LEARNING NOT TO COMPARE MYSELF WITH YOU

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For a long time,  I dreamed of being someone else. I wanted what others had. I wanted to do what others did. I compared my life to those around me. I always thought every one had it better than me. That their lives was more exciting than mines. I was always comparing me to you. I never measured up in my mind.

I always felt that something was missing. I couldn’t understand why at the time. Why I always felt less than. Why I felt I didn’t belong. So I began to live a fantasy. I began creating false images of myself. I began to wear masks. I found out that I could be anyone I wanted to be. I was able to escape those feelings by becoming someone else.

For a while it felt good. I was able to fit in and act like others did. Do the things that others did. All those things that I was told not to do, I did. I was finally free. Or so I thought. I didn’t know then that there was a price to pay. I didn’t know that I was selling my soul, I was trading my original for a counterfeit. I was giving up on a life promised in return for a life of pain,  misery and suffering.

I didn’t know then what I know now. I underestimated my ability to fit in,  to make something of myself. I doubted my abilities and took a shortcut. I settled for the easy way out instead of putting in the work necessary to overcome my fears and insecurities. I was unable to see the beauty that was inside of me by comparing myself to others.

I am honestly practicing loving myself today. After years of telling myself that I’m not worthy and faking my true identity. It is hard work. I still fall short and compare myself to others and wish I was like them in one aspect or another. Like when I see others who can strike up a conversation with someone so easily.

Today I can realize that defect and work on changing it when it occurs. I am in a process that I have to make changes to behaviors that I have had for decades. I remind myself daily that it doesn’t happen over night. I will fall short at times and it’s OK.

I am right where I need to be.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

THE MESSAGE

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I remember what it was like before I came into recovery. I remember where I came from. The hopelessness, worthlessness the despair. I remember those lonely days and even lonelier nights. The isolation and feelings of being locked in a cycle of insanity. My self made prison of paranoia.

If it had not been for the grace of God. Had I not been spared the degradation and desperation . had it not been for that devine intervention I would have killed myself. I just couldn’t bare to live the way I was living any longer.

I was saved from myself, from my own self destruction. I was given a second chance. I was offered the opportunity to change, the opportunity to start over and to try a new way of doing things. I heard the life saving message of hope and the promise of freedom. Freedom from active addiction.

Yes I remember my bottom. I remember it like it was yesterday. I keep it up front so I don’t forget it. I gain strength from it. I am no longer a prisoner of it. I am no longer ashamed of it. I share it with the world. I want others to read about it and identify with it. I want them to know that there is a way out.

I want people to know that they don’t have to continue to suffer from a disease that wants you dead any longer. That there are millions of people who are beating the odds and living better lives. One day at a time. Recovery from active addiction is possible and it is attainable.

Help is available all you have to do is ask. I didn’t think I could ever stop using. I thought I would die using. Today I know better. Today I believe in the message of hope.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

STOP LETTING LIFE PASS ME BY

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I am realizing the power in letting go. But even with this knowledge I still find myself harboring ill feelings and resentments. Letting go is a learned process that takes practice and patience.

I have been allowing mistakes from my past to stunt my growth. I have been allowing the disappointments of trusting others in the past, to keep me from trusting people today. It also plays a major role in my reluctance to open up to people and allow them to get to know me.

I realized this weekend that I have a lot of friends online. I went to a picnic in Philadelphia and allowed myself to meet and great with them. I had the best time ever. It was amazing to finally meet people that I only had interactions with on Facebook.

It helped me to realize how damaging holding on to that mess has been. It also helped me to make a decision to not allow my past to continue to haunt me and allow life to pass me by.

I will not beat myself up for struggling to let go but I will allow myself to take a healthy risk. To assert myself in the areas that I struggle and just practice it to the best of my ability.

More will be revealed.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

WHAT COULD I HAVE DONE BETTER.

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I hear this question a lot. I have read articles posing this question. My mother asked me this question and people from my blog have also asked this question. I cannot speak for anyone else but for me and my situation.

It is easy for parents to take the blame for their child’s behavior and think that they did something wrong. I guess it’s that parental instinct or maybe it’s guilt. I don’t know. I had to tell my mom years ago. It’s not your fault. The choices I made had nothing to do with her or something she did or did not do.

