It is important for me to never forget what it took for me to get to where I am today. My journey from active addiction to recovery was a long, hard uphill battle. I struggled with myself and fought tooth and nail to hold on to a belief system that was broken and outdated. Growing up with a false sense of pride and misdirection. I quickly became angry and resentful at any and everything that didn’t fit into my warped way of thinking 💭.
Feeling like no one understood me and feeling like I didn’t fit in anywhere I distanced myself from everyone. I was at a loss for words to describe how I felt. I couldn’t understand why I always felt alienated and like a outcast and I decided to stop trying. I created my own world. Fantasy Island. A place where nothing and no one else mattered. I finally found a place where I belonged. I locked🔒 myself away in a tower deep within my own mind. I didn’t realize that I sentenced myself to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Life became a very lonely place. Isolation almost drove me to a death sentence. I have to admit that I was fine with it. I welcomed death in fact wished it upon myself many times. My journey was dark and loaded with desperation and despair. Little did I know then, but I was living a lie. I was being guided by a lower power that was trying to destroy me. It almost succeeded. I almost killed the wrong person.
I was granted a pardon when I found recovery. A reprieve from my self imposed death sentence. I make no mistake about it. I know it was devine intervention. I know that my Higher Power stepped in and changed the direction of my life. I cannot take any credit for getting here. I give thanks every day for this second/hundredth chance. I have learned so much and have so much more to learn. I am no longer able to use the excuses that I didn’t know. I cannot go back to not knowing. I am aware of the consequences of my actions and I know that it takes willingness and work to maintain my recovery on a daily basis.
If I choose to forget where I came from. I will choose to return to where I came from.
Peace and Blessings
I’m sure we’ve all seen the commercial. I am not here to criticize it or to even dispute whether or not the above statement is true. I have never been to the treatment facility and cannot speak for or against it.
One thing I can say is that I am a addict. I am a recovering addict. I have to work continuously on a daily basis to maintain my freedom from active addiction. I am very aware that the problems I suffer from are much larger than just drug use. In fact I can say with all honesty that I showed signs of addiction way before I ever picked up my first drink or drug. I have been clean for 2 years, 3 months and about 5 days and I am clear on one thing. My addiction to drugs is only arrested, I am in no way, shape or form cured. For me to say that I used to be a addict and now I am not would be a lie. I am also certain that drugs were only a small part of a bigger problem. A problem that stems from the way I think about myself, talk about myself and feel about myself. I do not wish to mislead anyone who ever reads my blog into thinking that just because most of what I post is good that I do not still suffer from the ill effects of my addiction. On any given day I can revert back to old methods of handling my feelings. Insanity is only a couple of bad thoughts away.
Now before I go any further, let’s take a look at the word addiction. Dictionary.com says that addiction means..the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming. Then they go on to mention narcotics but if we take the narcotics out of the equation we are left with the true form of addiction. Which is being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
I have learned that too much of anything can make you an addict. If it makes me feel good and I continue to do it I can form a habit and become addicted to it. That can mean anything. I am not even speaking of narcotics or alcohol. I have noticed that I have become addicted to shopping, chocolate, doritos, pepsi and working overtime among other things. But when it comes to the word addiction most people associate it with drugs. There is a stigma attached to the word that makes people automatically think of the junkie or crackhead. Not on how they themselves also suffer from some kind of addiction or another. It is easier to focus on the negativity of the word or on someone else than it is to take a look at ourselves and admit that we too have an addiction.
I just want people to understand how my mind works and how my addiction affects me and the world around me. I share my experiences with you in hopes that one day I can reach out to the millions of people who suffer from addiction. Whatever that addiction may be. I hope to be able to share that there is a common ground here and that no matter what, we are all more alike than we are different. I just want people to realize that someone suffering from a addiction is human too. I have feelings, I am hurting and I am only trying to get a better grip on who I am and gain a better understanding of what I suffer from and how to better cope with it and every day life.
There is no magic elixir. No cure. There is only vigorous and continuous work. No one can do it for me. I have to want it and do it for myself.
I used to be a addict for 37 years..Now I am a recovering addict.
Peace and Blessings
As many of you who read my blog know. I just turned 50 years old on January 20th. Looking back I would never have guessed that I would live to see this grand age. Growing up 50 was old. I was reminded of that the other day when I heard a child call his father old when he said he was 51. Lol.
Shortly after that I started thinking about my own life. I started to beat myself up in my head for all the wasted years and the things I didn’t accomplish. I began to slip into a slight depressed state and wondered if I might be kidding myself thinking that I can start to live a life worth living at 50.
I spoke to a few of the men in my life and they helped me to realize that first off 50 is not old. That I am not washed-up and ready to be put out to pasture. Yes I can start to live a life worth living at 50. It’s never too late to start over. I am grateful for the people in my life. When I begin to doubt myself I am grateful that I have people just like me who can relate, offer suggestions and bring me back to reality.
