WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE

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I often ask myself this question. I have been thinking a lot lately about how much my life has changed. But I have also been thinking about how much my life is still the same.

I am grateful that I can share my experiences with the world but even more, I am grateful that I have experiences to share. I know that I am doing things today that I have only dreamed of and my life is amazing right now. I know that I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I am still a work in progress.

I understand that fact, but there’s this underlying feeling that occasionally eats at me. A feeling that is hard to describe in words but it’s a familiar feeling. It’s a feeling similar to that of failure. It’s a  feeling that I know and then again don’t.  I have the unfortunate disease of complication, uncertainty and fear. I have a disease that tells me that I am not enough and what I do is not enough. This disease wants me to believe that I do not deserve the blessings that I have received and it has me waiting for the impending doom that has always been associated with my life.

The thing is

I love the changes that have been happening in my life. The thing also is I am still operating on a one track mind frame. I on one hand welcome change but on the other become closed minded when that change,  changes. When I am set on something I want it to come through, but when the variables change I balk. I become stuck and undecided. I become closed minded and find it difficult at times to snap out of it. That’s one of many of my character defects.

I know that it’s all in my head. It’s the result of years of drug abuse and not growing up and stuffing feelings and experiences that no sane person should ever have to endure. It’s from years of allowing fear to dictate my life. I also know that I have grown and am still growing and will face challenges.

So what’s the difference.

The difference is I am not who I was back then. I have changed. I have grown and will continue to do so. I will never give up, because the life I want is becoming a reality. It’s within grasp and is no longer my wildest dreams. I am not perfect nor do I want to be. I will have ups and I will have downs. I will not allow fear to have me feeling like I am not worthy. I am willing to work past those fears and character defects to get to my next level.

Progress not perfection.

Slow motion is better than no motion.

HELLO IS THIS THING ON!

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For years I sat in silence. Words seemed so useless to me. I spoke very little and preferred it if others did the same. When I was smoking crack I could not stand noise. If you made a lot of noise it was almost a sure bet I would react on you. Without a doubt. I hated all kinds of noise but the biggest offender was the plastic bag..I hated the noise plastic bags made and I hated the people who would ruffle them just to annoy me.(Or so I thought..because it was always about me). Needless to say. I stopped hanging around people and isolation became my thing. That was a even bigger mistake because then my paranoia really kicked in. In my end I was so paranoid that I thought I heard things that didn’t even exist. I can remember being at home (alone of course) and just listening. Listening to every sound from everywhere. My ears were so tuned to nothingness that I could hear a pin drop in China. Along with the listening I would stare at walls, doors and windows. Listening, waiting for the ball to drop. Anticipating some catastrophic event that was about to happen that never did. But still I wait, day after day after day.

My routine was the same. EVERY DAY.

In my using years, I lost the ability to socialize with people. I placed every one in the same category. Can’t be trusted. Therefore I proceeded to look at everyone as a threat. I did that for so long that I began to believe it to be fact. When in fact it was fiction. It was made up inside my twisted little head. I fabricated, and fantasized for so long that I began to believe all the lies that I told myself and then began to base my life around those lies.

The problem with that is now that I am clean. I find myself still not socializing with people. Well let me say not socializing with people as much as I think I should. I am still blocking people out because of lack of trust, past hurts, past experiences a lot of which are not even relevant any more. No one remember or cares what happened back in 1992. I struggle to open up completely to some and others I can open up with no problem. I pick and choose who I socialize with and it just might be the one thing that will hurt me in the long run. I might be blocking out people who are not trying to hurt me but can really help me. I use my blog to articulate the things that I sometimes have trouble putting into words. I can write, I love to write. Writing is my release mechanism and it helps me tremendously. I only wish that I could talk to people as easy as I can write.

I have set a goal for myself this year. I plan on getting to know at least 3 new people. Not just on a hello and goodbye basis. I mean really get to know them and allow them to get to know me. Hang out with them and socialize in public not just through text messages, facebook and other social media. I mean get out of my shell.

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I will write for ever. That’s my passion. But I also want to speak. So I shall speak up.

Peace and Blessing

Eric Ease

ANGRY MAN

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Ever since I can remember I have had a problem keeping my anger in check. I have a temper that sometimes gets the best of me. I was never the type to bite my tongue and have been known to fly off the handle at the drop of a dime. Needless to say that has caused me plenty of grief, heartache and pain. I’ve been mandated to anger management classes and jails and institutions are a part of my story.

In the past I just accepted it as being who I was. If someone didn’t like it, they could get to stepping, kick rocks with flip flops. I didn’t care about you or your feelings. As you can imagine in the end I didn’t have many people who wanted to be around me. If they did, it was usually some kind of motive attached to it. In the end I was alone and lying to myself saying that I didn’t need anyone.

Isolation became my way of life. Associating with the public as little as possible. With no contact with my family and no friends other than using addicts I became angry, resentful and bitter. I blamed everyone else for my current situation. It never occurred to me that it could be me. Placing the blame on me for anything was unheard of. I could not take responsibility for my actions because in my mind I could do no wrong. Self centered and fully absorbed I sank deeper and deeper into my own world. A fantasy land where I was King and nobody else mattered.

I will be the first to admit today that I lived a lonely and miserable existence. I became a prisoner in my own fantasy.

But it wasn’t a fantasy. It was very real.

It was painful and agonizing. I was desperate and in despair. I was a derelict. I abandoned everyone but more importantly I abandoned myself. Gave up on society, but more importantly. I gave up on myself. All I ever wanted was to be liked, loved and wanted. I found out that I was all those
things for all the wrong reasons.

I’ve searched far and wide to find acceptance from others when I should have been searching within. Everything that I needed was inside of me the whole time. But I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t tap into that strength supplied to me by a power greater than myself. I instead took the easy road and allowed a lower power to keep me caught up in the grips and as a result I have been feeling, living and displaying the negative effects.

I got a chance to reverse the negativity that has plagued me, and been a part of my life for so long when I came into recovery. In my beginning I was excited and eager to start to living a positive life. At first this new way of living was scary. After all I have used mind altering substances for 3/4 of my life. But I was desperate and willing to try anything. It lasted for a couple of months and then I started to relapse back to old attitudes and behaviors. I went back out and was back and forth for a couple of years. I came back again through God’s grace and mercy with a new found hope and I have been here ever since.

Now I find myself feeling complacent and getting the angry man effects once again. I know that I haven’t been giving my recovery my all lately and have more or less fallen back and haven’t been as vigorous. I know what needs to be done and I have started doing it. I refuse to make the same mistakes today. I refuse to allow my disease to run rampant and not do anything about it. I am checking my disease at the door. I have plugged back into my recovery and will do those things that I have not been doing. I will not make excuses, I will make progress. I will make changes. I will push through to the other side. I know that if I don’t I will only have pain, misery and suffering to look forward to. I have come to far to look back now.

Peace and blessings

Eric Ease

THE POWER OF THE GROUP

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I am thankful for my support group. I am not only speaking of the people with whom I associate with in the fellowship. I am also talking about each and every one of you as well. You are as much a part of my group as the people that I see and talk to every day. I want to take this time to thank everyone who responded to my post BACK TO THE BASICS. It really helped me to realize that I am not alone. That there are others who can identify with me and know exactly what I am talking about. Some times I can forget that I am not unique or special in that I am not the only one who has struggled and overcome. It truly touches my heart when I share something that is troubling me and people offer genuine support and encouragement. I remember a time when I couldn’t share pain and heartache or anything else for that matter because then the vultures would be circling looking at you like you were a easy mark. Like their next victim or a meal ticket. I have been hurt by people I thought were my friends in the past and as a direct result made a decision some years ago to never allow anyone to get close enough to me to ever hurt me again.

I used to hate people because I would always be disappointed by them in one way or another. I ran with a motto I can do bad all by myself and proceeded to live my life in that manner.

ALL BY MYSELF!

I isolated myself from others, I turned my feelings off and became cold and callous. I had no empathy for your pain, struggles or heartache. I learned to mask my feelings so well that I began to believe that I had none. I lied to myself so much that I believed that I didn’t care about people. That I didn’t need people. That I didn’t need anyone. I lived in a self made prison. A fantasy world were no one could ever touch me.

It took a long time for it to sink into my thick skull that I actually need people in my life. I am beginning to understand the power behind having friends and reaching out to others whether in times of need or to just say hello. I struggle in this area although I realize the importance of it, I have a difficult time just having a simple conversation with people face to face and sometimes even over the phone. So instead of working through the area I just avoid it all together. I do not initiate conversations with strangers and with the people I already know it takes a long time for me to really warm up to them enough for me to actually get to know them on a deeper level. I get along by doing just enough. Never straying outside my comfort zone. I still do not allow people to get to know me on a really personal level. I still have trust issues and let very few people get to know me on such a deep level.