I was raised in a home with love and affection. I was properly raised with respect, care and concern and to know right from wrong. I went to school, I know how to read, write do arithmetic among other things. My parents did a great job raising me.

They weren’t prepared for and couldn’t understand why I chose to do the things that I did. I had to let her know.
It’s not you. It’s me.

I made the choice to do the things I did. I made the choice to run with the wrong crowds and to experiment with drugs and alcohol. I knew right from wrong. I was taught that. I was warned against using drugs and hanging out with the people that I chose to call friends. I made all of those decisions. Albeit bad decisions they were still all my decisions.

I had to make her understand that no matter what you did or tried to do. It wouldn’t have made a difference. I was searching for something that I thought was missing. Searching for my own identity trying to figure out where I fit in. I was on a mission and the more she tried to help the more I resisted and drifted further away.

I didn’t know then what I know now about my addiction. I still know very little but can share my experiences so far and some of the connections that I am making along this journey in recovery.

I was suffering from addiction long before I ever picked up my first drug or drink. I suffered from low self esteem and a nagging sense of being a misfit. I thought I knew what was best for me and even when what my parent’s said came true. I couldn’t admit it. I wouldn’t let them see that they were right and I was wrong. I couldn’t and I wouldn’t admit defeat. Even at the high cost of my low living I still fought tooth and nail to the bitter end.

No matter what anyone tried, said or did. I would not listen or stop. I had to come to a point of complete defeat and want the help. That was a decision that I had to make for myself. No one could make me stop until I was completely ready to do so for me. That is how I finally made it to recovery. I just couldn’t take the pain any longer. I couldn’t stand myself anymore. I was truly sick and tired.
I made a decision.

I surrendered.

I asked for help.

I say this because a addict will not stop using until he or she is ready. Not because of anything else.
Recovery is an inside job.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF

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I remember sacrificing the principals I was taught as a child so I could fit in. I ran with the wrong crowds and wanted to do what they did. I knew that it was wrong, but I wanted to be liked. I just wanted to be down.

I remember my parents  warning me against the things I was doing and telling me what would happen. I was so stubborn and full of myself. I thought I knew everything and they didn’t have a clue as to what they were talking about.

I thought that those so called friends cared about me. I thought that they had my back. I listened to them and ignored my parents. I turned my back on my family and turned to the streets. I thought they loved me and understood me.

I found out the hard way that the streets had no love for me. Those same fake ass friends turned their backs on me or stabbed me in the back every chance they got. I was hurt,  devastated to say the least.

Anger became my friend. I  turned my back on everyone. I couldn’t trust people anymore. I sank into depression and my using escalated to new heights. Needless to say my addiction stored and the rest was history.

I am starting over in recovery. I am attempting to establish new friendships. Healthy relationships. I have to be honest. I am having difficulty with opening myself up to people. I don’t like the vulnerability and the awkwardness I feel and I  am uncomfortable most of the time. I lack the trust needed and I am having difficulty finding the willingness to let go of the past in this area.

I know that this is a process and change doesn’t happen overnight. I know this and I also know that not everyone I meet is meant to be in my life. I will take my time and when I am comfortable I will move forward.

Until then
I will continue to be alone rather than sacrifice my principles and be in bad company. I can do bad all by myself.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

THE DARKNESS OF DENIAL

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Being in recovery has afforded me many opportunities. One of them is to be able to think a little clearer. I have been doing some work in this process and I am beginning to be able to sort through some of the mess and confusion. By beginning to take a look at myself I realize just how deep in denial I was about many things.

The darkness of denial kept me from facing what everyone else around me seemed to already know. I am amazed at how cunning the disease of addiction is. It had me believing for years that nothing was wrong with me. Even when every ounce of evidence told me that there was. I pointed the finger at everything and anything I could. I blamed people, places and things, situations and circumstances. There was no way anything was my fault and there definitely wasn’t anything wrong with me. My life was just fine.

Going to jails and institutions were just my bad luck. Getting fired from jobs was their fault and their loss. Don’t they know who I am. Living in the darkness of denial for so long had me believing I was something I was not. It led me to turn into something I was not. The darkness consumed me and eventually took over. The truth was buried so far down that it was destined to never be discovered.

I believed that I would never change. I believed that I would die eventually but I still couldn’t see that there was a way out. I denied that I was worth saving. I denied any attempt that anyone ever made to help me. I just couldn’t see the truth. The lies and inability to accept the truth even when deep down I knew kept me stuck in a cycle of viciousness and chaos.

Years later I was finally able to admit that I had a problem. But admitting it and doing something about it would prove to be a difficult task. Eventually the pain out weighed everything. I could no longer escape the facts. I wanted out of this mess. I was ready to end the madness that was my life. The darkness was no longer serving it’s purpose. It could no longer protect me. I was desperate, lonely and fractured beyond recognition.
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Devine intervention led me out of that dark place. I was brought to the light by my truth. By my acceptance and a willingness to get honest about my problem. I found a way out without having to end my life. But by actually surrendering. Learning to Listen and take suggestions and to try something new regardless of the fear I am feeling.

I am not all of a sudden cured and my life is not suddenly magically delicious. No by a long shot. I suffer from a disease that will continue to try to cause havoc in my life. It will continue to chase me down and try to get me back into the darkness. I know this and I fight to maintain on a daily basis. All I have to do is survive today. Tomorrow is not here yet, and yesterday is gone.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

OVER COMING MY OBSTACLE.. ME

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I remember how I used to let minor setbacks and obstacles deter me and stop me in my tracks. I would get so frustrated and perplexed. Literally bent out of shape by the smallest of things.

My lack of confidence and my inability to deal with problems as they arose became a stumbling block that I just couldn’t seem to get over. As time went on I refused to even try. I tried to avoid problems and proceeded to live life like I was walking on eggshells.

I would go around, over, under or back the other way. Trying to avoid dealing with problems became a full time job because in my active addiction problems were around every corner. It was exhausting, time consuming and hazardous to my overall health and well-being.

Eventually I became my biggest obstacle. I blocked my own blessings. I blocked my own growth, and blocked my self from progressing to bigger and better things. I allowed my fears, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, low self worth and despair to become a way of life. I accepted that as my fate. I gave up and settled for less than my best.

I thought that was how it was supposed to be. How my life was meant to turn out. Using and becoming addicted at an early age afforded me nothing but missed opportunities. I missed out on learning how to grow up and learning how to cope with life. I just tried to numb away my problems and pain.

Today thanks to the process of recovery I am over coming my biggest obstacle. Myself. I am learning so many things now that I should have already known. My thinking wants me to believe that I am stupid and tries to have me believe that it’s too late to change. I know better. I do not feel less than any longer because I am just now getting it. I feel grateful and thankful that I am alive to get it.

Obstacles are placed in my path every day. The difference is today It’s not me that’s the obstacle. Today I have the tools to get through them and I utilize them. I am moving forward towards bigger and better things and nothing can stop me now.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

MAKE ROOM FOR NEW PEOPLE

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I remember wanting to fit in so badly, that I sacrificed everything and anything. The advice of my parents, my own internal warning system and the warnings from others.

I found out that not everyone has my best interest in mind and that most people are self centered and selfish. Only looking for what they can get. I didn’t know that then and in the end I found myself being the same way.

If I considered you my friend I was down for you. I would do anything for you and would follow you wherever. I followed the wrong crowd from a early age and paid a very high price to live so low. All for the sake of belonging. My expectations of others was wrong.  As a result I found myself angry, resentful, frustrated and in the end alone.

I had gotten tired of being used and taken advantage of. Tired of people taking my kindness for weakness and plain tired of people’s bullshit. I started to hang out with the only person I could trust. Myself.

Today I am very cautious of who I allow in my circle. I have met plenty of people in recovery and I am grateful for some of them. Then there are some that I had to let go.  Not everyone that I meet is meant to be in my life. Not everyone that is in recovery is headed in the same direction that I want to go.  I refuse to be around people just for the sake of fitting in today.

I’ve learned a very valuable lesson in that area. I know that I have a choice today. Sometimes I have to delete people from my life to make room for new people. Not everyone in my life is meant to stay in my life.

I am Grateful that today I have a choice.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

GET UP. NEVER GIVE UP

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Imagine quitting every time you failed. Imagine never trying it again because you failed. Imagine never trying because of fear of failure.

I don’t have to imagine those things. I lived them. I can remember so many times failure has stopped me from achieving things in my life. I remember not wanting to try new things because the fear of failure kept me frozen in time. A time when failure seemed to be my only option.

I was a prisoner of my own mind. Doubt and lack of confidence kept me from growing and experiencing life. Not to mention the fact that my addiction was feeding my fears and adding to my already low self esteem. I thought, that’s just who I am. I settled for less when I should have been striving for more.

I continued on this path for years. I remember many times wanting and wishing I could get clean. Only to dismiss the idea as impossible. I could never do it. I will die high. I will always use. That’s what I used to tell myself. I failed at staying clean many, many times. I began to think that recovery works, but not for me. I was about to give up trying after my 4th or 5th time. I almost disqualified myself yet again.

But something deep down inside me kept telling me to try again. Even when every fiber in my being told me that I could not do it. I had to figure out why I kept running back to using. What was I doing wrong. Then I realized that I wasn’t fully committed to staying clean. I had conditions on what I would and wouldn’t do. I had reservations and motives. I had excuses and alibis.

I was using the old lie once an addict always an addict as an excuse for not giving it my all. I became comfortable with stumbling (relapsing) and not getting back up. I once again settled for my failure as being who I am.

Once I was able to accept this. I was able to surrender and move past it. I was afforded another opportunity to get clean by the grace of my higher power. I was lucky to have made it back. I started to believe that I could say clean. I started to apply the suggestions that I wouldn’t take before. I decided that using drugs would not be the end of my journey.

My Journey is just beginning.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

WHY I CARE TO SHARE MY STORY

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I have been sharing here on my blog for almost 4 years now. I started when I first came into recovery back in 2011. I’ve shared my ups and my downs. I have shared my feelings and my thoughts. My triumphs and my failures. At best I try to share as much of my life in recovery as possible without sharing too much of the negative side of my addiction. I give glimpses of some of the horrors that I have seen and been through without going into the specifics. I tell my story how it was then and how it is now.

I used to wonder if I was doing the right thing. Exposing myself for the world to read. I already know that there is a negative stigma attached to the words addiction, addict, drugs and even recovery. I also know that there can be some negative repercussions behind it. To tell you the truth. I don’t care.The public can and will use this against me and try to make me feel like I have done something wrong and deserve to be alienated or punished for it. The public has a unhealthy fear and a uninformed opinion about addicts and people in recovery and they need to be informed. It is time that people stop turning a blind eye and start getting the information needed to not only understand addiction but to help fight it.

I feel that my story is one that needs to be told and that nobody can do it better than me.

I want people to know that addicts and people in recovery are human and not cast away’s. Not lost souls or garbage that you just toss to the side and forget about. That we are suffering from a disease not a lack of respect, scruples or discipline. That it is hard enough dealing with something that I can’t describe let alone understand and the last thing I need is you judging me. People need to know that addicts have no control over their addictions.

People need to know that its not about why won’t they just quit. I wish I was able to just quit. But the obsession to use was over powering and the compulsion to continue using no matter what was the end result. That once I was caught up in the grips of addiction all rational thoughts begin to cease and self centered thoughts on getting and using and finding a way to get more begin to take over. It is not personal, it is not intentional. It is not about you. Not at all.

The world needs to understand that addiction is a mental, physical and spiritual disease that is hell bent on destroying not only my life but the lives of those around me as well. Addiction is a deadly disease. I know first hand the damage it causes, to not only the addict but to everyone affected by the addict.

I want people to know, to understand that addiction is not the end of the road. That there is a way out. That if I can do it, SO CAN YOU. That is why I share my story. I want the addict who is still suffering and the family member to know that there are people who have made it out and are living productive lives. That they too can do it.

I had to learn how to ask for help. I had to want to receive the help that people were offering me. I could not do it for anyone else. And no one else could do it for me.

I had to do it and want it for myself.