I AM WHAT I TELL MYSELF I AM

It wasn’t too long ago that I told myself that I would never get clean. That I was worthless, useless,  a failure, that I would never be able to stop using and that I would die a lonely death. 

The sad part is that I not only told myself that, but I believed it. 

My outlook on life was dismal to say the least. I had lost all hope of ever living a life that I could be proud of. I had already given up trying to live a life that would please my parents or anyone else. I lost all hope of ever reconciling with my family. I was the lost son. The failure,. The disappointment. 

All those lies I told myself for all those years took hold of my inner spirit. They manifested themselves through my actions and as I result, I lived down to them and then some. I became all that I told myself that I was. I became all that I told myself that I couldn’t be. 

Thoughts just like words are very powerful. But unlike words, I can take my thoughts back. I can shift my thought process at any given moment. But If I choose to allow my thoughts to turn into words and actions. Then all bets are off. 

I have learned some very valuable lessons in my journey in recovery. Of them all, the most valuable thing I have been able to take away from it is. I am what I think I am. I can think myself into a Happy, prosperous life. I life like I never imagined or I can think myself into a corner that I might not be able to come out of clean. I can allow my thoughts to propell me forward or I can allow them to block my blessings and revert back to my old pattern of attitudes and behaviors. 

The bottom line is that I have a choice. Life is a series of choices. The choices I make can either help me or harm me. It all begins and ends with my thinking. 

Peace and Blessings 

Eric Ease 

ADDICTION TAKES NO VACATIONS 

I have been blogging for 5 years 2 months and 7 days. I’ve been clean for 3 years 2 months and 23 days. One thing I have learned is that my addiction never takes a day off. It doesn’t rest or go on break. My addiction is alive and always on call. Ready to step in and cause friction, wreak havoc, tell me lies or isolate me from the herd. My addiction doesn’t take vacations. 
I say that because, as I told you all last week. I have been on the road to self destruction and decided to do something about it. The first thing I did was to tell on myself. First here on my blog and then in a meeting. I shared because I was scared. I am not ashamed to admit my fear of relapse today. I am not ashamed to admit that I am scared because I know all to well what happens when I keep secrets. 

Secrets Kill. 

So although my addiction doesn’t take vacations. I do. I am on a cruise ship right now with my wife and we are having a wonderful time. We are celebrating my birthday which is in 2 days on January 20th. We are sailing from Miami to Honduras, Belize, Cozumel and… We have been waiting patiently for this trip for months and are very happy in each other’s company when we travel. I love her and am grateful we are together. 

I for one know all too well that my addiction aka ME, doesn’t like to see me happy. I have been down this road before and screwed up again and again. More times than I care to mention. I also know that my addiction wants me dead but it will settle for me being miserable. It’s crazy but true. Addiction will have me kill my own self. My dreams and my aspirations. If I am not careful I can easily start believing all the bullshit that runs through my mind at any given moment every day. So I am taking the measures to protect myself.  

Being in a ship in the middle of the ocean where 95% of the people are drinking and drunk I have  made sure to carve out the time to make the on board meetings. Even though the meetings are from another fellowship I make sure to attend. I am grateful to be able to make a meeting in the middle of nowhere. It’s truly a blessing and one that I do not take for granted. It’s easier to use than to stay clean when I am not being vigilant with maintaining my recovery. 

I am responsible for my recovery. 

I will stay connected so I can stay protected. 

Peace and Blessings 

Eric Ease

SELF DESTRUCTION 

I am not a happy camper right now. I have been on a one way trip towards self destruction. I have to admit that I saw it a couple of months ago, but did nothing. I allowed denial to rob me of the opportunity to make a conscious effort to change it and grow from it. Instead I pushed it to the side. I went over it with a minimum of concern and now the pain of staying the same is out weighing the desire to stay the same. 
I’ve heard that when the pain is great enough I will do something about it. We’ll I unfortunately have a high tolerance for pain and usually do something about it when it’s too late. That’s been my MO for years. It’s been a character defect that winds up causing too many people in my life unnecessary pain and causes me the greatest deal of pain over and over again. 

Always one to do what I want to do and suffer the consequences later. You would think that I would have learned that lesson years ago and I truly thought that I did. But here I am once again kicking myself for repeating the same behaviors. When will I be able to get it right. I used to think that using was my only problem. Then I learned that my issues run deeper and have been around far longer than my drug abuse. So I  payed attention to my moods and behaviors and started making changes. I was doing great. Then somewhere along the way. I crossed back over and started cosigning my own bullshit. I started turning a blind eye to my gut. Ignoring my uncomfortable feelings when my attitude was out of whack. 