I have made a commitment to myself that I will work towards becoming more people friendly this year. I am ready to step into a new realm of my recovery. I feel that the time has come to take the risks and stop worrying about the what if’s. It’s time to stop living in fear of rejection and hurt and live life to the fullest. I will work on the uncomfortable feelings and stop living in isolation. I cannot do this alone.

There is no I in TEAM.

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Like I mentioned in my post IT’S NOT JUST A DREAM. IT’S AN AWAKENING. I am starting on a new journey and that a goal without action is just a dream. I have been awakened to the possibilities and I need to take the action to make them a reality. Thank you to all those who have helped me along my journey so far and those who will help me for many years to come.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

BEING CAREFUL HOW I TALK TO MYSELF

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The way I talk to myself can determine how my life will take shape. I have learned that negative self talk can stunt my growth and keep me stuck in a never ending cycle of negativity and self destruction.

For many years there was only one type of conversation that I had with myself. It was always negative and downgrading. I always knocked myself for not being this or that. I would be very hard on myself and I began to believe those lies at a very early age. So for decades I believed that I was worthless and useless. I couldn’t see my potential let alone believe that I was capable of doing anything worthwhile. Needless to say I made a lot of excuses and procrastination became a way of life. I would allow my negative voice to take hold and I would talk myself out of even attempting to achieve even the simplest tasks.

One of the greatest lies I told myself was I would never be able to stop using. That I would die using drugs and that’s just the way it was going to be. So of course telling myself this I would never try hard to stop. I tried the bare minimum and when it didn’t work that was just a reinforcement of the lie. I didn’t realize then, that It was me sabotaging myself from the start. That I was speaking it into existence every time I told myself that I couldn’t. I became so toxic to myself that I saw no way out and believed it to be my destiny.

Well I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When I first started my journey in recovery. I was full of negativity, negative self talk and doubt. As a result I couldn’t stay clean. I would pick and choose what I would apply because I believed I was wasting my time. After a few tries and some suggestions from more experienced members. I began to make some progress. With that progress came hope. The hope that I could actually stay clean became positive self talk. I can do this. I am doing this. My life began to change and my hope turned into faith. I began to talk different to myself and others. I began to believe in myself and my ability to stay clean. I was sold on the idea and I haven’t looked back since.

I also learned that a positive attitude towards life in general can change things. I decided to try it in all areas of my life. By applying a few basic principles like Honesty, Open Mindedness and Willingness my life has changed tremendously. I still have my moments of doubt and negativity. After all I’ve been that way for decades. The difference is I do not allow it to dictate my life’s direction today. I can choose to stay in a funk of negativity or change my thoughts to the positive things.

Today I choose to be positive. It’s always a choice. I am grateful for the ability to make better decisions. It makes a world of a difference.

WHO IS THIS PERSON?

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When I sit back and think about how far I have come in the last 2 years I am often amazed. I find myself getting through situations today that would have had me running to go cop just a few short 24’s ago. It didn’t take much for me to use. I had no limitations. I used everyday and didn’t really need any reason at all. I used just because. Just because it was sunny, rainy, hot, cold or just because I was angry, happy, sad, frustrated or whatever. Today I have come to appreciate those situations. I am learning to deal with anger, happy, sad and frustrated in a different way. I appreciate rainy, sunny, hot and cold days. I am learning how to express myself and channel my feelings in an appropriate manner. I could never do that before and sometimes I say to myself who are you. Lol. Then I thank my higher power that the old me is slowly but surely fading into a past memory.

I remember when I first came into recovery. I was sick and tired of suffering and really wanted to quit killing myself. At first I remember being scared and feeling alone. Then I remember getting cocky and slowly slipping back into old familiar behavior patterns. Before long smoking crack and searching for ways and means was no longer of thing of the past. I remember coming back again and again because I was too busy focusing on how far I still had to go, how I should have gotten better faster. How I am too old to be a new comer. I remember focusing on all the wrong things and not being grateful for how far I had come, and being grateful that I made it here in the first place. Gratitude was something that I always lacked. I took everything for granted and assumed I was owed things and I was supposed to be treated a certain way and given everything without putting forth any effort what so ever.

Talk about full of myself.

