I’VE GOT TO BELIEVE

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I heard it said many times that if I think I can or cannot I am right. I could never quite figure out what that meant until recently. I didn’t understand the power that lies with my thoughts. That if I think negatively about something it will eventually have a negative outcome. If I think positively I will have a positive result. My circumstances are determined by my own energy and my attitude towards any given situation.

For what seems like a thousand years I have had a negative outlook on life. As  a child I can remember not liking myself and wishing my life was better,  wishing I was this or that. I defeated my own purpose then and as I grew older I  started experimenting with substances. My circumstances only got worse and  my life spiraled out of control because I truly believed that I  could not do anything about it. I wallowed in self pity and blamed everyone for what I thought to be my misfortune.  Taking no responsibility for my actions because I didn’t know how.

Coming into recovery all these years later it is difficult to undo all the damage that I have caused myself. My fractured thinking still at times will have me believe that I am not worthy and that things are going to end badly soon. I have come a long way since October 2013 but the truth is I have only begun to scratch the surface. I have a long road ahead of me I know. The main difference today is I am learning not to see my glass as half empty. I try to see the big picture and not self defeat. I fall short on many occasions believe me. That’s why I am grateful that I have people in my life. Those closest to me help me to recognize when I am blocking my own blessings and she helps me to see through my own mess. 

I can admit today that I need help and that I cannot always see past the obstacle that is me. But I believe that I will and that’s why I continue to do the work.

Peace and blessings

Eric Ease

FORWARD MOBILITY..MY RESPONSIBILITY

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As you all know I have been thinking a lot lately about what direction my life should go. I have been thinking that I need to be doing something other than what I am doing now and that I have been feeling a little stuck or stagnate. As I have mentioned in both previous posts TIME TO TURN FEAR AND PROCRASTINATION INTO ACTION AND IN TAKING THE NEXT STEPS. Well I have ideas brewing and to be quite honest. I am ready to start making some moves towards reaching my goals. I know myself and I have a habit of jumping off the bridge and then quitting half way through. I do not wish to overwhelm myself by trying to do too many things at once so I will start with one. Then gradually advance to others as I progress.

The first thing that I want to do is to grow my blog audience.

I want to take my blog to the next level and beyond. I truly believe that this is my purpose, I have a message to share and I want to be able to reach the masses.  I have already begun the process of promoting my blog on social media sites but I was doing it half ass. I was not really putting my all into it. I was allowing myself to be discouraged by the lack of participation by those who call themselves my friends on Facebook and other media sites. That ends today. It’s not up to me to decide who should participate and comment and respond. I have no control over that. What I do have control over is putting my posts out to as many groups and media outlets as I can. Not everyone will respond but I will become more visible and then the right connections will eventually be made. I am not going to allow my feelings to dictate my actions any longer in this regard. I will promote my blog and continue to share my stories with the world even if no one responds.

I will take a more active roll in participating with the blogging community.

I have also not been reading and responding to other blogs and that is not fair to the people who read and comment on my posts. I have been doing the same thing to my blogging friends that I just finished saying people have been doing to me. If I expect to see new traffic and to keep the traffic that I have now, I need to participate more and be more active with the blogging community. I apologize for that and I have already started to correct that as we speak. I have made a commitment to dedicate time everyday to reading and responding to bloggers posts in my community and reaching out to new bloggers as well.

I am looking to build and vastly large network of recovery bloggers and it starts and ends with me. What I put in is what I will get back. What I focus on is what I will get in return. The universe will respond once I start to actively participate in my own success. I am grateful to be able to share my story openly with others through my blog. From Struggle To Strength has brought me tremendous relief and has proven to be a therapeutic and very valuable tool in my recovery process. I would love to continue on this road and grow and I cannot wait to see where it can go from here. Who knows maybe my aspirations will lead to writing a book one day. Hint hint.

I want to thank ALL of my readers. I truly, truly appreciate all the love, support and encouragement you have given me over the last 4 years. You all inspire me to continue to share my story and I can only hope that my story can reach that one person who might be thinking that they cannot do it and then they realize that they can.

WE DO RECOVER

I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF

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I remember sacrificing the principals I was taught as a child so I could fit in. I ran with the wrong crowds and wanted to do what they did. I knew that it was wrong, but I wanted to be liked. I just wanted to be down.

I remember my parents  warning me against the things I was doing and telling me what would happen. I was so stubborn and full of myself. I thought I knew everything and they didn’t have a clue as to what they were talking about.

I thought that those so called friends cared about me. I thought that they had my back. I listened to them and ignored my parents. I turned my back on my family and turned to the streets. I thought they loved me and understood me.

I found out the hard way that the streets had no love for me. Those same fake ass friends turned their backs on me or stabbed me in the back every chance they got. I was hurt,  devastated to say the least.

Anger became my friend. I  turned my back on everyone. I couldn’t trust people anymore. I sank into depression and my using escalated to new heights. Needless to say my addiction stored and the rest was history.

I am starting over in recovery. I am attempting to establish new friendships. Healthy relationships. I have to be honest. I am having difficulty with opening myself up to people. I don’t like the vulnerability and the awkwardness I feel and I  am uncomfortable most of the time. I lack the trust needed and I am having difficulty finding the willingness to let go of the past in this area.

I know that this is a process and change doesn’t happen overnight. I know this and I also know that not everyone I meet is meant to be in my life. I will take my time and when I am comfortable I will move forward.

Until then
I will continue to be alone rather than sacrifice my principles and be in bad company. I can do bad all by myself.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

OVER COMING MY OBSTACLE.. ME

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I remember how I used to let minor setbacks and obstacles deter me and stop me in my tracks. I would get so frustrated and perplexed. Literally bent out of shape by the smallest of things.

My lack of confidence and my inability to deal with problems as they arose became a stumbling block that I just couldn’t seem to get over. As time went on I refused to even try. I tried to avoid problems and proceeded to live life like I was walking on eggshells.

I would go around, over, under or back the other way. Trying to avoid dealing with problems became a full time job because in my active addiction problems were around every corner. It was exhausting, time consuming and hazardous to my overall health and well-being.

Eventually I became my biggest obstacle. I blocked my own blessings. I blocked my own growth, and blocked my self from progressing to bigger and better things. I allowed my fears, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, low self worth and despair to become a way of life. I accepted that as my fate. I gave up and settled for less than my best.

I thought that was how it was supposed to be. How my life was meant to turn out. Using and becoming addicted at an early age afforded me nothing but missed opportunities. I missed out on learning how to grow up and learning how to cope with life. I just tried to numb away my problems and pain.

Today thanks to the process of recovery I am over coming my biggest obstacle. Myself. I am learning so many things now that I should have already known. My thinking wants me to believe that I am stupid and tries to have me believe that it’s too late to change. I know better. I do not feel less than any longer because I am just now getting it. I feel grateful and thankful that I am alive to get it.

Obstacles are placed in my path every day. The difference is today It’s not me that’s the obstacle. Today I have the tools to get through them and I utilize them. I am moving forward towards bigger and better things and nothing can stop me now.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

GET UP. NEVER GIVE UP

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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

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.

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