My alcohol dependence was so addicting that when uncle passed away, I went to Brown Jug liquor store. I was so angry at my family because they were arguing about who was going to get his money and his house. The store manager saw me pacing and crying and the manager refused to sell me the liquor. She said I can refuse. Please leave and I’m calling all the Brown Jug liquor stores and telling them not to sell alcohol to you. I looked up and that’s when I came to believe that my Higher Power did not want me to drink anymore. I went to AA, and my first sponsor told me to read the Big Book, go to meetings and work the steps and get phone numbers. I got stable, got a job, a roof over my head and clothes on my back.
Then in 2011, I became homeless. Was living with my mom. Rent went up, economy crashed. Got a tent and tarps to live in. My mom even asked me if she could stay in a tent. Told her she had to go back to Oakland. She wanted me to go with her but I knew if I went I would be selling drugs, slinging, go back to jail or dead. I had to stay sober. It was tough road sleeping in a tent for 3 years. Temptations. A lot of peer pressure to drink. People would go through my clothes and bags while I was away. No showering or eating. Soup Kitchen was already jam packed. The only places I could face were The Web or anyplace with a bathroom facility. Didn’t know if I would be mauled by a bear, killed by a moose or killed by somebody. A lot of nights, I cried myself to sleep. I was searching for death.
In 2012, Sandy told me about the Web. At first it was like I was in dream. Then it kicked in. Anger played a big factor in my life. I was angry that I couldn’t eat, shower or wash my clothes when I wanted to. I found reasons to argue with the staff. I got kicked out a few times. I was wondering why they had all these regulations and why they picked on homeless folks. The way I saw it when the staff was down and out, they were picking on homeless folks. During my time at the Web, I learned to step back and look at why I was angry. Instead of blaming others, I looked at myself. When I was pointing fingers, my sponsor-Greg told me you should be looking at the 3 fingers that are pointing back at you. It’s very easy to blame someone else and go ‘you, you, you’. Anger is a big factor in my life. It always will be.
It was good to have Peer to Peer every day cause we talked about problems. I didn’t talk about my problems at home. I could check-in at Peer to Peer. Being at the Web made me feel at home because these are my brothers and sisters here at the Web that kept me alive out there. At the Web, I felt safe and secure and at home. Sometimes we’d have cookouts or help each other in the kitchen. We bonded.
Or we’d pool food stamps and have a cook fest. Other members and staff would also hold cooking class or prepare holiday feasts. When I was homeless, I got clothes from Bishop’s Attic through the Web.
It is good that people have to pass the breathalyzer to come in. I had to stay sober. I thought about it a lot and couldn’t go through what I went through 20 years ago. I would think about my son too. I would say my AA prayer a lot in my tent, ‘God grant me the serenity.” I came to the Web every day for 3 years.
I gained a lot of weight, became lazy and starting thinking. I needed to be motivated. I’ll never forget ‘this place’ cause this place kept me alive. It kept me safe until I became motivated. Talking about it like in peer to peer kept me thinking about it.
I started walking, started applying for jobs using the Web computers. I didn’t care what kind of job, I just wanted a job. Called KFC, went right away to meet the manager and started the next day.
Got settled in KFC job for a month then got motel room. Then heard Dave say they needed a morning person for janitor/housekeeping at the motel where I was staying. I told Dave I’m looking for a morning job. He said can you start tomorrow at 6am. I said “it’s done”. I’ve been working there and at KFC now for 3 years.
I visit the Web as much as I can. When a couple of my sober friends said “why do you still go over there (the Web), I tell them because they’re my friends, I love them and I care for them. I wouldn’t be here today. Cause I would never forget the roots that kept me alive. This is the place, if you can’t respect that, I have to let you go. When things are not going well, I come back here and it makes it better for me. “Thank you, Higher Power for bringing them in my life, for seeing them (other peers) for who they were.”
I’ll always be recovering alcoholic and drug addict. My addiction could kick in anytime and I could relapse, so I’m always working. Work, work, work: I work on myself, I work on my jobs and I work on the place I am living. Thank God for the Web and thank God for the people in it.
Web Member Don