All Photographs + Text Copyright 2013 Christopher Keeley

  • Paradise Life

  • dead friends

  • I started using when I was 10 years old, the drug was alcohol. Two friends and I chipped in our coins and got a wino to buy us two bottles of Bali Hai. One for him and the other one for us. At that time you could get a bottle for 60 cents. My heroes were never policeman or fireman, they were the junkies in the schoolyard, the winos on the corner, my drunken uncle, you get the picture.

    I grew up in Brooklyn and I felt different from the get-go. My first memory was of my father beating me for wetting the bed. I must have been 4 years old and my mother never came to my defence so I felt alone. I was jealous of my friends because theyÕre parents bought them things and took them places but my family was large and to poor for that. Their Dads never beat them (in my mind) so I needed to keep that secret. I grew up in a railroad flat in Ridgewood and spent most of my time on the streets or in the schoolyard. Then when I was 8 years old, a 16 year old kid from the neighborhood took me to the park and sodomized me. I didnÕt tell anyone, after all, my father would really beat the shit out of me for doing something so dirty. See, I felt it was my fault, I didnÕt have to go along. So I grew up with shame as well as fear. Another secret to keep. I was an addict just waiting to find a drug.

    I drank on and off after the first time but I usually puked my guts out so it wasnÕt much fun. It was allright in the beginning but it didnÕt take long to get sick. Then at 12 years old I found it. The answer. I skipped school one day in 7th grade and was sniffing glue with some older kids in an alley. The clouds parted, the sun shined through, birds chirped, music played, in short I found that thing I always wanted. Right then and there I made a decision to use anything, anytime, anywhere I could. When they said, ŅWe needed something different and thought we found it in drugs.Ó I thought they were talking about me. I never felt so together, so right, normal before in my young life. You see, my reality felt so intolerable I jumped at any way to change it. I was ripe for drugs.

    When I was 13 I began to sodomize my younger brother, we do what we learn. I knew that it was wrong and the shame I felt was overpowering sometimes but the physical sensation was like drugs became later on. Allthough I knew it was wrong, I couldnÕt stop. Just more evidence that I was much worse than others. I left home at 15 years old and fell in with a 26 year old man who was gay. He picked me up at Port Authority on 42nd St. and took me to his house in NJ where he seduced me. I felt so conflicted, the blowjob felt good but there was a lot of shame and at the same time I had nowhere to go and he offered me security. So to make a long story short, I stayed with him 3 years, posing as his brother. I even got a false birth certificate so I could get ID. Another stitch in the fa¨ade I had to keep up. We traveled the country, from NJ to Florida to NJ again and back to Florida. To San Diego and back to Florida. To Detroit, Chicago, Texas, Colorado, passing bad checks, pulling credit card scams, robbing employers. This was the early 70s before computers so we could get away with it. I was living the addicts dream. During this time I was introduced to harder drugs. At 16 I was diagnosed with Hepatitus B (which in the 90Õs turned out to be C as well).

    I always knew there was something different about the way I used. This guy, Tony, used to put me together with other boys he seduced and I would get high first. I remember rolling a joint, smoking it and rolling another one. The other kid would say, ŅAinÕt you high yet?Ó IÕll admit sex with boys my own age was fun but I didnÕt like sex with him, a grown man. I remember my first suicide attempt. I had been breaking into drug stores with another boy and I had bottles and bottles of pills. One day I decided to check out. So like an idiot, I ate 27 black bueaties. Now how can you kill yourself on amphetamines? I spent two nights awake and my stomach was raw. Had to eat soup for awhile. I was starting to yearn for girls so when I turned 18 I moved out and shortly moved in with a girl IÕd met when I was 16 or so, in NJ. We moved in, moved to Newark, and I found myself in Rutgers but there came a day when I had to choose between school and drugs and we both knew which won out. We lived together 4 years before she left me because my using was uncontrollable. I really slid then, I began to use morning, noon and night. I was stabbed a couple of times, once in Union Square Park on 14 St. and another time on 23rd. But I still went back to score there. It wasnÕt until one day that I went to score uptown that I had to look hard at my using. I gave a guy $60 for 3 bags and he just turned his back and started walking away. I grabbed his shoulder, spun him around and stabbed him in the throat, gave him a tracheotomy. Me and the guy I was with beat it to the Subway, took the Path train to Jersey City and scored there. Then when I got back to Newark I crashed. The next day I realized what IÕd done. I didnÕt want to be the kind of person who could stab someone so callously but I didnÕt think of the drugs being the problem. I thought my problem was needles, that I liked to shoot too much. So I sold my stereo, bought a bus ticket, packed a bag and went to Florida to kick at a friends house. Before I left New Jersey, I went to NY and scored 40 Tuinals. I took some and slept on the bus, my friend picked me up and took me to his house. I put a large glass of water and the Tuinals on the night table and crashed. Whenever I woke I would swallow 3 or 4 more and go back to sleep. After 3 days there were no more pills, I stunk like a pig, shit and pissed myself and was soaked with sweat but the worst was over with. I had kicked, the physical part anyway.