The reality is I am not old. I have a lot of good years left and I am in a position to make something great happen. It’s never to late unless I decided to give up and stay stuck in the why me pity party. I do not. I will not.
I am healthy, happy, free from active addiction, have faith in a power greater than myself today. I have a girlfriend, family and friends that love me. I am truly blessed.
I have no reason to feel regret over the past. It’s over and done with. I have learned some valuable lessons and survived a hell that most people would have folded like a wet cardboard box. I am blessed to be able to share my experiences with others without fear in the hopes that my story can touch someone and they too realize that they can change their life too.
I am embarking on a new journey. A life that for a long time I was only able to dream about. I am experiencing life for the first time without any mind altering substances, without depending on someone else to take care of me, without having to live in a cold and dark apartment because I didn’t pay my bills. I am becoming a responsible and productive member of society.
Do I have fear about this journey.
Do I have doubts about my abilities.
AT TIMES YES.
The difference is that today I feel deep down inside that I am ready. I am ready and willing to start this new chapter. To take a risk and not allow my fears to dictate the direction of my life anymore.
I heard it said that a goal without action is just a dream.
I have been awakened.
Peace and blessings
I am grateful for many things. I have a higher power today that allows me to have the faith that anything is possible. I have friends today that I can actually count on when I need them. I am working on relations with my family. I have a job that I actually can show up for. I am healthy, a lot better than I should be for someone that has been through what I survived. I have the most amazing and wonderful woman in the world in my life. I have been afforded yet another opportunity to experience the blessings that I have taken for granted for so long.
I could continue but I would never be able to write down all the things that I am grateful for. I can only express my gratitude by continuing to live life doing the next right thing. I finally understand and accept that I do not have all the answers. That I do not know everything and I will never be too old to learn. I learned things from some of the most unlikely of people. People I probably would never have met or ever spoken to if not for the process of recovery.
As a result of my new way of life, I am learning how to enjoy the journey and not always look ahead to the finish line. Living a day at a time has helped me slow down and experience the joys that have passed me by for so long. Simple things that bring about joy. Going on vacation. Spending time with my friends and going to functions and events. Going on road trips, making meetings in other states, connecting with people whom I only knew on social media. Sharing our experiences, having laughs and breaking bread.
Life looks really good from where I am standing. I owe it all to my Higher Power, Network, Recovery and my own willingness to try something different. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
Live, Love, Laugh and Let Go
Peace and blessings
I remember being ashamed to show my face in my active addiction. I was ashamed of who and what I had become. I didn’t want people to see me that way. So I made it my business to isolate myself from my family. I used to look in the mirror and cry. I was horrified at what I saw. I was embarrassed at what I turned into. I didn’t even recognize myself. That person (thing) looking back at me wasn’t even a shadow of my former self.
In the end I was a lost soul. I stopped looking at the monster in the mirror. I didn’t want to see myself. I saw all the looks I used to get when I was on the train and at work. But even those embarrassing moments weren’t enough to make me stop. No not me. I just got a attitude, more anger and resentments.
When I came into recovery, before I truly understood that I could get the help I so desperately needed. I was ashamed of my past. I was ashamed of telling anyone my story. I sat in the meetings and I punched holes and scrutinized everything I heard. I was afraid of more judgement so I sat in silence and I suffered alone. I remember feeling conflicted when I heard things that I could relate to. I still couldn’t bring myself to tell my story.
It took me some time to start to see that my past couldn’t hurt me anymore. I had to learn the hard way to start seeing how far I have come instead of how far I had to go. After several relapses I began to understand that I was making progress. That I was changing and that I couldn’t compare my process with anyone else’s. I began to understand that I had to stop being ashamed of my past and talk about it. I began to understand that I was only as sick as the secrets I kept. I took the risk and exposed some things that I was feeling and so my process began.
Looking back I see that my being ashamed held me back. It stopped me from being able to see how far I had come and all the things I had overcome. Fear kept me locked and loaded in my vicious cycle. Today I am no longer ashamed. I see that my struggle gave me the strength to survive. I share my experiences openly without fear of judgment. There’s nothing that I share that anyone can hurt me with. I’ve already done that myself. I am experiencing a freedom that cannot be adequately described in words. I can only say that I have never lived this good. My gratitude for the recovery process is through the roof.
I can see where I’ve been very clear, I can see what I’ve overcome even clearer. I am damn proud of my accomplishments.
I wish that everyone can experience this feeling.
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 had the privilege of sharing my experience, strength and hope at a detox unit yesterday. I have done it before and I always get a sense of satisfaction when I leave. I remember when it was me sitting there and H&I would come to the facility to share the hope. I didn’t get the message because I was not ready to stop using. I wasn’t ready because I believed that I would never stop using.
As I was sharing I was looking at each individual and couldn’t help but wonder if I was getting through to them. I was hopeful and I shared my experiences from my past and then proceeded to tell them about my life today. I shared my gratitude for the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous and how the program has help me. I let them know that I was once where they are and that they can get clean if they want to. It has to be a decision that they have to make. No one can get clean for someone else. It truly is an inside job.
In the end they were allowed to share whatever was on their minds. I was amazed at the eagerness and the willingness that they displayed. They also took meeting lists and some of the literature to read. I left there will the feeling of gratitude. I felt good, like I had accomplished a mission. It was a great feeling.
It got me to thinking about doing service on another level. I always help out on the meeting level. I have done Secretary, Hospitality and GSR. I Co-chaired meetings and always help set up and break down. I thought about doing H&I next. I remember wanting to do it before but I didn’t have enough clean time. I will definitely look into now that I have enough time and see if that would be something that I would like to do. I will go to the H&I meeting and see what I need to do. I am grateful for those that shared the message with me and look forward to doing my part to carry this life saving message to others.
I can’t keep it, unless I give it away.
I have been writing my blog for 4 years and 1 week. My 4 year blogiversary was November 10th. I didn’t think to celebrate it because I was too busy riding the high that I was on from celebrating my 2 year Anniversary in recovery. But when I think about it this milestone is just as important.
It’s important for many reasons but the main reason why my blog is so important to me is because it has proven to be a major tool in my recovery arsenal. Writing my story and updating my journey is as valuable to me as making meetings and doing step work. It is my avenue to release. It helps me to stay focused. It helps me to remember my past so it doesn’t become a part of my future.
I found out that writing not only helps me, but I have also been able to help others along the way. My blog although I didn’t see it when I started has become another way for me to do service. Giving back without looking for anything in return. I have been blessed to know that my writing has been read and identified with by many people from all walks of life. Who would have thought that I could do such a thing. Me the guy who’s whole life was centered in serving self. I am amazed and I am humbled all in one breath.
I am grateful, thankful and honored to be in a position to be able to give someone some hope. Someone who might be thinking that there’s no way out. Someone like me who once thought that I could NEVER stop using. Words cannot explain how that makes me feel. I can only express it by continuing to share my story. So yes my blog is very important to me and it’s anniversary deserves to be recognized by me.
Thank you to everyone who reads, comments, likes and follows From Struggle To Strength. I appreciate your support, love, encouragement and kind words. I appreciate your readership. I appreciate you. Thank you.
Today’s a great day.
LIVE , LOVE, LAUGH AND LET GO.
I am grateful for everyone and everything in my life today. I recognize the difference in how my life is shaping up compared to how my life used to be not to many 24’s ago.
I was always angry, frustrated, lonely, in despair, desperate, lost, useless, worthless and disconnected. My life was in shambles. I just lived to used and used everyday to live. I thought that was all I could expect from life. I had lost all hope of ever accomplishing anything. I gave up on myself and settled for less than I was worth.
Life is amazing. I am learning to love myself. To not be so hard on myself. It’s a process. I am very hard on myself and I am learning not to take myself so serious all the time. I feel a sense of purpose and the freedom I am experiencing is nothing short of spectacular. I feel like I finally belong somewhere and that I can make a difference. I am willing to give back what was so freely given to me. I help people and I am no longer afraid to admit when I need help or to ask for it. I am happy and joyous. I look forward to waking up and whatever the day brings.
The difference came about from devine intervention. I know that it was the God of my understanding that brought forth this change. I cried out for help and the universe answered. The difference is this time I heard it and was willing to do something about it. I finally realized that I can pray all day but if I am not willing and if I do not do the work necessary nothing will happen. I cannot sit around and expect my life to change if I do nothing to bring about that change. I also know that I have to remain vigilant. I cannot expect to keep this gift I have been given without the continuously working on myself. Construction is always underway. Change happens when I am in the solution and not stuck in the problem.
Gratitude is my Attitude.
WE DO RECOVER.
I am truly grateful.
Words cannot express how thankful I am for the Devine Intervention that led me to recovery. For all the love, support and encouragement that I have received on my journey so far. I am clear on the fact that the Fellowship of Men and Women in Narcotics Anonymous and everyone here have helped save my life. I am also clear that had I not made the decision to participate in my own recovery none of the things I’ve accomplished would have happened nor would I be able to keep it.
I am by no way lucky. I have been blessed and I will continue to do the work necessary to maintain my freedom from active addiction because I know all to we’ll that everything gained can go up in smoke if I choose to forget where I came from.
I have a purpose today. My life has meaning. I am Happy, Joyous and Free as a direct result of recovery. I look forward to sharing more of my journey into this wonderful, new way of life.
Thank you all for the love and support that you have given me. I know that I can only keep it, if I give it away.