RISK OR RESENTMENT

When I look back to where I was 3 years ago, I can’t help but be amazed. I am amazed because for 40 years before that I played it safe. I was afraid to venture out of my comfort zone. Believe it or not I was in a state of comfort in my active addiction. Yes it was a horrible existence, yes it was and I do not take addiction lightly nor downplay just how hard life was. Although my life was not my own and was ruled every waking moment by the obsession and compulsion to use. I knew what everyday brought. The pain and suffering I endured, I had become accustomed to. The regular routine of using and finding ways and means to get more was my main focus day in and day out. I knew what to expect, I knew what to do. Every day was the same, some days more painful than others but I had grown used to and settled for the life that I thought I would always live.

If I had known then, what I know now. I wouldn’t have stayed stuck in that never ending cycle.I would have found a way out a long time ago had I only taken a risk to believe enough in myself, taken a risk to believe in what others were telling me. Had I taken simple risk. The risk of trusting my gut feeling that I could live a better life if I only tried. The funny thing about taking risks is that I cannot think about it for too long. If I do I will think myself right out of doing it. Whatever it is. If I wait until the time is right, wait until I am better equipped, wait for this or that. I will never get anything done. Procrastination is one of my biggest character defects. It is one of my oldest, longest and most deadly character defects. Procrastination has killed more of my dreams, goals and ambitions than anything else in my life. It has kept me from achieving a better life for years because I always put off changing until I thought I would be better off. I would be able to handle it or I would just plain ole say. I will do it tomorrow.

Procrastination..It is born from and lives vicariously through fear.

Fear of one thing or another. Imaginary or real. True or False. Fear keeps me from extending myself to others. It keeps me from reaching my full potential and visualizing my goals and dreams. Fear can be a motivator but in my case it became a stumbling block. It became a devastating crutch worse than my addiction itself, because my addiction was a product of that fear. For years I told myself that I wasn’t good enough and that I did not deserve to be happy, I didn’t deserve to have good things happen to me or for me. I told myself those lies for so long that I believed them. I believed them as if I had a stack of evidence to substantiate it. So believing that I wasn’t worthy of those things I did everything in my power to keep myself from experiencing those things. I did everything in my power to sabotage myself. Unwillingly and Unknowingly and Understandably so. I had lied to myself so often that my subconscious took over the job and held me to my own words. I didn’t even have to consciously downgrade myself, now it was built in and it did a fantastic job. It did exactly what it was meant to do. It served it’s purpose masterfully.

Being closed minded to anything new, better or different.

I proceeded to live my life stuck in a never ending cycle. Anger and resentments, isolation and degradation, despair and self destruction all took a front row seat. They took center stage and clapped when I fell deeper and deeper into the hole that I dug for myself. The person who was once a happy, smart, curious child was gone and this monster was in full swing. Only that side I thought was gone wasn’t. From time to time I could hear him crying out. This is not right. Help me please. But I was too weak to help him. I was too caught up in a self destructive will. I was too fearful, scared, confused and lonely. I was to ashamed to ask for help so I suffered in silence. I suffered for years a prisoner in my own body and mind. I was paralyzed by fear.

God’s will for me proved to be the turning point. For many years I cried out to God for help and for many years I refused to accept the help that my higher power kept providing me with. I let so many life boats, rafts, preservers and opportunities pass me by. I couldn’t see then that that’s what they were. I didn’t understand that those were the chances to break me out of the prison I had made for myself. I didn’t take advantage of those life saving moments. I always chose to return to the scene of the crime and start my cycle over and over again. In my darkest hour God came through once again. The difference is this time I was open to receive the help offered. I was finally ready to turn my life around. I thought I wanted out but by the grace of God and his mercy I realized that I wanted to live. I saw the light after years of seeing nothing but darkness. My mind has been opened to a new and exciting way of life. I stumbled a few times in the last 6 years and went back out to test the waters.

In 2013 all that changed and my life has been the best I have ever lived. I still go through ups and downs, but there are way more ups than there are downs. I have learned to sit my ass still, ask for help and be willing to accept the help when it comes. No matter how it comes. I have dark days. I am not and never will be cured of this affliction. I have taken many risks since. I have moved from New York to North Carolina.I took a risk and purchased a home in a state where I barely know 5 people. Lol. Wow. Who would have ever thought that this die hard Brooklyn Bully would ever leave. I sure didn’t. But I did it. I packed up and moved with my fiancee. Oh did I forget to tell you. I took another risk. I actually allowed someone to get closed enough to get to know me and we are getting married next year. Not only are we getting married but we are starting our own business together too. We are living a life that I never thought I would ever live. If you would have asked me 3 yrs ago where do you see yourself in 3 years. I would not have said any of those things. But yet here I am doing them. Living them. Enjoying them.

All I can say is Thank you.

I am grateful because the truth is…

I almost killed the wrong person and I could have missed all of this.

R.I.P.

Recovery Is Possible.

Peace and Blessings.

Eric Ease

STOPPING THE CYCLE 

For as far back as I can remember, I have been caught up in a never ending cycle of events. The roller-coaster, loop de loop of working and semi maintaining, using, jail or some other institution, come home and start all over again. The up and down, the building of then tearing down only to have to rebuild again. 

The cycle was always the same. Although the pain, misery and suffering were at different degrees in different cycles. The end results were inevitable, unmistakable and undeniably the same. With very little variation from this routine I began to believe that this was how my life was meant to be. So without the information that was so readily available. I continued to play my part in my self destruction. Like an actor I memorized all my lines.

I have been feeling out of place lately. Not because I am living in a new state but because of being disconnected from the one thing that has saved my life. I have been allowing my disease to manipulate my mood and dictate my actions all the while justifying my actions and behaviors as dislike for the fellowship and the people in it. Using the fact that people will disappoint you,  and people don’t treat you like you treat them as a reason to fall back and isolate. 

Isolation is part of the beginning stages of the cycle that I mentioned earlier. I have already started the cycle by allowing my diseased thinking to take the wheel and separate me from the rest of the herd. (Metaphorically speaking). Allowing that crazy to drive can and will only lead to poor decision making, chaos, mayhem and ultimately disasters. 

I am grateful for the power given to me today by my Higher Power. The ability to stop, think and make a choice. The ability to see yourself coming is a gift,  but it’s only valuable if I use that knowledge and change the direction. 

Today I am making the choice to change my direction. I will not  Build,  Destroy only to rebuild again.

Thanks for allowing me to share. 

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

WHY I CARE TO SHARE MY STORY

CARE

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.

SELF ACCEPTANCE

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All my life I wanted to be someone else, somewhere else, doing something else. Ever since I was a child I did not like who I was. I did not like my circumstances. I was too young to even know who I was, but I had it ingrained in my thoughts that I wasn’t good enough.

Those thoughts were not planted there by my parents either. Those were my own thoughts. Brought on by looking outside myself for acceptance. Brought on by judging my insides by other people’s outside appearances. Brought on by jealousy, envy, insecurities, low self worth and low self esteem.

Those thoughts and feelings led me to seek love and acceptance in all the wrong places. They fueled my desire to belong. To fit in with anyone that would accept me. Those thoughts and feelings betrayed me from the very beginning and continued to cloud my judgement for years.

I was a lost soul searching for an out. Creating false identities and living lies for so long. I became a casualty of my own low self worth and self hatred. Being that I never gave my true self a chance to develop. I wandered around in search of an identity that I thought people would like. People pleasing and acting against my will to fit in became my way of life.

Now 40+ years later I am beginning to unearth the truth. I am learning how to get in touch with who I am. Finding out my likes and dislikes. Cutting through a fog that is spread so thick that I am only scratching the surface. I can see that there are thousands of layers that I have yet to discover and uncover.

I am beginning to see myself as I truly am. Not as others would have me to be. I have acceptance of my circumstances, situations, abilities and of my defects, flaws and mistakes. I understand that today is the only day I need to focus on. Tomorrow I will practice acceptance all over again.

I fall short  with acceptance on occasions and that’s ok. This is my process and it takes time.

I accept myself for who I am today.
I accept myself for who I can become tomorrow.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

GIVE IT AWAY

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I spent a lot of years wondering what was my purpose in life. I think I have finally got a clue.

I remember when I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor. A dentist to be exact. I had a friend who’s father was a dentist and they had a very nice house and a lot of money. I thought that would be  me. As time went on I think I changed my mind so many times that I just gave up on dreaming of what I would become. When I started using all bets were off. All my hopes and dreams were smashed and discarded. I had lost all hope.

As a adult I knew that I was destined to be more than a bum. More than some washed up drug addict but I didn’t know how to go about getting out of the mess I made of my life. With thoughts of using clouding my every waking minute I had again lost all hope. I settled for where i was and believed that it was where I would stay until I died. I couldn’t stop using and had no idea that there where people out there that felt the same way i did, but found a way out.

I was blessed to have been spared death and to have found a new way to live. I was lucky, so many of my friends didn’t make it out. I think to myself at times and wonder why was I spared. What is so damn special about me that I was able to make it out of the depths of the hell in which I lived. Why me? I am learning that I should be grateful and not question why. I should just learn from my experiences and share with others what I have learned in hopes that I may be a light for those who are still suffering in silence in the darkness of active addiction.

I am thankful that I am able to share my story with others and I only hope that through my experiences someone can make a connection, have some identification and get some hope that they too can make it out of the darkness. I know how they are feeling because I too have felt that way. I have lived that life, I have given up on ever finding a way out. I know exactly how they feel because I am and will always be an addict.

The difference is I am a addict in recovery. I am practicing a new way of life that has offered me the opportunity to help others. The same way others have helped me.

My purpose today is to give it away.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

Chatting Up Recovery with the Awesome Guys at KLĒN+SŌBR

Hello everyone check out this awesome podcast with my friend MagzShores@SoberCourage. Also check out her blog at
http://sobercourage.com

TURNING THE PAGE

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In active addiction my life was a never ending cycle of bad choices. I remember some, but there are plenty that I have buried deep. The ones that I didn’t want anyone to know about. The ones that I thought were so horrible that if revealed people would once again turn their backs on me. They would shun me and not want me to be around them. I didn’t want to be an outsider again so I would keep my secrets and carry them to the grave with me.

I always thought that I was doing the right thing by keeping my life secret. People would speculate and judge but most of their judgement was based on the fact that I used drugs. No one could actually say that they know me. I made sure that no one really knew me. What they thought they knew was all fabricated. My life was one lie after another all made up to protect me from being rejected. The crazy part about that is I wound up being rejected by everyone anyway.

I lived to use, but I also lived to please. I just wanted you to like me, to accept me, to allow me to be a part of. Whatever it was. I remember when I was a child and I would lie just to get attention. I remember reading a story about a boy who cried wolf and I turned into that boy. I acted out and sought attention from the very beginning and when I stopped getting it from home I turned to other avenues for that attention. I used to think that no one loved me and no one cared, I was the one who didn’t love me. I didn’t know how to love myself. I still struggle at times with loving myself and sometimes act out even today looking for that attention.

Recovery is teaching me how to love myself. I have a network of people who love me and support me. I am learning how to accept myself for who I am and not to invent false identities in order to fit in or to be liked by others. I am exposing those secrets that have kept me sick and suffering. I am exposing all those things that I thought were so horrible and I am learning  that they weren’t all that horrible after all. I am releasing myself from the bondage of my past and I am experiencing a freedom that I have never felt. I feel the weight lifting off my shoulders from all the baggage that I have been carrying around all these years.

I want to make it clear that this is my process and it didn’t just happen over night. I didn’t come into recovery and all of a sudden change. My life didn’t become magically delicious over night, days, weeks or months. I am still a work in progress and I am just scratching the surface. I have years and years of hurt, pain, misery and suffering, lies, loneliness, abandonment, fears and disappointments locked up inside my head and slowly but surely I am on the road to revealing them and healing from them. I live one day at a time and I try to remember not to stay in the past. I revisit the past so I can expose it but I do not dwell there. There is nothing I can do about the things that I have already done and it is time for me to stop punishing myself for them.

I am moving on from the ghosts of my past. I am turning the page. Stepping into the next chapter of my life. I am grateful for my journey because I am learning so much about myself and I am learning that most of the things that I thought were the truth, are a figment of my made up life. Lies told by misinformed people who are in there own way stuck in a never ending cycle and refuse to try to find a way out. I pray everyday for those who are caught up in the grips of addiction, that they find there way out and into this life saving process. I know how it is to feel like there is no way out. To think that no one cares and that I would die a addict, die using drugs. I now know that it doesn’t have to be that way. I want others to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is a way out. You can stop using. Recovery offered me that way out.

Thank you for being on this journey with me. Please feel free to read more of my story and follow my journey on my blog at http://www.fromstruggletostrength.com

Peace and blessings

Eric Ease