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

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

FREEDOM FROM ACTIVE ADDICTION

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Today I was in a meeting and the topic was Recovery and Relapse. I heard a lot of information and was able to identify because relapse is a part of my story.

I also shared my experiences with this topic. I shared about my struggles with identity from the early stages before drugs and how I started using to escape my feelings of low self worth. How I lived in a fantasy world for years creating different identities for myself because I didn’t like who the real me was.

I also shared how in the end, the loneliness and desperation got the best of me and how I thought about suicide everyday. I wanted to end my life because I didn’t want to live the life I was living anymore. I didn’t think that I would ever be able to stop the madness,  the insanity was too much.

I WAS TIRED OF PAYING SUCH A HIGH PRICE TO LIVE SO LOW.

I am so grateful that I am also able to share the hope that came about after the despair, degradation and destruction. The wonderful gift of life, a second chance at life that I have been blessed with. How I was brought back to a moment of clarity and able to give recovery one last try.

I am not ashamed to share my story for one very important reason.  I gives me freedom. I have learned acceptance of who I am today. I am NOT that person I pretended to be for so many years. I am NOT my mistakes, I am NOT my failures.

I AM NOT MY PAST.

I am experiencing FREEDOM FROM ACTIVE ADDICTION. I am experiencing life as I was meant to live it. It is only through my Higher Power’s Grace and Mercy that I am able to share my experiences with you all. That I am able to do the work necessary to maintain my freedom. That I am still alive.

I will not squander this opportunity for who knows if I will make it back. I for one am NOT willing to attempt to find out. I will stay the course, steady as I go. With the help of my network I stand a better chance than I ever will alone. I cannot do this by myself.

Freedom from active addiction ISN’T FREE. It takes commitment and hard work.

TODAY I AM COMMITED TO SAVING MY OWN LIFE. NOT DESTROYING IT.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease

A FEW SIMPLE SUGGESTIONS CHANGED MY LIFE

In my last post I wanted everyone to know that RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE. I wanted to let people who may be thinking that they cannot do this, to know that they can. That regardless of our individual circumstances WE can OVERCOME OUR ADDICTIONS.

When I first came into recovery I heard this same message and did not believe that it could work for me. I thought that I was damaged beyond repair. My lack of self esteem and self worth cast a gigantic shadow of self doubt that covered me and kept me stuck and fearful of attempting to really put forth the effort needed to change. I saw others recovering, I knew deep down inside that the program worked. I just didn’t believe that it would or could work for me. I came to the program broken, but long before I got clean I had fear of accomplishing things. I lived life hesitant of attempting anything for I knew that it would only end up in failure and disappointment. That I would only embarrass myself and cause myself even more heartache and pain than I was already feeling. I talked myself right out of ever trying to make my life better because of a false fear. A lie invented by myself to protect myself from feeling any more pain.

FEAR – FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL

FEAR – FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUN

FEAR – FACE EVERYTHING AND RECOVER.

It is amazing how I could sabotage myself without even trying. How I could allow myself to not even try something for fear of failure. How my addiction would have me believe that I am not worthy or capable of doing anything. The problem was with my thinking process and I had no idea until I came to recovery and started to learn some things about addiction and how it affects me. I always thought that drugs were my problem but I have learned that drugs are only a small portion of a bigger problem. The drugs were just a symptom of the disease of addiction that has been a part of my life long before I ever picked up. I knew for a long time that there was something wrong with the way I processed information and my thought patterns but I couldn’t fully understand what was going on. I still struggle with it today but I have gotten better and continue to progress. One Day At A Time.

I’VE HAD PLENTY OF PEOPLE SUGGEST THAT I NEEDED HELP BUT UNTIL I WAS READY IT DIDN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

The first suggestion that was ever given to me was not from a person in recovery. It was suggested that I seek some kind of help. I didn’t receive that very well because I didn’t think I had a problem. I had been to treatment centers, jails and institutions and attended NA meetings. They would always suggest that I make a meeting as soon as I am released but I always went back to using soon after release. I didn’t take the suggestions and always paid for it in the long run. Even when I finally made it to meetings after years of procrastination I would pick and choose which suggestions I wanted to take. I still wanted to do things my way and I still got the same results. After a while I finally realized that I had to try something different and that is when things started to change.

HONESTY, OPEN MINDEDNESS AND THE WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE.

It took some time but I was finally ready to listen to others who had been down the same road and where living a different life. A better life. I wanted what they had and so they suggested some things for me to do in order to obtain that way of life. I was told in meetings to KEEP COMING BACK and so I did. I learned some things and made some changes to my daily routine. I began to feel comfortable enough to start sharing honestly about who I was and some of the things that I had been through. I was amazed at how many people had similar stories and could identify with me. I became willing to do the necessary work that everyone else was doing (Step work, reading literature). I got a sponsor to help guide me in the process because I don’t know everything like I think I do. I had to become open minded to new things and start to discard the old things that I was so used to doing. I had to be willing to live in the moment and not dwell on the past. I had to become a whole new person. I was reluctant at first but in time I began to see changes and wanted more so I started to take more suggestions and apply what I could to my life. I became able to ask others for help and not feel like I was weak or a sucker. The most important thing was IF I DON’T PICK UP I CAN’T GET HIGH.

I had to learn that street rules DO NOT APPLY IN RECOVERY. Everything that I thought I knew about life and living was wrong. I no longer believe in or live by the code of the street. I am learning to live by spiritual principles and how the apply them to my everyday life. I am far from perfect and I know I will never be. I still have my days where I just want to be left alone and do what I want to do. But I know that my way has gotten me years of pain, so it is time to put my plans to rest and live by a new set of plans. I am grateful for where I am today and where I am going. Life is so much better without the use of ANY DRUG.

No matter what I am feeling, thinking or going through I DO NOT HAVE TO USE. 

WITH THE WILLINGNESS TO FOLLOW A FEW SIMPLE GUIDELINES MY LIFE HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY.

ALWAYS HAVE A DESTINATION

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It’s a suggestion in recovery to not leave your home without a destination. I have found that to be some very sound advice.

For a long time when I was using I would just be outside with no real plan or destination. I would be out just because.
Because I thought I would be missing something or someone would come through with something. Because I needed a couple more dollars to get my next one. Like I said Just Because.

I learned the hard way that always being outside with no particular place to go has it’s downsides. I became vulnerable to police harassments and  became subject to criminal activities among other things.

Today I use this simple but effective formula and It has proven to be very valuable. If I have nowhere to go, I stay home. I haven’t had the urge to be on the scene since entering into recovery and that is the way I prefer it. No more police contact, no more scrounging for change to get the next nothing. No more standing on the corners like a damn statue in all sorts of weather.

Having purpose today gives me options that I didn’t know I had in my active addiction. I am not obligated by my imagination to be seen, or heard from by the addicted community today. I am comfortable sitting with myself in my own house doing absolutely nothing if I choose to do so.

I am grateful for change.
Change is necessary for my success.
I am no longer locked into the insanity that was my vicious cycle.
One Day At A Time.

Peace and Blessings

Eric Ease