I Want to Live | Project HOME

I Want to Live

  • St. Elizabeth's Recovery Residence
    St. Elizabeth's Recovery Residence
A Project HOME Resident Reflects on His Personal Journey of Recovery

During our 25th anniversary this year, we are republishing stories from our past. Roy Maddrey was a resident of St. Elizabeth’s Recovery Residence and later The Crossing, Project HOME’s former transitional residence in West Philadelphia. This article was published in the Project HOME newsletter in June 1993.

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My name is Roy, and I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. I work at my recovery, and I work hard. Alcoholics Anonymous is a very simple program – there are no short cuts, tricks, or fast remedies. My recovery has nothing to do with will-power or how strong I am, because when I came finally decided to enter a fellowship of recovering addicts I was bankrupt spiritually, mentally, and physically. While using drugs and alcohol, my life was unmanageable, and I could not deal with life on life’s terms. I lived to use and used to live. All my thoughts and emotions were based on the obsession that I had to use and how I was going to get to use.

From the beginning, people who were recovering gave me hope that one day I too could lead a sober life. I came to realize that I had a disease. That’s where recovery all starts: knowing you have a disease. Today I can say I want to live.

When I went into the program, I had hit my bottom. I had to know that I was going to stay sober for Roy – not for a house, a car, a relationship, but for me and me only. That’s the only way I knew it would work for me.

The fellowship teaches me to be honest and to keep an open mind, and gives me a sense of willingness.

The gospel truth is that I stay sober one day at a time by practice, not by will-power, strength, or through the church. Like all addicts, I face the constant possibility of relapse. I stumble, but that’s OK – I STUMBLE FORWARD. Everything under the sum is learned by trial and error. My problems are the same problems I had when I used. I still have those problems and a lot more, but I came to the fellowship for drug and alcohol problems, not life situations. I just learn to deal with them without getting high. It works out a lot better for me. I don’t have to suppress my feelings anymore – I feel them.

Alcohol and drug dependency is a disease. It is the same as having cancer or diabetes, and it is a major problem not just for me but for thousands of persons in our city. I pray that more people find a recovery program – it does work by the grace of God.