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Helping Others in Active Addiction

Jeff B.

“I am 58 years old and have 69 years of recovery. Yes, you read that right, I combine 3 recoveries from three addictions. Each recovery was through a different recovery model and in each instance I have not relapsed. I feel very fortunate and wish to briefly share my success.

I was a three pack a day smoker, and the sloppiest smoker you ever saw. My car had 10 packs of cigarettes along the windshield, each with one cigarette in the event I ran out. In 1979 I I decided it was time to stop smoking. I went through a five week behavior modification program. I learned to change my brand of cigarette, change the way I held the cigarette, wait an additional 15 minutes each week after getting up or eating before smoking a cigarette, take hot baths every night to drain the nicotine from my system , keep a butt jar and other behavioral tactics. My last cigarette was February 23, 1979.

I had a problem with marijuana and cocaine. I began smoking marijuana at a small party in the summer of 1969 with about 500,000 friends, called Woodstock and if I missed 20 days over the next 22 years that was a lot. I developed a serious cocaine problem while in law school and would use cocaine 3-4 times a week. In 1991 I was stopped for changing lanes without signaling and the pungent aroma of the marijuana alerted the officer that I had pot with me, he busted me. I decided it was time to get help so I entered an Intense -outpatient facility. I attended from 6 PM to 10- PM 4 nights a week for 6 months, 2 nights for 4 months and 1 night for two months. This was a combination of group counseling, individual counseling, education, art therapy and 12 step treatment. I have not had a rug or drink since February 23, 1997.

I held on to my gambling addiction the longest. I loved all forms of gambling but my favorites were the racetrack and sports betting. My gambling began in high school with weekend card games and daily excursions to the racetrack. My freshman year at college I majored in gambling: backgammon from 2-4, gin from 4-6, racetrack from 6:30 to 11:30 and poker game from midnight to 8 AM. Through law school and 18 years as an attorney I continued to gamble. In 1996 I lost my passion for the law and decided to change careers and decided to becomes an addiction counselor. While going though training I sat in on a six hour lecture on compulsive gambling and heard myself described to a tee. If I wanted to help others didn’t I first have to help myself? I wrote a letter to the gambling lecturer and he invited me to dinner. He then suggested we go to a meeting, I agreed and have not made a bet since that date, January 12, 1997.

I continually address my character defects and go to 2-3 GA meetings a week. I now work in the problem gambling field, helping others with the problem on both a local and national level.

My 3 recoveries have really turned my life around. They have given me direction. They have allowed me to fulfill previously untapped potential. I have made wonderful new friends. I am in a great marriage that would never have been possible. John Lennon once wrote ” How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I am facing”? Recovery has pointed me in thee right direction and made me a productive member of society.”

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