name is Raman and I am an addict.
came into NA as a coincidence,which being me reading the "Basic Text"
while I was in a treatment center. I had a long run with all sort of drugs
and was really sick and tired of it all. I'd had many good times with
drugs but as I went from one drug to another, I was going completely
from a middle-class, professional background family of four from Bangalore in South India.
My father gave me and my younger brother a good education up to high school. By
then, my unmanageably had surfaced completely.
had first become evident when I had recurring nightmares and other sleep
dis-turbances like sleep-walking. There was a six month wait for college to
open after having passed out of high school. That is when I began to take music
seriously and played with bands at events. That's when the drinking and the
grass came into the picture. Times were good and we had many days of being
high, playing music, discussing philosophy and being free.This lasted nearly
six years and I did not see any need to become a graduate, though I did pass per-graduate. My music took me on tours with bands and there were local
remember the time when a band I was playing with at that time got a few events
in Goa, a very happy and happening place, with beaches, chicks, music and
drugs; heaven ? It was new Years time, I was drinking and hashing away to
glory, playing music, getting good money and blowing it up and having a very
good time. The world seemed perfect with all the drugs, girls, music and money
around !! When the contract got over my band went back but I decided to
stay and had a blown out time until all my money ran out. Then the ugly
side of my addiction became apparent. I made friends with a much elder woman
from abroad and had lot of good times and drugs with her. I kept demanding she
spend more and when she wouldn't I left in a huff and began selling some drugs.
That carried me along for some more time !
one night the cops questioned me and I was afraid. When they did not get any
proper answers they took me to the cop station and demanded I share some money
with them. Then when I said I had no money they got rough. They wanted to
know who my boss was, why they did not get their share etc. I had no answer to
that, imagine a sort of innocent 19 year old musician getting into that. I was
too artistic to know all that!!
took an evil turn when they got out fat bamboo canes and began to
hit me with it. Then I realized what was happening and tried to put up a fight.
Three cops with bamboo canes against a weak and tripped out addict was
great odds, but I continued to fight back. Things got real critical and I
got desperate and screamed
me, lets see".
suddenly, they let me go. A crowd of people had gathered outside the
cop-station and demanded they let me go,, and the cops had to. Thank God
for the Flower people out there who took my side.
incident hurt as hell for a long time and was a wonderful excuse to keep using.
This is when I was introduced to opium and downers.It helped me to cope with
the shame of not only that and previous incidents but also one's that followed
where either my self-esteem, self-image or self-confidence was shaken.
went back to my hometown and kept on playing music and doing more drugs and
then came the smack. This turned my world around completely and my life and
thinking were totally centered in getting and using more and more smack. Slowly
the music-jobs began to stop because I could not be relied upon to be on time
or even turn up.
things got worse and I stayed home all day and night chasing smack and
troubling my parents to support me. Then an uncle died of post-overdose
delirium and my family was shocked. They decided I need to seek help and I went
into a detoxification center in a major hospitals psychiatric ward. It was a
lot of pain and confusion; later I was discharged but hadnt the faintest idea
what I was supposed to do with my life. I had no idea whatsoever that I had to
stay clean no matter what. Imagine a spaced out addict trying to stay clean on
his won ??? Old feelings came back and I found it difficult to cope. Sometime
later I relapsed & after few instances of using other drugs, I went back
to the drug of my choice,, smackie-baby. Using associates began to
appear again and in no time at all there I was, back to sqaure one. Relying on
good old brown sugar made meaning in life and I was glad to be back with my old
friends. I had something to do now, not just lay in bed and agonize.
trouble was in store. The initial euphoria died out. My legs got infected
with sores that kept increasing and finally covered both my legs
from knee to ankle. Tha damage to the nerves is still felt to this day, 26
years later. Life had become one hell of a mess. I had no job, no family
support and had to use more and more in order to be ok. I used to think, how
nice it was when I first began using and how good the trips were and how
great the music and friends were. I had done a great tour of India and was on the verge of going to New York to study music,
but when addiction gets you it does so completely. I was totally into
getting and using and finding ways and means to get more and use more.
police raids on dens as well as my increasing usage made me study
chemistry books in order to learn how to make smack from opium and I was in
fact ready to go to Afghanistan
or Sri Lanka
and spend time to learn it!!! By this time I was 26 with no other
ambitions left, having been in hospital two times already without
the slightest clue about how to manage my life. I wanted to do something,
and be someone but all my friends were gone, no jobs and I was without a
conscience. I was a complete loner and was fully addicted.
one night a very weird thing happened; I had a near death experience.
There I was, nodding on a chair and listening to jazz on the radio and
suddenly my soul left my body. My soul went to the ceiling, looked down
at me and said in a silent voice "'You are going to die'.
I screamed and awoke with a start. I was scared. A dark force was in that room
there that night with me but I also sensed the Prescence of Light.
wanted some way out. I began to pray for release and freedom. Id had enough of
the way Id lived till now. I really did not want to become the criminal drug
producer I was thinking of becoming and already researching.
days later, inspite of feeling very strange about it, I kept repeating prayers
Id learned in childhood from my mother. I was trying to invoke the God's to
save me. It felt very foolish at first but that Power was attractive so I
then it happens. These prayers were answered. And the irony of it all; a using
woman gave me a rehabs number. She had called asking where the connection
was meeting me today.
became wary cause Id not seen her for a long time.
were you ??" i asked.
was at a treatment centre for drug addicts" she'd replied.
was curious so I asked her
that all about ?"
run by reformed addicts and gets you out of addiction"
wanted to ask her then why was she back to using, but thought better of it. In
fact she'd just confirmed to me that there was no such thing as reformed
addict; otherwise, why would she be asking for drugs again ? How could an
addict like me be without drugs ? What would I do with my life if there was no
drugs in it ?
I informed her t the connection and was rewarded with a good chase with her
out of curiosity, I took the treatment centre phone number anyways. I called a
few days later.
found it compelling enough to join their Program, because I thought they would
teach me to use successfullyt without being addicted. Gosh was I mistaken about
where this was going !!! There, I met many recovering addicts and the
first concept they shared with me was that addicts like us could never be
social or un-addicted users. I believe now, thats when I first
got the message about what an addict like me had to do to
recover. Then I got the NA message when I was reading the Basic Text in the
rehab. What wonderful revelations. I learnt that I had a dis-ease and
that I could stop using and find a new way to live without the desire to use
again, just for today. Whew, what a relief that knowledge was. I
wanted to know more about NA and I kept on reading.
The personal stories of those old-timers gave me
identification and I got a distinct feeling of
remember I thinking "Hey thats just like me, where did I meet these
guys before?" Isnt that what we call empathy, the wordless language
of recognition, belief and belonging?
writing began there and I went onto the 4th, the first of my fourth Step
attempts. I could feel that things would be all right this time and God has'nt
let me down and I know that God never will
I came out of the rehab, there was no NA but I went to meetings of
another 12 Step Fellowship, where I found many people recovering from other
addictions. As I heard these people share and care for each other, I'd
think "'How nice it would be to be in a roomful of recovering addicts
sharing the Narcotics Anonymous message ?"
that time I was really willing to make the effort to get what NA had.
I had stopped playing music for some time to get away from old
playgrounds, I had stopped meeting old playmates, and my house was clean of any
paraphernalia. I wanted to make contact with other recovering addicts so I
wrote to NA World Service Office and they sent me literature and a
wonderful publication called "Meeting By Mail". You can imagine
my joy and relief when I read the sharing s in the "Meeting By
Mail", thats when I decided I wanted to be a member of MBM and Loner
Group. Many years later Im still a member of Loner Group, and still do Meetings
By Mail. And at the U.K National Convention in 2009, year before last, I met a
female who had also been in Meeting By Mail for many years. Ive read her
shares, she had read mine and we were thrilled to me face to face. Over the
years, Ive met many others too and we share a special feeling. I also met my
first recovering addict friend Jeff, who is no more with us now (died 2008),
who gave me immense and sustained support in my recovery. Imagine having corresponded with someone for 16 years and finally getting to meet them
face-to-face after 16 years. That is the meaning of accepting that one addict
can best understand and help another addict.
back in the late 80's, what with snail mail and all, the high point of each day was either getting or
sending a letter to one of them or doing a mass mail. These correspondences
were my first real encounter of one to one with another addict recovering the NA WAY. I still
remember with gratitude my first encounter with sponsorship by
that addict. To this day, 22 years later, I still treasure those
experiences. After having been threatened, counseled, beaten up, locked
up and sponsored by the other Fellowship, this certainly felt different. This
guy gave unconditional love and acceptance. I could feel time and touch space
long lost to me. His valuable insights gave direction to my recovery.
The main theme was encouragement in personal recovery, contacts with
other Loners and then make efforts to start NA meetings here. Many other NA
members too passed by this citiy, met me and encouraged me to start NA meetings
remember the day when the post office said to come collect a parcel, "Big
Parcel" they said, which turned out to be a big bundle of NA Literature. I
also remember the accompanying letter of encouragement from them when I was
reading it I thought "Oh for Gods sake, these guys believe in
me". A real thrill. I was very exited. Thereon it was working to
carry the NA Message, alone in the beginning and then with others. We
stared meetings here with few others I met in the other fellowship. We all felt
that more addicts will find recovery only if we had regularly scheduled
meetings of Narcotics Anonymous. So we got one going, at first informally, then
we had recovering addicts passing through our town, passing on a message to us
and then we finally began the a group that lasted all of six months. Then
another one was started,and that exists to this day.
the distinction of being the first NA Group in Bangalore city goes to the
International Hope Group, the Reality Group is now the oldest amongst ten
other groups. I was elected to serve in various positions as GSR, ASR,
and chairperson as well as in other Subcommittees, which I do till this
day. I also served as Chairman of the WorldWide Workshop on recovery and
service and see that as a peak. I also served in the NA Fellowship in England when I
was there from 2008 to 2010. Ive also served on many sub-committees and at
events and conventions and have also played my music on those occasions. I
also did service in the other Fellowship.
this year 2010, I was completed term as RCM from this area.I feel privileged
to still be in NA Service in Events and Convention. I see service to addicts as
a Higher Power and continue to do service, as a way of being grateful to that
Higher Power. I try and remember that my gratitude speaks when I care and I
share the NA Way
I was 6 years clean I got married and was well settled in an antiques trade.
