FIND A NEW WAY TO LIVE

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When I first heard that statement. I didn’t believe it. I thought, stop using, lose the desire, find a new way to live.. Get outta here.

It seemed like an impossible dream. A fantasy even more bizarre than the one I was already living. I couldn’t see past my present situation and therefore brushed it off with a minimum of concern. After all.. I could never stop using. I’ve used all my life. I was so closed minded to the fact that there was a better life waiting for me. I was so broken, my thoughts were so fractured and my spirit was so empty that I had given up all hope.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I thank God for that last day. The utter desperation that finally brought me to my knees. The pain that was so unbearable that I was forced to take a good look at myself. And the Devine Intervention that allowed me to finally understand and accept that I needed help. It was not of my own power that I found recovery. It was not of my own belief system that I stayed. But I am ever so grateful that I did.

I have been afforded the opportunity to learn to forgive myself and others. To learn to be patient and not live ahead of myself but to practice staying in the moment. That has proven to be so helpful in my recovery process. I am thankful that my thoughts are no longer centered around the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more. The obsession and compulsion have been arrested and I am beginning to think a little clearer.

I am blessed to have made so many new friends who are on this wonderful journey with me. To have people in my life who actually care about me is both exciting and scary at the same time. It’s a better ride than any roller coaster I have ever been on. To finally be able to be who I truly am. The kind hearted, caring, loving person. Not having to put up the walls and front like the tough non caring ass hole.

Now that the fog of the drugs have been lifted. To be able to feel actual feelings and not just anger, pity and loneliness. But to feel happiness, joy, freedom, fear, Love, compassion and empathy. Is priceless and I would not trade it for nothing. Doing so many things that seemed so far away before. Living life and not just existing or feeling like I’m just taking up space. To no longer feel useless, worthless, faceless and nameless.

Yes. I am grateful to have found a new way to live. I truly appreciate life today. I no longer take it for granted. I enjoy every minute of every hour. Taking it all in as if for the very first time.

Life is wonderful.

FEELINGS AREN’T FACTS. WTF

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I keep hearing people say feelings aren’t facts. What the fuck does that mean. It’s a fact that in active addiction I was feeling sad, angry, lonely, confused, worthless, hurt, pain and misery. It’s a fact that today I feel happy, hopeful, useful and plain ole amazingly great. So if feelings aren’t facts then tell me what are they.

I am grateful for the process of recovery. I have found out that I can Feel things other than anger. I can do more than just hold resentments and plot revenge. I can release those feelings by talking about them. I can gain an understanding of them by sharing them with others who may have been feeling the same way at some time. It’s a relief to be able to get things off my chest and not stuff them and hurt myself.
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Now honestly speaking all that sounds good and is good but I have to actually apply it to my life. When situations arise I need to be ready, willing and able to use these tools that I have readily available to me. Because after all, I can create problems in my head that aren’t really there and then have feelings behind those imaginary problems. Which can cause me to act out in more ways than using. I have been there and done that.

Not today Jose.

I am still a work in progress. I am thankful that I remember that. That I am in a process not a race. That I don’t get frustrated and run away. I fall short at times and revert back to the old method of grinding my teeth and having tantrums. I can admit my faults and can only practice getting better at them…

One Day At A Time.

KEEP MARCHING FORWARD

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Looking back for a minute. I realize just how far I have come. I have made some major changes in the way I choose to live my life. I have made many mistakes along the way and will make many more I am sure. But one thing I know for certain I refuse to lose. I refuse to take all that I have learned and gained for granted and squander it away on a false sense of security found in drugs.

I choose to keep marching forward towards a better future. A future that was only a dream not to long ago. A future that I didn’t think was possible because I felt lost, hopeless and alone. I will not allow those feelings to dictate to me the direction my life will go. Not ever again. Going backwards towards nothing.

Today I will move forward towards something. I might not know what that is yet. But whatever it is. It’s gonna be epic.

2 YEAR COUNTDOWN

If you had asked me when I first started blogging back in 2011. If I thought that I could stay clean. The answer would have been a simple NO. I just wanted the pain to go away. I just wanted to be able to function normally but I wasn’t ready to stop using. I was still in denial about the connection between my using and all the pain, misery and suffering I was experiencing.

