Thirteen years ago I was within Total Darkness.
I was HOPELESS, Broken, and Shattered.
I was LOST and Never Thought I’d Wake Up From Hell.
I was Sick, an ADDICT and Filled With FEAR …
WHEN MY EYES FINALLY OPENED From My Second SUICIDE ATTEMPT …
I Was Still Frightened, Constant Pain, and LOST. BUT THEN?
I Seen A Sliver Of GODS LIGHT, I GRAB ON TIGHT, and I BEGAN TO RISE FROM THE ASHES OF ADDICTION!
GOD Whispered In My EAR … I Bless You With HOPE…
So, as I celebrate my 13th Year Maintaining Recovery, I still hold on to HOPE.
HOPE is what helps me have trust that all things are possible. Even RECOVERY.
Just as the definition of HOPE tells us:
HOPE – Noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
HOPE – Verb: want something to happen or be the case. A feeling of trust.
GOD has shown and given me the meaning of hope, of trust, and through his love, his forgiveness, and mercy, all the hard work of recovery, you begin to grow a new life from the ashes of addiction, learn to be able to break free from gambling addiction and start living my life within redemption, grace, humility and with a heart of Gratitude with all the blessings I have received and through each and everything I do today in both my personal and my professional life.
Today, as an ADVOCATE, author, writer, sponsor, speaker and passing on the given HOPE and share it through my Recovery Service to Others. Paying it forward to the lost, the least, and those suffering from any addiction but especially gambling addiction. I have broken free from the bondage of addiction and share what I have learned. Addiction never discriminates on who it will TOUCH. No one person is safe from addictions. We don’t wake up one day and say; “I think I’ll become an ADDICT and destroy my life.”
It doesn’t happen that way. Most times we learn through the process of treatment and recovery that there may be underlying issues and roots to how and why we turned to addiction. Many times we find it comes from trauma or tragic events in our life like childhood or teen years. And as I said earlier, NO ONE IS IMMUNED.
Just like a new recovery friend of mine, I will call him Lang. He was touched by addictions, homeless, and lost in that darkness I spoke of, as was set off by several traumatic events that happened to him as a young teen that shaped how most of his life had turned out until a year and a half ago, now maintaining sobriety. He shares the first part of his story and testimony like I did yesterday as I was invited and featured in the Ventura, CA., Newspaper of The Citizens Journal thanks to Lang.
So I hope you will take the time to give my Featured Story titled; An Addiction That Requires No Substances – This Is My Story a read for those who visit and don’t know where I came from. And? Below is Lang’s Story – Part One also in the Citizens Journal and has 8 parts total. If you are interested in reading his whole story after Part One? You can read all of Lang’s testimony beginning here within The Citizens Journal “Nobody Knows But Me.”
BIO of Writer/Advocate Lang Martinez:
On July 25, 2018, I begged God if you save my life I will give it all back to you, ” I PROMISE”
You can also find my articles in the Citizens Journal. US of Ventura County, CA.
Nobody Knows But Me: My story about being homeless on the streets of Oxnard- Part 1
What caused me personally to become homeless living on the streets in Oxnard?
Methamphetamine use. Being homeless definitely taught me a whole new learning experience of self-perseverance and survival. Bottom line, trust no one but yourself!
My number one priority in life while on the streets was to get my poison, my meth. You need money to buy that poison so how did I get the money? Speaking for myself, I’d commit what’s known as a “booster”, in other words, petty theft. If caught, petty theft in the eyes of the law is an arrest and a small stint in the county jail. With my past incarcerations, committing a felony could have sent me back to prison for a long time.
For me, a man of 55, that would be a possible life sentence. I’d steal different kinds of merchandise, from supermarkets, department stores, etc. The items I stole would range from hygiene products, clothes, electronics, food, basically anything I could sell for money to feed my addiction. Being active on the streets in Oxnard, I learned how some business establishments would even buy your stolen items. Some stores would go as far as to personally tell you what items to steal for them and then pay you 20 to 30% of the actual value. Then they would turn around and sell the items and their store for full retail. This was my profession on the streets to supply my addiction.
My second priority on the streets was food, which I never went without. I learned by trial and error that stores like the Dollar Tree or the 99 Cent Store do not have security or surveillance cameras. There is always plenty of food at these stores to steal, so for me being hungry was never an issue. These stores also have socks and underwear. By stealing these items I didn’t have to worry about not having clean underwear or socks to wear on a daily basis.
My third priority was to find a hidden spot where no one could find or see you including the police. Being hidden, you can do whatever you want and as most addicts do- get high! Being hidden is also a safety net from other homeless people on the streets in Oxnard. A homeless person will ultimately find any opportunity they can to steal everything you have, somehow, or someway. Remember what I said from the beginning, “trust no one but yourself”. Even though we are our own enemy, you still don’t trust anyone but yourself!
My personal thoughts on the whole agenda of the recent conference “Humanizing the Homelessness in Oxnard“. First of all, I don’t believe that the city of Oxnard cared enough to really bring this over-arching, overdue problem to the public. Not that the people of Oxnard can’t see it for themselves, but really face it. People of Faith say, “there is hope for everyone.” My question and response to that: “what about them”? This all took place when college students picked an agenda to do their paper on.
You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to allow yourself to have true feelings to care and make a difference. It was the students from CSUCI that cared enough to bring attention to this problem. The importance of people, good people, dying on the streets in Oxnard, CA.
My point, it took college students on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 at 3 p.m. to make awareness of this and not the city of Oxnard.
Editor’s note: The author told us he’s spent a total of about 6 years on the streets (non-contiguously) in LA and Oxnard and been in multiple recovery programs. He says he is clean now and taking one day at a time, trying to help local homeless people.
We were intrigued by Mr. Martinez’s story and inquired about his recovery status and activities, which will be in future articles in the Citizens Journal. He sent us the statement below and asked us to rewrite it for him, but it’s just too good to edit much! I was in tears as I read of his passion, sincerity, and pain. I also know that he is backing it up with action, so at least one more person is now added to his list . . .
“George, I don’t know quite know how to write it, but I want to say it. That I’ve been sober 3x in 5 years and also worked in RECOVERY, But this time is different because I didn’t want to die like this knowing that Nobody would say anything good about me and all I wanted if I did die, was just one person to say something good about me.
Everyone in my condition doesn’t want to die like this or live like this anymore and we do make promises to God if he would take us out of this misery. What is different about my promise to God this time? I said God, please don’t let me die like this! Please save me one more time and this time I will keep my promise. I will give it all back to you.
George, you know what I’m saying, so you write it the way you want? Also, I don’t want to be referred to as a homeless person- I’m NOT anymore. I trust you. I used to be homeless and all I’m doing is keeping my promise, George. You have to understand that I don’t ever want to go back to that life again and the only way I won’t is being on the STREETS telling them what my Lord and Savior did for me he can also do for you.
I’m proof of God’s miracles. Amen! ~Lang
Reblogged this on "Cat Lyon's Reading and Writing Den" and commented:
For those of my “Literary Side” of things …You may or may not know I am celebrating today my 13th year maintaining recovery from a cunning and silent addiction that requires no substances. It is called “Compulsive Gambling Addiction.” I am sharing my new recovery post here as I am a proud Recovery Advocate and shared all the good, the bad, and the hopelessness I once lived within. I wrote all about it in my published book/memoir titled; “Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” I was one to never be Annonymous . . . Catherine