I had a nice family life going and was very gratified by the birth of our
daughter, an NA Baby; I was at peace with my parents and society. Then came a
point when I realized that social acceptability does not equal recovery.
began to feel an emptiness inside in spite of all those material
achievements. I'm lucky I had found a great sponsor then. Tom and his wife were
traveling through town and had been around many parts of the world
encouraging addicts to do a Fourth Step. I attended their workshops and then
found myself being sponsored by Tom and became a serious 4th Step writer. They
went away leaving me to finish but those days of snail mail prevented effective
communication so I waited three years till they came next and finished the step
writing. I also took a 5th Step and became aware of the exact nature of wrongs,
what defects caused those wrongs and why shortcomings are the starting
point for defects and wrongs. I felt a new freedom and joy. At this
juncture, I decided , after having been guided by Tom and Barb that I wanted to
go back to music. For ten years in my recovery, I had avoided it cause I was
afraid. Now that I wasn't afraid anymore, going back to playing music seemed the
right thing to do. At the time of his writing, 12 years later, I know Ive made
the right choice, inspired by God and Meditation on the 12 Steps of NA. I had
looked towards working the 12 Steps with a sponsor, doing NA service work
and being the best recovering addict I can be. It was all there but
the music was still missing and I wanted to become a clean
musician, a way of making amends to society and to myself.
then, recovery as in attending meetings regularly and having an income was the
primary focus, no matter what. You see I had done an extensive Fourth Step,
done a complete Fifth and did all the amends I could including to my family.
One way of making amends to my mother was to help her by being a partner
in her child day care center, where I was successful. Amends to my father
primarily came when I stopped shouting at him and abusing him and demanding
money from him, like I did in the past. My father and I then shared many serene
moments and I could sense my fathers happiness and gratitude at the way I was
doing.There have been a few setbacks in recovery, but God has always been
greater than any problem I've had and the Power of NA has been saving me from
all sorts of situations. I was at a turning point when I had to seriously
make a choice of career, and after much soul-searching, I decided it was music.
Today Im back to my profession of music and events and am really enjoying
performance as never before. My career has grown, I have grown in it and Im
playing music with a new attitude at these events and occassions.Certainly,my
music is getting better than ever. I'm in demand at parties,weddings,
functions, corporate events, concerts and recordings. At parties invariably
there's liquor served and they also offer me. There will always be that risk,
but I politely refuse, I simply remember that I'm there for sharing my music.
Most of all ,I know that the Force That Keeps Me Clean and Serene is present
overtime with me at these events. Sometimes when fellow NA members and I play
together there's a great feeling too, especially when I play at NA events.
I am a loving parent to my darling daughter who I bring up as a single parent.
My father died in 2000, after seeing his son become a responsible and
productive member of society and Im satisfied that amended my
relationship with him. I am a loving and caring son to my mother. The last time
I went to a treatment center in 1987, I remember my mother saying "I
want nothing but for you to be restored to humanness", I think that has
happened. I feel very human now.
service in NA has given me great new habits.One of them is having meals with
newer members and another is driving newer members to NA Conventions.
driven members all over the country. The peak was the one to Nepal to the
Convention on Top of the World; that was way out. Imagine me and another
member driving to Nepal
and back,an all round trip of 7000 and driving for three days each way. Man,
that experience will stay in my mind for the rest of my life!!!
sponsor is still guiding me; my sponsees are a great lot too!! Sponsees are the
heartbeat. Recently a sponsee of mine and a few other NA members and I went to
Mangalore, 200 miles from here, to help them start NA Meetings there. Being
elected to responsible positions in NA Service keeps me as an honest and humble recovering addict. Cant imagine an addict like me not only being clean this
long but also being a responsible and productive member of society!!!
very proud to have been a member of Miracles In Progress for nearly 7 years
also a home group member of Vision of Hope here in Bangalore City
I was also a part of Sheffield NA in Uk and treasure that association.
I went there to study Masters, I had no idea that the Fellowship there would
facilitate a wonderful experience. The eduction Ive had in recovery, both
informal and formal are a real Blessing and keep me sustained in my growth as a
is said "Dreams Do Come True In NA" and this has happened to me too !
day, I feel like Im living my dream of being free of drugs, being free of the
desire to use and being free in my soul because I have found a new way to live.
to live and live to love,,,, the NA
for reading and God Bless you and keep you Blessed in your recovery !!
All in all, I live to love and love to live the NA Way, Just for
Today and for always