Today if you ask me that same question the answer will be a resounding YES. Without a doubt. I have come a long way since my first time coming into recovery. My mindset, my attitude and behaviors are much different today and I am so grateful.

I couldn’t stay clean 2 months, 2 days or 2 hours. I sure as he’ll didn’t see myself staying clean for 2 years but here I am with 22 months and 18 days clean. 43 days away from 2 years clean. Still crazy as he’ll but clean. I am getting better and I am not as bad as I once was. I know that change takes time and constant practice. I try not to beat myself up as much and as long as I stay I will learn to love myself even more and not be so critical of my every move, mistake and even every accomplishment.

I am right where I am. No better or worse off than I am supposed to be. I am proud of myself for making the decision to get clean and even more proud that I stayed. I know that it is devine intervention that brought me to recovery and that same devine intervention keeps me here. I still can’t believe it sometimes.

They said it gets greater later. I tell you this. It’s pretty damn great right now. Recovery is possible. I’m a believer.

I LIVE AND LEARN

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I am thankful for the process of recovery for it has taught me that I will never stop learning about myself.

There was a time when I thought I knew everything. Daaaaahahaha. I could never have thought for a minute that anyone could teach me anything. I was close-minded to reality. My world consisted of very little and only evolved to the newest drug spot that opened.

Today I am learning that everything that I thought was real was actually fantasy and a whole lot of misinformation. It’s like being awakened from a coma. It’s like being born again and exploring the world for the first time. Learning for the first time how to live, love, make friends, be a friend, walk and talk. It’s overwhelming at times but really it only overwhelming when I am in my head. When I am trying to control or manipulate situations.

I have been blessed to have an opportunity to start over. I look forward to it. I can accept today that I will make mistakes. My mistakes will teach me some very valuable life lessons.

As long as I remain open to receive them.

BE TRUE TO MYSELF. WHO EVER I AM

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For a long time I struggled to find my true identity. Thinking back to as far as my elementary school days, I  wished I was someone else. Who ever I thought I was back then I didn’t like so I began to mimic what I thought I liked in other people. And so began the long life of deception and deceit.

Somewhere, somehow I believed that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t smart enough, brave enough, handsome enough. That no one would ever like someone like me. I have negative self talked myself from the beginning. That negativity aimed towards myself eventually led to my lack of self worth and self love.

Fast forward to today.

As I am beginning to shed some of the many masks, alter egos and false identities. I am forced to feel my feelings and not run from them I am feeling like that lost little boy all over again. Vulnerable and confused. Awkward and a misfit. I find that I am not seeking comfort from within but from the outside. From material things and from acceptance of others. The same behavior that led me to using drugs.

I know that I will never find true happiness, Love or satisfaction from anyone unless I can find it within myself first. I did a lot of damage to myself over the years and I am aware that I will fall short at times. I just have to continue on my road to recovery knowing that I will be alright in the long run.

Change happens over time.
Not over night.

So I keep repeating to myself that I love myself, respect myself and I am worthy.

So will the real Eric please stand up.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

A View from the Other Side

Guest Blogger Nadine H. Shares her story. You can visit her website at..
http://www.virtuallynadine.com

Hi, my name is Nadine and I am the wife of a former alcoholic and addict, sibling to a sister who is a former addict and brother who lost his battle with alcoholism. I’ve shared parts of my story through my writing before, but this is the first time I am sharing so much more of my story and I think it’s time.

My Family Story

There may be a genetic component to alcoholism in my family, but, to be honest, I’m not sure. I know that there is alcoholism on both sides; both my paternal grandfather and my aunt on my mother’s side suffered from it, as well as some cousins. As for the drug addiction, I’m not aware of any drug users in the family, so I’m not sure where that comes from.