I have allowed the old attitude and behaviors to drive the yellow cheese bus yet again. I’m in a dangerous place when they are driving and I know it. I needed to vent. I need to purge myself of this poisonous path that I have once again found myself traveling down. The end result is anything but favorable for any and everyone around me but more importantly it is disastrous for me. 

So now I have to do the responsible thing and pump my breaks, make a U-turn and get back on the road to recovery. I refuse to use ever again even if some people wish that I would. I will never give another person the satisfaction of seeing me down.  
NEVER AGAIN. 

I am grateful that I got to speak with my sponsor and he reminded me that I am only human, and I will make mistakes but I also need to get back to the basics. He told me what I already knew and was procrastinating doing. I need to plug my ass back in. Fast. 

I see myself heading back to self destruction and if I don’t change it. I have no one to blame but myself. 

I am responsible for my Life. My Recovery. My Happiness. 

Peace and blessings 

Eric Ease 

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. 

There’s no truer test of a person’s character and motives than time. Time reveals everything. No matter what you hear come from another person’s mouth, elapsed time will always show you the truth. 

It took me many years and many disappointments to learn this very valuable fact. It also taught me that most people cannot be trusted. It’s a lesson that has repeatedly been beaten into my subconscious and as a result I find it very hard to trust people. I always go in waiting for the shoe to drop and the Bullshit to hit the proverbial fan. For the most part, my gut has not let me down. 

Yet and still, I long for the day that I can finally say Damn I was wrong. Believe me it doesn’t happen that often. But every now and again someone surprises me. 

Because I try my best to say what I mean and do what I say today. I let my guard down and expect that others will do the same. In the beginning it always looks promising but as usual somewhere along the way the plan gets changed and I didn’t get the memo. I wind up being the Fucking fool and wondering how did I wind up here. Again. 

In my active addiction, I didn’t play by the rules. I broke trusts, hearts, pockets, banks and anything else that I could. But people already knew how I was. I was using, what did you expect. In recovery I play by a different set of rules. The ones that my parents instilled in me many years ago. I have worked hard to live by some principles.  To be trustworthy and stand for something. But I’ve come to realize that just because I do, doesn’t mean that others do to. 

I am hurt right now because I had a plan and that plan has now become derailed. Again somewhere along the line the plan got changed and I didn’t get the memo. 

Sometimes I wonder why. 

Why do I bother trying to change, 

Why do I believe that people can be trusted. 

Why not just give up. 

I guess I need to keep searching for the answers to those questions. 

I guess I will keep coming. 

But then again why should I. 

Peace and blessings 

Eric Ease 

FEELING UNSATISFIED 

Lately I have been feeling like I should be better off and definitely farther along life’s path than I am. I’m feeling like every step I take forward that I am getting no closer to being satisfied with myself. I am my worse critic. I have made tremendous progress in my 3 years in recovery and just like in my addiction, I still want more. I am feeling like the progress that I have made should have been accomplished a long time ago and  It’s making me feel depressed to say the least.  

It seems to me that I am really only spinning my wheels and I am not getting anywhere fast. I want so much more out of life than to be stuck in the daily rat race of my 9 to 5. Struggling for years working for a company that doesn’t care. Living and working around people that don’t care and remembering how much I didn’t care when I was active. Now that I am clean I realize how much of life I truly missed out on. 

MY life right now is the best it has ever been and yet I still have the feelings of emptiness, loneliness and worthlessness. I still suffer from anxiety over the future because of the many failures of my past. The haunting reality of a life not to long gone. 

I am at a crossroad in my life right now. I guess this is what some call midlife crisis. I don’t know. I’ve never felt so unhappy with where I am at other than when I was using. But this is different, this isn’t the desperation and despair feelings. These are the feelings of I should be spending my time more wisely. Doing the things that I love to do not because I have to do them. 

I read a quote once that said. If you are unhappy with your outcomes change your circumstances. Or something like that. Long story short. If nothing changes, nothing changes. I am ultimately responsible for my outcomes. I will only get out of it what I put in. I have to let go of the things that are making me feel unhappy. I have to step up, step out on faith and put in the work required to make my dreams a reality. 

