Kemo Douglas Newsome Sobriety Date: April 9, 2007
I AM GRATEFUL TO THE POWER OF THE UNIVERSE – THE POWER OF CHANGE – THE POWER OF HOPE – THE POWER OF WILLINGNESS – THAT HAS ALLOWED ME TO LIVE TWO LIFESTYLES IN ONE LIFETIME.
The addict/alcoholic – is the master of illusion and deception!
I DID NOT LOVE MYSELF and as a result, I used drugs, alcohol and relationships to cope with years of internalized fear, shame, guilt, anger, self-hatred, confusion about my sexuality and my place in this world.
I have been clean and sober since Monday, April 9, 2007 when I entered treatment at the Pasadena Recovery Center (PRC) in Pasadena, California.
There are three significant events that changed the course of my life while in treatment at PRC:
1: The night I was given the “Keys to the Kingdom” (The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous)
The clarity that came with the safety of being in treatment brought with it a lot of guilt and shame about the things I had done and the people I had hurt while in my active addiction. This particular night, I was very depressed about the break-up of my relationship with my ex- boyfriend. I found one of the night staff members and began to talk with him about how I felt. This man who has 22 years of sobriety stopped me in middle of my dramatic story and asked me “ Do You Have a Big Book “….I said no and he went and got me the one book that has changed my story.
The man opened the book to page 417 and had me read:
AND ACCEPTANCE IS THE ANSWER TO ALL MY PROBLEMS TODAY. WHEN I AM DISTURBED, IT IS BECAUSE I FIND SOME PERSON, PLACE, THING OR SITUATION – SOME FACT OF MY LIFE – UNACCEPTABLE TO ME, AND I CAN FIND NO SERENITY UNTIL I ACCEPT THAT PERSON, PLACE, THING OR SITUATION AS BEING EXACTLY THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE AT THIS MOMENT. NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, HAPPENS IN GOD’S WORLD BY MISTAKE. UNTIL I COULD ACCEPT MY (ALCOHOLISM) ADDICTION TO DRUGS AND ALCOHOL, I COULD NOT STAY CLEAN AND SOBER; UNLESS I ACCEPT LIFE COMPLETELY ON LIFE’S TERMS, I CANNOT BE HAPPY. I NEED TO CONCENTRATE NOT SO MUCH ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED IN THE WORLD AS ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED IN ME AND IN MY ATTITUDES.
It was as if the heavens had opened up, as I understood and was comforted by this truth.
2: My Spiritual Experience at PRC
One evening during my residential inpatient I had a “Spiritual Experience” that has changed the course of my life and was the anchor that secured my full surrender to the 12-Step Recovery Process.
Late one night, I couldn’t sleep and got up from bed. As I walked through the hallway on my way to the group room, I encountered and began a conversation with another night staff assistant. We began talking about life, death, my recovery and the spirits of loved ones who are no longer living. It was a really interesting conversation that brought me to tears when he shared the following with me:
He said: “Did you have a grandmother that had something wrong with her neck or her throat” (my maternal grandmother died from throat cancer)
I Said: “Yes”
He Said: “Did she like Gardenia’s”
(At this point, I got goose bumps all over my arms (and now as I am typing this) I Said: “Yes”
He Said: “K She wants you to know that she loves you very much and that she knows that you that you have been trying to do the right thing in your life but have failed because you don’t believe in yourself. She wants you to love yourself and everything will be alright!”
At this point I am crying. He was talking about my maternal grandmother Jacqueline Louise Johnson. Grandma Jackie died in the early 1990’s and she did love the scent of Gardenia’s.
Before entering into treatment, I had never met nor spoken to this man in my life. I did not include information about my Grandma Jackie in my intake paperwork at PRC nor did I discuss anything about her with anyone while at PRC prior to this conversation.
I am also grateful to the members of the 185 Group of the Fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous with saving my life, by opening their arms to welcome an embrace me with individual support, when I came to my first meeting on Tuesday, April 17, 2007, while at PRC.
THESE THREE EXPERIENCES CHANGED MY LIFE
My insurance would only support 28 Days of Inpatient Residential Treatment. The morning I discharged from PRC, I remembering getting into my car, driving to my apartment, dropping of my belongings and then heading to a meeting. It is what I had been told to do and I did exactly that!
When I was actively using, wanting to become a Certified Addiction Specialist, hell I wanted to do and become lots of things while using. However, all I was ever actually able to do in that state was – TALK WHICH EQUALED ZERO ACTION
Through the process of recovery, I was led to a personal introduction with the Director of the Alcohol and Drug Studies Program at Glendale Community College. He invited me to find out about the program and enroll. In August of 2007, I did just that (at four months Clean and Sober). I graduated from the program on Friday, June 5, 2009.
I just celebrated 2 years Nicotine and Tobacco free on January 16, 2013
While sobriety remains the most important aspect of my life “we are not a glum lot “
In May 2011, I quit my job, sold my car and said farewell to a host of friends and family and took a flight from Los Angeles, California to Paris, France.
I am officially here to learn French, but that is but a side benefit to sharing a new life experience my significant other, who happens to be French!
RECOVERY IS INTERNATIONAL. The “City of Lights” has a huge English Speaking Recovery Community that has embraced and welcomed me.
THANK YOU ….. PASADENA RECOVERY CENTER and A POWER GREATER THAN MYSELF THAT BLESSED THE BROKEN ROAD THE LED ME STRAIGHT TO YOU
Kemo Douglas Newsome
PRC Alumni – April 2007