As many of you who read my blog know. I just turned 50 years old on January 20th. Looking back I would never have guessed that I would live to see this grand age. Growing up 50 was old. I was reminded of that the other day when I heard a child call his father old when he said he was 51. Lol.
Shortly after that I started thinking about my own life. I started to beat myself up in my head for all the wasted years and the things I didn’t accomplish. I began to slip into a slight depressed state and wondered if I might be kidding myself thinking that I can start to live a life worth living at 50.
I spoke to a few of the men in my life and they helped me to realize that first off 50 is not old. That I am not washed-up and ready to be put out to pasture. Yes I can start to live a life worth living at 50. It’s never too late to start over. I am grateful for the people in my life. When I begin to doubt myself I am grateful that I have people just like me who can relate, offer suggestions and bring me back to reality.
The reality is I am not old. I have a lot of good years left and I am in a position to make something great happen. It’s never to late unless I decided to give up and stay stuck in the why me pity party. I do not. I will not.
I am healthy, happy, free from active addiction, have faith in a power greater than myself today. I have a girlfriend, family and friends that love me. I am truly blessed.
I have no reason to feel regret over the past. It’s over and done with. I have learned some valuable lessons and survived a hell that most people would have folded like a wet cardboard box. I am blessed to be able to share my experiences with others without fear in the hopes that my story can touch someone and they too realize that they can change their life too.
I am embarking on a new journey. A life that for a long time I was only able to dream about. I am experiencing life for the first time without any mind altering substances, without depending on someone else to take care of me, without having to live in a cold and dark apartment because I didn’t pay my bills. I am becoming a responsible and productive member of society.
Do I have fear about this journey.
Do I have doubts about my abilities.
AT TIMES YES.
The difference is that today I feel deep down inside that I am ready. I am ready and willing to start this new chapter. To take a risk and not allow my fears to dictate the direction of my life anymore.
I heard it said that a goal without action is just a dream.
I have been awakened.
Peace and blessings
This is a throwback post from November 10, 2011. This was my very first post..
Hello My name is Nam. I just wanted to post this and say Hello to anyone who maybe reading this.
Welcome to Eric’s Daily Struggle.
I should start off by saying that my blog is called Eric’s Daily Struggle because at the present time I am having a difficult time staying clean. The reason I call it daily struggle is because I know that my struggle will be lifelong. I have used and abused drugs for more than 3 quarters of my life and to think quitting is going to be easy would be a tragedy worse than the life I have lived thus far.
I know that this is a life long battle and that scares me. I have never been able to stick and stay consistent with anything but using. Will I be able to do it? That has yet to be seen. So far this year I have relapsed twice after having 2 months and 4 months clean respectively. I have to be honest that I don’t think I can do it. That’s fucked up because I’m not giving myself a chance, but I know my track record. I know that I need to give myself a break and that’s why even after failing several attempts I continue to try, because not trying would be even more fucked up. I know this. I have a long and hard fight ahead of me, I know this too. So I will continue to fight because I want to live a better life.
So with that being said I decided to record my journey from active addiction to sobriety. This is my story.
This is my place I will post about my daily struggles with my addiction. This is also the place I will post the good things that happen in my recovery too. Its also the place for others to reply and post recovery related material. As time goes by and I become more accustom to blogging my blog will get better. In the meantime in between time feel free to comment and enjoy the blog.Thank you and have a great day.
The harsh reality about my addiction is that I was unable to love anything or anyone but the drugs. I didn’t even have love for myself. I became incapable of feeling for the next person. There was no empathy, no sorrow, no compassion. There was only the undeniable urges to find the ways and means to get and use. To continue to get and use more.
By any means necessary.
Everything else was secondary.
While caught up in the grips of my addiction. I didn’t realize this. I didn’t see the damage that I was causing everyone around me. The hurt in their eyes. The pain in their hearts. Addiction is a self centered disease. It will have you believe that nothing else matters. It will make you do things that you would never in a million years think of doing. It will have you believe that nothing is wrong with you. It’s everyone else that has a problem.
Cunning, Baffling and Insidious. My addiction had me so confused that I believed death would have been better than living. It made me believe that I was worthless, useless and that no one gave a damn if I lived or died. I turned me against anyone and everyone who cared and tried to help.
I believed the lies and almost paid for it with my life. I will be forever grateful to the recovery process. For I am learning that all the things I thought were true.
We’re ALL lies.
Peace and Blessings
I remember when I was a child watching cartoons. The cartoon character would have on his shoulders an angel on one side and a devil on the other. The angel would be telling him to do the right thing. And the devil of course would be saying the opposite. I always thought that was so funny. Little did I know then that I would grow up to experience the exact same thing.
It started early on for me. I can remember being placed in situations where I had to make a choice. Sometimes I would choose wisely and make decisions based on the principals taught to me by my parents. Other times I based my decision on wanting to be liked and accepted. Often that choice was the wrong one but I didn’t want to be labeled or seen as an outcast or a sucker. Wanting to be a part of caused me to make decisions that were risky and unhealthy but eventually became the normal for me and as a result I began on the road to self destruction.
In my active addiction the good and bad voices continued. The good voice wasn’t as strong or as loud anymore and so the bad voice usually won. I had traded my morals, principles and self respect for isolation, loneliness and degradation. I made conscious decisions to do wrong all day long. I made poor choices and had misguided intentions. Placing unrealistic expectations on people who didn’t give a damn about me. I bent over backwards to be around people that had no idea what loyalty was and I couldn’t see it until it was too late.
In the here and now I still struggle with the voices. I am still faced with making decisions and having the choice of doing right or doing wrong. Recovery promises freedom from active addiction. The promise of hope. I have tools to help me learn how to deal with life as it continues to show up. I have the willingness to live this new way of life. I accept the fact that I will always be faced with making decisions and I am grateful that for the most part I am making healthy decisions today.
That doesn’t mean that all of a sudden I am cured. Never that. I still at times want to say the hell with this. I still want to do what’s easy and comfortable although it may be wrong. I still have a battle going on between good and bad not on my shoulders but in my head. It’s a never ending battle. The difference is that I know the consequences and I am not willing to pay that price today.
So let that battle rage on. I am equipped with armor to defend myself and will do what ever it takes to remain victorious.
Peace and Blessings
I remember wanting to fit in so badly, that I sacrificed everything and anything. The advice of my parents, my own internal warning system and the warnings from others.
I found out that not everyone has my best interest in mind and that most people are self centered and selfish. Only looking for what they can get. I didn’t know that then and in the end I found myself being the same way.
If I considered you my friend I was down for you. I would do anything for you and would follow you wherever. I followed the wrong crowd from a early age and paid a very high price to live so low. All for the sake of belonging. My expectations of others was wrong. As a result I found myself angry, resentful, frustrated and in the end alone.
I had gotten tired of being used and taken advantage of. Tired of people taking my kindness for weakness and plain tired of people’s bullshit. I started to hang out with the only person I could trust. Myself.
Today I am very cautious of who I allow in my circle. I have met plenty of people in recovery and I am grateful for some of them. Then there are some that I had to let go. Not everyone that I meet is meant to be in my life. Not everyone that is in recovery is headed in the same direction that I want to go. I refuse to be around people just for the sake of fitting in today.
I’ve learned a very valuable lesson in that area. I know that I have a choice today. Sometimes I have to delete people from my life to make room for new people. Not everyone in my life is meant to stay in my life.
I am Grateful that today I have a choice.
Peace and Blessings
Imagine quitting every time you failed. Imagine never trying it again because you failed. Imagine never trying because of fear of failure.
I don’t have to imagine those things. I lived them. I can remember so many times failure has stopped me from achieving things in my life. I remember not wanting to try new things because the fear of failure kept me frozen in time. A time when failure seemed to be my only option.
I was a prisoner of my own mind. Doubt and lack of confidence kept me from growing and experiencing life. Not to mention the fact that my addiction was feeding my fears and adding to my already low self esteem. I thought, that’s just who I am. I settled for less when I should have been striving for more.
I continued on this path for years. I remember many times wanting and wishing I could get clean. Only to dismiss the idea as impossible. I could never do it. I will die high. I will always use. That’s what I used to tell myself. I failed at staying clean many, many times. I began to think that recovery works, but not for me. I was about to give up trying after my 4th or 5th time. I almost disqualified myself yet again.
But something deep down inside me kept telling me to try again. Even when every fiber in my being told me that I could not do it. I had to figure out why I kept running back to using. What was I doing wrong. Then I realized that I wasn’t fully committed to staying clean. I had conditions on what I would and wouldn’t do. I had reservations and motives. I had excuses and alibis.
I was using the old lie once an addict always an addict as an excuse for not giving it my all. I became comfortable with stumbling (relapsing) and not getting back up. I once again settled for my failure as being who I am.
Once I was able to accept this. I was able to surrender and move past it. I was afforded another opportunity to get clean by the grace of my higher power. I was lucky to have made it back. I started to believe that I could say clean. I started to apply the suggestions that I wouldn’t take before. I decided that using drugs would not be the end of my journey.
My Journey is just beginning.
Peace and Blessings
I remember how hard it was for me to get clean. I can remember plenty of nights crying myself to sleep. (When I could sleep) I was so distraught, desperate and just beat down. I was at my lowest and thought I would die like this. I remember wishing that day would hurry up and come. I remember wanting to expedite that result because it was taking too long.
I remember where I came from. I keep it fresh in my mind so I will never forget it. I share it constantly as a reminder of where I can return to. It only takes a second. One wrong decision. One drink or drug. I will be right back in the grips. The never ending cycle. The desperation, The isolation, The degradation. The Loneliness and Despair. It only takes one. I know this today.
I used to get frustrated and angry because I felt I should be somewhere further along than I was. I was trying to rush my process looking for quick results in short periods of time. I realize today how damaging that was to my recovery. My addiction made me feel that the process wasn’t working. Instead of me looking at how far I had come, I was focusing on how far I had to go and why it was taking so long.
My disease played me right back out the door.
Starting over wasn’t easy. I was very hard on myself. It took some time and some help from my Higher Power and from those in my Network but I eventually was able to learn to forgive myself and allow myself my process. To allow myself to grow at my pace in my own time. I stopped comparing myself to others. I started to compare myself to where I came from. I was able to start seeing the growth. The change was there all I had to do was look inside myself. Not outside at everybody else.
I started from the bottom and now I am here. I am right where I am supposed to be.
Peace and Blessings
Growing up I was a very trusting child. I trusted that my parents loved me and they would always be there for me. I trusted people, and eventually that trust cost me. I learned the hard way that trusting people was a mistake. That everytime I trusted someone I wound up being the one to get hurt. It took a little time to sink in because I continued to have faith in people but continued to get the same results.
I eventually made a decision. Albeit a costly one. Yet and still it seemed to be my only course of action. I decided that people could not be trusted. All people. I stopped being that trusting person and proceeded to treat everyone like they already did something wrong to me. That one decision led me to isolation. I didn’t trust people so why bother with them. That’s how I began to think and fueled by my addiction those thoughts grew into anger, resentments, animosity, fear which eventually led me to loneliness, despair and desperation.
True to my addictive nature. I still suffer the ill affects from my past when it comes to trust. I have a hard time opening myself up to people. I have an unwillingness to trust people for that fear is still there. The ones that I do open up to, I find myself expecting them to cross me in some way. I am slowly, and I mean slowly attempting to open up. I suffer at times with a simple hug, so talking to people I don’t know is damn near non existent. As a result I sometimes suffer in silence and isolation even in a crowded room.
I know that eventually things will change. I really want to become more open to talking to people and making friends but I have allowed fear to keep me paralyzed in that area. I just got a new sponsor and even asking him to sponsor me took some time. I am tired of feeling like I am not making progress and I look forward to doing some work in this area.
Progress not perfection
One day, hour or minute at a time.
This is my process, it is not a race and I am in competition with no one.
Recently I had been struggling with letting go of a situation that was happening in my life. It was repercussions from not handling my responsibilities while suffering in active addiction.
I tried unsuccessfully, everything under the sun to control and manipulate the outcome of said situation. The only thing that came out of that was me being stressed out, angry and resentful. Because I was placing unrealistic expectations on myself. Because I was trying to out think the problem. Because I was looking for instant gratification.
It took me some time to finally realize that I was caught up in a cycle of insanity. I was doing the same thing expecting different results without the use of any mind or mood altering substance. I had to take a hard long look at my behavior patterns. It was an awakening that led me to finally surrender.
Once I was able to say I surrender and it is what it is. I was able to let it go. I had to start looking past the problem. I had to stop trying to fix something that was not broke. A funny thing happened once I was able to do that. I felt lighter. Literally. I felt the weight of all that stress, worry, anger and aggravation lift off me. It was an awakening that led me to a sense of freedom.
I am beginning to understand that there is a certain power in letting go. I cannot fix, manipulate, con, go around, under or over. I have to be patient and work through. I have to understand that I have no control over certain situations and that even the worse situations eventually will pass.
Peace and Blessings