THE POWER OF THE GROUP

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I am thankful for my support group. I am not only speaking of the people with whom I associate with in the fellowship. I am also talking about each and every one of you as well. You are as much a part of my group as the people that I see and talk to every day. I want to take this time to thank everyone who responded to my post BACK TO THE BASICS. It really helped me to realize that I am not alone. That there are others who can identify with me and know exactly what I am talking about. Some times I can forget that I am not unique or special in that I am not the only one who has struggled and overcome. It truly touches my heart when I share something that is troubling me and people offer genuine support and encouragement. I remember a time when I couldn’t share pain and heartache or anything else for that matter because then the vultures would be circling looking at you like you were a easy mark. Like their next victim or a meal ticket. I have been hurt by people I thought were my friends in the past and as a direct result made a decision some years ago to never allow anyone to get close enough to me to ever hurt me again.

I used to hate people because I would always be disappointed by them in one way or another. I ran with a motto I can do bad all by myself and proceeded to live my life in that manner.

ALL BY MYSELF!

I isolated myself from others, I turned my feelings off and became cold and callous. I had no empathy for your pain, struggles or heartache. I learned to mask my feelings so well that I began to believe that I had none. I lied to myself so much that I believed that I didn’t care about people. That I didn’t need people. That I didn’t need anyone. I lived in a self made prison. A fantasy world were no one could ever touch me.

It took a long time for it to sink into my thick skull that I actually need people in my life. I am beginning to understand the power behind having friends and reaching out to others whether in times of need or to just say hello. I struggle in this area although I realize the importance of it, I have a difficult time just having a simple conversation with people face to face and sometimes even over the phone. So instead of working through the area I just avoid it all together. I do not initiate conversations with strangers and with the people I already know it takes a long time for me to really warm up to them enough for me to actually get to know them on a deeper level. I get along by doing just enough. Never straying outside my comfort zone. I still do not allow people to get to know me on a really personal level. I still have trust issues and let very few people get to know me on such a deep level.

I have made a commitment to myself that I will work towards becoming more people friendly this year. I am ready to step into a new realm of my recovery. I feel that the time has come to take the risks and stop worrying about the what if’s. It’s time to stop living in fear of rejection and hurt and live life to the fullest. I will work on the uncomfortable feelings and stop living in isolation. I cannot do this alone.

There is no I in TEAM.

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Like I mentioned in my post IT’S NOT JUST A DREAM. IT’S AN AWAKENING. I am starting on a new journey and that a goal without action is just a dream. I have been awakened to the possibilities and I need to take the action to make them a reality. Thank you to all those who have helped me along my journey so far and those who will help me for many years to come.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

WHO IS THIS PERSON?

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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.

GETTING OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE

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I have been trying to find what it is that I want to do lately as you all know. I have been running myself ragged thinking, thinking and more thinking but wasn’t putting forth any action.Then I had made a decision to focus more on my blog and start posting, reading and commenting more. Getting back to the basics of why I started my blog in the first place but also wanting to take it to new levels. I have been reading new blogs and posting comments, following new blogs and reaching out to other blogs that are not recovery oriented as well. I also have been promoting my blog on social media outlets and even inviting guest bloggers to submit articles about their own experiences in this wonderful journey of recovery.

I feel good because I said I wanted to do something and I focused on doing it and but forth the action required. I have been talking a lot about doing this or that but not putting the action behind my words and I was feeling a little stagnated. I was stuck in a old but familiar place. Comfortable in being in a safe place. A zone of taking no risks so I would not be  disappointed. Safe in the zone of fear of moving forward for fear of failure. That old attitude and behavior that kept me sick for so, so long. I thank my support system for all the encouragement and love that they have given me over the last 2 years. I would not be where I am today if I had continued to try to do this alone.

I know all to well what happens when I begin to feel that I should not try to do new things. The old thinking creeps back in and tries to convince me that I am not worthy of any of the gifts that await me and that I should not try to move on my ideas, dreams and goals because I will just fail and feel miserable all over again. Well to those thoughts I say

KICK ROCKS WITH FLIP FLOP

I am a different person today. I am not that same old scared to do anything person. Today I look forward to moving out of my comfort zone and although it is difficult at times I want something better for myself and I have to move in order to get it. If I stay stuck in yesteryear I will get those same stale results. I want fresh new results and I am determined to see them come to fruition.

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New beginnings.

I have a wonderful woman in my life today and she is truly amazing. She has the spark that I have been missing and I draw from her energy. She is her own woman and is very independent. (I Love That). My woman is starting a new journey and it really has been an eye opener. I watch her and the enthusiasm that she displays and it motivates me to want to do better. She’s smart, sexy, has determination and a vision. She has goals and she is not afraid to go after them. She is definitely a go getter. Boss Lady. I love her and I want to do whatever it takes to make our dreams a reality. I know that whatever we decide to do, wherever we decide to go we as a team can make anything happen. I look forward to having a partner to grow with and to build with. This is new territory and if I was to say it’s not a little scary I would be lying. But fear will not stand in the way of my happiness. Not today.

I truly believe that this is my time. I can feel it and for me to just sit back and watch it slip away again would be a tragedy and a waste of another perfect opportunity. I think I’ve done that enough in my lifetime. The time for action is now.

THE PROCESS OF UNDERSTANDING MYSELF

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When I first read this quote. I didn’t quite agree with it. I figured that I am only just beginning to understand myself and felt it didn’t apply to me. But after reading it over and over. Literally 20 or more times did I begin to grasp a meaning of my own.

So I  broke it down.

I understood myself only after I destroyed myself.

For years I was he’ll bent on destroying myself. I seemed to have a death wish and was slowly carrying it out. I lived a life that was not my own. I didn’t have the chance to find out who I was because I always wanted to be someone else. I created, orchestrated, role played and fronted my way through everyday life. I created a monster and payed a heavy price of losing my true self in the process. I destroyed relationships with my family and everyone and everything I came in contact with. I never understood why I did the things that I did. I just did them to be like everyone else. I had no identity of my own so I followed the path of least resistance along with the others.

It wasn’t until years later that I began to realize that the life I was living was not for me. It took countless headaches and heartaches, prisons and institutions for me to finally start to understand that I wasn’t meant to live this way. I began to want something more for myself. Something that I had deep down inside of me wanted to be set free. It was a Devine Intervention. It had to be. Because left up to me I would have continued to destroy myself until the bitter end. At that point I began to understand that I was worth so much more.

Only in the process of fixing myself did I know who I really was.

This last part speaks of my recovery process. Coming into recovery through the guidance of my Higher Power. Learning how to put my ego and my pride in my back pocket and listen, take suggestions and do some things differently. Relearning how to be honest with others but more importantly learning how to be honest with myself. Learning how to just get through the day without using. Talking about my feelings and not stuffing them until they overflow and I explode. Learning how to be a friend and to have compassion and empathy. Not being afraid to cry and learning how to identify and work through feelings.

In my process uncovering and exposing the lies that I have lived with and believed all my life. Seeing myself for the first time and realizing that I am a nice person. I am intelligent, gifted, caring, vulnerable, worthy, useful, helpful and trustworthy. Learning that I am going to make mistakes and it’s ok. That I don’t have to be perfect. Learning how to say no and not worry about hurting someone’s feelings. That I don’t have to be a people pleaser so I can fit in or belong. I am who I am. Like it or leave it.

Today I have choices. I am responsible, I am getting my voice, I am no longer silent and invisible. I have a purpose. Thanks to this process of fixing myself I am getting to know the real me.

And I am amazing.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

JUST SAY NO. AND MEAN JUST THAT

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I remember how hard it was for me to say No and to mean it. I could never say it and that be the end of it.  I would say No and then turn right back around and give in to the temptation of whatever it was I was saying No to.

For instance.

I have said over a million times that I would just do one. But could not say No to the thoughts of getting more. No sooner than the thought occurred I would say I’m not going to do it and then before I knew it. I was doing it. I was out there searching for that next one.

I still struggle with denying myself things today. Telling myself No is difficult and I usually cave in without a fuss or fight. The obsession and compulsion to fill that empty space is causing me to still act out in ways that continue to have a negative impact. Always searching for that instant gratification. The high I get from it feels good at the moment. But there is always that low feeling I get afterwards. That crash and burn feeling. That damn I did it again feeling.

