I’d attended many meetings before I got clean but would not try complete abstinence. I looked for the easier, softer way for years and found nothing but a progressing addiction. The meeting I attended that made all the difference was in 1987 at a rehab . It was chaired by someone I used with who was celebrating two years. For the first time I thought “He was worse than I was. If he can do it, I can!” I experienced empathy. His pain was my pain, his insanity was my insanity. I was honest and told him I had never had the desire to stop using totally, but I had the desire to stop hurting. He asked if I could pray for the willingness to have willingness. That didn’t seem like much to ask, so I did. That was my first step in action. I saw my living step two in him who had been restored to sanity, So exercising more willingness, I took step three and said “God, your will be done, take away the desire to use.” That started my path to recovery. For the next thirty days I was eating and sleeping good. I was waking up remembering the night before. I had no more fears about what I had done, who I had harmed or who was wanting to harm me. Because my clean time was something worth NOT losing, when I finished rehab, I took the suggestions given to me. I do the same things today to maintain my recovery. I got a sponsor, home group and a service commitment. I did ninety meetings in ninety days. I was told “work the steps or die.” I changed my people, place and things. I helped others, remembering that I got clean because that fellow addict worked step twelve and spoke at a rehab meeting. Another recovering addict is the best weapon in the war of addiction! I was told “work the steps or die.” The word God was in most of the steps. My religious upbringing had me fearing the lightning bolt from God if I wasn’t perfect. It helped when my sponsor told me to put my old concept of God in a box for a minute and seek and pray earnestly. I took some time to seek and returned to the same higher power, who I realized was loving and forgiving. I understood it was okay to have a defined higher power in NA. My back story was that I grew up in a small town family of hard working , church going people who never got drunk or high. Best I can say is as a kid, before I ever used, I always felt different inside, like an outsider. At age 12 I raided a liquor cabinet. I remember feeling as if a switch went off in my head that turned off all the negative self talk noise and static. I was comfortable in my own skin for the first time and decided to chase that feeling for the rest of my life. For the next 15 years I went from being a “functioning addict” with a job, family and friends to a homeless person living in their car. I was on the road of jails, institutions and death. I’m grateful I was introduced to NA along the way.