How to live free … guaranteed!

Martin X has healed from addiction using the method known as “abstinence” – a complete cutoff of access to drugs and alcohol supplanted by a strong support network and regular meetings at Bayview Hunters Point’s local recovery organization, Positive Directions Equals Change.

by Martin X 

I have chosen to use this platform to correct the seemingly normalized misconception of addiction. Addiction is not a political disease. Addiction is not a religious or faith-based disease. Addiction is not a gender specific disease. It’s a human family disease showing up in one’s immediate family, families everywhere and society as a whole. I can see clearly now in my own sobriety the impact addiction had on my family. 

Complaining about this or any problem without offering a solution is just complaining. Offering or proposing solutions without action is also a waste of time, money and resources, not to mention the devastation from the loss of life. 

Although it has been said, “Harm reduction has a place in recovery,” study after study has shown it has little to no impact on sobriety. For this writer, total abstinence has proven time and time again to be the most effective method of getting and remaining sober.

Addiction has more death tolls than any war ever fought. It is the champion with more knockout blows than any prize fighter. My addiction and criminal addictive behaviors have knocked me down to the tune of 17 years in and out of jails and prisons. 

I was born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., into a wonderful family. My father – who raised me and my older brother – began drinking heavily after my mother passed when I was six years old. As a young man, I was warned of the dangers of alcohol and drugs, even though that did not stop me from associating with people who indulged in both. 

The most important risk factor is family history of substance abuse, which accounts for about one half of one’s predisposition to addiction.

As time moved on, I found there was no geographical cure to my drug and alcohol addiction. When I arrived in Los Angles, Calif., my passion for music, being a songwriter and producer and working with known and unknown artists in the music industry did nothing to curtail my appetite for the drugs and alcohol which led to abuse. I was like many others who had become afraid to live and was doing everything to die. 

I am not giving a bad rap to the entertainment industry. Research has shown individuals within the industry do not suffer from substance abuse at a higher rate than most. This is not simply due to them being a celebrity. 

“There is no single cause that has been directly linked to the development of a substance use disorder. Rather, substance abuse results from a combination of risk factors that increase the probability of an individual developing a disorder. 

“The most important risk factor is family history of substance abuse, which accounts for about one half of one’s predisposition to addiction. Lifestyle factors also contribute to the risk for addiction. Factors like significant stress – such as stage fright and pressures of show business – peer pressure, competition and exposure to alcohol or drugs are all commonplace within the entertainment industry and may help to explain the high rate of substance abuse among celebrities.” 

Getting sober and remaining sober proved to be the greatest fight for me. It was not until I moved to San Francisco, Calif., went to a residential treatment program, started attending Positive Directions Equals Change (PDEC) meetings and gained a better understanding of my addiction that I learned recovery was a real possibility. 

From my personal experience, the abstinence from all forms of drugs and alcohol was the best thing for me and many others in my PDEC support group. In stark contrast to other methods of getting and remaining sober, complete and total abstinence has brought me eight years of a sober lifestyle. Gratefully, I attribute my win to God’s grace and my Positive Directions Equals Change support group and family. 

Positive Directions Equals Change offers support groups every day via Zoom for all who seek help and their loved ones.

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Positive Directions Equals Change, a community-based organization in the Bayview, offers classes and support groups each day of the week. 

If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at 415-401-0199 or email our team at recoverycorner@pd4life.org. The schedule is pictured and all are welcome. 

Martin X is employed as a house manager with NOVA/Westside. He is a committed community volunteer and loves speaking at recovery groups to share and encourage others. His favorite genre of music is up-tempo funk, R&B and pop. Favorite artists: George Clinton, Parliament. Inspiration: Charlie Wilson. Personal philosophy: “Don’t waste my time … don’t know how much God’s granting me”.