Keith's Story - Clean at 17

All Photographs + Text Copyright 2013 Christopher Keeley

Keith's Story

Clean at 17

1st of all its sad I still feel I have to 'qualify' myself because Anyone can be an addict at any age from birth to death as drugs don't make someone an addict . it is a byproduct of 'ADDICTION' and drugs were NOT my problem cuz when I found them around age 10 they became my 'SOLUTION' to life cuz I finally 'fit in' and felt a part of humanity so I did drugs as much and as often as I could from the 1st moment I 'got that luving feeling'. To prove this fact . I haven't used drugs since 1/25/80 and I am still a full blown addict that can take ANYTHING to the extreme . good or bad for me . and it is ONLY through applying the 'Spiritual Principles' of NA in my life that I can come close to 'that luving feeling' without chemicals to help me.

By the age of 16 I was using everyday and as much as I could for several years by breaking into houses and cars and stealing hundreds of dollars in quarters a week from my dad who owned a vending company. I stole a set of his master keys and got to the machines before he did and I actually had to buy drugs with bags of quarters because I burned out cashing them in at ALL the banks and stores around the little towns I lived in for fear of raising suspicions.

I got busted and I was in trouble with the law and my parents and the courts gave me the choice in late 1979 . Drug Treatment or Juvie??? I actually wanted to go to Juvie cuz I thought that would be "cool" but I figured I could 'escape' easier from Treatment and there were girls there so @ age 17 I reluctantly went into Canon Valley Center - an adolescent treatment center with close to 100 kids in there like me on 1/24/80 (or in the year 2 BBT . Before Basic Text) in Minnesota where I was forced to get clean for "awhile" against my own will with a 'nudge from the Judge'.

At that time there were about 200 treatment centers in a 30 mile radius of the Twin Cities as people from all over the country were sent there for 'help with addictions' but it was still way before 'it was kewl to be clean' which came about around 87 when the 'Rockstars' started to find recovery and nobody told us about NA. We had to go to AA meetings where I was told I was 'TOO YOUNG' many times a meeting as they said to me 'I spilled more on my tie than you drank' as my normal response was 'maybe if you weren't such a fucking slob you would have drank more at one time and gotten here when I did' and that always went over real well LOL.

I decided to stay clean 'for awhile' (I didn't know if that meant a day, a week, or a year) so to keep the police and my parents off my back and to piss 'THEM' off (meaning all those 'old people') who were over the age of 25. My mother who was in AA at the time I just got out of treatment (she was the one to tell the judge I need treatment and not Juvie) got a job and was going to move to NC a few months later and she asked if I wanted to move with her and get a new start in life so we moved to Greensboro NC around June 1st 1980.

In NC she would go to meetings to meet new friends in a new town and drag me with her and I finally met a couple people close to my age. One of them had a brother in prison in Philadelphia . that guy sent his brother in Greensboro NC a little white book and a couple pamphlets FROM PRISON and with this literature around July 1st 1980 we went around to all the AA meetings and rounded up all the degenerates that nobody liked cuz we talked about drugs and started NA in Greensboro at St Pauls Catholic Church on Horse Penn Creek Road.

I have stayed clean since my 1st meeting and as far as I know there is only 1 person besides me who is clean today from those original meetings as many have died from their addictions and the other person who is clean is Jim B in High Point NC who actually got loaded again but came back and has about 23 years clean and is NOW working for the prisons in NC. (See . service pays off) LOL

A few years after the guy that got the literature from his brother ended up getting loaded and shot his g/f and then he ended it all by shooting himself . very tragic but that the nature of addiction if we get loaded as NA is for ANY ADDICT that "WANTS IT" and not for anyone that 'Needs it'.

We found out there was NA in 'obviously CA' and in Ohio, Philly, and Atlanta at the time we got NA going but it took awhile to find out from Jimmy K when he asked me 'what do you want to call your area'? We found out that there were meetings in Greenville SC before us that we didn't know about and there had been a few that had sprouted up in NC that were completely independent of us and we were in a region but we were the 1st group to form in NC that we know of.

In the very early 80's Jimmy K was operating NA out of his garage and would take our money for the literature we were trying to buy and use it to pay for the literature that was ordered before us and use the money that came in after our to pay for and fill our orders so we were told at that time (80-83) we could reprint the literature if we didn't make a profit on it to save time on orders and we would actually get it quicker if we bought it from Ohio NA members who were copying them for us.

As we only had 1 or 2 small meetings a week we used to go to Winston/Salem (about 30 miles away) to a 'Young Peoples AA' meeting and converted many members to NA where they started NA meetings and actually got an NA clubhouse going around 1983 (I think Atlanta was the only other town at that time to have a clubhouse called 'The Rising Sun' and that one is still in existence today and they also had the Highland NA clubhouse and another one I cant remember the name of that are gone now.

In 1981 in Greensboro NC the meetings died for a short time as I LOCKED THE DOORS to NA because I was the only person going to meetings who was clean and I was still hearing that I couldn't be an addict cuz I was 'too young' and 'you didn't shoot dope in 1969' so my natural response was 'anybody can get addicted to the real shit . I got addicted to milk sugar so I must me MORE of an addict than YOU because anybody can get addicted to the real shit'.

