“My name is Denny. I am an addict.”

By Denny KolschFebruary 12, 2013

“My name is Denny. I am an addict.”

These are the words I confessed at a recent Narcotics Anonymous meeting, in a room filled with 30 or so people, all either struggling with an addiction or supporting someone who knows those struggles. I am going on 10 years of sobriety, but this was my first experience with an NA meeting.

A common bond was felt among the people in the room. Some had lost everything because of their addiction, and some were now in the process of gaining it back. We all knew the experience of waking up and thinking about one thing—getting high. Street hustling, dope slinging, a life where the only meaning was found in the “fix.”

But that night, I was there supporting a friend who was receiving his 1-year sobriety medallion. That night was a special celebration for him and his community. It was a special night for me, as I sat with friends who had walked the same path I once did or who were just beginning the recovery journey. I saw a friend lifted up by a community of people who had stood with him through his first year of sobriety. One by one, they spoke words of encouragement and hope into his life. “Attraction versus Promotion,” they said. The belief is that his life of sobriety will attract others to sobriety—and it will. One day at a time. As the community of people spoke in unison, “Easy does it.”

“My name is Denny. I am an addict.”

These are the words I’ve confessed on stage throughout the HEAVY AND LIGHT tour. These words are important to me for a few reasons.

Most importantly, I’ve come to understand that if I forget where I came from, if I forget what I’ve been rescued from, I will lose everything that matters to me. I say that because addiction has a way of staying dormant beneath sobriety, waiting for us to believe we’ve “arrived.” Those who have walked this road understand this; statistically, I had about a 3 percent chance at sobriety. But I believe I am where I am today because 10 years ago I admitted my powerlessness over my addiction. I submitted to God and a community of people who could rescue me from my addiction.

In NA, I took what is called the “first step.” My purpose each night at HEAVY AND LIGHT is to attract people to also take this first step, whether it’s toward addiction recovery or talking with a counselor about other struggles.

To all who are fighting each day to find life and meaning without substances: Easy does it, my friends.

Denny Kolsch has a M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and is a Registered Mental Health Intern working in the Central Florida area. He has been sharing his story along the road with HEAVY AND LIGHT, and you can hear him again at the Orlando date. You can get more information and tickets for the remainder of the tour here.

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