FREE TO BE ME.

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I have been blessed to have the opportunity to live life all over again. To have a fresh start at something that I have failed at miserably for many years. I never dreamed that this would be possible. I never thought that I would ever get out from under the horrors of my addiction. I gave up on ever having a normal life and settled for merely existing from day to day. My past life was a day to day struggle. In the end I was ready to give up.  I wanted to quit living just like I quit everything else I ever started. I was beaten, broken and left in a state of utter despair.

That was then.

Today is a totally different story. I have a new found freedom. I have hope and I have faith that it can only get better. I know this to be true because I am actually living proof that it does get better. My life has gotten better and continues to get better every day that I stay clean. I used to say I would never be able to stop using. I am learning never say never. I am learning to look at the positive in a situation and not the negative as I always did in the past. I think the biggest thing for me was learning that no matter what I go through. I don’t ever have to use drugs again. I never have to ever again. I have a choice. I never felt like I had a choice before. Today I have the power to make healthy decisions. I don’t always make the right decisions. I still human and I make mistakes. But at least I am not making the same old mistakes.

Just when I thought that my life couldn’t get any better. My life changed completely. I no longer have to pretend to be something or someone I am not. For 40 years I have been an imposter, caught up in my own imaginary world. In the last 2 years I met someone I haven’t spoken to in a very long time. I’ve missed him and thought he was dead. We clicked. It was like de ja vu. I felt a familiarity. I met myself. It has been an amazing journey and I am grateful to know that I am still alive. It’s been way to long. Since finding my long lost self I have experienced a freedom like nothing I can easily describe. All I can say is…

I am free. Free to be me.

THE MESSAGE

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I remember what it was like before I came into recovery. I remember where I came from. The hopelessness, worthlessness the despair. I remember those lonely days and even lonelier nights. The isolation and feelings of being locked in a cycle of insanity. My self made prison of paranoia.

If it had not been for the grace of God. Had I not been spared the degradation and desperation . had it not been for that devine intervention I would have killed myself. I just couldn’t bare to live the way I was living any longer.

I was saved from myself, from my own self destruction. I was given a second chance. I was offered the opportunity to change, the opportunity to start over and to try a new way of doing things. I heard the life saving message of hope and the promise of freedom. Freedom from active addiction.

Yes I remember my bottom. I remember it like it was yesterday. I keep it up front so I don’t forget it. I gain strength from it. I am no longer a prisoner of it. I am no longer ashamed of it. I share it with the world. I want others to read about it and identify with it. I want them to know that there is a way out.

I want people to know that they don’t have to continue to suffer from a disease that wants you dead any longer. That there are millions of people who are beating the odds and living better lives. One day at a time. Recovery from active addiction is possible and it is attainable.

Help is available all you have to do is ask. I didn’t think I could ever stop using. I thought I would die using. Today I know better. Today I believe in the message of hope.

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

INDEPENDENCE DAY

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Independence Day of the United States, also referred to as Fourth of July or July Fourth in the U.S., is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.

Independence means many things to many people. The most important meaning for me is my independence from active addiction. Today I am experiencing a freedom that I have not known in my 49 years of existence. I truly appreciate the life that I have been afforded as a result of being in recovery. But I am not fooled by these good feelings into thinking that I am cured.

Freedom Isn’t Free

Many people have walked this path before me. Many are striving as a result of doing the work that is required to maintain their recovery. Many have died as a result of taking this new found freedom for granted.

As we celebrate our nations independence I am reminded of the havoc holidays can cause on a recovering person. I am reminded of the insanity of active addiction and the lies that can go through my mind. I am aware of myself and my surroundings today. I do not place myself and my recovery at risk.

I will take the necessary precautions to assure that I stay connected and that my recovery process continues to move forward. Using the tools I have at my disposal I cannot lose.

I wish everyone a
HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SAFE HOLIDAY WEEKEND.

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.