    This was the fall of 1980 and even though I stopped IV drug use, I kept using. I had a TV sales/service and in a position to use 12 or so bathrooms a day and they were mostly retirees. I would go through the medicine chests and usually find more than enough drugs. During those rare times that I ran dry, I just signed for cough medicine until I found some more. During this time I got married and had a child but still used. I thought that my wife, not using, would fix me. After 4 years of marriage, I stole $60 from my wifeÕs purse. I had done much worse things in my life but that episode gave me that moment of clarity. I told her that I had been smoking crack and would get some help. This was in Jan. `89.

    I drove to the county detox and they told me they had no room. I felt so desperate, I wanted help so bad. As I was leaving the receptionist called me back and said, ŅHere you might want to try this.Ó She handed me a sheet of paper and I took it with me. In the car I saw it was an NA meeting list. Never having heard of NA before, I didnÕt know what to expect but I decided to go that night. It was a Wednesday and the meeting was ŅHope Without DopeÓ in Hallandale. Even though I wanted help I still scored on the way to the meeting and in my first meeting, halfway through I went in the bathroom to smoke a rock. But something happened it that meeting. When you closed and made a circle I could just feel something. An attraction. So I came back the next night. Now, although I came for the next 2 months I used before meetings and after meetings (but never during after the first). I thought I would find some sort of redemption here but I never put it together with not using. I thought it was easier for you guys because you didnÕt feel what I felt, the need to use was much more intense in me.

    During that two months I went on a run, cleaned out all the new TVs from our showroom. My partner had his home up for collateral on the floor plan. So when I came back from the run I had to sign my half of the business over to him. So I lost my business. About a week later I drove my old van to a used car lot and sold it for $50. to get high. I wound up walking a couple miles in the Florida heat. Talk about despondent. So I wound up back in meetings but this time I could no longer deny that you folks did all that I did and felt all that I felt. I wound up getting clean in March of `89. I canÕt tell you how I got clean. All I know is that one day it was just easier not to use than it was to do all the things I needed to do to use that day. As long as it was easier to use than it was to stay clean, I used. I didnÕt get clean until being clean was easier than using. Like I said, I got clean in March and got a sponser. That summer he told me that I had to go to the world convention since it was in Orlando. I hadnÕt been holding money since I got clean, I turned my paychecks over to my wife. I got paid on Thursday so I thought I would hold money for the convention. Well, Thursday night without thinking, I used. I was devastated and could see exactly what powerlessness meant. So I went to the convention and wound up standing up with 2 days clean at the countdown. I was hugged for about 5 minutes by complete strangers. I felt so much love that the tears just rolled down my face. That experience just solidified my surrender and commitment to NA.

    I began working steps and emptying ashtrays in my homegroup. One day I went to FSSBNA (Florida Spring Service Break of Narcotics Anonymous). In the evening I found a World Service Inventory document put out by Grateful DaveÕs homegroup. I was angry and upset. This was my Narcotics Anonymous they were talking about. Since I was a history major at Rutgers I set out to disprove this document. I collected all the WSC minutes and CAR reports referenced in the document. Much to my shock I realized all of the claims were true (except for the stories in the text not being approved). I also learned that World Service, which I had taken to be the pinnacle of NA, was not part of Narcotics Anonymous. To make a long story short, 2 of the groups I was involved in began distributing the Baby Blue and later on, along with some other addicts, I helped start a group that printed the 5th Edition. At that time, `90 - `92, it was a trying time in Narcotics Anonymous. My groups were taken off the meeting list, I was constantly confronted in parking lots, people were even sharing about this in recovery meetings. I began to go to less and less meetings. I was also disillusioned about the aftermath of the copyright infringement trial, I really was hopeful that some change could come about. I guess I was na•ve enough to believe the WSO would approach the agreement in good faith. Anyway, I became further and further withdrawn until finally I relapsed. I came to meetings to get a whitechip and I overheard people saying things like, ŅGood for himÓ and ŅServes him rightÓ. None of the people I got clean with would hug me or offer support. I was devastated.

    After using on and off for a year, 30 days clean here and there, the most 90 days once; I decided that the almost 4 years clean was a fluke. It was the best time of my life but it must have been an aberration because now I was back where I belonged. ThatÕs what I thought. So one night I parked my car in front of a freight train. I wound up with a broken neck, 2 collapsed lungs, a closed head injury and numerous broken bones. I was in a coma for 28 days and wore a halo for 6 months. But I stayed clean and even went to meetings regularly but I couldnÕt get back the old spirit. During this time I went back to school, earning an AS in computer sciences, got a great job at Nortel Networks and still went to meetings. But the meetings were more of a social experience than recovery. So I wound up relapsing again before I could get 6 years clean. That was 1999 and over the next 4 years I was able to get 1 year clean twice and 18 months once. But I still had no real use for NA.

    Finally in 2003 I checked into a motel room with a gallon of bleach and a gallon of ammonia. I emptied the toilet and mixed them in the bowl. I sat over the bowl huffing the fumes until the police broke the door open. I was given Oxygen in the ambulance and brought to the hospital. They kept me 30 days for observation and then recommended residential mental health treatment. At this time I was desperate for some kind of change so I agreed. They sent me to the State Mental Hospital for 90 days and they recommended further mental health treatment. So I wound up going (voluntary) to another institution for 8 months. All told I was in residential mental health treatment for a year being discharged in 4/04.

    When I was released I began going to meetings with a new attitude. I remember going to a traditions workshop and talking with someone. I found out his sponsor was Joe M. and his Grandsponsor was Bo. I hadn't seen Joe for over 10 years and Bo for longer than that. Then I thought about all the other people I hadnÕt seen that I loved and loved me and I realized that I was hurting myself with this self imposed exile from NA. I broke down. I got a sponsor, began to work steps and got involved in service.

    One thing I've learned from all this is that I am internalizing all else is not NA. I also realize that all the perceived wrongs that were done to me were done out of fear and love for NA. Anyway, I've tried to be concise and keep the focus on my experience in NA, but even so thereÕs a lot more I could write. But I want to get this over with before it turns into a full scale inventory. LOL. So thanks for asking me to write this Chris and I hope you can use it.

    Ken D.

    Monday, October 31, 2011, 2:53 PM
    Well, I left off at about 2007 or 8. It's now 11/2011 and I'm going to update this story. Starting in 2006 I formed a group that printed and distributed the Baby Blue. I began going to a few ASIS conferences, NAWOL workshops and a couple of VRC's in Tennessee. In short, I had found my place in NA again. I was also working as a chaplain at some racetracks down here and although I wasn't making much money, it was very fulfilling.

    In 2009 at 6 years clean I met and fell in love with a woman in NA with 19 years clean. I had seen her in meetings for the last 10 years and was attracted to her but I had always disqualified myself because of my relapses for one, and my inherent low self esteem for another. I had just lost a lot of weight and she noticed me. She began talking to me after meetings and in January of `09 we began a relationship.

    I had never felt about a woman the way I felt about her. Our relationship lasted until September of `09. I thought we were in love and would be together for the rest of our lives. She would tell me how much she loved me and I ate it up. She inspired me to do and say romantic things that I hadn't done since Felicia, the woman in NJ.

    It turned out that she was insincere and less than honest with me. Without going into the "he said, she said" I'll just say that when she ended it I reacted badly and did some very bad things to her. I lost my mind during that time period. In 1/2020 I drank a bottle of concentrated insecticide and in 4/2010 I found myself on her porch drinking antifreeze. She called the cops and they took me to the hospital.

    The antifreeze shut my kidneys down and I was on dialysis for a week. I spent the next month and a half in psych wards (all this time I'm still clean mind you). This whole incident led to her getting a restraining order against me. She finally got what she wanted from the day she ended our relationship, me out of her life. It's ironic that my then sponsor (who's wife is her friend) testified for her in court about things that were said in a sponsorship relationship. So this is in 7/2010 and for a year I justified what I did with her insincerity and dishonesty. I knew what I did was wrong but as long as I could justify it I didn't have to look at it. Through working the steps all the justification has been slipping away. I can't say how sorry I am, words cannot express the guilt, shame and remorse I feel. Now in 11/2011 I'm still hurting over what I did to her. She didn't deserve it, I should have seen what she is and just walked away.

    The other thing I didn't mention is that she is HIV positive. After I did what I did to her in October of 2009 I sought out a woman who used to get food from our church who is HIV positive. She's also a crackhead so I knew that she'd do anything for money. I gave her $50. to draw a syringe full of blood from her and I mainlined it. Then I went to get tested and came out positive.

