Sunday, January 29, 2017
Sitting in a detox next to a couple, who are discussing their future lives together. They are each less than a week removed from heroin and crystal meth use, currently on methadone and looking for a halfway house that will take couples.
I'll keep the receipt for the wedding gift.
I was no one to judge at the time, I myself was sitting next to them. Completely defeated, spending time listening to the AA/NA in-house commitments speak about experience, strength and hope while interrupting my time I could be using laying in bed screaming into my pillow.
"How did my life get to this point?"
I thought as I fished through the ashtray for a sniped cigarette that was sizeable enough to not give away any shred of self respect I have left to light and smoke. Nice, a Marlboro that had only a few drags taken from it before it was put out. Jackpot!
Here comes the tech to make me aware it is time to go to group, the one with the face I can't stand. I have to sit and listen to this 23 year old man complain about how his parents won't let them back home even though he has been sober for over a week.
"Poor thing, a 6 month run of heroin use and stealing all your parents money and now you're not even allowed to have keys to the house. Parents just don't understand.",
as the voice in my head screamed as I tapped my foot, head in hand, watching the clock out of the corner of my eye for smoke break while plotting which kid in this room was the weakest so I could get a smoke out of him.
"I should leave. But where will I go with no money, car or residence?"
Circumstances had me by the balls.
I knew that no matter how bad my mind was out the door, my feet would remain planted. Begrudgingly, resentfully yet undoubtedly planted.
As I awoke in the morning, the tech with the face I hated came to tell me I would be leaving to go to my next destination as the other tech with the face I hated was bringing in a new client, he was apparently mentally befogged and glassy eyed. He was a new patient, who I would never introduce myself to while I packed my belongings and rushed to the lobby to wait and leave that detox.
After 2 weeks of getting acclimated at the program I was moved because my attitude was slowly improving. My appetite was returning and my patience was very low, a vast improvement from where my patience was just a few days prior. Now I get to go to outside meetings, where I would scan the room for the girl of my misunderstanding while drowning out the noise of all that "sober is better" nonsense. " Bonus, just another 5 minutes then I get to go back to the program housing and watch the news to rejoice in the fact that I am not the only one suffering in this world."
Another two weeks of this and now going into the next phase of this journey, where I can look for jobs and would have more freedom. But still required to go to those 12 step meetings 4 times a week.
For me, it was another hour of my time being ripped from me while I sit and listen to these people. Constantly being reminded by their stories of hope how hopeless my life is. Jobless, with no calls back about my applications, wearing the same shoes I had been wearing in active addiction while watching Mr. Sportcoat come into the meeting with a nice haircut, fresh air maxes and the girl I wanted to sleep with. Where I grew up a Mr. Sportcoat is the guy who will bang your girl while you are locked up or in treatment. He is the guy we all fear while on the phone with the girl we just replaced for drugs up until the point of rock bottom. Now that your clean you are ready to take her back and be the guy you promised. Good luck, Sportcoat has already moved in. Anyway back to that guy. He's a total douche and she is a dumb skank.
Now its time for the old guy who uses phrases like "I put the plug in the jug 37 years ago and have not picked up since!"
Yeah sounds good guy, a lot better when you tell it.
Why could I not stand these people?
Is it because they suck or my life does?
Maybe both, I told myself.
But what one guy said at one of these awful meetings really stuck with me.
He said that when he reached out for help, the 12 step program members reached back.
As I sat there sleeping in the bed my halfway house was providing me, I thought of how I was too proud to ask for help. And as I ate the food I had purchased with my food stamps, I thought of all the ways I was independent and could survive on my own. I couldn't. I could not do this on my own. I needed help. I needed to swallow my pride, right after I got done with chewing these ramen noodles.
I decided I would raise my hand at the next meeting and introduce myself. I would keep it brief.
Sunday came and at 6:45 pm, I would head to the meeting. By the time I got there I had already decided I would not being sharing as I had planned. I walked in, kept my head low and went right for the back row of chairs in thr denial aisle. As the clock slowly was approaching 8, which would be the end of the meeting, I mustered up the courage to raise my hand and share because why not at this point, there were no girls near my age there, so if I did embarass myself it wasn't the end of the world.
When called on to share I said "Hey , I'm (insert my name) and I'm an alcoholic/addict." The usual mantra.
"Hi (insert name) " the meeting goers said in unison, as they stared at me attentively. The usual response. Becoming beat red and quickly moving my eyes towards the floor, rubbing my hands together nervously, I explained to the group I was newly sober, living in a halfway house and needed help. And then I ended it, almost simultaneously as the meeting time was expiring.
After the end of meeting, I headed towards the door. Where I would be met by the groups members, who would ask me if I would be interested in joining the group, and shared their phone numbers with me. Coincidentally the group was having it's business meeting. I agreed to stay for it, and left with the job of greeter for the group.
Not the job I was looking for.
Next week, I showed up to the meeting a haf hour prior, helped the group set up and greeted people. After doing so the week prior, I shared again. For some reason just speaking about my situation felt relieving. All the anger and spite I was keeping to myself was destroying me.
I'd soon realize I didn't have to go through this alone.
After the meeting, I was approached by one of those oldtimer guys. The "plug in the jug" type. He said he was available to be a sponsor, as I had mentioned I needed during my share.
We exchanged contact info, and I called him later that night. That was the beginning of a major change that required little effort.
As we met the next day and he shared his experience , and how his experience may be of help to mine I realized how not alone I was. I found commonalities with a person I was not sure I would ever start a conversation with at a bus stop. And those common bonds made me believe that I too could have what he seemed to have.
A life worth living.
Now, with a little more clean time, a new pair of shoes and working an active program in my life I wake up happier. I am eager to get to those 12 step meetings to share about my day, my experience and my newfound hope. That old timer that apporached me, meets with me atleast once a week and we speak everyday. He has become a friend just as much as he is a lifeline when I need to talk to someone.
The desire to use is no longer present in my life. I am more eager to build a strong foundation and optimistic I can.
The bad moments or minor inconviences that come with living life sober don't own me or decide how my day is going to go. I have a home group in which I am cared for by its members and that encourages me to continue to do the right thing.
Anger and impatience for others is slowly being replaced by tolerance. I try to understand before I react, maybe I could be of good use to someone struggling as I was. And all those times in the early phases of recovery, the detox, the groups, the tech with the face I hated to look at, all those things will remain things of my past so long as I am willing to continue building my future one day at a time.
So if you want to get sober, it won't be easy. There will be a struggle involved, sacrifice and things you do not want to do. However, if you want it bad enough, those things will be worth the end result. When it comes to recovery from addiction, the ends justify the means.
Take it from me,
An addict of the hopeless variety.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Reality and what my mind creates can be on total opposite ends of the spectrum. Did you know that if you live to 80 years old you will have taken just about 670 million breathes in your life time. I looked that up right after I got over having a big spoon in my ice cream. In America we are a pharmaceutically driven health care system combating and attacking any notion of the soul. In India they practice and teach you about soul sickness and how to heal the heart holistically. I looked that up as well one time when I took a break from my brain. I was looking for an alternative solution to a problem that seems to not get fixed in America. We are suffering in the states from a social soul sickness that is being dealt with by Chemicals as opposed to Love. Too many big spoons destroying our moments to savor life slowly. What you use to eat with will ultimately decide what you choose to take into your mind, body, and soul. I for one want to take the rest of the time I have hear on earth taking small bites slowly with the hopes I can slow down time. I once thought about how a clock works during a meditation. But since the story is about small spoons in my ice cream I will save it for another story.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
When your father is not around and your mother has to make up for both sides it tends to be draining on the family. Things are missed that a second parent can add. Value is subtracted in the partnership of a family. My mothers courage and love extended even to my father . I would sometimes feel frustrated with him not being around and lose my shit on everyone. She would always reply with her patience and love when I was calm that my father still loved me. My Mother is wise and forgiving. She showed me how to love my Father. I do and always will love my Father. I cherish the talks and moments of endless laughter we now have. If it wasn't for her teachings and lessons of love I would have hatred in my heart that I sometimes see in others. I have never hated anyone because of my Mother. Love kept me alive when heroin was trying to kill me.
You are never too old to be a Son. Learning to be a son again when drug dealing and drug addiction warped my sense of reality was difficult. I first had to let go of the lie that my Mother just didn't understand. The truth to it all is that she did, she was just not going to put up with my shit. She gave me tough love. Like the time I told her I was selling cocaine and she should be proud of me that I am making money. She told me to not call her back until I stopped and that she was disgusted in my behavior. I hurt myself in doing so because I wasted time while wasting her time. In turn I hurt the one person I loved most in this world. Drug sickness perpetuates lies that we believe by convincing us that we hurt no one but ourselves. This is a perfect example of that lie. We didn't speak for a year. I was trying to live like Scarface while sleeping on a mat on a floor with nothing to show for my drug dealing except a major drug addiction. She never raised me like that and she was not going to start condoning it now. My mother has never stopped raising me and probably won't stop ever. For that I am grateful.
Our conversations are different today. We speak like two people that have survived a war and now are living in what my friend Alex W. calls, " The Bonus Round of Life". I tell her about the marketing company I consult with 4D Recovery or my work I do with Detox of South Florida in Okeechobee. She tells me she is proud of me and then will offer up marketing ideas that we run over for hours. She is an amazing person with wisdom only earned through life's trials and tribulations. Then we get to more serious stuff like never allowing failure as a permanent entity in our lives. We practice mantras and affirmations over the phone for days when we start in on it. To be able to give her hope back that she gave me 31 years ago has been one of the many reasons I stayed sober for 6 years now and counting one day at a time. God used her back then to help me so in turn he could prep me to help her. God is good and life is beautiful that way. So if you are reading Mom I love you. I really wouldn't be me without you.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
In many cases, the newcomer to recovery has treaded a path that has rendered them broken mentally, physically, spiritually and FINANCIALLY.
Whether it be accumulation of debt , lack of funds, loss of possessions or criminal records that make it harder to get a decent job.These things can be a major roadblock on the path of recovery. A sense of hopelessness and the "f*** its" can start to be consuming to the individual that seeks to obtain a manageable life.It is important to understand how we recover. Physically with the removal of drugs from the body, mentally with the clarity of the befogged mind, and spiritually when we accept a power greater than our own selves to lead us.
Spirituality=FAITH. Faith without works is dead!There is a practicality in being concerned with your financial woes.You can strategize and budget to make a plan that will help you get out from the negative. But more importantly, you should change your perspective.
As stated in this article, spirituality is the last step in recovery. And the lack of spiritual practice will be the beginning of a relapse.
We can not serve two masters.If your financial troubles are constantly on your mind, you are not focused on how you can help others and put positivity in this world. The truth is, worrying about your finances is selfish if it takes your focus off carrying out the will of a higher power.
We are so use to instant gratification from the drug or drink, we have impaired our ability to be patient.Your financial troubles will not be fixed overnight. It will take time, it will require patience and most of all faith.
When we constantly worry about ourselves we can not be of use to the world. You will find strength and freedom in not being owned by the dollar but instead serving a higher power. You will learn patience in taking small steps to fix your financial situation. You will become in charge of circumstances, instead of being owned by them.
Our primary purpose is to help others in this battle against addiction. This is what we live for. To recover and to help the still sick and suffering find what we have today.We have something to offer, and when we are obsessed with our own struggles, we are missing an opportunity to save a life.We must learn to find value in what we do for the world, not what we get from it.