I arrived at Bethesda with a front of false confidence, behind the smile was a broken soul.
Doubt reigned over me, so many rehab admissions, and so many failures.
The most asked question followed me around, “what’s going to be different this time”? The truth was I didn’t know.
What I did know is that, my addiction was not only manifesting itself in drug abuse, it had taken on new and what seemed like more addictive patterns. Sex, relationships, the feeling of love and connection. These natural desires had been distorted into an obsessive rage of needing to feel “better” or different at any cost. Love me, and I am okay, leave me and I will lash out on the world with humiliating self-destruction.
I had accepted that I needed the core and primary reasons for my addiction to change or be explored. I often asked, but how? What do I do? Where do I start?
At the beginning and with brutal honesty I was told. I was also told that to fully explore the problem I had to get real specific about it.
At some stage during Step 4, I was trapped in the muddy swamp that was my shame and guilt. All hope had died, words like useless, deranged and evil flew around my consciousness. I needed a new normal, I learnt that recovery happens in secret. I am who I am when no-one is around and that scared me because when I was alone I was frightened and couldn’t be trusted.
To change and be well I needed to change it all. My no needed to be no, my yes needed to be yes.
I threw myself at the mercy of God and asked for guidance, I asked many questions and took direction from those who had done it before me.
Every day, I work a Step 3. I pray, I ask for guidance because my way doesn’t work.
I consult with people who not only are clean and sober but have transcended that struggle, we barely speak of addiction. We speak about spirituality and functioning in a corrupted world. I keep my honesty in check. I know that I’m not perfect and today that’s okay.
I live in the light and for that I’m a better person.
I wake up today free from the chains that held me for so long. I surrender to win. My acceptance of powerlessness is what truly holds me and for that I’m grateful.

-Ira Gnesin
Grateful recovering addict.