PLANTING THE SEED.

First and foremost. I thank God for saving my life and giving me another opportunity. I know that it was devine intervention that planted the seed of recovery in my life and that same devine intervention allows me to be able to share my experiences with all of you. 

Knowing what I know. It would be not only selfish of me but a down right waste if I didn’t give back what was so freely given to me. I would not be able to keep it, I would have simply squandered it away. I would have taken this gift for granted like I did so many other times. Not realizing the blessings that were bestowed upon me. 

My self centeredness and egotistical self would have me believe that I did all of this on my own. It would have me believing that I was owed this and I deserve it because of all the hard times I have been through. But that’s not true. Nobody owes me a damn thing. In fact it’s the other way around. I owe. I owe a debt that can never be replayed. The only way I know how to attempt to at least make some amends is by giving back. Showing the still sick and suffering addicts that recovery is possible. By letting the family members of those addicted know that recovery is possible. There is a way out and you too can get clean. 

My hopes with my blog from the start was that I, by writing my story and sharing my experiences would be able to reach those that were still affected. By reaching them my dream was to give them the hope that I had received when I was caught up in the grips of my addiction. The hope that one day I would be able to stop using and live a semi normal life. The hope that one day the pain and suffering would stop. The hope that one day I would have my family back. The hope that one day I would be able to experience love. 

I have been afforded the opportunity to experience all of those things and for this I am very grateful. I owe my life to my Higher power and the process of recovery. 

That seed that was planted many years ago, that took several years to cultivate and finally began to produce some results. I remember thinking that I could never get clean, that I would never stop using. I remember the feelings of utter despair and hopelessness. I remember wanting to end it all. I remember it well. But I also remember the people who believed in me. The people who helped me to believe in myself. I remember those people who kept telling me that I could stop using and one day I will get clean. I remember them actually wanting and telling me to keep coming back. 
I am grateful to those people who loved me and prayed for me. Those people who helped cultivate and shape me into a person who began to believe. I remember beginning to believe that I could and would get clean and guess what. I did. 

I look back and I am filled with gratitude for all those that took the time to plant the seeds. Because I was able to overcome those lies planted in my heart by those who tried to bury me. 

So for anyone that may be reading this and thinking like I used to. Thinking that you cannot stop, that you will never get clean. Trust me when I tell you. Don’t believe those lies. You can get clean. You can get your life back. You can. I believe in you. I know you can. If I can do it so can you. Give yourself a break. It won’t be easy, it doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen. One day at a time. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you any way I can. 

In recovery there’s hope and the promise of freedom. That an addict, any addict. Can stop using drugs. Lose the desire to use and find a new way of life. 

Peace and blessings. 

Eric Ease 

SUMMER MEALS PROGRAMS NEAR YOU. 

Just thought I would share in case some of you know families that are stressed about feeding their kids now that they will be out of school.

If you have or know of a school-aged child in need of breakfast and lunch this summer, simply text “FOOD” to 877877. You will receive a message back with a location closest to where they can get free summer meals. This is a NATIONAL program so anyone can benefit no matter where you’re located. (Please copy, paste, and post! Even if you aren’t in need, someone else’s kids might be. No child deserves to go hungry.)

Thank you

Peace and blessings.

Eric Ease

THE BATTLE IN MY BRAIN. CAN DRIVE ME INSANE. 

Lately. I have been struggling with living life on Life’s terms. I have been all over the place and in my head for long periods of time. I know that dwelling on the negative self-destructive thoughts that pass through my head for too long is not healthy. It seems that no matter what I do to switch the thoughts off or into positive thoughts. They make their way right back to the forefront. I have shared about it, prayed on it and even cursed myself telling the thoughts to shut the F up and thank you for sharing. It lasts only for a short period of time.

I still suffer from instant gratification and I want what I want. And I want it now. With that being said. When things are not moving forward as fast as I feel they should be. I begin to doubt myself and those old feelings kick up. The old behavior of self sabotaging myself wants me to quit and resolve this the old fashion way. The new me knows better and knows that if I choose that route I will only lose in the end. I have grown and will continue to grow as long as I keep the focus and stay on this path. If I choose to allow the fear and negativity to take precedence then all bets are off. Jails and institutions are a part of my past but if I am not vigilant they can also be a part of my future. I do not ever wish to be deprived of my freedom ever again.

Depression is real and I am suffering from feelings of depression lately. I know the effects of depression and the thought process that can lead me to think that all this is not worth it anymore. I’ve been down this road before in active addiction but it’s totally different fighting it clean. I am grateful that I have a program, tools and people who love and support me. I am also thankful that I am in touch with my Higher Power and have some faith and spiritual principles to help guide me through the tough times. The devil is a liar and will try to come at me any way it can especially when I am at a weak point. I am so grateful that knowing that is half the battle. Sharing and continuing to move forward is the other. I will keep moving forward and not allow the past to take me prisoner again.

I will continue to talk about it, scream about it and even kick and stomp about it. BUT I SURE AS HELL WON’T USE ABOUT IT. This too shall pass.
Peace and blessings.

Eric Ease

STOP LOOKING OUTSIDE MYSELF FOR THE SOURCE OF MY DISCOMFORT 

The fact of the matter is. I am responsible for my own actions and outcomes. I can sit around all day and point fingers and play the childish blame game, but the truth always points back to me.

What am I doing to change. What am I doing to make the situation better. What part do I play in what ever the situation is. What am I doing to fix the problem so I can move on.

It’s easier for me to look at what others are doing or not doing in a situation. To blame myself and take responsibility is something that I am working on and it’s not easy. I am so used to seeing everyone else as the problem that I fall short on seeing what part I play. The blame game is something that I have done for years and found that deep inside I still play it. It’s a built in defense mechanism that has worked for me in my active addiction.

(Or so I thought)

But the truth is not taking responsibility for my actions helped to keep me sick and suffering. The self centeredness that is always present didn’t allow me to ever think of me being the blame for anything. Unfortunately it is still quite active in certain areas of my life today. It is something that I am aware of and I am working on correcting. Sometimes I can catch myself before it takes hold and other times I have to take a deeper look to spot it. Either way I am aware of it and I do not allow it to wreak the usual havoc in my life.

I have to constantly remind myself that I am not in control of what others think or do. I can only make sure that I am doing what I need to do. Looking outside myself for the source of my discomfort or for others to make decisions or to make a first move or whatever is not being responsible. It is not taking action and it is not conducive to the main goal. It is not healthy and will only cause me to become bitter, resentful and disappointed because I set myself up to be let down due to certain expectations.

So my goal is to ask myself everyday if I did my best for that day. Did I go the extra mile. Did I do something different or difficult today. Am I taking responsibility for my actions today. Did I blame you for something that I am responsible for.

Did anything change in my actions or responses today?

I will focus on keeping my own backyard clean and let others take care of theirs.

Peace and blessings.

Eric Ease

LONG LOST BUT NOT FORGOTTEN FAMILY. 

I hear a lot of people say a lot of things about social media and not all of it is good. I completely understand when I see people post pictures of family members on their death beds or even laying in their caskets. I believe that those things are deeply personal and should not be posted on social media. But that’s my personal opinion and I have no right or reason to try to force my opinions on anyone. To each his own.

On the other hand I see a lot of people who post graduation pictures, wedding and anniversary pictures and pictures of newborns and baby pictures. Happy times from holiday celebrations and the like.

Social Media has become one of the fastest growing outlets for communications and is growing by leaps and bounds everyday. I for one never thought that it would be as wildly popular as it has become and definitely didn’t think that I would ever use it the way that I do now. I went from having a Facebook page that I barely used to now using it everyday all day. To also having Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Instagram, Instant messaging and of course WordPress for my blog From Struggle To Strength. I also have a online store. Amongst other things.

In all the years that I have been using social media I never once thought of it as a vehicle to find family members that I haven’t been in touch with. So let me tell you. It’s a small world. Through a friends happy birthday post to her Mother that I replied to, I got a notification that someone else made a comment on that post. Usually I ignore those notifications because I find them to be highly irritating. But as I looked at the name of the person who commented I saw that we had the same last name. Then I said wait a minute I have a cousin by that name. So out of curiosity I checked that person’s page. BAM. Just like that BAM it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was my cousin whom I haven’t spoken to in over 30 years. I was shocked, amazed and overwhelmed all at the same time.

I felt a little apprehensive at first. I mean it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen her. What if this and what if that ran through my mind. Then I realized that it was you know who trying to keep me isolated and I immediately shut those thoughts down. I sent her a message and a friend request. Shortly after she sent her phone number and said to call her. I called my long lost cousin and we spoke for the first time in over 30 years. She told me a lot of things that had happened over the years and I did the same. We made plans to meet up when I was coming to NY. I also got the chance to get phone numbers of her siblings and spoke to them as well.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with my cousins this past weekend. It was an amazing feeling seeing them again but to add some icing to this cake, I also got to meet the next 2 generations of cousins as well. My cousins children and some of their children. It was a little overwhelming and I was at a loss for words but at the same time it was a fantastic and awesome experience. One that I won’t soon forget. I still have quite a few other cousins that I have yet to see and meet but this opened the door and I look forward to it. I feel like the soldier who was lost at war and presumably dead only to be found alive and reunited with his family. In a sense that is exactly what happened. The only difference is the war that I fought was a battle within myself. But it was a war none the less. They both have casualties and cause enormous pain and suffering.

Needless to say I finally began to realize what had been missing since I’ve gotten clean. I am realizing now that there had been a void that was causing me to have some resentments. The void of missing my family and of feeling alone. A void that I created many years ago locked and loaded and caught up in the grips of my addiction. Suddenly I felt a weight being lifted of my shoulders. I suddenly realized that I need to get connected with my family. I need my blood family in my life just as much as I need my recovery family in my life.

This weekend we are meeting up again. I am sure the majority of the families will be there and I am looking forward to it. I am grateful that God placed me in a position to reunite with my loved ones. He knew exactly what I needed. This will be the jarring experience that will bring forth a more rigorous effort of me reaching out to my family members from both sides of my family that I have been MIA from for too long.

And to think that it all was made possible by a Facebook post.

Stay tuned because the journey continues.

RECOVERY  in all areas of our life IS POSSIBLE.

Peace and blessings.

Eric Ease