IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

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Today is Christmas Eve and I just want to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Safe Christmas.

I send this message especially to all my fellow friends around the world who are in recovery. This is one of the hardest holidays of the Holiday Trifecta. And I want to remind everyone, including  myself to be extra vigilant. 

Christmas is a time for family and
“good cheer”. I have to remember that not everyone is in recovery like me. I am responsible for my recovery. No one can keep me clean but myself. Our family members who are not in recovery might be able to drink, smoke or whatever thats their business. I know that I cannot. I have to keep up front what will happen to me, if I choose to use.

I cannot force anyone not to do it around me. I have to be responsible enough to remove myself from any harmful situations. If I am uncomfortable then I need to be able do the next right thing. LEAVE.
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Addiction is a deadly disease that wants nothing less than our death. It will however settle for us being miserable, desperate, out of control, lost, hopeless, worthless and back in its grips. Don’t be fooled by the voices in your head telling you that “one is ok” or that “no one will know”, or that “you aren’t worthy of staying clean”.

REMEMBER THAT ADDICTION IS:
BAFFLING, CUNNING, INSIDIOUS AND WANTS YOU DEAD! IT WILL TRY EXTRA HARD TO GET YOU BACK TO USING. DON’T BELIEVE THE LIES..

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Arm yourself with the tools of your recovery. For me its going to be the marathon meetings. I am not going to be with my family. I will be with my family in recovery. I will be doing service and sharing my experience, strength and hope. Do what you know works.

I will keep each and every one of you in my prayers. WE can stay clean through the holidays.

If no one has told you they love you today..I love you.

Peace and blessings everyone.

GRATEFUL ADDICTS DON’T USE

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I heard it said in meetings many times that grateful addicts don’t use. I never understood that statement. Every time I heard someone say that I felt less than because I couldn’t stop using. I figured I must not be grateful then.

Many of you have read my story and for those of you who have not you can by reading About and My Story The Life Not Yet Fulfilled. I have used drugs just about all my life. Almost 40 years of using does something to a person. In the end I was a hopeless, worthless crack head. I wanted to die and I saw no way out of my desperation, despair and isolation. I didn’t know that there was a solution to my madness. I was in a very dark place and Death seemed like a brilliant idea and I always had brilliant ideas, my life was filled with them. My life was a revolving door of pain, misery, suffering, jails and institutions. This vicious cycle continued to grow and become worse until in final desperation my higher power saw fit to save me from myself. I came to the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous.

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The fellowship saved my life. I know that had I not changed my ways I would be dead. There’s no doubt in my mind that I have been spared. I have a new found faith and a positive outlook on life today. I care about others and try to help people and not hurt them today.  Today I understand gratitude for the fellowship and my recovery. I know what it means today to be grateful. Having had a little time without the use of drugs has cleared my mind a little and I am better able to comprehend things. I can connect a few more dots day by day.

I no longer pray for death, today I want to live. Not only live but live honestly. I have made tremendous progress since I first walked through the doors in 2011. I have and still do make mistakes but I learn from them, I dont feel like a failure and run to medicate anymore. I am learning how to live life on life’s terms and not my terms. My best thinking got me here. It brought me to my knees. I am able to stand tall today and not be ashamed of who I am or where I have came from.

I am a grateful recovering addict.

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THE HOLIDAY TRIFECTA

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Well here we are in the middle of what I call the Holiday Trifecta. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. 3 holidays that wreak the most havoc on a recovering addicts ability to maintain clean time. On top of that my birthday is January 20th so its like 4 holidays for me. I would use non stop all the way through.  I speak mainly from my own personal experience and this is how the holidays have affected me in the past.

I remember the “holiday season” growing up as a time of celebration. Family members would all come together and one relatives home and we would enjoy each others company. The women would be busy fixing food and telling stories of back in the days when us kids were young and all the men would be watching a game or 2 having drinks and telling their own stories. Those were good times. Little did I know those were also the start of a tradition of using that would become ingrained in my life and a part of my cycle that would last for years.

After a while to me the “holiday season” meant it was time to get twisted. The bonding with family had died off years ago because I was too busy isolating with my favorite past time. In other words I was too caught up in the grips of my addiction to care about anything else or anyone for that matter. It became a ritual to get
HIGH FOR THE HOLIDAYS
and I followed that ritual faithfully year after year.

