HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

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It’s been a long time since I had a reason to think about Valentines Day. I remember seeing the commercials on TV for jewelry or chocolates or flowers and saying some pretty mean and nasty things. I was bitter, angry, frustrated and resentful to say the least. I hated the day and everyone else for being happy. Loneliness and isolation will do that to you. Needless to say it was just another day for me. Another day to be miserable about my life and how it turned out. Another day to blame everyone but myself for my circumstances. Just another day to be mean and spiteful. Just another day to use to try to escape my reality.

I am grateful that I do not feel that way today. For the last couple of years I celebrated loving myself on Valentines Day. I took the opportunity to treat myself to chocolates and a movie or whatever else. No I did not buy myself flowers or jewelry…Lol. I know someone out there was asking themselves that question. Although I did not have a girlfriend at the time I turned to myself and showed love. I have to admit. It was not the same as having someone to share with. But it worked out just fine.

This year I am happy to say that I have found the love of my life. I have someone to share this day with and the rest of my life with as well. We will have many Valentines Days and many new beginnings and special days, months and years together. I spent the holidays with my lady and even though I had been sick from Christmas through New Years running a fever, cold chills, sneezing, body aches and temperatures ranging from semi normal to 103 degrees. We had a wonderful time together and we made the best of it. She took great care of me and I appreciate her all the more for the time we spent together and apart. We have lots of fun together. We laugh and joke, we talk, we go out, we travel, we communicate and we love each other for who we are. We do not try to change each other. We accept each other for who we are and respect each others opinions and views. I am grateful that my higher power saw fit to bring us together and I am thankful that she has the ability to see me coming at times and not let that get in the way. She is a wonderful woman and I am blessed to have her in my life.

So I will take this moment to acknowledge her in my blog the way I acknowledge her in my life.

Thank you for being in my life. I love you sweetheart.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY. MUAAAAAAAH.

TAKING THE RISK ON HAPPINESS

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When I look back on my past relationships I can see what part I played today. I can remember like it was yesterday all the failed relationships. The hurt, disappointed stares, the arguments and fighting. Then I was mainly in active addiction and my insanity level was pretty extreme. I wasn’t a good listener,  I didn’t show any kind of support. I wasn’t caring of anyone’s feelings. I was only interested in sex and drugs. Nothing else mattered and after a while I didn’t care too much about the sex either.

I have been known to sabotage relationships, jobs and anything else that was good. I ruined friendships and distanced myself from my family members. All direct result of my addiction. I never learned how to be in a healthy relationship. Not since I was a little boy have I been able to express love or been able to allow someone to love me. I always felt unlovable, unloved and that made me different. It made me distant and cold.

I’ve only recently discovered how to be present in a relationship. Not only with myself, but also with my significant other, my coworkers and now with my family. I didn’t know anything about self love, or that in order to learn to love others, I had to first love myself. Learning to love myself has been one of the hardest things I have had to do in a long time. Although I used to think I wasn’t worthy. Today I know different and the more I learn about myself the more I realize that I am the bomb. Lol. No but seriously I am realizing that I am worthy and that I have a lot to offer. I am not who I’ve always told myself that I am. That washed up useless so and so.

It’s a beautiful feeling self discovery. As I walk this new path, I am amazed at all the wonderful things that I have been missing out on all these years. I have found a sense of purpose and hope has once again graced me with its presence. Love is in the air and I am smelling it daily. I am not only smelling it. I am inhaling it, accepting it and finding out that I am able to return it without any ulterior motives. I am only looking for the love given to be returned and I have found just that.

It’s amazing how much better life is when I stay out of my head and allow things to flow there natural course. When I am not trying to control outcomes and manipulate situations and just go with my heart. I can smile for no apparent reason to some but I know why I’m smiling today.

Because I’m Happy.

BECAUSE I’M HAPPY

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I used to think that I would never find love or be happy. It seemed that I was destined to be miserable and alone for the rest of my life. I couldn’t understand why I kept getting into bad relationships and why they always ended with me being the bad guy. Hurt and alone one day I decided to give up. I figured right then that being alone was better than being in another bad relationship.

Deep down inside I truly wanted to find someone to love and to love me. I felt lonely and like no one cares. I felt abandoned, betrayed, unloved and unloveable. My mind raced with all the reasons why I didn’t need anyone and as a result. I became a bitter person. I blamed everyone and everything for my circumstances not realizing that it begins and ends with me. I was the cause of my unhappiness. I was the reason my relationships weren’t working. I was selfish and self centeredness is the core of the disease of addiction. But I was in denial and continued to blame everyone else.

Eventually I realized it, but it took me years to understand it. It wasn’t until I came into recovery that I began to get an understanding. I was afforded the opportunity to do some work on myself, ask questions and get acceptance of the part that I played in all of my relationships. I began to understand that it’s not all about me and that I am not as good nor as bad as I’ve told myself for all those years. I am finally able to take a look at me. To talk about me, my feelings, thoughts, hopes and fears. I am learning that being vulnerable is not a bad thing. I’m not saying that I like being vulnerable and it’s definitely not a easy thing to do. But I understand that I don’t have to be afraid to be vulnerable because I grow from the experience and exposure. I am learning to love myself for who I am. That I don’t need anyone to validate me. I am worthy of love and it starts from within.

I am not saying that I have mastered anything. I fall short on a regular basis and make plenty of mistakes since getting clean. I have tried and failed and felt like giving up from time to time. But I know that If I allow myself to give up then I am not allowing myself to grow. I will be stagnant and become complacent. I will eventually return to my old ways and that is unacceptable.

That being said I met someone recently. In the beginning I wasn’t sure whether I was really ready. I was afraid of being vulnerable because I allowed my worse fears to make me feel inadequate. To make a long story short and that is by no means to take away from how we got to where we are today. I am happy. She makes me happy. We are happy together. I miss her when I am not around her. I think about us and I can’t help but smile and I get a warm feeling. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about anyone. It’s scary at times, but I will not allow fear to rob me of my happiness any longer. Learning to love myself has allowed me to learn how to love her. It is still a learning process and I will never be perfect. She allows me my process and I allow her hers.

I never thought I would be happy again. Recovery has afforded me my gifts and I am truly grateful. But no gift I could ever receive is better than the gift of love. When it’s given and received.

That my friends is priceless.

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

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.

I AM WHAT I SAY I AM

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Negative thoughts turn into negative actions.

Ever since I was a little boy I can remember having negative thoughts about myself and my surroundings. Seeds of failure and low self worth were planted and took hold at a early age. As the years went by those seeds grew and flourished.

When drugs entered the picture I was locked and loaded. I lost the ability to see anything good about myself. I would say things like I will never amount to anything so why bother. I am just plain bad, stupid, ugly. So forth and so on. I’m sure you get the picture.

Those negative affirmations dictated my path and lead me to a life of self destruction, self hate and self harm. I didn’t see a way out and proceeded to live life according to my beliefs. I didn’t understand that the words that I spoke to myself, was the fuel that was added to a fire that was already burning out of control.

I had no idea back then what positive affirmations were. I didn’t understand how important it is to speak positively to myself and about myself. I had to learn how to do that. I am practicing speaking positive things not only to myself but to others as well. I have to reprogram my thought process and practice backing it up with my actions.

For me this is a difficult task at times. I have been conditioned for so long to being negative and hard on myself. I had become accustom to failure and accepted it as if it was supposed to be that way.

I am not a failure. I am not my past.

Today with help. I am speaking and writing myself into a better way of life. I am beginning to see that there is light. Not at the end of the tunnel, but right here in the tunnel. I believe that I was lied to and in turn by believing those lies, I lied to myself. I gave up, surrendered without investigating and seeking the truth for myself.

Now that I am seeking the truth. I have uncovered that I am not all those things but something all together different. I am somebody. I am smart, handsome and worthy. There is nothing that I cannot do or become. I know this today as being fact. I have been living it to the best of my ability ever since it was suggested to me.

I believe that there is so much more to me and I will not rest until I see what I say come true.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

OBSESSIONS, COMPULSIONS AND CHARACTER DEFECTS

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I have just learned about my obsessive and compulsive behavior only a couple of 24’s ago. I didn’t understand when I was using why I couldn’t stop thinking about it or why I continued to use knowing the consequences of my actions. Thanks to the process of recovery. I am beginning to get an understanding.

Now that I understand a little about obsession and compulsion I am noticing those behaviors in other areas of my life. I can no longer blame the drugs or blame anyone for my behavior. It has become painfully obvious that the problem lies within me.

My last bout with obsession and compulsion had me searching for love in all the wrong places. Banging my head against the wall and blaming others for my unhappiness. Getting involved in relationships that I had no business being in and feeling not worthy in the end balled up wondering why me, why am I here again. Only to repeat it the minute someone shows an interest.

Low self esteem and still having feelings of wanting to fit in have plagued me lately. I have to resolve those old issues and build my own self worth and love of self. I have to stop looking outside for what can only be found inside of me. Until I do I will never be able to fully commit and have a healthy relationship with anyone.

I am grateful that I no longer have the need to always be right, to beat myself up or to run, duck, hide and quit when the going gets tough. When I make mistakes or when I repeat something because I haven’t quite learned the lesson yet.

I have found the strength to let go of obsessing over people. Just for today I am concentrating on me. I am looking forward to doing the work necessary to grow. I know that I can be my biggest cheerleader and also my worse critic and my worse enemy. But as long as I continue to show up. I know I will grow up.

I will put down the bat and pick up the feather. Focus on what needs to be done and not on my need for instant gratification.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease