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

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 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.

OUT WITH THE OLD. IN WITH THE NEW.

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I have been constantly reminding myself of this lately.

My mind keeps jumping back to old behavior mode and old attitudes are proving to die harder than I originally thought. I find myself wanting to resort to some of my old methods of handling situations. I am not talking about using substances to solve anything, I am referring to street tactics and antics. I have been sharing about my feelings with anyone who will listen. I have been struggling in the area of letting go. I know that it takes practice so I am not beating myself up.

I really need to get with someone and find out how to let go and not take it back. How to release the need to still try to control situations and manipulate outcomes. How do I kick these thoughts to the curb and not go back and pick them up later. Staying focused lately has been hard and it has been affecting my overall attitude. My spirit is feeling uneasy and I have been really irritable. It has been showing in more ways than I care to mention. I need a break from my own madness, a vacation from my thoughts. I have been sharing that I need to plug back in. I do not wish to be like the animal who gets cut from the herd on to be eaten alive by the savage beast.

Been there. Done that.

I know that doing the same things expecting different results is the meaning of insanity. It’s crazy how the things I am learning, I am relearning over and over again in different situations and scenarios. In the beginning my insanity was using drugs and thinking this time will be different. Now my insanity is taking on a new meaning it has taken a different form but the outcomes are similar in the pain it is causing. I am becoming more and more aware of myself. I am also becoming more aware that certain things that I used to do are no longer acceptable to me.. Because if they were I would have acted off the impulses already. I am fighting a war and the battle ground is between my ears.

I am grateful for the process of recovery for it is teaching me how to say NO. It is teaching me to be honest about my feelings and my thoughts. It is teaching me that it’s ok to talk about my feelings and not to worry about what others think or say about me. It is teaching me that I have to be responsible for my recovery and for my actions. How to show up for people and to ask for help when I need it.

I am grateful to have found a place where there are so many people just like me.

I know that my old ways do not work. My old ways got me a whole lot of pain, misery and suffering. To think that anything has changed or that I can do it different this time would be me believing the lies of my addictive thoughts and will prove once again to be a suicide mission. I do not wish to try to kill myself again. Not today not ever. I will continue to seek the help I need to get through this without taking any shortcuts.

My old ways will not open any new doors. They will only open jail cells or a casket.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

DRUG DREAMS

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Last night I had a dream that was so real that I woke up terrified that I had used. I haven’t had a drug dream in quite some time and I was a bit shook by it.

Every once in a while during the day I might have a flashback but the dreams stopped a few months ago. I am constantly reminded of my active addiction at work. There are more than a few addicts who work for my company. I can relate to them of course because not to many 24’s ago that was me. So I am reminded and have the occasional flashback.

I know that the dream was just that..A dream. It is not my reality today. I have no desire to return to that part of my life. I did not entertain the thoughts. I did not go back to sleep and continue to dream about using. I shared the experience with some of network and I feel better knowing that those dreams don’t have to come true.

I put it out there and let it go. I have no intentions to keep them secret nor do I have to be embarrassed about having them. I am human and I have used for almost 40 years. For me to think that because I am clean I shouldn’t have drug dreams is ridiculous.

Secrets keep me sick.
I reveal them so they can die in the light of exposure.

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Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

GIVE IT AWAY

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I spent a lot of years wondering what was my purpose in life. I think I have finally got a clue.

I remember when I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor. A dentist to be exact. I had a friend who’s father was a dentist and they had a very nice house and a lot of money. I thought that would be  me. As time went on I think I changed my mind so many times that I just gave up on dreaming of what I would become. When I started using all bets were off. All my hopes and dreams were smashed and discarded. I had lost all hope.

As a adult I knew that I was destined to be more than a bum. More than some washed up drug addict but I didn’t know how to go about getting out of the mess I made of my life. With thoughts of using clouding my every waking minute I had again lost all hope. I settled for where i was and believed that it was where I would stay until I died. I couldn’t stop using and had no idea that there where people out there that felt the same way i did, but found a way out.

I was blessed to have been spared death and to have found a new way to live. I was lucky, so many of my friends didn’t make it out. I think to myself at times and wonder why was I spared. What is so damn special about me that I was able to make it out of the depths of the hell in which I lived. Why me? I am learning that I should be grateful and not question why. I should just learn from my experiences and share with others what I have learned in hopes that I may be a light for those who are still suffering in silence in the darkness of active addiction.

I am thankful that I am able to share my story with others and I only hope that through my experiences someone can make a connection, have some identification and get some hope that they too can make it out of the darkness. I know how they are feeling because I too have felt that way. I have lived that life, I have given up on ever finding a way out. I know exactly how they feel because I am and will always be an addict.

The difference is I am a addict in recovery. I am practicing a new way of life that has offered me the opportunity to help others. The same way others have helped me.

My purpose today is to give it away.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

What’s Your Recipe For Recovery? Guest Post by Thomas Parisi

First I want to thank Eric Ease for allowing me to guest post here at http://www.fromstruggletostrength.com and to thank you, the reader, for taking the time to stop by. You have my gratitude and appreciation.

Recovery is a personal journey. Often times each individual finds that the recipe for recovery is a bit different for them than for others. There are also many ways in which we all seem to agree when it comes to recovery. I am no exception. I think it might have a little something to do with our uniqueness as individuals, and our similarities as human beings. We all respond similarly to the things that work for us, yet the things that work for us are different. How can this be? Well, I believe we are responding in similar ways because we are receiving what we need as human beings, but as individuals what we need can be different.

We all seek to remain physically free from pain. This is universally ingrained within our very nature. Self preservation is necessary to keep from injury, pain, and the suffering and torment that it can cause. This can also be expanded into sub-categories; the mind, body, soul, and spirit are all integral parts of our beings. Leading a healthy life by ‘consuming’ nutritionally dense material for each category while getting enough exercise for the mind, body, spirit, and soul is optimal. Although for each of us this can vary greatly. A gym, a library, a church, and even a beach can be the perfect places for a ‘workout’. We must be nourished or the strength and fortitude needed to maintain will decline, and we may choose incorrectly in our weakened state.

We all seek to be understood and to understand others. We are very social creatures. This is why we all need a support group. We need a healthy social existence to give us fulfillment and joy. Some of us find that a recovery group is the perfect place for us. Some of us find a home, in a church, in family and friends, at work, or in a community of like minded individuals. All of these paths are equally valid. We must find a safe and comfortable place to be ourselves so that we can go beyond simple survival and begin to thrive.

Moving in a forward direction of expansion and growth is another key in recovery. As I have said earlier, we are social creatures. This means that we seek the esteem and praise of our family, friends, and neighbors. I am talking about the kind of healthy praise that props us up and gives us the affirmations we need to solidify our thoughts and feelings. When we are new to recovery we feel all alone. Our old life is still calling to us. Our old friends and the lifestyle we led is tempting us to return to a familiar embrace- but we must resist. Every time we receive the praise of our new found friends and family it lessens the pull of our old life. Our new identity is fortified with every kind word and gesture. We are reborn anew.

Finally, we all seek to self-actualize. This is simply a fancy way of saying that we all want our lives to become expressions of our own unique persona. When we are honest with ourselves about who we are and what motivates us, we become driven and purposeful in ways previously unknown. Our lives start to reflect the passion and drive we feel toward certain things.  Our lives express our truth as individuals. With emotional purity and honesty we can move forward unencumbered by the binding elements of deception. It is a worthwhile and amazing journey, this thing called life, and we can consciously choose to move in the right direction with every step.

Recovery is a process. It starts with a willingness to accept the changes needed to move us away from the suffering and pain, and toward a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Life has a way of evolving organically. We may not know for sure if the plans we have will play out as we’ve projected, but they will play out into something- so stick with it and don’t be afraid to fine tune your very own recipe for recovery. You can and will accomplish your dreams if you dare to remain steadfast on the path!

At www.thinkhub.org you are always welcome! Thanks again to you the reader and to Eric Ease!

Chatting Up Recovery with the Awesome Guys at KLĒN+SŌBR

Hello everyone check out this awesome podcast with my friend MagzShores@SoberCourage. Also check out her blog at
http://sobercourage.com

TURNING THE PAGE

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In active addiction my life was a never ending cycle of bad choices. I remember some, but there are plenty that I have buried deep. The ones that I didn’t want anyone to know about. The ones that I thought were so horrible that if revealed people would once again turn their backs on me. They would shun me and not want me to be around them. I didn’t want to be an outsider again so I would keep my secrets and carry them to the grave with me.

I always thought that I was doing the right thing by keeping my life secret. People would speculate and judge but most of their judgement was based on the fact that I used drugs. No one could actually say that they know me. I made sure that no one really knew me. What they thought they knew was all fabricated. My life was one lie after another all made up to protect me from being rejected. The crazy part about that is I wound up being rejected by everyone anyway.

I lived to use, but I also lived to please. I just wanted you to like me, to accept me, to allow me to be a part of. Whatever it was. I remember when I was a child and I would lie just to get attention. I remember reading a story about a boy who cried wolf and I turned into that boy. I acted out and sought attention from the very beginning and when I stopped getting it from home I turned to other avenues for that attention. I used to think that no one loved me and no one cared, I was the one who didn’t love me. I didn’t know how to love myself. I still struggle at times with loving myself and sometimes act out even today looking for that attention.

Recovery is teaching me how to love myself. I have a network of people who love me and support me. I am learning how to accept myself for who I am and not to invent false identities in order to fit in or to be liked by others. I am exposing those secrets that have kept me sick and suffering. I am exposing all those things that I thought were so horrible and I am learning  that they weren’t all that horrible after all. I am releasing myself from the bondage of my past and I am experiencing a freedom that I have never felt. I feel the weight lifting off my shoulders from all the baggage that I have been carrying around all these years.

I want to make it clear that this is my process and it didn’t just happen over night. I didn’t come into recovery and all of a sudden change. My life didn’t become magically delicious over night, days, weeks or months. I am still a work in progress and I am just scratching the surface. I have years and years of hurt, pain, misery and suffering, lies, loneliness, abandonment, fears and disappointments locked up inside my head and slowly but surely I am on the road to revealing them and healing from them. I live one day at a time and I try to remember not to stay in the past. I revisit the past so I can expose it but I do not dwell there. There is nothing I can do about the things that I have already done and it is time for me to stop punishing myself for them.

I am moving on from the ghosts of my past. I am turning the page. Stepping into the next chapter of my life. I am grateful for my journey because I am learning so much about myself and I am learning that most of the things that I thought were the truth, are a figment of my made up life. Lies told by misinformed people who are in there own way stuck in a never ending cycle and refuse to try to find a way out. I pray everyday for those who are caught up in the grips of addiction, that they find there way out and into this life saving process. I know how it is to feel like there is no way out. To think that no one cares and that I would die a addict, die using drugs. I now know that it doesn’t have to be that way. I want others to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is a way out. You can stop using. Recovery offered me that way out.

Thank you for being on this journey with me. Please feel free to read more of my story and follow my journey on my blog at http://www.fromstruggletostrength.com

Peace and blessings

Eric Ease