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

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. 

There’s no truer test of a person’s character and motives than time. Time reveals everything. No matter what you hear come from another person’s mouth, elapsed time will always show you the truth. 

It took me many years and many disappointments to learn this very valuable fact. It also taught me that most people cannot be trusted. It’s a lesson that has repeatedly been beaten into my subconscious and as a result I find it very hard to trust people. I always go in waiting for the shoe to drop and the Bullshit to hit the proverbial fan. For the most part, my gut has not let me down. 

Yet and still, I long for the day that I can finally say Damn I was wrong. Believe me it doesn’t happen that often. But every now and again someone surprises me. 

Because I try my best to say what I mean and do what I say today. I let my guard down and expect that others will do the same. In the beginning it always looks promising but as usual somewhere along the way the plan gets changed and I didn’t get the memo. I wind up being the Fucking fool and wondering how did I wind up here. Again. 

In my active addiction, I didn’t play by the rules. I broke trusts, hearts, pockets, banks and anything else that I could. But people already knew how I was. I was using, what did you expect. In recovery I play by a different set of rules. The ones that my parents instilled in me many years ago. I have worked hard to live by some principles.  To be trustworthy and stand for something. But I’ve come to realize that just because I do, doesn’t mean that others do to. 

I am hurt right now because I had a plan and that plan has now become derailed. Again somewhere along the line the plan got changed and I didn’t get the memo. 

Sometimes I wonder why. 

Why do I bother trying to change, 

Why do I believe that people can be trusted. 

Why not just give up. 

I guess I need to keep searching for the answers to those questions. 

I guess I will keep coming. 

But then again why should I. 

Peace and blessings 

Eric Ease 

FEELING UNSATISFIED 

Lately I have been feeling like I should be better off and definitely farther along life’s path than I am. I’m feeling like every step I take forward that I am getting no closer to being satisfied with myself. I am my worse critic. I have made tremendous progress in my 3 years in recovery and just like in my addiction, I still want more. I am feeling like the progress that I have made should have been accomplished a long time ago and  It’s making me feel depressed to say the least.  

It seems to me that I am really only spinning my wheels and I am not getting anywhere fast. I want so much more out of life than to be stuck in the daily rat race of my 9 to 5. Struggling for years working for a company that doesn’t care. Living and working around people that don’t care and remembering how much I didn’t care when I was active. Now that I am clean I realize how much of life I truly missed out on. 

MY life right now is the best it has ever been and yet I still have the feelings of emptiness, loneliness and worthlessness. I still suffer from anxiety over the future because of the many failures of my past. The haunting reality of a life not to long gone. 

I am at a crossroad in my life right now. I guess this is what some call midlife crisis. I don’t know. I’ve never felt so unhappy with where I am at other than when I was using. But this is different, this isn’t the desperation and despair feelings. These are the feelings of I should be spending my time more wisely. Doing the things that I love to do not because I have to do them. 

I read a quote once that said. If you are unhappy with your outcomes change your circumstances. Or something like that. Long story short. If nothing changes, nothing changes. I am ultimately responsible for my outcomes. I will only get out of it what I put in. I have to let go of the things that are making me feel unhappy. I have to step up, step out on faith and put in the work required to make my dreams a reality. 

I am no longer satisfied with the status quo. The old beliefs that I have to do this the way everyone else has been doing it. I tried it and it’s no longer working for me. My eyes have been opened to a new way of life and I must take this opportunity to advance for myself and my family. I think I’ve paid enough dues it’s time for me to start seeing some of the benefits and rewards of my labor. 

I will keep praying on it. God’s will not Mines be done. 

Peace and blessings. 

Eric Ease 

MY YEAR END REVIEW 

My year in review has been filled with many exciting chapters. I am thrilled at the prospect of what’s to come. 

2016 has been the most exciting and rewarding experience thus far in my journey in recovery. I am amazed at the things that I have accomplished this year. I started the year off being sick straight through the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years as a result of taking a medication. One of the side effects of that medication was the lowering of my immune system. So my year started off kind of crazy. But I got to spend my 50th birthday in The Dominican Republic with my then girlfriend. That was a awesome experience. We had a amazing time and will do it again soon. 

Not soon after our trip,  on Valentines Day to be exact. I had the privilege and honor of proposing to my now fiancé. She said YES. It was the happiest day of my life. I love her and we are very happy together. We have been planning our wedding ever since and as of today we have accomplished the planning, invites, mailing and payments of the wedding and honeymoon. God is Good. 

We also had been dreaming of buying a house and moving out of New York. We started looking at homes March and after changing our minds countless times, we purchased a home in June,  closed and moved into our new home in September.

I started my online business in November. The store which was born out of inspiration from this very blog. Tee Shirts, Hoodies and more to come with the From Struggle To Strength logo on them. I am excited and thankful for all the support and encouragement that I receive on a daily basis.  We also had our first Thanksgiving in our new home. Our family and friends came and we had an amazing holiday. I am truly thankful for family. 

I have had many ups and downs along the way this year. I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences. The good and the bad. I am living, learning and enjoying life to the fullest. I know that it is God’s grace that has saved me from myself and allows me to be present in life today as it is happening. Not how I would have it. My life today is so much better than it was just 3 short years ago. And
It is only the beginning. 

I am definitely not the same person I was when this year began. I can’t wait to see the person that I am destined to become. 

Have a spectacular day. 

Peace and Blessings 

Eric Ease 

FROM STRUGGLE TO STRENGTH STORE 

First of all I want to thank my Higher Power for allowing me to see the other side of my addiction. The side that I used to think was not meant for me to live. I used to dream of a life without the use of drugs but never thought that I could have that life. It wasn’t in the cards, I wasn’t good enough to live the life that I saw so many others living. 

I believed those lies to be true. My destiny was to die an addict. I truly believed that. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t stop using. So I gave up. I quit trying, I lost all hope and settled for a miserable existence of a life. I became comfortable living life finding ways and means to get more. More pain, more misery and more suffering. 

I was blessed to be able to see not just another day, but several years. I remember being at the end of my rope. I remember wanting to die and just get it over with. I prayed for death because in my mind it had to be better than the life I was living. I didn’t know then, what I know now. There is a way out. 

I am still amazed at times how my life is turning out. I can’t believe how fortunate I have been and how many blessings I have received since getting clean. My life has been nothing short of a miracle. I live, love and laugh today and for that alone I am truly grateful. 

I have so many good people in my life who support and encourage me to be the best I can be. They help me to realize that the only thing that can stop me from realizing my dreams is me. I have blocked more of my own blessings than the Carolina Panthers have blocked opposing teams. Lol. (Taking a shot there).  

The last couple of years have been truly amazing. I have been doing everything that I always told myself that I could not do, only to find out that I can do it. 

I am excited to announce that I have finally been able to make one of  my dreams come true. I have started selling From Struggle To Strength Tee-shirts a few years ago mostly to friends and family. Today I have taken the steps to take my business to the next level. I have opened up my own online store. I am officially an entrepreneur. I have been dreaming of owning my own business for quite some time and this is the opening I have been looking for.  I am looking forward to one day being able to quit working for others as my business gains traction. 

I want to thank everyone who encouraged me to take the risk. Fear kept me doing it on a small scale. Overcoming that fear has allowed me to visualize bigger and better things in the future. I am thankful for the opportunity to share with you all my journey. Just as others have shared theirs with me. 

I hope that you are will share in my joy. Please feel free to stop by and check out the new site. 

The From Struggle To Strength Store 

SOME ARE IN MY LIFE FOR A REASON, OTHERS FOR A SEASON.

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On this Thanksgiving day, I am grateful for many things. Too many to count or even list here but I will share a few things that I have tremendous gratitude for today. First and foremost. I am alive, I have been blessed to see another day when I didn’t think that I would be alive this long. I am grateful that I have choices today and that I am responsible for my actions and for the consequences of my actions. I no longer blame others for the things that I myself have done. I am grateful for the ability to learn. Not only from my mistakes, but to learn from having a desire or passion to better myself and actually taking the steps to fulfill my dreams. I could go on and on but that is not the reason that I am posting today. Today I am posting about the gratitude that I have for the people that have been removed from my life.

I used to think that I did not deserve to be treated with respect, or to be in a healthy relationship. I didn’t think that happiness was in the cards for me and so I acted accordingly. I hung around the wrong crowds. I people pleased and performed like a puppet just to be around and liked by people. I’ve learned that today I do not have to act like you so you can like me. I do not have to perform, transform, pretend, front or be fake to be liked. If people expect that from me then they need to know that I am not that person you are looking for. If you want me to get involved with your drama “because you think that’s what a real friend would do”.

I am here to tell you. Not my monkey, Not my circus.

As a direct result of my new way of life, I have learned to respect and value myself, my time, my life. I have lost a lot of people. I am not saying that because I miss them or because I wish that they were still here. I am saying it because I realize my worth and I know that I am better off without them. I have learned to be like a tree and drop my dead leaves. Just like with the tree when dead leaves drop new ones take the place of the old ones. So will new friends take place of the old ones. Today I know that not everyone I meet will be a friend. Not every person that comes into my life today will be in my life tomorrow. I know that some are here for a reason, some are here for a season. Either way people cross my path to either teach me a valuable lesson or to help me learn a valuable lesson. Today I choose to associate with people who are not moving in the same direction as I am, but those who are already where I want to go. I choose to be taught by people who can help me learn the valuable lessons.

So yes, I am very grateful that those who are dead leaves have been removed from my life. Blown away by the winds of life only to make room for fresh new leaves. I am looking forward to growing new leaves, spreading my branches and planting roots that run deep and will stand firm when the winds of life blow.

THIS IS MY SEASON.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Happy Birthday From Struggle To Strength. It was 5 years ago on November 10, 2011.
That I wrote my first blog post. Back then it was used simply as a place for me to write down my thoughts, to be able to see my patterns and to free up some space in my head. I needed a place to vent. I was still using and I was sick and tired of the way my life had turned out. I was new to the concept of recovery and someone suggested that I create a journal. They suggested that I buy a book to jot down my thoughts. Well needless to say I was using so spending money on a book was not going to happen. Lol

I did however find a website called blogspot.

I created an account and I called it Eric’s Daily Struggle. I remember choosing that name because everyday was a struggle for me. Every day I struggled with the thoughts that raced through my mind. The Royal Rumble that was going on inside my head between good and evil. Wanting to stop using and continuing to use. With wanting to die but deep down inside wanting to live just a little bit more.

So by taking that suggestion 5 short years ago my personal journal has turned into my blog. After a couple of years of struggling with staying clean. I finally made a decision to get off the fence and stop struggling. I realized that it was all in the way I viewed my life and my circumstances. I decided to fight for my life and so I changed the name from Eric’s Daily Struggle to From Struggle To Strength. I became willing to do the work necessary to stop the daily struggle and to become strong enough to just say no and to actually mean it.

Well needless to say, I have come a long way since that first blog

MY BLOG. THE LIFE NOT FULFILLED

I am truly grateful for all the people I have met along the way as a direct result of my blog. I am grateful for the therapeutic value of writing down thoughts for it has taught me some very valuable lessons. I never realized when I began this journey that my words would help anyone not even myself and sometimes I still feel like I am not suited to be of any help by sharing my journey but I know that, that is not true. I know that the same way I get help from reading and hearing other people share their journey, my words have the same healing effect. I am thankful that I did not give up way back then. My blog has helped me to grow and in turn I am able to help others to grow as well.

So with that being said. I want to wish my blog a happy birthday. I want to thank my readers who comment on my posts too. I couldn’t have made it without all of your support and encouragement.

Here to the next 5 years and beyond.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

 

 

 

WHO AM I TO JUDGE.

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I can remember in my active addiction the lies and deceit that I have perpetrated. I can also remember those times that I was telling the truth and had wished that people would believe me. I remember the looks I used to get at work and everywhere else I went. The stares of disgust and the disapproving glares. I remember the hurt I felt. The shame and the abandonment.The embarrassment alone was enough to make me want to run. I used for years of that alone.  It wasn’t that long ago and the scars are still there. Some are fresh and others have long been absorbed, locked and stored away deep in my sub-conscience mind. Only to be awakened when a similar circumstance arises.

I always said that I would never judge another person solely on the fact that they had a problem with substance abuse. I always thought that I would be the first to have empathy when it comes to the still sick and suffering addicts. I truly believed that I could never look down on another person just because they were using. Being a recovering addict, I should be the last person to act like people did towards me. I have come to realize in a current situation that, that is not the case. I was in denial about it and after taking a self inventory of a situation that is playing out on my job right now. I find myself being very judgmental of a coworker. I find that I have not been showing care and concern towards this individual but instead I have been distancing myself and displaying those same looks of disgust and glares of disapproval.

I am guilty of doing the exact same thing that people did to me when I was using. I am ashamed of the way that I have acted towards this person the last couple of weeks. I have not been showing care and concern, I have not been living by the creed of one addict helping another. I have been cold and uncaring. I have been acting as if I do not know exactly where he is at, knowing damn well that I do. I have been in his shoes for years.

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I was not going to share this behavior because I was ashamed to admit it. I was more concerned with how people would view me if I admitted the truth. I always share my truth and that will never change, but I always try to share the good things, the good times. I have a hard time sometimes admitting that I am capable of making mistakes. That I am not perfect. Although I know that I am not nor would I want to be perfect. I still suffer from ego and image. I still worry about how people view me and want everyone to like me. I still suffer from low self-esteem. I have flaws and defects that I need to focus and work on. I am a work in progress not a finished product.The truth is I am not perfect. I am still capable of making very bad decisions and acting off impulse.

I am guilty of jumping on the band wagon. Everyone talks about this guy on the job and I find myself right along with them. Instead of being right there with him and letting him know that everything is going to be alright. Offering him a helping hand and showing him that there is a way out. I know better and it is my responsibility to share the escape route with others. To let them know that there is freedom from active addiction. But I chose to ignore my responsibility, to save face and hide my addiction. Oh course I have a responsibility to myself as well. Anonymity is very important but not at the expense of others. I can still help him and remain anonymous. So that is not a rational justification. That’s the addict in me trying to let myself off the hook.

I am grateful that I can see the error of my ways today and more importantly I can change them. I can and will take a long hard look at why I feel so comfortable judging someone that I have more in common with than not. Why I feel it’s ok to judge someone period. Have I been rocking myself right to sleep because I am living a life that I could only dream of a couple of years ago? Have I forgotten the hell that I have just came from? Or do I think I am better than now that I am not using? These are all questions that I will be looking at on a deeper level. I need to get back to the basics and plug myself back in. Rework my foundation and inventory my attitudes and behaviors. It’s time to check myself before I wreck myself.

I am far from better than anyone just because I no longer use.

If I forget where I came from, I will be doomed to repeat.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease