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Friday, July 14, 2017

Eternal Brotherly Love

    It was 2007 and I was just walking out of my shit job. You were walking into a rehab program I had just graduated and relapsed the day I got out. I had met you 3 years before that but I was too jealous to make friends. You had a swag about you and even my girlfriend at the time could see it. You were just anybody , you were Wayne!
     Since I met you I have never heard a bad word about you. I was trying to dig into my girlfriend at the time to say one but she didn't have one. It was me. I wanted to be like you. When we became friends we immediately synced up. Two lost souls up to absolutely no fucking good and loving it. Even now as I cry I couldn't imagine what I would have become without you. Even in the darkest times we built each other up.
    When I got clean you were locked up. I felt like I was strong enough for the both of us. That my way would pave the way for the both of us. Only the way is God's way and he had a plan for the both of us. You would always say to me, " Let's keep going, we are not supposed to be here ". We should have died long ago. You were right. I can't help but feel we are not supposed to be in this situation now. You being gone and me being here trying to figure out why.
    You were the best and I'm forever grateful. I wish you were here so I could thank you for every minute we spent as friends. Whatever word means more then family that is what you are. Someone that shot past the moon and landed amongst the stars. You are my brother. I will always love you.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lost My Brother To A Monster

    The last thing we said to each other was I love you. I would have said more if I knew we would never speak again. To try and tell you I have accepted everything would be a lie and too difficult to explain what I am feeling. To be honest I am mad at you. What you did was incredibly selfish. What you didn't know. How ugly the Monster is waiting for all of us should we choose to go down this path.
    Others have tried to tell me you chose this. I don't and won't ever say you chose to fucking die. I know this. I know you. We had plans to live. From someone who sat in the darkest hell with you. Knowing well we shouldn't be here. You would never choose death. We searched for our escape. Along the way people hurt and failed us. Mis-informed and misguided us. They preyed on our pain. While we prayed to not repeat this day.
   The Monster that is human error and failure is what killed you. Although you are at peace now. I felt  you had so much more to do here on Earth. You were broken in a broken system . Trying to pick the pieces up of your own life . I watched you feel neglected. I shared your struggle. We spoke on family and the saddness way before addiction. How much pain we shared with one another was unique. To be able to speak our own language in a room with people who have not woken up to what we have. That was special my dude. We were and always will be brothers. I would have given my life to let you know how much love I had and have for you.
   I lost you to a Monster that had many moving parts. I would have gone to war for you. Instead we were always going to war with one another. I guess that's what brothers do. We fight because we feel we know best for one another. We fight because steal sharpens steal. Real recognize real. You were fly. You deserve those wings. You are my guardian angel now.
   The Monster is now on to others like you. From the Dealer who used you for his best interest. To the system that let you slip. I cannot reverse your last steps. I have been trying to ever since I heard that Mans voice saying you were gone. He cried, I cried, we all cried for you. Such a beautiful soul. My brother in life , my brother for life, and now my brother In Christ eternally.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The American Tragedy

We live in an American Society where grandparents are raising children. The adults that give birth too these children need to wake the fuck up. Time runs out on all things. While actively using I took a 3 year break on raising my daughter. The first 3 years of her life. I turned down cutting the umbilical cord , I was afraid if I did I would have to own up to being a Father. I cried that day, not for her new life. But rather I thought my life was over. My child's first sentence was at 1. We were at a park and I was walking her around the wooden maze holding her hand. It was time to leave and just as I handed her over to her Mother she said, " Daddy, don't leave"! I cried immediately and left again soon after that.

I came to a point of homelessness in 2010 . I had lost rights to see my daughter once again and I had enough. I missed her from all the missed time I had given up. I could turn around and say that drugs were the reason but that would only be somewhat true. Drugs are solution , I am the problem. I was selfish. Selfish to not use condoms, selfish to think it would be o.k. to run around impregnating women and ask for an abortion later, and selfish enough to think it was o.k. to get high while having my daughter around me. As long as I could get high then I could be Super Dad. It was bullshit. I just didn't want to stop getting high and parenting was getting in the way of what I felt I deserved.

Getting high is very easy and very enjoyable. Being a parent is very difficult with moments of joy, mixed with a sense of responsibility to raise the life you created right. It is our responsibility and no other. So stop delegating your parental duties to those who have done their job. I had to learn that and continue to. I have made many mistakes since getting clean as a parent. The one constant in my life and in my child's today is my willingness to never quit on her again. I owe it to my Recovery and the halls of Alcoholics Anonymous. If it wasn't for them showing me a strength I never thought possible, which was to stay away from a drink and drug one day at a time. I would have failed long ago. Parenting for me goes hand in hand with letting go of those things in my life to which I place before my child.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Should I quit getting high?

You need help and your not sure if you should ask for it! Why ask for help when things are going this well? I said the same thing to myself 8 years ago with  6 ounces of coke in my freezer and 500 Percocet in my closet. I was saying this to myself while rushing to a bathroom in a nightclub because I just shit my pants from detoxing.

I thought I could go without taking any pills that night . I couldn't. I shit my pants. Soon as I got into the stall I slowly pulled my pants down and I was disgusted. There was shit all over my legs and underwear. Bonus! My pants were untouched. While cleaning my legs off and stuffing my underwear in the toilet I felt lucky and fortunate. The thoughts of quitting went away while washing myself off with the toilet water. I got home that night. Took my  non-prescribed medication and washed the thoughts of doubt away. ( I'll get clean when things get bad)

Why get clean when I had all these things going for me? As long as my medication was here and the money was circulating all would be well. I was living on my friends floor, selling drugs out of his apartment, and feeling less than for squatting in someone's house. But feeling more than because I had the best coke connect in the city.  "Oh God", I had to be high. I didn't want to feel the guilt that I was feeling and frustration that I wasn't where I wanted to be in life. My goals and dreams did not match my reality whatsoever. I was 23 years old and the best it got was shitting my pants in the middle of a club because I was hooked on opiates.

Lets break it down. I was selling 9 ounces of coke a week, using whatever I had left over plus some, I kept a buffet style of narcotics on deck for barter and use, and my mother would not speak to me ever since I told her I was going to make it in life through drug sales. Rick Ross had just dropped the Port of Miami album . I thought I was going to be the Boss. So why quit? I was lonely and suicidal all the time. I hid it with a smile and fake laugh. Constantly using sarcasm to get me out of uncomfortable situations like answering , "If I was such a Boss, why am I still sleeping on the floor of my friends apartment"? Delusions of grandeur is the best way to describe that moment in life. I couldn't wake up from the shitty dream any sooner. Fuck it though. Why quit using drugs? After all I was just running into bad luck and the tides were going to turn on the next deal.

If you are questioning why you should quit using drugs and shitting your pants in public is not enough. Then you have problem. If waking up from a black out pissing on your grandmothers bedroom wall with her yelling for you to use the bathroom and your best answer is , " I am Nana". Then you have problem. If you think medication before parenting is the steps you take to start your morning, Then you have a problem. I am saying this from personal perspective. My life fucking sucked and I couldn't figure out what I had to let go of and what I had to hold on to in order to make it right. I was out of control. Sometimes I wish shitting my pants was the worst thing to happen to me but it wasn't. I felt lucky that night. My underwear and toilet water saved my night out on the town. I had a problem. Maybe you do as well. Trying to figure this out is a matter of life and death. Opiates really sank my life. Later turning to heroin use when the money ran out and the pills dried up.

Things are a lot more calm in my world today. My grandmother has passed , "God rest her soul". She was a saint for dealing with a grown teenager using her bedroom as a urinal. I haven't had a bowel movement in any place other then a toilet with the occasional pit stop in the woods if I am working a construction job. My dealer is out of my life now and has been for a very long time. My daughter comes first right after prayer in the morning. I quit when there was sufficient reason too. I was at rock bottom and had enough. My soul was broken and I no longer wished to die. I wanted to live and I needed help, so I asked. If you are not here yet it's going to be o.k. We will  be waiting for you when you are ready. Keep fighting and never give up. You matter!

So if you are wondering if you should quit using drugs? The answer is yes. Unless you like shitting your pants in public like I did. If that's what you choose , party on dude. Just remember (No one likes the smelly kid!)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Suicide and a Bottle of Booze

I almost died of loneliness, depression, and the continuous thoughts of suicide. The drugs and booze no longer worked. I couldn't escape the emptiness that I was feeling. I don't know where it set in but I felt so alone and could not shake the feeling  no matter who I was with or  how much time I spent with them. Whether it be with guy friends or girlfriends I was lonely. Too afraid of what my guy friends would say, to proud to explain what I'm feeling to my girlfriend. I wasn't even sure I could explain it to people anyway because there was an absence I could not figure out. I remember standing on the caution line at the Train Station hearing the train honk for me to back up. I was too scared to kill myself and too afraid to live. I was Peter Pan constantly chasing my shadow. I couldn't stay in one place for too long. I hadn't grown up yet and I kept running away.

I was 18 and drinking every morning. I didn't think I was a drunk. I used to joke about being one but in all reality my vision of a drunk was a homeless person drinking from a bottle of whatever they could find. I had a home and a couch to sleep on at my aunts. I had free range to drink whenever I wanted and I did. I would show up to my job at the nursing home drunk thinking it was a challenge. Baileys Irish Crème and coffee seemed acceptable because people drink coffee in the morning. I would drink to chase the hangover away. I would drink for any good reason family, friends, sex, work, anxiety, and failure.  Not sure which hangover it was but one day I woke up  and started picturing my death. Suicide by hanging I figured was my answer. I was in so much pain and could not escape a single thought. I was going to hang myself from a basketball hoop up the street with orange extension cord. It was going to be a casual day of me leaving down the street for a little basketball by myself. Only this time I wasn't going to return. I planned this out for two weeks. The only thing that saved me from suicide was the thought of my Mother and how I would hurt her.

The plan didn't go off as I thought it would. I ended up walking into my families living room and told them they were all drunks and that I was leaving. I packed immediately and headed to another friends couch. By now I was training for a silver medal in couch surfing. I was getting pretty fucking good at being a vagrant and running from things. I still could not shake the fact I wanted to kill myself. It was  my first sobering thought it had  scared me so much so I slowed down on my drinking for a while.  I know I hurt my family and deflected on to them. Still to this day I have not been able to make that amends to them. If any of them are reading this I want you all to know I love you and I was the one struggling at the time. It was all an 18 year alcoholic could come up with. I didn't know alcohol or drugs were hurting me and that I was the problem.

When I first got clean I was sitting in treatment and a friend gave me my first prayer to say. I would repeat this prayer all day long . I would say I need help staying away from a drink, drug, and bad relationship. Like all newcomers in recovery I stopped praying for the 3rd thing 7 months in.  I learned quick why you wait a year in recovery before getting into relationships. Fortunately I stayed sober through that and a lot of other amazing ups and downs in my life. The biggest up has been the relationship with my daughter who I had given up while actively using. I would have to say the biggest down is the continuous loss of friends to opiates. Its crushing every time it happens. Through it all though I have stayed sober. Now the only surfing I do is channel surfing on my own couch. I do not think of suicide and if I do it is in a past tense. No longer apart of my day to day life. I owe that to recovery and the thousands of people I have met in the past 6 years.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Different Pathways of Recovery

Treatment and the many  models that exist do depend on the stability of the place as well as the patient. Willingness of the patient is the key element.  An addict can be in a holistic paradise and just not be ready. He or she might leave immediately, discharge for inappropriate conduct, or relapse right after. We cannot buy clean time or sobriety no matter how big the bill is or who is footing it. If we over cater to someone in their active addiction it does not mean you are meeting their needs. Especially when they have done nothing but lie, cheat, and steal their way here.  So yes  " They do deserve a second chance". But no, " They do not deserve to have their assess kissed because their policy is amazing for billing". There are treatment facilities that are great. Intentionally to designed to acclimate you back into society while giving you a therapeutic community.  A line has to be drawn though or else you create and environment for the spiritual disease of addiction to grow. 

There will always be opinions and arguments between the (Old Approach Recovery World) and what treatment is. Treatment is Not Recovery. Recovery is a hopeful by product of whatever treatment that person receives. So therefor we should not be the ones to judge where someone is at with their Recovery or how they got better from their bottom. One such method that draws a lot of controversy is  harm reduction. This is a proven  successful model for someone who does better with harm reduction. Just like abstinence is a proven successful model  for those who seek this path. Either path does not always fit every person. There are many pathways to recovery along with many opinions. Choose wisely. For years I found myself judging those around me who were not doing exactly what I was doing. Today I spend more time warning people from my experience then trying to force someone into it. I try to share hope and less opinion. Being open-minded is all one can do in the face of this Pandemic.

Be yourself, honor yourself,  and remember you matter. I had to do a report on Helen Keller when I was younger. Something she had said always stuck with me while trying to grow through some of the struggles I had in life. She said, " Character cannot be developed in ease and quite. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul  be strengthened , ambition inspired, and success achieved." Whatever path you choose understand it will not be easy but it will be worth it. Find what fits for you and stick with it. I have a gold medal in couch surfing. When something went wrong aka usually not my way. I left in hurry. Always moving in place and stuck in a perpetual state of confusion. I could not understand why my life sucked. Treatment can be the same way if we do not stick it out and see it through. Treatment can be a reflection of our negative past if we want it. Or it can be a microcosm for our life. Holistic or basic it depends on you. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

From Darkness to Dignity

I watched a man get set free today. Chained by the wreckage of his past he could no longer outrun. I watched him turn and face the consequences of his actions. As he approached the judge there was a surprise look on the judges face followed by a quick, " Oh there you are". There was a sense of familiarity between the two but that was wear it ended. The man was not the same man who had been in his court house 2 years before.

A lot has changed since then. Both good and bad. The forever balance of life although this time it seemed as if life was finally tipping his way. First the judge asked about his family. The  mans brother was recently sentenced for a long period of incarceration. The pain still sat with the man . Then he was asked about his mother. There was a quick pause then a deep breath and he explained to the judge that his mother passed away just under two years ago.

Being familiar with both mother and sons there was a moment of sorrow and loss shared between these two men. For a moment there was no judiciary and probate. Almost like a man catching up with his son. Tears streamed from my face. This man has become a brother to me.  Just a year ago we met when he was on a path to destroy himself. I had hope for him though and never gave in on his recovery. Now this man is telling his story to the same judge who regretfully and repeatedly put him away for the consequences of his actions. He told his story  as a man with dignity. He explained that, " He was done running, he wanted his life back, and that he had a lot of making up to do within his community". I was proud of the man he is becoming and has become. He gave me hope.

 He is a success story having gone through treatment then later finding God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Two weeks from receiving his 1 year medallion for continuous abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The probation officer who is asking for him to be detained is now being denied that request by the same judge who would have easily agreed had it not been for the change visible in and through this man. He came in the court house carrying something he had never carried before. Something you could never place value on. He carried God with him. The judge gave a smile of joy and approval and set him free on the grounds that he continue to change his life and help others. The chains that bind us can be broken. I have had the privilege to watch a man walk from rock bottom to freedom today.  What it takes is decided on what you are willing to do to break them.