STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM NOW WE HERE

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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.
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I started from the bottom and now I am here. I am right where I am supposed to be.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

I DON’T THINK SO. NOT TODAY

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I have been allowing my thoughts to have too much air time the last couple of days. I have been obsessive and compulsive and as a result my emotions have been all over the place.

I have learned that the mind can be a terrible place to dwell. That my thoughts are often off by a mile and that I should second guess and seek suggestions on some of the things that I think about.

It has been my experience that the battle that goes on in between my ears, if not exposed, can cause me to make some very bad decisions. My track record confirms that, I am not able to consistently make good decisions. Taking matters into my own hands, living my way and thinking I am in control are all results of listening to that voice.

Yes. That Voice. You know the one. That negative nosey body that amps up every situation. That same voice that tells me to do things that deep down inside I know are not right. Its that voice that has gotten me in more trouble than I care to mention.

I used to be embarrassed to admit that I had That Voice. Today I know that my addiction uses that voice to attack me. To check in to see if I am still committed to my recovery. It turns quite thoughts into a audio conversation in my head. The battle between good and evil begins and there can only be one winner.

Thanks to the recovery process. That voice has been losing the battle. But it is a persistent son of a gun. It won’t go out without a fight. It might stay quiet for a minute but bet your bottom dollar. It comes back to check in. The difference is I am aware of it today. I know what it’s motives are and I know how to shut it down.

I learned and will continue to learn some very valuable lessons in my recovery process. I am grateful that I have the open mindedness and willingness to continue on my journey regardless of what happens.

I have learned to trust the process and not the voice.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

THE HOLIDAY HAZARD

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I can remember for years treating holidays as if they were legal get high days. Holidays were special. If it was Thanksgiving or Christmas I would be with my family and we would all chip in and get whatever we could. If it was any other holiday they same applied but with friends and anyone else who wanted to chip in. I remember going to parks, beaches or where ever we wanted to go and be drinking, smoking and caring on. Having what I mistook for a good time. Back then my using was recreational but as the years went by it started to become more of a habit. In the end it was a nightmare, I was all alone and It was a need. I had to feed my monster.

I remember thinking that I could stop any time I wanted to. I just don’t want to stop. That was the lie I told others to cover up the fact that I didn’t know how to stop. I tried to stop on my own and I failed every time. The only time I would be able to get any break from using was when I got arrested or went into rehab. For identification purposes.. I even used when I was in prison and rehab too.

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I couldn’t stay clean in the end and I was scared to let anyone know that. I was afraid to ask for help and as a result I continued to suffer.

Now that I am clean (20 Mos 6 days) I still have some moments when I have thoughts of using and urges to act on them. Holiday’s are some of those times. Holiday’s are especially hard because my thought process associates a holiday with having fun.(Although using was not fun, it is still associated in that manner in my thoughts.) In my mind I get thoughts of missing out on something. I begin to feel like wanting to be a part of again. I have to remember that I was not having fun and that I am not missing anything. If I play the whole thought out I will remember that in the end using caused me to lose every thing and almost cost me my life. I need to remember that all it takes is one. That first one will send me into a never ending spiraling frenzy that will only end badly. Today I am grateful that I am not afraid to let someone know when I feel like using. I share with others when those thoughts come to mind.

Jails, institutions and death are only a crack rock, drink or drug away.

My way of dealing with the holiday triggers are to

1. Stay connected to my network. / Talk about what I am feeling. VERY IMPORTANT

2. Call friends and make meetings.

3. Read recovery literature and do step work.

4. Keep my self busy. Idle time is not productive or conducive to my recovery.

5. Treat myself to a movie or go to an amusement park.

There are several ways that I keep myself from thinking and acting off my thoughts and I have learned all of them from being in recovery. I still have a lot of learning to do and I look forward to it. Recovery is what I make it and today I choose to make the best of it. I take the suggestions from others today. I admit that I do not know everything and I practice remaining open minded and honest.

So far it has been working.

THE UNWILLINGNESS TO FULLY TRUST

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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.
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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.

THERE IS POWER IN LETTING GO

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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.
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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

Eric Ease

I AM WHAT I SAY I AM

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Negative thoughts turn into negative actions.

Ever since I was a little boy I can remember having negative thoughts about myself and my surroundings. Seeds of failure and low self worth were planted and took hold at a early age. As the years went by those seeds grew and flourished.

When drugs entered the picture I was locked and loaded. I lost the ability to see anything good about myself. I would say things like I will never amount to anything so why bother. I am just plain bad, stupid, ugly. So forth and so on. I’m sure you get the picture.

Those negative affirmations dictated my path and lead me to a life of self destruction, self hate and self harm. I didn’t see a way out and proceeded to live life according to my beliefs. I didn’t understand that the words that I spoke to myself, was the fuel that was added to a fire that was already burning out of control.

I had no idea back then what positive affirmations were. I didn’t understand how important it is to speak positively to myself and about myself. I had to learn how to do that. I am practicing speaking positive things not only to myself but to others as well. I have to reprogram my thought process and practice backing it up with my actions.

For me this is a difficult task at times. I have been conditioned for so long to being negative and hard on myself. I had become accustom to failure and accepted it as if it was supposed to be that way.

I am not a failure. I am not my past.

Today with help. I am speaking and writing myself into a better way of life. I am beginning to see that there is light. Not at the end of the tunnel, but right here in the tunnel. I believe that I was lied to and in turn by believing those lies, I lied to myself. I gave up, surrendered without investigating and seeking the truth for myself.

Now that I am seeking the truth. I have uncovered that I am not all those things but something all together different. I am somebody. I am smart, handsome and worthy. There is nothing that I cannot do or become. I know this today as being fact. I have been living it to the best of my ability ever since it was suggested to me.

I believe that there is so much more to me and I will not rest until I see what I say come true.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

FACE MY FEARS AND MOVE FORWARD

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I have learned that in order for me to grow and expand my horizon. I have to be willing to try new things. I have been stuck in a cycle similar to that of my active addiction but without the drugs.

Fear of failure has been keeping me stuck in familiar ground. Blocking me from attempting new things. It’s amazing how the mind works. I find that I have been talking myself out of trying something new for fear that I am not good enough or that I will not succeed.

I thought that I was being open minded and in reality I have come to realize that open mindedness involves more than just an idea its also an action. To say that I am willing to do this or that is one thing. But to then actually try it is another. That is where I am falling short. Putting action behind the plan.

My thoughts are only as good as the effort that I put behind them.

Now that I am aware of the problem. I can begin to take the necessary action to correct the situation and free myself from those fears that have been holding me back. I will seek the help of others who have been in this situation or similar situations. I am ready to move forward from this point of feeling stagnant.

Progress not perfection.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

PRACTICING FORGIVENESS

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I have learned that holding on to past hurts is harmful to me. It stunts my growth process and keeps me from making any forward progress.

Letting go and forgiving past hurts was unheard of. I would hold a grudge and have resentments and anger towards people for years. I used to be a very spiteful person and could lay and wait for the opportune time to extract my revenge.

I understand today how damaging that behavior is. That still doesn’t mean that I have mastered forgiveness. I have not. But today I am practicing forgiving others because I know that I too need forgiveness. It’s easier said than done, but I have the willingness to practice it and I will eventually be better at accepting it for what it is and it’s intended purpose.

Learning how to forgive takes time but so far I have noticed that I am feeling a lot lighter. Less stressed and angry as a result. This is all new territory for me but being honest about it, having the willingness and open mindedness to attempt it has proven to be very helpful in my growing process.

And for that I am truly grateful.

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Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

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

OUT WITH THE OLD. IN WITH THE NEW.

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I have been constantly reminding myself of this lately.

My mind keeps jumping back to old behavior mode and old attitudes are proving to die harder than I originally thought. I find myself wanting to resort to some of my old methods of handling situations. I am not talking about using substances to solve anything, I am referring to street tactics and antics. I have been sharing about my feelings with anyone who will listen. I have been struggling in the area of letting go. I know that it takes practice so I am not beating myself up.

I really need to get with someone and find out how to let go and not take it back. How to release the need to still try to control situations and manipulate outcomes. How do I kick these thoughts to the curb and not go back and pick them up later. Staying focused lately has been hard and it has been affecting my overall attitude. My spirit is feeling uneasy and I have been really irritable. It has been showing in more ways than I care to mention. I need a break from my own madness, a vacation from my thoughts. I have been sharing that I need to plug back in. I do not wish to be like the animal who gets cut from the herd on to be eaten alive by the savage beast.

Been there. Done that.

I know that doing the same things expecting different results is the meaning of insanity. It’s crazy how the things I am learning, I am relearning over and over again in different situations and scenarios. In the beginning my insanity was using drugs and thinking this time will be different. Now my insanity is taking on a new meaning it has taken a different form but the outcomes are similar in the pain it is causing. I am becoming more and more aware of myself. I am also becoming more aware that certain things that I used to do are no longer acceptable to me.. Because if they were I would have acted off the impulses already. I am fighting a war and the battle ground is between my ears.

I am grateful for the process of recovery for it is teaching me how to say NO. It is teaching me to be honest about my feelings and my thoughts. It is teaching me that it’s ok to talk about my feelings and not to worry about what others think or say about me. It is teaching me that I have to be responsible for my recovery and for my actions. How to show up for people and to ask for help when I need it.

I am grateful to have found a place where there are so many people just like me.

I know that my old ways do not work. My old ways got me a whole lot of pain, misery and suffering. To think that anything has changed or that I can do it different this time would be me believing the lies of my addictive thoughts and will prove once again to be a suicide mission. I do not wish to try to kill myself again. Not today not ever. I will continue to seek the help I need to get through this without taking any shortcuts.

My old ways will not open any new doors. They will only open jail cells or a casket.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease