Hello, my name is Andrey Rossin and I am a recovered alcoholic/addict or it can also be the other way around, which really makes no difference. It never really mattered what substance it was as long as it was taking me out of the now, and the faster – the better. The reason I say I have recovered is because I have recovered from the hopeless state of my mind and body to which I was absolutely clueless about for many years.
For years, I was very depressed and suicidal and could not fathom even a possibility to ever be content with whom I am without some type of an artificial intervention that would make me feel a part of everything or be able to stand out. Yes, you read that correctly, a series of contradictions. Throughout my whole life I didn’t care if I lived or died because I couldn’t stand this anymore (particularly in the fall it was even more depressing). I would ruminate about how to kill myself. I carried a razor in my small jean pocket for years, from the age of 13–23, as a matter of the fact I was positive I wouldn’t live past the age of 23. This was another lie I told myself which was only one of a multitude.
This year I am coming up on my ninth year clean and sober, and unless I am reminded by someone close to me about my experience I just might forget again. Oh, by the way, did I not promise myself I wouldn’t share about my experience because otherwise it would be too selfish to stay closed up? Hello, is this not a reminder that I will never be completely fixed! Stopping using and drinking was really just the beginning of the work for the rest of my life, yes “the work,” because I also wanted and needed the work for the rest of my life, just like nine years ago I could not have conceived my life without heroin and crack. Crazy, you would say, however, it was completely normal for me. I thought people that didn’t use daily were abnormal and just didn’t get it. So here is a bit of my story.
I was born in the former USSR and was often woken up by hearing my father and mother fighting early in the morning especially when my dad would come back home wasted. I quickly found a solution to this problem, I would just pee in my bed, so then they would at that point have to stop quarreling and come to my rescue and this would have to stop the fight. I stopped urinary incontinence by the elementary school after seeing numerous doctors and having a series of acupuncture sessions. Other than Mom and Dad’s quarrels I grew up in an amazing household surrounded by two amazing Grandmas and Grandpas. One Grandma is still with me, she just turned 90 and is the true love of my life!
I picked up from an early age. I came home from kindergarten one day and told my parents, then I ate soil to solidify my promise to my parents that I’d never smoke and or drink in my life...Well that was a lie, just like the promise I never made and the soil I never ate. Very soon thereafter, I picked up my first cigarette from my neighbor where all the kids from the neighborhood smoked together and ran away to play soccer. In my particular case - I chained smoked, hence my alcoholism started with lies and tobacco. In my later years whenever I would tell myself “I am done! I’m not touching this shit again!” Sure enough, every time, I thought of picking up a pack of Newports and I was off to the races again.
At the age of 13, I had my first black out. It was horrifying and an amazing experience at the same time (almost spiritual, I would say). I was mesmerized, and for the first time realized that what I was seeking is right there and I wanted more. Just like I would tell myself later in life, that I had found myself, while staring at the mirror all shot up on heroin or high as a kite on crack. This was my perfect medication which worked for a time being. That is actually when the obsession would set in. The allergy was so paramount that I can only thank God today that I am still alive. Yes, I wanted my fix, but not now; I wanted it like yesterday, that’s how much I really wanted it.
To anyone not acquainted with the problem the best way I can describe it is just plain insanity. This is exactly who I was, a completely insane person with the façade of a happy go lucky guy. However, behind the facade was a scared, depressed and completely suicidal young boy. Thus my journey started into recovery, because I started with an early commitment in jails, time after time again, with a series of DUI’s. I would constantly say to myself that I won’t drink like that again and/or I will control my consumption. What a naïve thought from a person who has absolute no self-will when it came to substances. However, I believed in my lies so much to the point where they became my reality. My reality at that time was that I was a victim of circumstances. I had no problems I thought, I just knew what to do. I continued getting into trouble and later on just started overdosing which did not scare me one bit. In the end, your opinion of me was much scarier than HEP C or HIV coming from a dirty syringe.
Yes, my rationale was that I did not steal and if I did take stuff it was because it was just there and I absolutely had no bad intentions toward you while I was rummaging through your pockets. I just needed to get what I needed to get in that moment and it was that fix that I needed like yesterday, and I could not postpone a single second. Now on the other hand, while having the needed cash in my pocket on my way to see my dealer I would have an amazing balance and serenity that would set in. “Wow!” I thought to myself “this is great.” I really would like to film a movie one day about that particular experience because honestly words cannot describe the seeking of contentment I was in pursuit of on a daily and nightly basis, it was a job in itself. In 2006, I slid into a coma and had gotten revived after three days of being thrown from the washer into the dryer, that’s the best I can describe it. And no, I saw no light and no tunnels and no I did not see my body below me nor did I see my girlfriend and parents sitting around awaiting doctors prophecy about slowly dying organs.
So later on I realized that all that time I was absolutely hopeless. Hopelessness is not asking for help, oh no, hopelessness is not having a slight idea that there might be a solution at all because in my mind I could have stopped on my own recognizance because I knew how it was just a matter of time and my persistence. Though, it just was not happening for me and even at “prolonged dry times,” up to 30 plus days, I was super happy patting myself on the shoulder that the thought of a Newport was reemerging away. So I woke up and I did not ask for help, instead I asked for my phone because I knew it could only handle 45 voicemails and I had asked my Dad to help me enter a detox and voila I can run again…same night of my discharge from the hospital someone I knew showed up and basically performed an intervention telling me that I will be admitted into a 90 day residential program to get better….better?! I knew what to do, but to make my relatives feel elated I agreed simply that –for them I sacrificed 90 days of my life. Yes, that was my thinking back then.
I had entered the program and on the second week got introduced to this simple model for living which has an almost scientific approach to recovery that is laid out very clear. This program of action was a design for living. The people who I met were truly content recovered alcoholics and addicts which was really weird at first because I thought it was all being staged for me. It turned out to be the truth, as I realized later. So, I started admitting the fact that I had a problem and I myself cannot fix it. I was open to doing something about it and was open to get armed with the facts about myself. I never wanted to see-the man in the mirror, where was my selfishness, dishonesty I told myself and others, my self-seeking behavior, my fears…the result was astounding.
For starters, the obsession got lifted. I knew that I must continue with the work, that I must daily admit I am not God, because I really want a play and stage the show. I also have to continue admitting my wrongs and this is super hard because I always want to be right. However, the biggest joy I find today is when I am helping others. You see, white knuckling sobriety would have never worked for me. I would rather continue using than sit there and reminisce about the delusional crap in the way I was living, that would be just sheer suicide, nope, not for me, this addict must be free and happy and that pertains to the moments when it also sucks because it does and I still love it as absurd as that sounds. I love it when it sucks and I love it when it’s awesome because today I can truly experience it. Also my life is not a daily struggle that would be just awful, to be tip toeing my way to the grave and just existing.
I have found out too that all my problems are of my own making and I create my own reality. I have also found a God of my own understanding that also has an incredible sense of humor which I’m working on building communication with. I had also realized that my problems are all in my head. For example, there were worries and threats that existed and the minute I turned myself into helping someone I immediately defocus and stop thinking about my miserly crap and things became astounding!
To anyone seeking recovery: there is a promise that each and every one of us is capable to be honest with oneself will for surely recover. Mind you when I started the process I was not able to not only be honest, I did not even know how the dishonesty in my life existed. I continuously told myself that I was almost perfect. So that means as long as you are breathing you absolutely can recover, as long as you will follow a few simple rules. It all starts with an admission you have a problem that you cannot solve yourself.
In conclusion I would like to do a small comparison I came up with years ago that is very vivid. If you and I sign up for a new gym membership and get shiny new sneakers and brand new workout shirts and shorts and step in and get introduced to a professional coach at the power smoothie bar, right then and there we would ask lots of questions and our thirst will be quenched by a thorough explanation of the daily routine. Let’s just say that three times a week you do: Monday chest and arms, Wednesday legs and abs, and Friday shoulders and cardio and then he will tell us what diet we are to follow – what would we get? A lot of powerful knowledge and instructional info. However, you and I can walk straight into a McDonalds across the street and forget about this advice as a nuisance or promise to meet up with the trainer after the first of the year…etc. Or we can jump right in and start following instructions and start lifting weights like there is no tomorrow, and this is where the “I wanted it yesterday” will catapult you into the fourth dimension of existence that you might have not even known ever existed!