I always looked for the easy way out or for someone to do it for me. Well I learned a very valuable lesson from all of that. It became crystal clear to me that in order for me to make any progress I needed to stop dwelling on how far I had to go. I had to learn to live in the moment and be grateful for today. I had to learn that all I have is today, yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised. I had to get some gratitude and I had to get some quick. I had to learn that I needed to do some work and I had to do it for myself that no one can walk this path for me. I was told to take a daily inventory at the end of my day. I found that to be a very helpful tool. It helped me to see the changes that I was making more clearly. Being a addict I tend to pass judgement on myself and nothing is ever good enough. I had to learn and am still practicing being easy on myself. I had to learn how to pat myself on the back for accomplishments. No matter how small the feat it is worthy of recognition. Being thankful after being selfish for so long took some time and I still fall short sometimes. I have learned that it’s ok to fall short I will make mistakes and that’s ok too. I have gained far more in the last 2 years than I have in a lifetime of addiction.

I have changed into someone that I do not recognize. I only knew one way of life for the majority of my life. My journey is scary at times because I find myself still waiting for the other shoe to drop. That mentality is a part of the old me and I will not allow it to interfere with the new me. The shoe will keep on keeping on, but if it does happen to drop. I have a new set of tools to help me deal with it and not return to the scene of the crime which is my past. I might not recognize this person but I like where he is headed. I think I will just remain thankful and full of gratitude for where I am today and faithful for a better tomorrow.

This person is me and I love my life.

I GET INSPIRATION FROM WHO I AM TODAY

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I am grateful for the person I am becoming. I have been blessed to have lived 2 lives in 1 lifetime.

I came from the depths of desperation and despair. With the help of my Higher Power, a family of people who are just like me and the determination to change. I have been blessed to stay clean for 22 months today. One day at a time.

Progress not perfection.

This is the longest I have ever went without using some mind or mood altering substance. I have gained some awesome friends and am learning more about myself in this short period of time than I have known for the past 40 years.

I get inspiration from many people and I do not sit here and claim total responsibility for this miraculous change. I do know that I could not have done this without the help and support of my network.

But I have to say that I also get inspiration from myself. When I compare who I am today with who I was 2 years ago. I can’t help but pat myself on the back. For many years I thought this was just a dream. That I would never stop using and that I would die using.

I could not have been more wrong.
Recovery is possible.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

CHANGE IS GRADUAL BUT NECESSARY

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It has been almost 2 weeks since my last post. Life shows up and it becomes necessary to take care of the responsibilities at hand. I am grateful that people notice and care enough to inquire. Thank you that really means a lot to me. You made my day.

I remember in my active addiction no one cared if I wasn’t around. If they didn’t see me it was a relief. I know that I  caused it to be that way. I accept my part in the damage and mistrust that resulted from my addiction. I know that it can take a day or a life time for forgiveness from others. I accept that as well. I am more concerned with forgiving myself right now. All else will eventually fall into place.

Right now I am working on me. Changing the old reckless attitudes and behaviors that were associated with my active addiction. I have accepted the truth. The fact that my life was in shambles, unmanageable and down right out of control. But that was then. Today I am a different person. I am actively participating in my recovery and make changes is a major part of learning to live life without the use of drugs.

No one said it was going to be easy. But no one said that it can’t be done either.

I know for a fact that it can be done because I am doing it. It has been a journey full of ups and downs. Thinking that life is always going to be easy and good is a expectation that will set me up for certain failure. Accepting the truth that life will show up allows me the opportunity to deal with it, learn from it and grow.

Change is about growing. Putting on my Big Boy pants and taking responsibility. Not running from it and thinking it will go away. Recovery has afforded me many opportunities but the biggest and most important one for me is the opportunity to change.

For that I am truly grateful.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

STOP LETTING LIFE PASS ME BY

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I am realizing the power in letting go. But even with this knowledge I still find myself harboring ill feelings and resentments. Letting go is a learned process that takes practice and patience.

I have been allowing mistakes from my past to stunt my growth. I have been allowing the disappointments of trusting others in the past, to keep me from trusting people today. It also plays a major role in my reluctance to open up to people and allow them to get to know me.

I realized this weekend that I have a lot of friends online. I went to a picnic in Philadelphia and allowed myself to meet and great with them. I had the best time ever. It was amazing to finally meet people that I only had interactions with on Facebook.

It helped me to realize how damaging holding on to that mess has been. It also helped me to make a decision to not allow my past to continue to haunt me and allow life to pass me by.

I will not beat myself up for struggling to let go but I will allow myself to take a healthy risk. To assert myself in the areas that I struggle and just practice it to the best of my ability.

More will be revealed.

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