I CAN’T KEEP IT… UNLESS I GIVE IT AWAY

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I remember how hard it was for me to admit that I was an addict and to ask for help. I was in such deep denial that I couldn’t see past all the lies, hurt, pain, misery and suffering let alone all the evidence that told me that I was and that I needed help bad. I suffered dearly as a result of that denial too. I stay stuck in a viscous never ending cycle for decades.

Help was available but I wasn’t ready to receive it. Help came from many different people too. My Parents, Parole officers, Counselors even ex Girlfriends. None of which did I receive with a open mind or heart. I rejected everyone that ever tried to help me because I truly did not know any better. I believed the BULLSHIT that I was feeding myself. The lies like. I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM, I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP, I AM OK AND I DON’T NEED YOU and my favorite I CAN STOP ANYTIME, I JUST DON’T WANT TO.

The truth is I couldn’t stop anytime I wanted to. I wanted to and didn’t know how. I wished many days that I could stop. I wanted to stop so bad that I began to believe another lie. That the only way I would ever stop was if I was dead. I began to entertain that idea as the solution to my problems. Little did I know that there was help available all I had to do was ask. But the real deal is I knew, I just didn’t know how to ask for help. Image, ego and a false sense of pride along with the lies that the streets taught me almost killed me and the sad part of all of it is.

I WOULD HAVE KILLED THE WRONG PERSON..

So how can I not share my experience, strength and hope with others. How can I be selfish, self centered and so self absorbed and not share the hope. How can I keep this life saving information to myself. I CAN’T and that is why I share it freely and willingly with the world. I want everyone to know that there is a way out of the grips of addiction. There is a light đź’ˇ not only at the end of the tunnel but inside the tunnel lighting the way.

I am grateful that I can share my story. That I survived by the grace of God and can help others who may believe the lies like I did that I can’t stop. I’m here to break that chain đź”—, to shatter those lies and to show and prove that recovery is possible. If I can recover after 37 years of using and abusing drugs, myself and others anyone can do it too.

Please believe

Help is available and all you have to do is ask.

Peace and blessings

Eric Ease

HOSPITALS AND INSTITUTIONS

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A couple of days ago I posted about going to a detox unit to share my experience, strength and hope. I talked about how gratifying the experience was and how satisfied I was when I left there. I remembered what it was like sitting in those seats oh so many times myself and how I never utilized the life saving information that the members of H&I were so freely sharing. I remember it like it was yesterday when I was there sharing and I even felt a little saddened about how long it took for me to get this message.The sad feeling was very short lived. I am learning to love myself today and not dwell in the mistakes of my past. The truth is I just was not ready. I was in denial of my addiction and would not have made it here any sooner. I know today that I cannot allow the pain and misery of my past to dictate my actions today. I can only live for the moment.

So in living for the moment, I was thinking about different things that I want to do with my life in this moment. After going into the detox it got me to thinking that this would be the perfect thing for me to do right now. I would like to find out more about doing service in Hospitals & Institutions. I expressed this thought with my sponsor, my woman and some of my network who encouraged me to go for it. They reinforced what I was already feeling, that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to give back and help carry the message. To be able to share recovery with  those who are not able to make meetings. It will also benefit me and help in my recovery process. It will help me to continue to grow and become more responsible. After all I cannot keep it unless I give it away.

So with all that being said I decided to take action. I went to the H&I Subcommittee meeting today and observed the atmosphere. I spoke to some people who knew that I wanted to get involved before and told them that I was ready. I was introduced to the coordinator and got some more information. I was able to make a decision and I am now a member of the training track for H&I. I am extremely excited about doing service on this level. I feel like this will be a good fit for me and look forward to learning the procedures and policies of Hospitals & Institutions. I look forward to having this commitment and doing it to the best of my ability. This is a step up from doing service on the group level which I have done since becoming a member of the fellowship.

Growth involves change and this is just another step in the ladder towards that change. That means stepping out of my comfort zone. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to do service for a program that has changed my life for the better.

 

THE TIME IS NOW. THE WAIT IS OVER

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I remember saying.
I am not addicted.
I don’t have a problem.
I can stop any time I want to.
Then when I realized that I was addicted, that I did have a problem and I couldn’t stop using. I still had excuses. I’m not as bad as what’s his name. I will get help when the summers over, next week. Blah, blah, blah.

I was always waiting for the right time. For the right situation or circumstances. For someone to come and save me. For some miracle to happen to make me stop. Procrastination was my middle name. Backed by fear It was never the right time to do the right thing for the right reasons. So the longer I continued to put it off the longer I continued to suffer.

Fear still plays a part in my life in recovery. I still suffer from and struggle with procrastination. I know certain areas that I want to change and continue to put it off. I say I will work on it but I put forth minimal effort if any effort at all. Talk the talk but do not take the steps towards it.

So I expose it here and I expose it in meetings and with my network. The reason being it helps give me that extra push. I let others know so they can help me. Because if no one knows who I am and what my problem is then how can I get the help that I need.

Nobody can do it for me. I have to do it for myself. But I also realize that I need help. The wait is over and the time is now. I will reach out and be open to receive the help that I need.

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

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.

FACE MY FEARS AND MOVE FORWARD

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I have learned that in order for me to grow and expand my horizon. I have to be willing to try new things. I have been stuck in a cycle similar to that of my active addiction but without the drugs.

Fear of failure has been keeping me stuck in familiar ground. Blocking me from attempting new things. It’s amazing how the mind works. I find that I have been talking myself out of trying something new for fear that I am not good enough or that I will not succeed.

I thought that I was being open minded and in reality I have come to realize that open mindedness involves more than just an idea its also an action. To say that I am willing to do this or that is one thing. But to then actually try it is another. That is where I am falling short. Putting action behind the plan.

My thoughts are only as good as the effort that I put behind them.

Now that I am aware of the problem. I can begin to take the necessary action to correct the situation and free myself from those fears that have been holding me back. I will seek the help of others who have been in this situation or similar situations. I am ready to move forward from this point of feeling stagnant.

Progress not perfection.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

PRACTICING FORGIVENESS

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I have learned that holding on to past hurts is harmful to me. It stunts my growth process and keeps me from making any forward progress.

Letting go and forgiving past hurts was unheard of. I would hold a grudge and have resentments and anger towards people for years. I used to be a very spiteful person and could lay and wait for the opportune time to extract my revenge.

I understand today how damaging that behavior is. That still doesn’t mean that I have mastered forgiveness. I have not. But today I am practicing forgiving others because I know that I too need forgiveness. It’s easier said than done, but I have the willingness to practice it and I will eventually be better at accepting it for what it is and it’s intended purpose.

Learning how to forgive takes time but so far I have noticed that I am feeling a lot lighter. Less stressed and angry as a result. This is all new territory for me but being honest about it, having the willingness and open mindedness to attempt it has proven to be very helpful in my growing process.

And for that I am truly grateful.

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Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease