I cannot help but find myself at such a loss after hearing of the death of one of our own. DJ AM aka Adam Goldstein, was found dead in his NYC apartment. Allegedly, there were prescription drugs and a crack pipe found in his possession. Adam had been admittedly clean and sober since 1997 after a suicide attempt. He had 11 ½ years of recovery and was working on a show with MTV helping other addicts find recovery. I marvel at the similarities between our stories. I too found recovery in 1997 after a brutal suicide attempt, I too sit with 11 ½ years of recovery.
So how does someone with this much time in the program—relapse? I am finding myself scared. Scared at the reality of this disease of addiction. Scared that even after this much time, all it takes is one slip…one drink…one pill…one drug…to lead me right back into the grip of addiction and into the grave. I have always kept my addiction right in front of my face during my recovery, knowing that it is sneaky, cunning and baffling; and knowing that if I even turn my back for a second and become complacent in my recovery…it could sneak back in and get me. So much of society doesn’t have a clue what it takes to maintain recovery, they think you go to rehab, hit a couple meetings and you should be cured, right? Wrong. Recovery is an action verb. It is a process one must work every day of their lives in order to maintain. Recovery is the very fiber of my existence today. It is the soil with which my life is allowed to bloom. Without it…I die. This much I know. I know in my gut, my heart and in my spirit that without recovery…I am nothing. My heart breaks when I hear of a fellow brother or sister in recovery losing their battle to this insidious disease. I weep—even though I may not know them personally—I know their struggles. I understand on a very deep level what they have gone through just by virtue of being an addict myself. As addicts, our immediate response to things in life, whether good or bad, is to use. For me, it was always my knee jerk reaction to pick up first and ask questions later. It was ingrained in me at such an early age to use something outside of myself to deal with life on life’s terms. Recovery is a learned behavior for me. It is true behavioral modification. And like any behavioral modification—it takes a ton of work to achieve. I have to fight back my natural instincts on how to deal with a situation and deploy my recovering principles. My learned methods and tools. This means that I must be–in many ways– always present in my recovery. I cannot turn my back on recovery—because my addiction is always waiting. Patient, destructive and evil…it wants me in its grasp. It wants me dead.Today, for me, my recovery must remain my number one priority. Today, I will go to a meeting. I will remember first and foremost that my addiction is alive and waiting. Today, I will do all I can to ensure recovery prevails. I will be ever vigilant in my fight against addiction. In honor of those lost to this disease—I will prevail…for them and for myself. God bless Adam, his family and his friends. Today, I will live my recovery for those who have lost the battle. Today, I will employ my recovery tools in the hopes that one more addict need not go down the path of destruction. I will be a living example of hope.