home was the beginning of the end for me.  Instead of using the tools that were given me on my road to recovery twelve years prior, I allowed myself to take control of my life again.  Well the rest is history, same as everyone else, my story isn’t any different, however it took place in another country.  Bottom is bottom!  However, the madness began with just a drink instead of a meeting or calling my sponsor whom I dismissed one year prior.  I had a situation not a problem; however the choices I made created a big problem, which could have resulted in death.  Therefore, God had to step into my life and carry me along the way.

Stuck in the insanity that drink led to a long road of three years of madness.  Yes, the drink led to weed, the weed led to coke, the coke lead to crack instantly.  That’s right, where I left off twelve years prior is where I started, just like is says in the Big Book, however the seed of recovery was also planted twelve years ago.  After almost loosing my right hand in an accident, along with being told I was going to be disabled the rest of my life it was time to get some help.  Coming back to the United States to start my life all over again, along with seeing the best hand specialist in the United States I was given another chance.  Stuck on stupid I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity again, especially since I had gotten my hand under control with therapy, four surgeries and plenty of Demerol.  Being dishonest again by not telling the doctor I was an addict, led me into more secrets and continued insanity.  The guilt was killing me to a certain extent, especially after coming down and looking at my family.  After a lot of rationalization, paranoia, sickness, a dysfunctional relationship, it was time to go to treatment along with a geographical move.  Determined to get back on track I went into treatment, however stayed in the dysfunctional relationship because I was codependent as hell.  I thought I could help them when I should have kept the focus on me; unfortunately, I was convinced that it was ok to make a little money while in recovery as long as I didn’t use.  How long do you think that lasted? That’s right, not long at all before I was back using again, however still determined I knew I needed to get out of this relationship making another geographical move.  However, I had it all figured out. I needed to be closer to my family before entering treatment.  So I made that move back home with a lot of support positive and negative.  Holding on to some of those secrets still continued the madness.  Yet still not hopeless, just helpless in my mind, along with stubborn, I was basically refusing to let go absolutely.

Finally the moment of truth came, however the paranoia was still there it just didn’t matter it came.  Of course another treatment center came into play along with another geographical move, but that was ok.  As long as I was on the path it was truly ok especially since I didn’t have any problem getting on the path anyway.  Staying on the path was my problem, along with surrendering the control to someone other than myself, that one is God and I have found him now!

Where I am today with that God of my understanding?  He is still driving for me one day at a time.  We attend 4-5 meetings weekly, talk to my sponsor on a regular basis, stay in the steps, along with prayer and meditation. He gives me enough light to take the next step. God has truly given me Good Orderly Direction.  Those promises have come true.

Just another addict