IT’S NEVER TOO LATE

My name is Ease and I am a recovering addict. I would like to briefly share a little bit about myself.

I was born in January of 1966. I am the middle child of three boys born and raised in Brooklyn New York. Growing up my life was simple, we were not rich but wasn’t considered poor either. My father worked for the Transit Authority and my mom stayed at home and took care of the family. I remember a lot of laughs and fun when I was young. I remember getting plenty of presents for Christmas and birthdays. I also remember being a good student in public school. I remember my parents having parties with family and friends and how me, my older brother and cousins would run around draining glasses and miller nip bottles that were left on tables. I liked drinking at a early age. I was a very curious kid so I would try anything. I can honestly say that I had a pretty good childhood.
In my last year of public school I was introduced to smoking refer. I was in the fifth grade. I was already drinking and now with the refer I started to show signs of disciplinary problems. My acting out became worse. On top of that my parents were separated now and I blamed myself for their unhappiness. Anyway its been all down hill since then. By the time I was 12 or 13 I was already drinking hard liquor and blacking out. I was not going to school. I was arrested for the first time at 13 for auto theft. My dad came to the precinct and whipped my ass. You would think I learned my lesson but I didn’t. My mother had enough and I was sent to live with my dad. My addictive behaviors got even more out of control. As the years went by I began to experiment with harder substances. I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I was in my mind a misfit. I had abandonment issues from family and even so called friends. I just wanted to belong. I remember doing things that I didn’t really want to do just to fit in.

Well needless to say that longing to fit in cost me in the long run. I went from casual drug use to becoming addicted to just about every drug I tried. From blacking out because of drinking, to having nose bleeds from snorting too much. In 1985 I was introduced to crack and my life would never be the same. Crack made my life unimaginably complicated to say the least. It became my life. I lived to use it. I sold drugs so I could always have it . Stopped using everything else except alcohol and for 25+ years became a monster to everyone around me, I didn’t even recognize myself. So I went from good student to crackhead. I tried to maintain but I couldn’t and eventually I just gave up. My life really wasn’t mine anymore and I had no control whatsoever. I couldn’t even control my own thoughts. So now I’m caught up in something I can’t begin to understand let alone describe.  Jails, treatment centers, homelessness, dereliction, degradation and hopelessness, hospitals and not to mention the countless jobs I have been fired from throughout the years. I wanted out. Thoughts of suicide filled my head everyday. I wanted to die, I would pray that the pain would stop. I wanted it to end and I tried. I was at the end of my rope.

One day when I was at my lowest I thought about going back into treatment. I decided against it because most of the counselors I have had throughout the years never even used drugs. I figure how can they help me, they haven’t got a clue what I’ve been through. Then I remembered the NA meetings I attended while I was locked up and looked online to find a meeting. I found one but procrastination kept me from going that was November of 2010. Then came the new year 2011 and I started feeling depressed I asked God for help. I remember thinking that asking God was a waste of time. I used to go to church and Sunday school back in the days I hated every minute of it and even developed a resentment towards my mother for making me go. I have prayed before but my lack of faith never allowed me to hear the answers to my prayers. Anyway I prayed and prayed and eventually I got off my lazy ass and went to my first outside NA meeting. That was January 22, 2011 two days after my 45th birthday. I stayed for a couple of months but eventually went back out and used again and again.
I had been in and out of the rooms since 2011. I just couldn’t understand why I could not stay clean. I began to feel hopeless again and was ready to give up but something said to try one last time. On October 26, 2013 I came back to recovery with a new found hope that I could stay clean. I have now been clean 486 days. 1 year and almost 4 months, a new found faith in a higher power which I choose to call God, I have a sponsor and a home group and I have a network of recovering addicts to help me when I begin to think that I cannot do this and believe me I think that a lot. Today I have a desire to live clean and although I have stumbled a couple of times over the years I continue to keep trying. I will not give up. I am learning new things about my disease and about myself everyday. I keep a journal of my struggles on my blog at http://www.fromstruggletostrength.com and my life is looking better and better everyday that I am clean. I thank God for his unconditional love and everyone who has helped me along in my journey.
Life is just beginning for me at the age of 49, it just goes to show you that its never too late to change. Thank you for reading my story. I can only hope that someone reads this and knows that if I can do it, you can do it too.
Peace and Blessings
Ease
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RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE

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For a long time I thought that I would never be able to stop using drugs. I didn’t know that there was another way. A way out of the madness that was my life for so long. I started using at a very early age because I wanted to fit in with others. I longed to belong, to be a part of. I remember always feeling like I was missing something or feeling different than everyone else. I couldn’t understand why I had such a hard time fitting in. I started drinking first and I would drink everyday, sometimes I would drink until I would pass out. I wasn’t even a teenager yet and already had a drinking problem. Needless to say my addiction started early on in life and it lasted for decades ending in jails and institutions, lost jobs, family and  friends, isolation, desperation, degradation, homelessness and despair.

I didn’t know anything about obsession and compulsion then. I didn’t know then that I had suffered from low self esteem and low self worth. I was a lonely kid and I just wanted to be like everyone else. I began my journey on this slippery slope and before I knew it my life had begun to spiral out of control. As I got older I began to hang with people who I thought were cool and started doing other things. Again wanting to fit in and be a part of, I wanted to do those things too. Before long school was a thing of the past and I was caught up in a life opposite of everything that my parents instilled in me as a child. Deep down I knew better, I knew that the things I was doing were wrong but I was caught up in the grips of addiction and before long I had lost any and all control.

In the end I was beaten and I had lost any hope of ever being able to get my life back. My disease had caused so much pain, misery and destruction, I thought that this was how it was going to end for me. I was going to die as a result of my addiction. But I couldn’t have been more wrong about that.

Help is available and all I had to do was ask.
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I found a fellowship of people just like me.I found a place where people know exactly what I am going through and have been there themselves. I can speak openly and honestly about my past and someone will be able to relate and share there experience with me. I am a member of Narcotics Anonymous. I am learning how to identify my feelings, express myself without getting frustrated and to face my fears without resorting to using drugs. I have been doing some work on myself and have come to understand some things that have been a mystery to me for a long time. I am grateful to be out of the depths of the hell that was my addiction to drugs. But drugs are only a symptom of the disease. I am a work in progress the key word being WORK. It takes effort and commitment. I have learned that I have to be open to new ideas and suggestions, willing to make changes and stick to those changes and to be as honest as I can. I am able to ask for help today and I do not feel ashamed, embarrassed or weak because I need help. I am changing and I am loving it. It’s not easy but it is easier than living my life still caught up in the grips of my addiction.

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There are many groups and recovery communities out there and I am not saying that my way is the only way. I can only share my experience and what works for me. One thing I can tell you is RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE. If you or someone you know is suffering from the disease of addiction please give yourself a break. Seek help, there is no shame in admitting that you need help. You can’t get help if no one knows how to help you.