    I did this again after Thanksgiving, 2009 and tested positive again. I told people that I tested positive and tried to give them the impression that my ex (I won't say her name) infected me. I had multiple, conflicting motivations. I thought that if she thought she infected me that we might get back together although I knew that would be impossible after she found out what I had done.

    I thought it would make her feel guilty (I was wrong about that). I shared in meetings that I tested positive and since most addicts in my meetings know that she is positive, they would assume that she infected me and I would gain sympathy as well as promote hostility against her. I really abused my membership at that time. Finally, I was feeling very bad about what I had done to her and I wanted to punish myself. Well, it turned out that when I was tested again in Feb., 2010 I tested negative. I had several more negatives after that.

    I saw the girl that I got the blood from and found out that she is on antivirals and her viral load is undectable. Since I last tested positive I've had 12 tests in almost 2 years and they've all been negative. I guess that I'm living proof that the theory is correct that says if an HIV positive person is on antivirals and they're viral load is below 40 there is no free virus in their blood or body fluids.

    I guess the antibodies that showed up in the tests were her antibodies (I was tested within days). You know that is a theory that is still being hotly debated in the medical community. I bet that there are a lot of researchers who would like to talk to me. You know, I never told her about injecting the blood and I've only told a handful of people so writing this is a big deal, coming clean to the world. If she reads this I just want to say, "M******, I'm so sorry for all that I've done and said to you." Anyway, I became so deceitful and manipulative during that period and I had valued honesty so much that this is another thing I feel ashamed of. You know, I never did anything like what I did to her before and to do it to her of all people is really hurting me.

    Anyway, enough drama. I have a new sponsor now and we work steps. I just did a fourth and fifth step that was exclusively about this relationship and what I did. It still causes me some pain but I have a little detachment from what I did. I see it as part of the disease and I'm trying not to punish myself over it. I also see that my addict's emotional immaturity and neediness has more to do with it than anything she did. I needed and wanted to love and be loved so bad that I turned a blind eye to a lot of things.

    I hadn't experienced what I felt with her since Felicia. Most of us addicts only want to love and be loved in the final analysis. I thought that I had more recovery than I had and at almost 9 years clean I feel like I'm starting new again. My disability was approved about a year ago but I'm too young (at 54) to sit and collect. I just contacted DVR about a month ago and I'm going to see about updating my computer skills to return to work again. My wife and I (who have been separated over 10 years but never divorced) filed for divorce and have the hearing set for next week.

    IÕm sorry to be so obtuse but I canÕt go into details about what I did to her without damaging her reputation further. I believe in getting to the exact nature but this is a case where it would harm her and IÕve done enough harm to her.

    So I figure if I'm still alive I might as well move forward. My kids tell me that I'm like a cat, 9 lives. I tell them (jokingly) that I've only used 7 so I can do these things a couple of times more and they say, "Noooo". So this has been what's going on with me since my story first appeared on Chris's site. Somehow I'm dissatisfied with it, I guess that I still want to present as being more together than I am. I hope that Chris is not going to have to ask me to update it again. Thanks. Peace and love, Ken D.
    Send Ken D. email!

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  • Hey Wonderful Person, be Happy Joyous and Free.
    If you are an addict ?
    You Don't need (have) to S M O K E anything , EAT healthy ,
    Don't DRINK any Methadone , Moonshine
    or SWALLOW any PROZAC, Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, (ANTI-depressant) tablets , SSRI (Selective Serrotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), Luvox (OCD),
    HUFF Anything, Take X
    or use any of the new drugs that are being invented everyday,( Anti-Anxiety Drugs, Anti-Psychotic Drugs, Anti-depressant Drugs, Mood Stabilizing Drugs).
    The PDR keeps getting fatter each year,
    the answer is
    Spiritual not Chemical

    TRY GOD (SPIRIT) instead
    stay clean and find a new way to live ,
    there is hope for any addict.
    You are no different,
    we can survive our emotions clean together and grow. TRY clean first.
    The chances are you are the problem and and total abstinence is the cure. Changes will happen overnight.
    Once you are clean and you still can't face life without drugs, then any psychiatrist can load you up
    with the latest chemical and the viscious cycle will progress to misery,
    degradation, dereliction, jails , institutions and death.
    If you keep doing what you are doing, you'll keep getting what you are getting.

    Help is a call away.(202) 299-4919 .

    The Last time miracle growth occured on any of these pages was around 12.28.2009É
    Have a great Day!

    And remember God (SPIRIT) Loves You

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