The Morning After…

It’s a humbling feeling when you wake up in the morning after failing the day before. My failures today are not what they use to be, and the coping skill is 100% better than what it use to be as well. But failing for me today, is actually peaceful, if that makes sense. It’s like, yeah probably shouldn’t have high expectations in the first place, and I did do the best I could with the surrounding circumstances; and the reality is that my life is exactly the same as it was yesterday, which is amazing.

But it’s something in my chest that feels weird today. It’s not bad nor great. It’s just there. Calm, maybe. It feels like I failed and accepted rather than be in denial. I don’t know…

It was just a class. And I actually didn’t fail the class, but completely bombed my final. I was frustrated last night. One thing I did was when my professor asked if I wanted to work on my project some more and turn it in later this week, I declined. After a summer of two grad classes and work, I told her  when I walk out of class today, I’m done, I accept any grade she gives me. Which, I have an A, so at worst it will drop to a B.

I’m just tired, it’s been a rough week. But as long as I stay sober, it’s all good.

 

The Bridge Between Addcition and Recovery

It’s challenging when working with someone who is a couple of days clean from drugs and alcohol. That’s when the disease of addcition is most powerful. When someone is actively using and drinking, the disease doesn’t have to work hard. But when we collect a few days clean the mind will make up any excuse to rationalize a reason to use. Feelings and emotions begin to rise. The same feelings and emotions we use and drink over to cope. We have to get to the point to where we can sit with those feelings so we can make a choice. The choice is to use, or to get help. And that’s a decision that no one can make but the addict. I believe most addicts do not even reach that point. They feel uncomfortable in their own skin which someone once told me, “I feel like unzipping my skin from my body.” Which leads them back to rationalizing or justify return to use. Furthermore, when someone stops using and drinking, those feelings they use over don’t go away either, we just learn healthier ways to cope, rather than drink and use.

I remember when I got to that point. The feeling of misery and failure hit me hard. I was over 30 days clean and would rather stab my eye with a pencil than go to one more freak ‘in AA meeting. But for some reason that night, driving on I35 North I had enough and I battled with God.

I yelled, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, I CANT TAKE ANYMORE!”

Suddenly night broke, and the Sun came with such force the ground began to shake!! So, that didn’t really happen, but I did go to a meeting and get a sponsor and have been sober ever since. But I needed to get to that point. And in addiction, family can take away or stop enabling which will help someone get to that experience, but the choice is still ours. There’s no “quote” I can read, or story I can share that will wake someone’s spirit. And even if there was, and even if they were ready for recovery, it’s just the first step, which is the most important step of all, at least in my recovery.

The House Next Door

I dreamt again about the house next door. In addiction, the house next door was reoccurring dream. When I got sober, it abruptly stopped. Now five years later, the dream is back. In my dream last night, I asked the owner if I could take a look inside, since he was selling. The house was in shambles. There were rooms, with two or three additional rooms added on to them. The hallway was long and narrow. The walls were painted a dark blue. The two of the rooms were not connected as one. The master bedroom had additional showers. Inside, the house next door looked nothing like how I remembered it.

Why I drink and use.

I remember one time while in active addiction I had some how managed to get hired for two jobs. I have no idea how I passed the drug test. I did drugs the night before and part of the interview process for the second job was an onsite drug test. So I passed the test, got hired and from no job, went to having two jobs. I guess I as reflect back, in a weird way, I was always trying to get my life together. But I didn’t stand a chance against the forces of addiction. That night, I went out and celebrated and bragged to all my friends that I had two jobs! And I celebrated by drinking, then which led to a 3 day cocaine binge. Needless to say, I lost both jobs that night. My senior year of college I could not find a job anywhere. I even applied at fast-food places and didn’t even get called for an interview. I’m assuming it was because of my arrest record. The only job I could find that summer was washing cars on commission. The anger built up inside was like a volcano getting ready to erupt. It drove me insane. I drank over that feeling. A lot.

I only bring this up because for the first time in my life, I am employable and company’s have sought out my employment. And that feels good. Waking up and feeling ok with life, to waking up and feeling good with life, is the by-product of hard work in recovery. But the real challenge is to just sit with the “good-feeling.” Not to feel guilty or overconfidence. Not to try to enhance the feeling by purchasing or eating. Just sit with the feeling until it passes. I believe

I drank and used to cope with my feelings and emotions.

Three myths that Family members believe that can hurt their loved one’s recovery.

So I’m writing this on the fly, I have a ninety-second presentation due tomorrow for Comm Skills class and of course I just started creating the outline. I started with a new company and still technically with my old company, so my schedule is freak’in crazy right now. (However, I do my best work in chaos!) Anyway,  coming off facilitating a “Family Day,” last Saturday where clients invite their loved ones to spend the day at treatment, I came up with this idea for class, as I would present this to family of someone suffering from Substance Use Disorder/Addiction.

Three myths that Family members believe, that can hurt their loved one’s recovery.

  1. The Happily Ever After Myth: Families get the impression that their loved one is going to be fixed and the end of 30 days in rehab and when they get home, life will be perfect! Not to discourage anyone, but that’s not the case. Recovery is a long-term, life process commitment. And yes, as long as your loved one stays sober one-day-at-a-time life gets really good. But it’s a process, and just like addiction didn’t happen over night, recovery does not either.
  2. The “I’m not the one with a problem” Myth: I often get a surprise reaction when I encourage meetings not only for the client, but for family as well. And here’s the thing, yes addcition is a family disease. It could be in the form of enabling, co-dependency, or just in the way “we” live around someone in their active disease and how we tolerate things that pushes our moral compass, just to keep the peace.
  3. The Myth that it’s “our fault” are loved one is addicted: This one unfortunately comes up a lot. Family honestly feel they are at fault and they caused their loved one to become an addict. This is absolutely not true. “We” are not that powerful to make someone become an addict. And on the same token, “we” can’t get anyone sober either.

I’ve been doing this for awhile. The more support in the form of family, groups, sober communities, peers, and professionals, the greater a chance for your loved one to get and stay sober.

So whether your addicted loved one chooses to stay sober or go back and use, you can still have great amazing life in your own recovery.

It’s experiences like these, that help me reflect on my past, and keeps me sober today

I told her she was going to die. And it’s the truth. She is going to die if she keeps drinking. But on the drive home and this morning it bothered me. I believe in meeting people “where they are at” and taking “whatever they are willing to do” to get sober. And creating a daily plan that is reasonable enough that they can achieve. But Jill isn’t 20 years old trying to get sober for the first time. Jill is 40 and looks horrible. She is six days sober, (so she says) and coming off another relapse. She’s experienced multiple seizures while detoxing this time as well. She has no money for treatment this time around, reason being she was in my group. I am not that “hard-ass , rogue-counselor that doesn’t play by the rules but somehow his tough love and unorthodox techniques for getting people sober work. That’s not me, however as I wrote that last sentence I admit that would be a pretty cool character on a YouTube Red series. I’m more of, “let’s work with what we got.” But I feel Jill is running out of things to help her get sober, the greatest is time. Jill is running out of time. That’s why I felt I had to be honest about her situation. And that’s why I said she is going to die, if she doesn’t stop drinking.

“I know, this isn’t my first rodeo,” she said.

“Exactly,” I said, “That’s why I feel this is not going to end good for you.”

So I doubted my approach. I mean, it could turn Jill into self-pity, and rationalize her to say screw it, I’m going to die I might as well drink. But I just feel that the sense of urgency and motivation to get sober isn’t there for her. She wants to put everything and everyone first. I feel like there is no time for her.

I hope I’m wrong.

 

*This story is real, however the name has been changed to protect our anonymity 

Finally my 2009 degree pays-off!

I hear about these kinds of situations all the time, but even the personal experience of God giving me everything I need in life and more, still creates uncertainty. And I tell myself, everything is going to be ok and I truly believe that. However the disease of addiction is centered in the mind, and I create this fear that in the past I would drink and use over, which was the only coping skill I knew. However today its different, the option of using and drinking doesn’t even come to mind. And even though I know things will work themselves out if I stay sober, the uncertainty of not knowing what’s next, is still brings fear.

I came home last night, to basically a miracle. The company I work for filed for Chapter 11 and is auctioning off their assets. I do not know the business side of all this, however I do know my days are numbered. I also know that whatever happens with my position, I am currently at the most employable stage of my life right now. I know for a fact, if I just stay sober everything will be ok. Yet, I still drive myself to insanity wondering if the new company is going to eliminate my position.

Why do I do this to myself?

So recently received my Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor- Intern credential. When I opened the big white envelope that contained my certificate last night, there was another surprise that I had no idea was coming. I’m not special, nor unique. But I do take pride of going from my active addiction to an LCDCi, at the treatment center I sobered up at. I must admit that’s cool, working as a counselor where I got sober. But that’s not the miracle.