I’ll start with my brother because that will be the shortest part of my story since I’m still not ready to deal with this yet; I know I have to, but I’m not quite ready. I’ll summarize by saying that out of a family of 5 children, my brother was the only boy and he was the oldest. I idolized my brother; he always made me laugh and taught me so much. When he lost his battle with alcoholism before his 50th birthday, a part of me died with him and I will never, ever get over his loss. He used to always greet me with “hey sis!” with that smile in his voice and it rips my heart wide open knowing I will never hear that again. I know I can never fully heal until I properly grieve my brother, but I’m not ashamed to say that I am very scared of the process because I don’t know if I can come back from that pain.

The next part of my story has to do with my sister. She is the baby of the family and she lived up to that title in every way possible. My sister is extremely outgoing, has a huge heart and everybody who meets her likes her immediately. She was like my brother in many ways and it’s ironic that my oldest and youngest siblings both suffered from addiction. My sister and I are only 14 months apart and are complete opposites; I actually think that is why we were so close because we balanced each other out.

I know exactly how my sister’s addiction started because I was there. My sister started hanging with some very shady ‘friends’ who got her started with smoking marijuana and that progressed very rapidly to crack cocaine. For all those who say that marijuana is harmless, I beg to differ because for my sister it was the gateway drug to a crack addiction that would continue for years! My parents did everything they could to help her; I even followed her around for a while to try to make sure she was safe, but her addiction was more powerful than our love for her.
For years, she would go in and out of rehabs, in and out of our lives and there was nothing we could do. We all felt the helplessness, pain, frustration and fear as we wondered where my sister was, if she was okay, or if we would get ‘the call’ telling us she was dead. If you’ve lived with and loved an addict, you know exactly how this feels and it is the worst feeling in the world because there is absolutely nothing you can do!

Fortunately for my sister and our family, her story ends happily because she has been clean for 10 years now and we are all so very proud of her and the strength it took to make it through her addiction alive; the fact that she is still here is a testament to the power of recovery.

Loving an Addict

The next part of my story is the most personal because it has to do with my husband. Next to my father and brother (may they both rest in peace), he is the best man I have ever known and the most important man in my life. He’s hard to write about because I’m trying to figure out how much of our story to share while still respecting the intimacy of our relationship. There is also a lot to our story and I couldn’t possibly share it all in this post!

I should have seen the signs of addiction in my future husband early in our relationship, especially since my brother and sister were in active addiction at the time, but maybe I didn’t want to see them. My husband and I met when we were very young and we literally grew up together. When we first met, I can honestly say I didn’t notice anything, it wasn’t until later that the excessive drinking and marijuana use (again to those who say it’s harmless, I say bull!) really started to come out and I had no choice but to pay attention. By that time though it was too late, I was very much in love and turned a blind eye to it; so much so that when he told me later on that he was doing cocaine I had no idea, how sad is that?

When you love an addict, whether it be a parent-child, sibling, or romantic relationship, I think there is a certain level of co-dependency that takes place. I never fully realized that until I started doing advocacy work and, of course, going to Al-Anon. Looking back now, I can see where I was completely co-dependent with both my sister and especially with my husband. We were together for two years before our daughter was born, and in those early years my mood and behavior were completely determined by my husband’s addictive behavior. It’s funny how clearly I see that now, where I couldn’t see that at all back then…

I like to think of our daughter as a life saver, and we’ve both told her as much. An active addict and a co-dependent do not make a good couple and we were both spiraling down. While our daughter was not planned, I truly believe she was sent at a time in our lives when she was desperately needed. Once I had our daughter, my whole life changed; my only focus was my child and since I had to raise her on my own for the first 11 years of her life, I did everything I could to make sure she was safe, happy and healthy. Even though my husband stayed active in his addiction before, during, and after our daughter was born, I know how much he loved her and I also know, and he has said, that had it not been for our daughter he would not have had a reason to eventually get help.

We have gone through so much as a couple and I can honestly say that loving my husband has been the hardest and most amazing relationship I have ever had. He is my best friend, I cannot imagine life without him and he is the best father and husband anyone could ever hope to have. He also has 14 years of recovery, has gone back to school to get his associate’s degree and now works in the field as a drug & alcohol counselor to pay back the gift of his recovery. He is now going back to school for his bachelor’s degree and plans to grow in his career; I couldn’t be any more proud of him if I tried!

My Time

The final part of my story is about me. After everything I’ve gone through with my family and addiction, I’m finally taking the time to focus on my recovery. It started when I decided to speak out on behalf of families after seeing a Dr. Phil show and getting so angry at how he was attacking and blaming the family members of an addict. I realized at that point that while it’s very important to hear the stories of addicts, it’s equally as important to hear the stories of their families since we are rarely heard from. Addiction is a family disease and in order to fully understand and break the stigma of addiction, you have to hear everyone’s story.
I also realized that I needed help so at the suggestion of my husband I went back to Al-Anon after 14 years. Through the program, I am learning to deal with all the emotions and issues I kept buried for so long and I have met some amazing and wonderful people in my recovery. I will have 5 months at the end of September, and I look forward to continuing to heal and grow and of course, speak out.

I hope that by sharing some of my story, I’ve shown that even through loss there is life after addiction and there is power in recovery. Addiction can destroy families and tear apart communities, but if we all come together: addict, family, friends and the community, we can win the fight against addiction because we are worth it.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

MY ROLLER COASTER

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I created a life of us together in my mind. Who knew I would actually have feelings and then something went wrong. I went wrong.
I have been on an emotional roller coaster the last couple of weeks. One minute I’m up and feeling alive and on top of the world. The next I am feeling sad, angry and confused. I have to admit that I am grateful for the process of recovery because I have learned to use the many different tools I have to get through them. But sometimes I don’t use them and stuff the feelings and wind up not feeling good about myself. Then the negative self talk starts to kick in.

Not using drugs to cover up my feelings is new and unchartered territory for me. Even more new and unchartered territory is talking to someone about my feelings. Seeking advice and suggestions and trying to apply them to my life. I really want to say to them what do you know. But I know that they have my best interest in mind. Or do they? Confusion

I have to admit even with all the suggestions and support. I still want what I want. I’m not sure what the end result will be but I am struggling with letting go. I don’t want to let go. That just causes more pain. Pain can definitely be a motivator. Confusion

As the battle rages on in my head. I keep getting this feeling that I shouldn’t pursue. That this is wrong, that I need time to find myself first. But I seem to be addicted to the personality and the intelligence, to how I feel in the moment and the fantasy of how it will be down the road. This time the fantasy is all good. Which by the way is very unusual, for my thoughts usually end in disaster. But one thing for sure. I’ve been here before and it never works out how it plays out in my head.

Confusion is confusing. I don’t like it. It’s ruining my thoughts of happiness. WTF.

I need to get out of my head.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

SELF SABOTAGE

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I am beginning to notice that I have a pattern. I have a habit of creating problems where there are none. I notice that when ever I begin to feel good about someone I begin the process of sabotaging the relationship. I have very little experience in healthy relationships with people. Not only the intimate relationship but relationships in general.

I’m that guy that can see you, like you, get with you, argue with you and then break up with you.
All in my mind in15 mins.

I know that low self esteem and low self worth play a major part in this. My feelings of unworthiness cause me to feel like I am not good enough and I begin to look for instances where I can support this theory. Financial situations usually are my main focus but I can find the bad in any situation and flip it to work as a justification or rationalization so I can disqualify myself.

The things that run through my head (mostly imaginary) wreak havoc and I begin to feel an urge to act out negatively. I bring these feelings on myself by first moving too fast thinking that I want something that in reality I am not equipped to handle yet. Also by fantasizing about how things should be and not verbalizing what it is I am looking for because I really don’t know. And lastly by not communicating properly what I am feeling and shutting down. I used to blame everyone else, but the truth is.
It’s me. It’s definitely me.
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Then I feel disappointed from expectations that are unrealistic and unspoken. I then have resentful feelings and anger. All this plays out in my mind because I never took the time to first figure out what I want and then express these things with the other party. Always wanting to be loved and settling for whatever the next person says. Being a people pleaser of sorts but pleasing no one in the end.

In the end it’s just me, alone with my hurt and pain. Alone because once again I allowed my voice to remain silent. And the Insanity in my head to take precedence. I am beginning to think that I need to just fall back, let the chips fall where they may. Stick and move. After all then there’s no feelings involved.

That I know how to do.
IJS

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease