FINDING MY OWN WAY. 

I heard it said and truly believe that, If I forget where I came from. I will certainly be doomed to repeat. So I make it my business to make the necessary connections today. By doing so it allows me to see myself coming and stop my insanity before it becomes a problem. Before it becomes a resentment, before my thinking can try to convince me that I am wasting my time and that I can’t do anything right. Blah, blah, blah. So forth and so on.

My life has been a vicious cycle of never ending insanity for a long time and now that I am clean and living a semi-normal life I find that the insanity is still present. It manifests itself in similar and in different ways.

Take for instance my need..

-To belong, I am still feeling my way around and still at times feel like I don’t belong. My disease is still active in that area and is constantly trying to isolate me from the very thing that has saved my life.

-To fit in, I am still trying to figure out where I fit in, in the grand scheme of things. What’s my purpose, what’s my niche. What am I supposed to be doing with my life. Why have I been given another opportunity.

-To keep the peace, I am finding myself people pleasing, biting my tongue, not speaking my mind. Dumbing down. I am not being the blunt, abrasive and forthright person I once knew to be me. Instead I play small almost as if I am trying to be invisible or not take responsibility.

I don’t know. I’m rambling.

Anyway.

I am trying to find my own way. It’s time to fill the void. I no longer wish to live someone else’s way. Do what they want to do. I have to start giving thought to what I want. Find out what makes me tick. Figure out my purpose. Stop jumping from one thing to another and be consistent.

It’s time to create my world.

Peace and blessings.

Eric Ease

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

Failure-doesnt-mean-the-game-is-over-it-means-try-again-with-experience.

I have to admit. The old feelings of failure have been biting at my heels the last couple of weeks. The thoughts that I would never amount to anything and I am useless. worthless, stupid and a failure have been ringing in my head. I am reminded of my past constantly and I have been struggling with shaking those thoughts and feelings. I am sharing this with you because I need to. I need to share the good right along with the bad. I am human, far from perfect and I still struggle with those old thoughts and feelings at times.

I have a habit of always looking for the doom as some people would say, but I don’t see it that way. I have lived the doom all my life so I know a thing or two about it. I know that shit happens. I have caused shit to happen, (self sabotage) witnessed it happen and know for a fact what can happen. I don’t like to always think negatively but I do like to be prepared for it because it does happen. I am not sure if you can understand that. It has nothing to do with trying to always be positive or what you think will happen will happen. It has to do with not being naive, unrealistic or rocked to sleep because things are going well. When life is good and everything’s going my way I can forget sometimes that there will be bad days too. Murphy’s Law. Whatever could go wrong will go wrong.

Anyway. I am drifting off subject.

I have never been much of a risk taker. I lived pretty much in the comfort zone. Believe it or not I was comfortable in my misery in my addiction for a long time. I expected nothing and as a result I got just what I expected. In recovery however I am trying to live a different life and as a result I am taking risks, trying new things and making myself uncomfortable in the process in order to grow spiritually, mentally and physically. I am enjoying this new way of life and would not trade it for the world. I have accomplished many things in the last 3 years and 8 months that I have been clean. I owe it all to my higher power, the fellowship and a willingness to change.

With that being said I have attempted many new things in this time frame and not everything that I took a risk on paid off. I have stumbled many times. I have failed at some of the risks I have taken. I am learning how to deal with failure and not to look at it as a negative thing. I am learning to look at those attempts as a learning experience and not a complete failure. By doing this I have learned that it doesn’t mean that I should give up. It just means that the way I did it didn’t work out at that time. It allows me to have a choice. It allows me to go back to the drawing board and rethink my method, replan my attempt. It allows me to gather more information to add to the information I already have. I already know what didn’t work because I now have the experience from trying. Experience I would not otherwise have had if I did not take the risk in the first place.

WOW

This is mind blowing for me because I never looked at failing at something as a good thing or a learning experience. I used to just give up and be depressed, frustrated, angry and defeated. I would allow the negative self talk to talk me right out of trying it again or trying anything else for that matter. I would allow it to keep me stuck in my comfort zone slowing dying from the unsatisfied, unworthy, useless feelings. I have been in that rut for years. I no longer choose to live in my comfort zone of complacency. Today I choose to move forward with my life no matter what.

I have recently took a risk.

I was sick and tired of the work I was doing for quite some time. I was unhappy at work and it was spilling over into my personal life at home. It was affecting my spirit and I was feeling like I was drowning in my sorrows. I stayed on this job, in this field way past the expiration date and it was beginning to take it’s toll on my well being. I knew I had to do something and I had to do it quick. I decided to end my relationship with the company I worked for. I have been with them for 7 years and I felt it was time to part ways. I resigned and wrote the post – RETIRED FROM THE BALL AND CHAIN WAS SCARY. STARTING ANEW IS ALSO SCARY. BUT STAYING THE SAME IS THE SCARIEST.  That post was written 2 months ago.

It’s funny how time flies, but even funnier how some things remain the same. I am still very excited about becoming a real estate investor. I have been putting in a lot of work. Searching properties, learning how to contact owners, write contracts, make offers, deal with realtors, sending out direct mail campaigns, creating websites, posts, flyers and listing the company in online directories. I have learned a lot in the last 2 months since retiring from my 9 to 5. I am proud of myself for taking the risk to do something to make my life and my families life better. But with all my efforts and all the hard work I have still yet to buy my first property. I have hit more roadblocks and obstacles than I anticipated and as I stated in the beginning of this post. I am starting to doubt myself. I am starting to lose hope and I am starting to feel like the failure that my disease will have me think that I am. Now I know that these are just feelings. I know that better things are just around the corner. I know that if I give up now that I will be selling myself short. I know all this but that doesn’t mean that I do not feel the things that I am feeling. The difference is what I do about it. I could give up and allow the negative thoughts to once again dictate my life or I can dig deeper and strap in for the ride.

Although I have been struggling with getting my business off the ground. I refuse to throw in the towel. I realize that first of all. I have not been doing this for long. 2 months is not enough time to evaluate my success or failure in this business. Secondly I have to realize who is doing the talking, my addiction, those thoughts have always tried to sabotage my efforts and I always believed them. NOT TODAY. I am determined to succeed. So I will go back to the drawing board. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have gained and will use that to my advantage. I will start my day over as many times as I have to. I will shake as many trees, call as many sellers, knock on as many doors as necessary. I will keep the focus where it belongs on moving forward.

Nothing worth having comes over night. I will use my tools to get me through this. One day at a time.

Peace and blessings

Eric Ease

 

 

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

The #AHCAlypse campaign

From Faces and Voices of Recovery. 

The House health care reform bill, AHCA, has many families and communities worried about its impact on those with mental illness, substance use disorders, pre-existing conditions and many other health care needs. The changes to Medicaid and pre-existing conditions protections are particularly important to those with substance use disorders and mental health conditions.

Read more on this and other stories at

https://t.co/6YhZmyx2Wk
http://facesandvoicesofrecovery.org

DON’T BE FOOLED BY THE LIES

The lies.
You know the ones we tell ourselves. I’m not good enough. I can’t do it. I will never change. I’m not worthy. So on and so on.

The sad part is that I believed those lies for years. I’ve told myself these lies for so long that I couldn’t see past them to the truth. I was stuck in a cycle of pity and self loathing. Low self esteem helped to drive the nails home that sealed my coffin. I was or at least I thought I was finished. I couldn’t seem to find a way out. I continued along in my cycle destined to remain the same with no hope of ever changing.

I didn’t realize then what I know now.

I did not know that my addiction ran deeper than the drugs that I was consuming. I didn’t know that my addiction started long before I ever picked up that first-time. I never knew that I have  built in self destruction that is hell bent on destroying me and it starts and ends with my thinking. I didn’t know that if I change my thinking, I could change my life.

I am what I tell myself I am.

It all depends on the thoughts that I focus on. The thought that I feed will be the thought that wins. It’s really just as simple as that. If I tell myself that I cannot do something and I feed that thought by listing all the reasons why I can’t do it. I will eventually talk myself right out of trying it. Therefore I have failed without even having given a ounce of effort. And as a result I will remain the same. In the same frame of mind, the same circumstances  and will continue to get the same results.

On  the other hand,

When I quite those negative thoughts and allow the positive thoughts to take their rightful place. Feed those thoughts with positive reinforcement, hope, faith, optimism and add actions to it. I can and will see different results. I will in turn begin to gain the courage and self esteem therefore establishing the confidence to continue and create a new habit.

That habit is the beginning of the transformation of change.
It starts and ends with me recognizing my own bullshit and stopping the vicious cycle before it takes hold. Killing it at the roots.

Peace and blessings.

Eric Ease