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33 Years

April 10, 2012


Just recently I celebrated 33 years clean and sober from drugs and alcohol.  My real clean date is April 1 1979, but I couldn’t get my Narcotics Anonymous (NA) coin until last night.  Many of my NA friends and family were there to share the moment with me.  Their encouragement has been a major source of strength for me over the years and especially this past year.

Yes, April Fool’s day 1979 was the last time I was that kind of fool who used drugs and alcohol to great excess.  Fool that I was, my best friend at the time and I went to the county fairgrounds so that I could launch my fire engine red 1979 Trans Am off of the earthen cattle loading ramp.  We figured that if The Dukes of Hazzard could do it on TV, we could do it in real life too.  BIG MISTAKE!  Oh we made the jump just fine, it was the front heavy crash landing that did us in.  When I woke up I was bruised, battered and bloody, but my friend got the worst of it.  His head went through the windshield and there was blood everywhere.  When I next woke up I was in jail, but my friend was in a coma for 6 days and almost died.  That was my rock bottom, and thanks to Jesus and NA it was also the very last time that I used drugs and alcohol.

I started using alcohol when I was just 11 years old.  We were at my great aunt’s place for Thanksgiving and for whatever reason the adults saw fit to give me a water glassful of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill.  I did not know any better so I just chugged it and practically passed out in my mashed potatoes.  I liked the numb feeling it gave me though, so I continued to get as much alcohol as I could.  It wasn’t hard because my father was an alcoholic.  Soon afterwards I started taking my parents vicodin and other pain killers whenever I could.  It didn’t take long to find people who would sell them at school either.  Mixing opiates and alcohol could have killed me, but back then I didn’t care.

Like I said, I used the dope to just get numb.  Feeling nothing was the only feeling I could stand.  My father started abusing me sexually, physically, emotionally and verbally when I was about 4 years old and it didn’t stop until I was 12.  Even though the sexual abuse ended then I still had these totally awful memories.  So I got drunk and high as often as humanly possible in order to avoid everything going on inside my head. 

Jesus walked with me through my horrific childhood.  I can remember Him holding me close during the times of abuse.  However, I did not know or fully understand who He was until 1976 when I went forward at a Larry Norman concert in Columbus Ohio.  When I was finally exposed to the Bible, it fully confirmed all of the things Jesus had been sharing with me since I was 4.  Things about true fellowship, love and the church.  Things I try to live out even till this day.

Well, that’s my story.  A big chunk of it anyway.  Thank you Jesus, thank you relational housechurch, and thank you Narcotic’s Anonymous for all you have done for me.  Let me just close with this:  The fellowship of Narcotic’s Anonymous has taught me more about love and actually BEING the church than the Traditional/Institutional church EVER has.  NA has wide open, free flowing, sharing from the heart all the time. ” Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do NOT govern.”  What I find at the tables of NA is total, brutal, gut level honesty about where we are and where we want to be.  We simply love one another and carry each other until we can all walk again.  It is a Spiritual, NOT religious program.  It is real and never fake.  My life really began at step 3…..”We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  In Jesus I have come to understand God.  Not my will, but HIS be done!

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

P.S. No PTSD symptoms or flashbacks in over a month.


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  1. On 15th AprilI I also have 33years celebration; Being a Christian. I did get waylaid by religion in between, but now I am back to: “It is a Spiritual, NOT a religious program. It is real and never fake.”

  2. “At the core of every improvement I made was rigorous honesty with myself and the
    people I valued.” Joe Zychik, a guy who overcame four addictions in his life.

    Chris, maybe the lack of rigorous honesty in the church, among the saints, is what allows the unhealthiness of the church to continue to prevail. Real honesty would explode the typical church and persecution of those being honest would be swift and overwhelming.

  3. As my daughters would say, “Congratulamations!”

  4. DanG permalink

    Ah, Larry Norman. I was introduced to his music in ’72, then ’73 concert at ‘christian’ event in Dallas where I bought the bootleg album and others. I also saw him at a small venue in Denver in ’84 or so.

    We are all praising God for His work in you, Kirk.

    I have another observation to offer.
    Perhaps we should not use the word ‘church’ as we mention the meetings that the majority of ‘christians’ attend. To name these social institutions ‘church’ is perhaps slander, “for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” If ‘church’ is accurate for these meetings, we dare not speak against the work of God in those places. While ‘church’ may be at these meetings, it might be wise that we recognize within our criticism of these institutions that these are primarily social instruments that have little ‘church’ character. Expectations about these places perhaps might need to be revised as we realize that God has little place in the structure or activity of these places (Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them.) The work of God that brings people out from the pretense of ‘church’ is perhaps more effectively known as the legitimate. Let the word ‘church’ be seen, rather than named. It is God who is at work, after all.

  5. Roy, congrats on 33 years! Art, very good point. In that system they kill the honest, Thanks Jeff!
    And Dan, I hear you…many times I refer to the IC as that thing called “church” Kirk Out !

  6. Reformed by the Holy Spirit permalink

    I believe that there are some people who would be shocked to know that God works outside the church-building walls like that…..

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