JUST SAY NO. AND MEAN JUST THAT

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I remember how hard it was for me to say No and to mean it. I could never say it and that be the end of it.  I would say No and then turn right back around and give in to the temptation of whatever it was I was saying No to.

For instance.

I have said over a million times that I would just do one. But could not say No to the thoughts of getting more. No sooner than the thought occurred I would say I’m not going to do it and then before I knew it. I was doing it. I was out there searching for that next one.

I still struggle with denying myself things today. Telling myself No is difficult and I usually cave in without a fuss or fight. The obsession and compulsion to fill that empty space is causing me to still act out in ways that continue to have a negative impact. Always searching for that instant gratification. The high I get from it feels good at the moment. But there is always that low feeling I get afterwards. That crash and burn feeling. That damn I did it again feeling.

I am learning that It’s another form of using. I am not using drugs but I am using shopping, smoking, eating, women and speeding just to name a few. All of the above give me a certain rush. All of the above give me good feelings for a few seconds. I know before hand that I shouldn’t do it. I contemplate the end results, tell myself that I am not going to do it. Then do it anyway and wind up feeling angry and resentful afterwards.

I try to blame others if possible but when the smoke clears and I take a honest look at it. I have no one to blame but myself. I knew what it was before I got into it and proceeded to do it anyway. I am still practicing insane attitudes and  behaviors. I cannot continue to use the fact that I am new in recovery as a excuse.

Because when I know better. I am supposed to do better.
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So I will make a commitment to honestly practice saying No and sticking to it. Not for 2 seconds and then flip flop. But to make a conscious effort to stick to my guns. Get better at denying myself and having some discipline. I know that change doesn’t happen over night but over time. I also know that if nothing changes then nothing will change.

I will keep you updated on my progress.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

LEARNING NOT TO COMPARE MYSELF WITH YOU

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For a long time,  I dreamed of being someone else. I wanted what others had. I wanted to do what others did. I compared my life to those around me. I always thought every one had it better than me. That their lives was more exciting than mines. I was always comparing me to you. I never measured up in my mind.

I always felt that something was missing. I couldn’t understand why at the time. Why I always felt less than. Why I felt I didn’t belong. So I began to live a fantasy. I began creating false images of myself. I began to wear masks. I found out that I could be anyone I wanted to be. I was able to escape those feelings by becoming someone else.

For a while it felt good. I was able to fit in and act like others did. Do the things that others did. All those things that I was told not to do, I did. I was finally free. Or so I thought. I didn’t know then that there was a price to pay. I didn’t know that I was selling my soul, I was trading my original for a counterfeit. I was giving up on a life promised in return for a life of pain,  misery and suffering.

I didn’t know then what I know now. I underestimated my ability to fit in,  to make something of myself. I doubted my abilities and took a shortcut. I settled for the easy way out instead of putting in the work necessary to overcome my fears and insecurities. I was unable to see the beauty that was inside of me by comparing myself to others.

I am honestly practicing loving myself today. After years of telling myself that I’m not worthy and faking my true identity. It is hard work. I still fall short and compare myself to others and wish I was like them in one aspect or another. Like when I see others who can strike up a conversation with someone so easily.

Today I can realize that defect and work on changing it when it occurs. I am in a process that I have to make changes to behaviors that I have had for decades. I remind myself daily that it doesn’t happen over night. I will fall short at times and it’s OK.

I am right where I need to be.

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

MAKE ROOM FOR NEW PEOPLE

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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

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

WHY I CARE TO SHARE MY STORY

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I have been sharing here on my blog for almost 4 years now. I started when I first came into recovery back in 2011. I’ve shared my ups and my downs. I have shared my feelings and my thoughts. My triumphs and my failures. At best I try to share as much of my life in recovery as possible without sharing too much of the negative side of my addiction. I give glimpses of some of the horrors that I have seen and been through without going into the specifics. I tell my story how it was then and how it is now.

I used to wonder if I was doing the right thing. Exposing myself for the world to read. I already know that there is a negative stigma attached to the words addiction, addict, drugs and even recovery. I also know that there can be some negative repercussions behind it. To tell you the truth. I don’t care.The public can and will use this against me and try to make me feel like I have done something wrong and deserve to be alienated or punished for it. The public has a unhealthy fear and a uninformed opinion about addicts and people in recovery and they need to be informed. It is time that people stop turning a blind eye and start getting the information needed to not only understand addiction but to help fight it.

I feel that my story is one that needs to be told and that nobody can do it better than me.

I want people to know that addicts and people in recovery are human and not cast away’s. Not lost souls or garbage that you just toss to the side and forget about. That we are suffering from a disease not a lack of respect, scruples or discipline. That it is hard enough dealing with something that I can’t describe let alone understand and the last thing I need is you judging me. People need to know that addicts have no control over their addictions.

People need to know that its not about why won’t they just quit. I wish I was able to just quit. But the obsession to use was over powering and the compulsion to continue using no matter what was the end result. That once I was caught up in the grips of addiction all rational thoughts begin to cease and self centered thoughts on getting and using and finding a way to get more begin to take over. It is not personal, it is not intentional. It is not about you. Not at all.

The world needs to understand that addiction is a mental, physical and spiritual disease that is hell bent on destroying not only my life but the lives of those around me as well. Addiction is a deadly disease. I know first hand the damage it causes, to not only the addict but to everyone affected by the addict.

I want people to know, to understand that addiction is not the end of the road. That there is a way out. That if I can do it, SO CAN YOU. That is why I share my story. I want the addict who is still suffering and the family member to know that there are people who have made it out and are living productive lives. That they too can do it.

I had to learn how to ask for help. I had to want to receive the help that people were offering me. I could not do it for anyone else. And no one else could do it for me.

I had to do it and want it for myself.

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.