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

YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE

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In the beginning I came into recovery broken, lost, lonely and desperate. I didn’t have any hope that I could ever change. I believed all the lies that I have been told and that I had been telling myself over the years. After all I was living proof that I was nothing but a failure. Everything I touched turned out bad, everything I tried failed. I felt worthless, hopeless and useless I had no self esteem and everyone confirmed my feelings when they spoke to me or when they spoke of me.

My biggest problem was that I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t think I was worthy of having friends or being around people in general. I didn’t believe that I could stay clean. I didn’t believe that my life would change or that anyone could ever understand what I had been through let alone help me. I thought that my situation was unique and that no one could have ever had it as bad as I did. I didn’t believe in myself because no one else believed in me. I thought they were right to put me down because I put myself down. I didn’t believe in anything anymore. I would never change.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

So of course when I came into recovery I expected the same thing to happen. In the beginning I couldn’t tell people how I really felt, I was afraid that they would treat me the same way and I didn’t need anymore people against me. But it wasn’t like that at all. I was welcomed with a hug, offered coffee and a seat in the front row. I was skeptical of all this niceness. It was foreign to me. Nobody wanted me around but these people did. The more I kept coming around I started to become comfortable with this new environment. I became willing to share about myself, a little at first but then I realized that others there were just like me and had been where I just came from. I was able to identify with their stories and that made it easier to share my own.

I began to believe. I had found hope. I began to feel like I finally belonged somewhere.

There are still times that I suffer from those feelings but they do not come as often anymore. My life began to change for the better when I started to believe that I could change. Once I believed that it was possible I became open to try new things, to live a different way. I became open to suggestions from others who have been in my shoes and were willing to share with me how they did it. I began to do those things and my belief grew even stronger. I know realize that what others think of me is not my reality. I will always have people who do not believe in me or what I say. I cannot blame some of them because I was a habitual liar and was never a man of my word. Today it’s ok that they don’t believe I prove people wrong every day with my actions. I no longer have a need for you to believe what I say. I do my best to maintain my new way of life on a daily basis and that is all I can do.

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I am not here to prove anything to anyone but myself.

I believe in myself even if you do not. The proof is in the way I live today.

Thank you for being on this journey with me. Please feel free to read more of my story on my blog at.

http://www.fromstruggletostrength.com

Peace and blessings

Eric Ease

RECOVERY IS A LIFE SAVING PROCESS

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As a addict I have experienced the pain, loneliness and despair of addiction. Before coming to the fellowship I tried everything in my power to control my usage of drugs. Nothing I ever tried worked. I tried switching my drug of choice, I tried lying to myself by saying I would only do 1. I tried hiding my money or asking someone to hold it for me. I even went as far as to leave money in my locker at work so I would not spend all of it, only to go to the job and get what I had stashed there. No matter what I tried, how many different approaches, techniques, plots and schemes they all failed. My addiction was to aggressive and I would cave in to the cravings every time. No matter what I tried in the end my addiction lead me to a downward spiral every time. Slowly but surely the progression would get worse until I was back at rock bottom.

I have learned by working some steps about the mental and physical affects of my addiction. Mentally I would become obsessed with thoughts of using. I would be thinking about using day in and day out. I would be thinking about what I was going to do when my drugs ran out long before they actually ran out. I would plan on Sunday how much of my money would go to buying my drugs when I got paid on Friday. I couldn’t last a minute without thinking of using and finding ways and means to get more. I was totally obsessed and consumed with it and my life reflected that. Then there is the physical aspect of my addiction. The compulsive urges to continue using even when I knew the end results would be devastating. Regardless of the consequences or repercussions I continued to use. They say that insanity is doing the same things expecting different results, well my insanity reached the 100th power because I did the same things knowing the results and did them anyway.There is also a spiritual aspect of addiction and that is the self centeredness. You see no matter what happens its all about me, what I want and how I feel. I want what I want and I want it now. I have hurt a lot of people along the way with my selfishness. But in reality is was my addiction not the real me that had me in its grips. I had no control over it or my actions.

I didn’t know anything about the affects of my disease until I came into recovery and started to do step work. I always thought that I was a normal person and the things I did were normal too. I thought I was pretty smart and that all I had to do was stop using drugs and everything was going to be ok. I have learned that I was wrong about that and many other things I thought that I knew. I never thought of myself as being powerless or unmanageable. I thought that surrender was for suckers, quitters and losers and I always thought I was in control of every situation. I had to learn that by surrendering to the disease of addiction and admitting my powerlessness and unmanageability that I would be able to grow and not only learn how to stay clean, but also learn that addiction is about much more than just drugs. Once I stopped using and had a clear mind I began to realize that my addictions started way before I ever picked up my first drink and drug.I began to see that my life had been unmanageable and I had been powerless long before I ever used any substance. Growing up I had addictions to lying and stealing and they only grew as I got older and began to experiment with drugs.