When I came into recovery after finally admitting to myself that I needed help, I still could not make it through the season without using. I would stay clean for a couple of months, relapse come back only to use again once the holidays came around. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made was I never shared that I wanted to use. I never told anyone how I was feeling. I wanted to make it through the holidays on my own. I couldn’t because I always went around people, places and things that I shouldn’t have.
THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE. I CANNOT DO THIS ALONE.

I am grateful for the fellowship. It has taught me a few things. The first being I never have to use again. Also that I never have to be alone again. Also I have learned to listen to learn. I listen to others share how they make it through the holidays and I listen to the Secretary tell where the marathon meetings will be at. I get and use phone numbers, and I tell on my disease today. I don’t keep it to myself. Those few things and some others have helped me stay clean through last and this holiday season.

So I just want you to know that if you are thinking about using, talk about it. Reach out to someone, make meetings, call your network and if you dont have one get one. You can start with me. My email address is attached to my blog and I WILL RESPOND. Stay away from people, places and things that might trigger you. Don’t believe the lie. I can do just one. One is too many, too high a price to pay for all the misery that will surely come afterwards. Stay strong. Peace and blessings.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. RECOVERY WORKS WHEN WE WORK IT!

Matt on drugs; how to love the person and not the addiction

Let help get the word out. It’s Time for CHANGE.

What I Couldn't Tell You

This was Matt on drugs:

In 2007 Matt called me on the phone, desperate, crying, in trouble. His trouble started with a stolen cell phone from a store near his apartment, escalated to a drunk driving, and ended with Matt burning the tracks off his arm in a paranoid frenzy.

I had enough of my 22 year old acting like he was 15.

So, after repeated attempts for him to take his stored memorabilia in the basement to his apartment, I just brought it to his place. This sort of ignited a frantic attempt to stay a child within Matt. He was so angry with me, so incensed that I would remove his stuff. According to Matt, he wasn’t ready to grow up. He really wanted to remain a child in his own eyes. I questioned why, quietly, to myself. Why would he not want his things with him. They…

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GET INVOLVED

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I’ve heard it said and then experienced it myself that doing service helps you stay clean. I didn’t believe it or understand it until I got a commitment.

Back when I had 49 days clean my home group waived the clean time requirement for me to be the secretary. I remember the feeling I got when they did that. I was excited, scared and a little overwhelmed. I felt tears swelling up in my eyes and was grateful because for a long time no one was asking me or wanted me to do anything except leave them alone or to get away from them.

I was emotional because I felt a love that I HAVE NOT FELT IN YEARS. I felt like I belonged and that someone finally trusted me enough to do something..ANYTHING. It was the best, the feeling was indescribable. I was proud of my commitment and it kept me coming back. I had a responsibility and I took it seriously.

I have been involved in service on way or another ever since. Service helps me to stay out of my head, to not always think about myself, but to think and do for others. I get a certain satisfaction when I do services for others. It is a major component in my recovery and yes
IT HELPS ME TO STAY CLEAN.
I will continue to give away what has been so freely given to me. I would also suggest that if you can to get involved with service.

IT WORKS WHEN YOU WORK IT.

ANGER IS NOT THE ANSWER

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All to often I resort to anger to be the answer to many of life’s problems.That method has gotten me in more trouble than I care to talk about but I will anyway.

Ever since I can remember, I mean way back in public school days I have had a problem with anger. I have never been able to control my temper and would sometimes fly off into a uncontrollable rage as early as my pre-teen years. I’ve been to doctor’s (lets call it what it is Psychiatrist), and anger management classes, Therapy sessions have never seemed to work for me. I guess because I never took any of it serious. I have not only had anger issues but also denial of my anger issues. Being that I never thought I had a problem, I never truly sought a solution.

Throughout the years anger has clouded my judgement and caused me to make some very irrational decisions. Acting off of impulse has not made matters any better either. Needless to say I have had many a moment to sit back and evaluate my behavior after the fact only to allow that same defect to poke its ugly head back up and do the same things over and over. In recovery we define insanity as doing the same things expecting different results. I always thought that referred to using drugs, but I have come to realize that it applies to many areas of my life that haven’t got a thing to do with me using a substance.

I have a track record of doing the same thing and expecting things to turn out different and when they don’t I try to tweak it to make it work instead of just stopping the behavior. I have been in a vicious cycle for so long that sometimes I don’t even realize that I am acting on the behavior until its too late. I also sometimes know I am acting on this behavior and choose to carry it out just for pure instant gratification or some selfish need. I’m not sure how many of you can understand what I am getting at but this is my story and I can only tell you how it is for me. I can only share what I go through and how it affects me. If you can relate that’s cool if you cannot, more power to you. I am glad you don’t have to experience this madness. I am dealing with some serious issues that have been around for decades and I am beginning to understand just a little bit  about them and how they are affecting my life.

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Thanks to the process of recovery and the work that I am doing, I am finally beginning to get some of the answers to questions that have eluded me for years. I am grateful to be able to finally get some closure even if it’s only a little bit. I am finally able to put my finger on some things and it is a very satisfying feeling. I know that I am in the early stages of my recovery and I have only scratched the surface but at least I can see the scratch marks so I know that I am making progress. Today I strive for progress not perfection and I try not to get angry when I do not get something right.

I appreciate all of my readers who follow my blog and respond to my sometimes crazy thinking and internal mayhem. It truly means the world to me to be able to write and have people respond.

It lets me know that I am not alone.

NOTHING WORTH HAVING COMES EASY

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I no longer wish for things like I used to. I remember wishing I was rich. Lol wishing I didn’t have to work for a living. Wishing I could just disappear.

I lived in a fantasy world. I had this misconception that the world owed me something. That I got dealt a bad hand and people should feel sorry for me. That I deserved to be given freely what you worked so hard for. I truly believed that I was owed something for my suffering.

I told you before that my thinking was upside down. You see those same voices that told me all that bullshit was the same voices that almost got me killed. The same voices that kept me suffering from active addiction. The same voices that caused me to alienate myself from my family and friends. The same voices that I eventually started to believe. Those same voices told me YOU OWE ME! And had me actually believing it.

I looked high and low for handouts. I wanted the world but wasn’t willing to put forth the effort to obtain it. I asked, begged, borrowed and stole for a living.

Today I work for what I want. I have a higher power in my life and I no longer rely on others to do for me. I no longer look for hand outs, for a free ride. I come to believe that anything worth having if I want it, I will work towards it and get it. HONESTLY. I’m not asking you for nothing, I will not steal it, borrow it or hold it. I no longer act like the world owes me anything because in all honesty don’t nobody owe me a damn thing. I owe it to myself to become responsible for myself. No one else is responsible for me but me.

I GET OFF MY ASS AND GO GET IT.
BECAUSE NOTHING WORTH HAVING COMES EASY.

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I MISS YOU DAD. PART. 1

I don’t know where to start but here goes.

My story has many different levels and many chapters. And one day I will be able to share what has been locked away deep inside of me. My father was my best friend and I never got to really say goodbye but even worse than that I never got to tell him that I loved him or to thank him for everything that he has done for me.

As I sit here typing this I am crying. I have a very hard time with this because I never was able to properly grieve or get closure. My Father’s death is still an open wound. That I haven’t been able to deal with. I am sad right now. The holidays are always sad for me.

My father died in 2001. It was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with. I mean others in my family have died but it was nothing like when my father passed away. A part of me died that day too. After his death I totally shut the world out. I shut down emotionally and crawled even deeper into my private world. Never to allow anyone to get to know me on a deep level. Never to be able to show true emotions or feelings or care or concern. The only role model I ever had was dead and I wished it was me. I deserved it. I was the fuck up. I was the black sheep and yet God took him. Why?

GROWING UP AGAIN.

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Growing up my parents always made sure we were self sufficient. They were very protective of us and made sure we followed the rules. Rules that were meant to keep us safe and to help us to grow up to be responsible and productive citizens. I was raised to respect my elders and people in general. We were brought up to live by a certain code of ethics instilled in us by our parents. We were taught how to read, write, wash clothes, cook, do laundry and all other things in order to survive. My parents raised all 3 of their boys to become men. I love my parents.

Somewhere along the way I lost that. I began to stray away from doing whats right and began to flirt with doing what I knew deep down was wrong. The more I got away with, the more attracted to it I became and the more I did it. Until finally that was my new code of ethics. Before long I was mixed up with what people always seem to call: THE WRONG CROWD. Growing up I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere but I felt right at home with the wrong crowd. Go figure. I was a misfit who fit right in..Or so I thought. I have been dealing with low self-esteem and low self worth which in turn caused me to display self-destructive behaviors. I did things to fit in. Always wanting to be liked by others. Little did I know then that

IT WAS A VERY HIGH PRICE TO PAY TO LIVE SO LOW.

Today i still struggle with self esteem, and other issues but at least I am beginning to get an understanding of me. I am not running away from my feelings today. Thanks to my higher power, the process of the fellowship, my network and my willingness to change, to grow and to finally start a new chapter.

I am getting better. One day at a time.