I started to read the paper that came with the certificate. I was like, blah, blah, blah…. blah, blah. Then I read the part about the 4000 hours of internship. Whenever you get your LCDCi, you have to complete 3 years of internship hours before you become fully licensed. But when I kept on reading, the letter stated my 4000 hours had been waived due to my college degree that I received in 2009! I was completely taken away by this. All I must do now is take the exam, and I receive my full professional license without having to do the 4000 hours. This basically saves me three years!

Again, I don’t know why I fail to trust my higher power and my sobriety. My LCDC license was practically slapped in my face, making employment a whole of easier if I lose my position.
All I know today is if I don’t drink or use today, I have a pretty good chance that everything tomorrow will be ok.

Puppies Filled with Heroin, the Homeless w/Pets & Totally Addicted Radio

I don’t know why I am more likely to give money to a homeless person if they have a pet. In a recent article by the Fix.com, it reported that “liquid-heroin” was implanted into puppies headed for the United States.

Pete and I go into the discussion on Wednesday’s Totally Addicted Radio Show, and it didn’t take long for the conversation to redirect to the increase of “people who appear to be homeless” having pets beside them, as if the “pet” was the sign itself stating, “please help.”

In San Antonio, Texas, I recently witnessed a lady who leaped-frogged her way though traffic to reach a homeless person and their dog. The good Samaritan had a plastic bag, which revealed food for the dog first, then food for the owner of the dog.

My question is, if the dog wasn’t there, would the person giving the food, still make the same effort?

 

If you do not create a life in sobriety that you like, you will relapse


I had great week. Coming off some depression two weeks ago, I found myself in a really good spot emotionally. I learned that sometimes I just have to grind the bad days out and it always gets better. My counselor use to tell me, “you grinded out five day binges, why can’t you grind out your anxiety?” I found that to be true. So after “grinding” out a few days of being in an emotional and spiritual funk, I am left with by-product of sobriety: Which to me is living.

Waking up sober on a Sunday is the payoff for me. I remember the days when Sunday mornings was completely chaotic. I’d be wearing the same clothes as Friday night, my breathe smelled of alcohol, my armpits rubbing together like sand paper and my hair an emotional wreck. No money, no place to say since I was kicked out of my house, and no charge for my cell phone. The perfect cocktail, for….another cocktail. In my mind, I was just given a pass to keep drinking and using more. And I did.

Today’s I don’t have to live like that anymore. The by-product of my sobriety, which is a daily choice to stay clean from all substances, is recovery; a journey to who I am, or to a better person than before. And with that, I have been able to create a new life, that I don’t want to mess up with using and drinking. I strongly believe that in sobriety or in recovery, we must create a daily life we are content with. It doesn’t have to be some delusional amazing fairytale either. It can be as simple as drinking coffee on a Sunday morning, taking a walk through a trail, spending time with your son on the back porch and typing a new post, all before I go to work.

If you do not create a life in sobriety that you like, you will relapse. And it never gets better.

Not every day in Sobriety is going to be fucking amazing.

Dark Days…

The thing about my depression is that it’s physical as well as mental. I get stuck for about three days and don’t want to do shit. I literally stress myself out until I’m in dark spot in my head. And what sucks is I know the things that I think are going to go wrong, in reality are not. I can do the self-talk, of “it’s ok if I fail today,” and “all I have to do is stay sober today and nothing else.” I know the behavior I get into when my depression kicks in. I start obsessing over my phone and computer like I have been for the past 48 hours. I don’t want to start my day, and my eating habits suck. And the thing that I hate most is that I know what I have to do to get out of it, but I have zero physical motivation to do so. I know the answer isn’t to “up” meds, fuck that. I know if I wait it out, it will pass. But during that time I feel like a horrible father, husband, brother and son. It’s just this big fucking tornado of pain that just marinates in my chest. Not even buying shit on Amazon works at this point. Maybe a meeting, maybe a blog post, maybe a walk with my “boys” Kenny and Colt, (Family dogs) would help if I had an ounce of energy to do so. When I was using I would stay up for weeks. I would get to a spot in my mind that’s similar to the one I’m in right now. And I would listen to songs on YouTube for hours. The music acted as a drug, and soothed my emotions and feelings that at the time, I couldn’t identify. Today I think it was depression. Maybe I used over depression. Here’s a song, to hope I feel better. Every day of sobriety can’t always be fucking amazing. Sometimes there some dark days.