The trip my friend Colin and I took to St. Louis, Missouri was a great learning experience for me and I’m so glad we went. We went during Spring Break of our junior year of High School. We went to visit friends and some kids I used to sponsor when we were in rehab from drug & alcohol abuse.
My friend Colin and I were both in pretty rough spots in our sobriety. One of our best friends, Chris, had just relapsed and was continuing to get loaded. He was someone whom we hung out with every day; he was my first friend in sobriety so it hit me pretty hard. I needed to get away from Phoenix and the group to regroup myself. We left early Saturday morning and planned to be gone until Wednesday. It was four hour plane flight and we slept most of the way, we awoke to the intercom announcing we were landing in 10 minutes. Our friend, Jeffery picked us up at the airport. We stopped at a gas station for cigarettes and food. This gas station was known for the best sandwiches in St. Louis. The lady making the sandwiches heard we were from Phoenix so she gave us more meat then she normally would. Missouri felt welcoming; I fell in love with the trees and the greenness of the area. It was nothing like Phoenix. We went with Jeffery and the group to a function that was at a kid’s house in Kirkwood. When we got there, I was re-acquainted with three kids’ I use to sponsor and a lot friends I had seen in a while. We hung out there for most of the night until about 2:00 am when the group took us to see the ARCH, it was amazing to see.
The next day we went over to my friend Josh’s house, a kid I use to sponsor. He and a group of his friends took us site seeing to some of the coolest spots in Missouri. We went to what they called the loop and visited a whole bunch of little shops. Later that day they took us to Shake & Steak, I had heard about this place a lot and how it was the greatest food ever. My sandwich at the gas station was so much better. That evening we went to a 12 step meeting then we went to hell tree. Hell tree is this huge tree in the forest just outside of St. Louis that people used to get lynched on during the civil war. It was on the border of the south and the north, very creepy.
The main things that I learned from this vacation were how to manage money and that I have a disease that I must acknowledge and overcome every day of my life. The money thing is hard for me because when I have money I want to spend it all at once. I learned that I had to manage my money or I wasn’t going to have enough to last throughout the week. However, the most important thing that I learned about being in Missouri was that I have a disease that tells me I don’t have a disease. I realized this the last night that I was in St. Louis. I hit my eleventh month of sobriety from drugs and alcohol, the night was one of the worst nights in my life. My head told me it was my entirely fault that my best friend, Chris had gotten loaded. It also told me that I will never be good enough and I will never be able to measure up with people. I remember this being one of the darkest days of my sobriety. I knew that I had two options. Either I was going to call somebody and try to stay sober or I was going to get high in St. Louis and not go back to Phoenix. If I didn’t go back I would just stay in St. Louis and get loaded for the rest of my life. I finally picked up the phone that felt like a thousand pounds and called somebody. I stay sober that night and have been sober ever since.
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