I Want to Live
During our 25th anniversary this year, we are republishing stories from our past. Roy Maddrey was a resident of St. Elizabeth’s Recovery Residence and later The Crossing, Project HOME’s former transitional residence in West Philadelphia. This article was published in the Project HOME newsletter in June 1993.
My name is Roy, and I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. I work at my recovery, and I work hard. Alcoholics Anonymous is a very simple program – there are no short cuts, tricks, or fast remedies. My recovery has nothing to do with will-power or how strong I am, because when I came finally decided to enter a fellowship of recovering addicts I was bankrupt spiritually, mentally, and physically. While using drugs and alcohol, my life was unmanageable, and I could not deal with life on life’s terms. I lived to use and used to live. All my thoughts and emotions were based on the obsession that I had to use and how I was going to get to use.
From the beginning, people who were recovering gave me hope that one day I too could lead a sober life. I came to realize that I had a disease. That’s where recovery all starts: knowing you have a disease. Today I can say I want to live.
When I went into the program, I had hit my bottom. I had to know that I was going to stay sober for Roy – not for a house, a car, a relationship, but for me and me only. That’s the only way I knew it would work for me.
The fellowship teaches me to be honest and to keep an open mind, and gives me a sense of willingness.
The gospel truth is that I stay sober one day at a time by practice, not by will-power, strength, or through the church. Like all addicts, I face the constant possibility of relapse. I stumble, but that’s OK – I STUMBLE FORWARD. Everything under the sum is learned by trial and error. My problems are the same problems I had when I used. I still have those problems and a lot more, but I came to the fellowship for drug and alcohol problems, not life situations. I just learn to deal with them without getting high. It works out a lot better for me. I don’t have to suppress my feelings anymore – I feel them.
Alcohol and drug dependency is a disease. It is the same as having cancer or diabetes, and it is a major problem not just for me but for thousands of persons in our city. I pray that more people find a recovery program – it does work by the grace of God.