I was always trying to control situations even at a early age only to find out now that I have no control over others actions only over how I respond to them. I can tell you how much of a shock that was to me, and I still didn’t believe it even though all the proof was staring me right in the face. I have always been a hard head and one you had to prove things to. I was the same way in my early recovery and as a result I relapsed time and time again. Today I know better and once you know you cannot go back to not knowing. I am grateful for the process of step work. Just by answering some simple questions honestly and openly I have learned a great deal about myself and why I have done some of the things I did. I am learning who I am and how to accept the things I am learning without acting out. It is a process that is saving and changing my life on a daily basis and I will be forever grateful.

I have the opportunity to live the life I was meant to live. I am in the process of doing things I used to only dream of and it is an amazing journey. I share my experiences with you all in the hopes that I might be able to help someone who might be struggling with the same things I struggled with.

I am here to share hope.

A message of freedom from active addiction. That an addict, any addict. Can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use and find a new way to live.

I can’t tell you the difference in me today compared to 10, 5 even 2 years ago. The proof is in the way I live.

Thank you for being on this journey with me. You can read more of my story on my blog at http://www.fromstruggletostrength.com

Peace and blessing

Eric Ease

I GET INVOLVED

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Recovering from active addiction takes hard work and consistency. Nothing worth having ever comes easy.

When I first came into recovery I was beat down. I was lost, alone and desperate for a better way to live. I thought that all my problems would disappear if I could only stop using. I thought that all of sudden my life would be so much better. Well I was half right. My life has gotten a whole lot better since I put down the drugs but my problems did not just disappear over night. I immediately started to blame recovery. I began to think that it was all a bunch of BS. What I didn’t realize at the time was I was only doing a small portion of what is required to stay clean. I was only abstinent from the drugs but not the behaviors associated with them.

I continued to do things that I did when I was using. I continued to lie, cheat and steal among other things and that dishonesty along with listening to the negative thoughts in my head ran me right back out the door and to using again. I tried several times after that to get clean but was unsuccessful. I couldn’t understand why I could not stay clean. I began to think that recovery worked for others but wouldn’t work for me. I decided to stop trying and my life really fell apart. I had lost all hope of ever getting clean. I had lost faith in myself and everyone around me. I isolated myself in my self made prison and spiraled out of control. In the end I was ready to end it all. I wanted to die.

I was given a second chance and by listening to others who have been in recovery for a while I was able to string together a couple of days. I was able to learn to listen and I became willing to ask people for help. I was able to ask people that I did not know “How do I stay clean”. People reached out to me and helped me understand a little bit better about my disease. The disease of addiction is baffling to say the least. It is progressive, incurable and it is fatal. But it can be arrested one day at a time. I learned that I had to get involved, I had to participate in my own recovery. I did not do that the last time and that is why it did not work. So this time I made sure to get involved. I heard them say I was not responsible for my addiction but I am responsible for my recovery. I heard them say that recovery has to come first. I had to fashion my life around my recovery. That I had to talk about what I had been through and what I am going through now. I heard them say make meetings and share in those meetings, to get a sponsor to guide me in the process. I heard them telling me to read the literature and do step work.

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I heard the suggestions that would help me to stay clean. I not only heard them but I started doing them. I began to notice something. My life was changing. I was starting to feel better about myself and I was learning new things and meeting new people. I was actually making friends. People are happy to see me and not telling me to go away. I began to learn how to love myself and take care of my responsibilities. I was feeling like a brand new person and it felt great. I continue to get involved today. It will never be over. I have to be consistent in order to keep what I have.

Just for today..I will do just that.

Peace and blessings

Eric Ease

http://www.fromstruggletostrength.com

THE POWER OF SHARING.

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I love to share my experience, strength and hope. I especially like sharing in a group setting. Once I get over my initial fear I usually end up feeling a weight lifted. The spiritual aspect of sharing my hopes and fears is uplifting and satisfying.

But being an addict I also have those thoughts of failure and disaster. I can think myself into not wanting to even open my mouth sometimes. I can create imaginary scenarios in my mind and fear can consume me and become overwhelming.

For me it’s a constant battle going on inside my head. I understand when people speak of the noise in their head. I have that noise too. It can be deafening at times. I am learning how to quite it somewhat and sharing about it helps.

I have learned the importance of exposing the things that bother me, that make me angry, sad or depressed. But also the things that make me happy, excited, hopeful, thankful and grateful. In other words what ever I am going through sharing it helps me to deal with it. It can also help those that I am sharing with.

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“The spiritual principal of one addict helping another is without parallel. For one addict can best understand and help another addict.”

I will not allow my fears and imagination to dictate my actions or keep me from sharing, caring and growing.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease