Recovery Month – Day 22 – Step 0

Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

— J. K. Rowling —

September is National Recovery Month.

My blogs will focus throughout September on addiction and its life-destroying tendencies. The writings derive from my experiences of battling addiction and living a life of recovery.

Today is a continuation of yesterday’s post (September 21).

As I indicated yesterday, I passed the “test” with glowing numbers to be admitted into Greene Hall’s chemical dependency program. It is embarrassing to think I ever had to take such a test but walking through the doors of Greene Hall was a significant action step toward breaking out of my addiction-locked prison cell.

When I look back on that moment in my life, I realize that with God–rock bottom doesn’t have to be an end; it can be the start of an unbelievable journey.

The first order of business was to check me into a detox room where I would hunker down and take on what I intended to be my last journey through withdrawal.

Opiate withdrawal is absolutely horrible.

I had been through it a couple of times before, and it is like having the flu and depression on steroids.

The body feels like it is turning inside out, and the human mind becomes super sensitive to all internal, external, previous, and future experiences. Shame and guilt run rampant along with the seemingly unending contents of your colon. Opiate withdrawal takes having the cold sweats to another level.

To make matters worse, I was also addicted to barbiturates, and they had taken up residence in my neuromuscular system, which caused me to have uncontrollable leg tremors.

I will never forget my ‘opening night’ of withdrawal. It began a few hours after I was admitted.

In the detox area, we shared bathrooms…go figure. When diarrhea began, I ran into the bathroom and stopped cold in my tracks because a petite, slight, scraggly gentleman had beat me to the toilet. When I entered the room, his head was down, but it popped up, and out of his mouth came words that I will never forget, “What’s up, man?”

At that moment, I hit Step Zero (0).

I’ve discussed the 12 Spiritual Steps of recovery (Steps 1 thru 12) in previous posts, but I very seldom discuss Step Zero (0) …What in the heck is wrong with me?

“What’s up, man?” I’ve never forgotten those words from a career alcoholic raised on Kentucky moonshine. His name was Willie R. W. He was my bathroom mate in a chemical dependency treatment center…What in the heck was wrong with me? How could this have happened to me?

More to follow tomorrow.

Proverbs 13:10, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”


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