I am learning that It’s another form of using. I am not using drugs but I am using shopping, smoking, eating, women and speeding just to name a few. All of the above give me a certain rush. All of the above give me good feelings for a few seconds. I know before hand that I shouldn’t do it. I contemplate the end results, tell myself that I am not going to do it. Then do it anyway and wind up feeling angry and resentful afterwards.

I try to blame others if possible but when the smoke clears and I take a honest look at it. I have no one to blame but myself. I knew what it was before I got into it and proceeded to do it anyway. I am still practicing insane attitudes and  behaviors. I cannot continue to use the fact that I am new in recovery as a excuse.

Because when I know better. I am supposed to do better.
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So I will make a commitment to honestly practice saying No and sticking to it. Not for 2 seconds and then flip flop. But to make a conscious effort to stick to my guns. Get better at denying myself and having some discipline. I know that change doesn’t happen over night but over time. I also know that if nothing changes then nothing will change.

I will keep you updated on my progress.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

LEARNING NOT TO COMPARE MYSELF WITH YOU

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For a long time,  I dreamed of being someone else. I wanted what others had. I wanted to do what others did. I compared my life to those around me. I always thought every one had it better than me. That their lives was more exciting than mines. I was always comparing me to you. I never measured up in my mind.

I always felt that something was missing. I couldn’t understand why at the time. Why I always felt less than. Why I felt I didn’t belong. So I began to live a fantasy. I began creating false images of myself. I began to wear masks. I found out that I could be anyone I wanted to be. I was able to escape those feelings by becoming someone else.

For a while it felt good. I was able to fit in and act like others did. Do the things that others did. All those things that I was told not to do, I did. I was finally free. Or so I thought. I didn’t know then that there was a price to pay. I didn’t know that I was selling my soul, I was trading my original for a counterfeit. I was giving up on a life promised in return for a life of pain,  misery and suffering.

I didn’t know then what I know now. I underestimated my ability to fit in,  to make something of myself. I doubted my abilities and took a shortcut. I settled for the easy way out instead of putting in the work necessary to overcome my fears and insecurities. I was unable to see the beauty that was inside of me by comparing myself to others.

I am honestly practicing loving myself today. After years of telling myself that I’m not worthy and faking my true identity. It is hard work. I still fall short and compare myself to others and wish I was like them in one aspect or another. Like when I see others who can strike up a conversation with someone so easily.

Today I can realize that defect and work on changing it when it occurs. I am in a process that I have to make changes to behaviors that I have had for decades. I remind myself daily that it doesn’t happen over night. I will fall short at times and it’s OK.

I am right where I need to be.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF

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I remember sacrificing the principals I was taught as a child so I could fit in. I ran with the wrong crowds and wanted to do what they did. I knew that it was wrong, but I wanted to be liked. I just wanted to be down.

I remember my parents  warning me against the things I was doing and telling me what would happen. I was so stubborn and full of myself. I thought I knew everything and they didn’t have a clue as to what they were talking about.

I thought that those so called friends cared about me. I thought that they had my back. I listened to them and ignored my parents. I turned my back on my family and turned to the streets. I thought they loved me and understood me.

I found out the hard way that the streets had no love for me. Those same fake ass friends turned their backs on me or stabbed me in the back every chance they got. I was hurt,  devastated to say the least.

Anger became my friend. I  turned my back on everyone. I couldn’t trust people anymore. I sank into depression and my using escalated to new heights. Needless to say my addiction stored and the rest was history.

I am starting over in recovery. I am attempting to establish new friendships. Healthy relationships. I have to be honest. I am having difficulty with opening myself up to people. I don’t like the vulnerability and the awkwardness I feel and I  am uncomfortable most of the time. I lack the trust needed and I am having difficulty finding the willingness to let go of the past in this area.

I know that this is a process and change doesn’t happen overnight. I know this and I also know that not everyone I meet is meant to be in my life. I will take my time and when I am comfortable I will move forward.

Until then
I will continue to be alone rather than sacrifice my principles and be in bad company. I can do bad all by myself.

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.

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

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