I am no longer satisfied with the status quo. The old beliefs that I have to do this the way everyone else has been doing it. I tried it and it’s no longer working for me. My eyes have been opened to a new way of life and I must take this opportunity to advance for myself and my family. I think I’ve paid enough dues it’s time for me to start seeing some of the benefits and rewards of my labor. 

I will keep praying on it. God’s will not Mines be done. 

Peace and blessings. 

Eric Ease 

MY YEAR END REVIEW 

My year in review has been filled with many exciting chapters. I am thrilled at the prospect of what’s to come. 

2016 has been the most exciting and rewarding experience thus far in my journey in recovery. I am amazed at the things that I have accomplished this year. I started the year off being sick straight through the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years as a result of taking a medication. One of the side effects of that medication was the lowering of my immune system. So my year started off kind of crazy. But I got to spend my 50th birthday in The Dominican Republic with my then girlfriend. That was a awesome experience. We had a amazing time and will do it again soon. 

Not soon after our trip,  on Valentines Day to be exact. I had the privilege and honor of proposing to my now fiancé. She said YES. It was the happiest day of my life. I love her and we are very happy together. We have been planning our wedding ever since and as of today we have accomplished the planning, invites, mailing and payments of the wedding and honeymoon. God is Good. 

We also had been dreaming of buying a house and moving out of New York. We started looking at homes March and after changing our minds countless times, we purchased a home in June,  closed and moved into our new home in September.

I started my online business in November. The store which was born out of inspiration from this very blog. Tee Shirts, Hoodies and more to come with the From Struggle To Strength logo on them. I am excited and thankful for all the support and encouragement that I receive on a daily basis.  We also had our first Thanksgiving in our new home. Our family and friends came and we had an amazing holiday. I am truly thankful for family. 

I have had many ups and downs along the way this year. I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences. The good and the bad. I am living, learning and enjoying life to the fullest. I know that it is God’s grace that has saved me from myself and allows me to be present in life today as it is happening. Not how I would have it. My life today is so much better than it was just 3 short years ago. And
It is only the beginning. 

I am definitely not the same person I was when this year began. I can’t wait to see the person that I am destined to become. 

Have a spectacular day. 

Peace and Blessings 

Eric Ease 

FROM STRUGGLE TO STRENGTH STORE 

First of all I want to thank my Higher Power for allowing me to see the other side of my addiction. The side that I used to think was not meant for me to live. I used to dream of a life without the use of drugs but never thought that I could have that life. It wasn’t in the cards, I wasn’t good enough to live the life that I saw so many others living. 

I believed those lies to be true. My destiny was to die an addict. I truly believed that. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t stop using. So I gave up. I quit trying, I lost all hope and settled for a miserable existence of a life. I became comfortable living life finding ways and means to get more. More pain, more misery and more suffering. 

I was blessed to be able to see not just another day, but several years. I remember being at the end of my rope. I remember wanting to die and just get it over with. I prayed for death because in my mind it had to be better than the life I was living. I didn’t know then, what I know now. There is a way out. 

I am still amazed at times how my life is turning out. I can’t believe how fortunate I have been and how many blessings I have received since getting clean. My life has been nothing short of a miracle. I live, love and laugh today and for that alone I am truly grateful. 

I have so many good people in my life who support and encourage me to be the best I can be. They help me to realize that the only thing that can stop me from realizing my dreams is me. I have blocked more of my own blessings than the Carolina Panthers have blocked opposing teams. Lol. (Taking a shot there).  

The last couple of years have been truly amazing. I have been doing everything that I always told myself that I could not do, only to find out that I can do it. 

I am excited to announce that I have finally been able to make one of  my dreams come true. I have started selling From Struggle To Strength Tee-shirts a few years ago mostly to friends and family. Today I have taken the steps to take my business to the next level. I have opened up my own online store. I am officially an entrepreneur. I have been dreaming of owning my own business for quite some time and this is the opening I have been looking for.  I am looking forward to one day being able to quit working for others as my business gains traction. 

I want to thank everyone who encouraged me to take the risk. Fear kept me doing it on a small scale. Overcoming that fear has allowed me to visualize bigger and better things in the future. I am thankful for the opportunity to share with you all my journey. Just as others have shared theirs with me. 

I hope that you are will share in my joy. Please feel free to stop by and check out the new site. 

The From Struggle To Strength Store