I knew that NA talked about 'ADDICTION' and drugs were just a byproduct of addiction so I waited for others from Greensboro to want to start it back before we opened the meetings again about 6 months later. I would still go to Winston/Salem for meetings while ours were closed for several months and I have been an active member of NA since I 1st heard about it and since the early 80's I have never had to go anywhere else for my recovery.

In 1982 we got a letter from World Service that was still in Jimmy K's garage that we could buy a red 1st commemorative edition Basic Text for $25. or the regular ones would cost $8. and a couple people in NC bought the red ones but the 1st shipment of Texts took like 6 months to get and they were all 2nd editions . we never received any blue 1sts in our area but I was eventually able to buy a red book off a friend a few years later.

These were wild times in NA as nobody really knew what the hell was going on and communications were slow but since I grew up with bikers sometime in early 1984 we started a chapter of the 'Phoenix Motorcycle Club' which was for NA ONLY and at the WCNA in Washington DC in 1985 we had about 200 members show up in force wearing colors that had a HUGE 'NA' in the middle of our patch. Needless to say when the people at World Service saw this they flipped out on us and we ended up changing it to a large '12'.

I lived in Greensboro till 1985 after the WCNA in Washington DC I moved to Columbia SC till 1987 where it was in the largest area of NA anywhere in the world at that time. The area went from Augusta GA to Florence SC to Savannah GA and I was the ASR for a year and we had some huge roadtrips because every other month it would be at some edge of the area other than Columbia.

I moved to Charlotte NC in 1987 and soon after while working for a car dealership Tom Cruise came in with the owner saying they were doing a movie together and I got my 1st experience with the movie biz on 'Days Of Thunder' and it was like the circus coming to town and when it left . a few of us left with it.

In 1990 moved to Wilmington NC where they made a lot of big movies there so I could work in the Film Biz which I did for several years trying to become 'famous'. My only claim to fame other than working behind the scenes on lots of movies was working on 'The Crow' in 1993 as for 6 weeks and with a few weeks to go they needed some long hair guys (as I was growing mine out again) so they used me as a 'featured extra' but I got to be in a great scene with Brandon Lee before he was tragically shot to death a few days later. It was soooo tragic though I basically quit the biz for awhile and focused on my spiritual path of enlightenment as I was studying meditation at the time to heal my inner brat.

In 1994 I went on a 'discovery trip' bouncing all over the East Coast going to lots of NA conventions taping them and Woodstock where they had this HUGE NA tent with meetings going on every other hour the whole weekend. After the WCNA in Baltimore I ended up on an Indian Rez in Wisconsin where my mother lives and for a month I was screaming at the Gawdess to give me a 'direction'. My friend Greg (now has 22 years from Hollywood that I used to stay with all the time after meeting him at the WCNA in Anaheim in 88) he went to the World Service Office and asked them to find me. WSO really didn't know how to but last heard I was taping the WCNA in Baltimore for a friend (Dutch H. 30+ years) so they called Dutch and he called my mother and blammo . Greg walking in the door an hour later the phone was ringing and it was me saying 'I heard you are looking for me'. He said he needed a break from LA and he will be there in 3 days where we went on another roadtrip to a couple more conventions and ended up in Hollywood CA again where I spent a few months.

Dec Friday the 13th 1994 I got run over on my motorcycle in the heart of Hollywood so I ended up moving to Vegas to recover from that 12/31/94 and in the beginning of 97 I moved back to Hollywood to get back into working on films where I have been ever since. On 7/6/2005 I was back in Vegas where I bought in to the World Series of Poker for $10.000 (which was my dream since 1995 when I really learned the game) and Ironically I got run over again on my Harley on 7/7/2005 in Vegas where I woke up from a coma 3 weeks later screaming 'get me to the WSOP' and it had been over for a week and I never got to play a hand (how's that for a poker bad beat) cuz I never got my money back.

I almost died from this accident and up to now I have been fighting to recover from this ever since as I have not been able to walk for almost 18 months and its by far the hardest thing I have had to go through clean.

I Have to thank the fellowship of NA in Hollywood and Vegas for supporting me through that difficult time as being 4 hours from LA I had addicts in my hospital room EVERYDAY for 2 months straight and all the phone calls from addicts all over the country praying for my recovery of health mind and spirit . THANK THE GAWDESS FOR FRIENDS.

I am starting my life over again as I have lived my dreams in NA as I have traveled all over the world and gone to well over 100 conventions and many World Conventions and meetings in many countries (several they don't speak my language) and I have met some AMAZING people over the years and had a lot of fun in Recovery.

I now live in 'Sun Valley' (about 8 miles from Hollywood) which is where Jimmy K started NA so I think that's very funny I ended up here because it wasn't planned but it's real nice to go to meetings and rarely be the 'old-timer' in the meeting.

Words of Advice

Don't get Desperate so take care of yourself ahead of time






Because when we get 'Desperate' in ANY of these areas we can lose our sanity in a hurry and we can think up the craziest shit and make it sound like 'A Good Plan'

Do Service for NA as it's the LIFEBLOOD to keeping our fellowship alive and FREE and the REWARDS will change your life forever.

Surround yourself with GREAT friends that CARE about YOU and want to help YOU and NOT hurt YOU and that YOU can tell ANYTHING TO and they WON'T judge YOU too harshly for it.

If you don't have good friends like I just described . GET SOME . you have to be a friend to get them.

Be good to yourself . YOU are the ONLY one who can.

Keith K.

1-25-80 Till NOW

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