Posts Tagged ‘Family’

What is the most difficult aspect of recovery?

Is it the craving? Is it the pressure of those around you to stay clean and sober? The difficulty to adapt to the world? Picking up the pieces of the life the substance left behind? Or the fear of relapsing again?

These are by no means all the questions we as recovering addict need to face, there are many more, but all questions have answers.  They all bring on anxiety.  They all need to be addressed in order for us to stay in recovery.  The answers depend on the individual.  No one is the same, no one has the same circumstances.  We all have different ways cope with different aspects of life. Different viewpoints, and perceptions.

For me personally, recovery is made easier by setting small goals every day, staying to a routine, and expressing my feelings. Either on talking about it, or writing it down.  I set out a certain time of my day, focusing, and thinking just about recovery.  The rest of the day, I divide up in segments to deal other aspects of my life.  Study, work, exercise etc. 

I have learnt that spending too much time, thinking about a certain aspect has negative consequences.  Overthinking brings our minds in confusion. Which brings on stress, and craving.  It causes us to miss other goals that we set out to do, which in turn will put us on the road back to relapse.

I have come to realize that we need to take little steps towards, in everything we do, and in the end all will fall in place.  The most important thing is to stay positive.  Think positive, surround yourself with positive people.  I have come to realize that anything is possible.  The only thing that stands between you, and your dreams is You. ‘’Whether YOU think YOU can, or YOU can’t YOU’RE right!’’

The Fear of relapsing, and the Fear of disappointing others, will lead you to relapse. You won’t relapse if you stay positive, stick to your plan, and if relapse it’s not the end of the world.  Get help as quick as you can, and change the things that caused you to relapse.  Don’t feel like a failure. You are not the exception. Most addicts have relapsed before, they stuck to recovery.  The most important thing is you need, to be open and honest about it.  People will appreciate your honesty more than, hiding it from them.  They will help you not to fall into the spiral of death again.

Recovery is different for all of us, it can be difficult, and scary. But it can be so rewarding as well.  Every day we stay sober is an accomplishment. It shows us that we are human. It shows us that we can do anything that we set our mind to.  It’s brings out the best in us.  It builds our character. It shows everybody around us, that we are stronger, and better than they thought we are.

Let’s stay in recovery, let’s stay free!

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As a recovering addict I failed in the past to prioritize my life. When I think back on my life, my priorities were to party, sleep, and party some more.  I never felt at ease in my life, always restless, always wanting something more, never happy of what I have, and where I am.

I turned to religion to fill the emptiness, I tried hobbies, shopping sprees etc. Still the feelings of, emptiness, and restlessness would not go away.  One of my major reasons for relapse thinking back was religion.  When I did something wrong, I felt guilty, and I started to crave.  In the end I would start drinking again, drugging again.

“I am not trying to offend anybody who has found religion.  All the statements I make is out of my point of view”.

I began to experience true freedom this year, when I started looking at addiction through a medical, and scientific viewpoint.  When I started viewing addiction as a disease.  I starting seeing immense growth in my own life.  When started using the right medication, when I got CBT from the right Clinical Psychologist, and when I implemented certain things in my life, that emptiness that I talked about earlier disappeared.

For the first time in my life, I can think logically, and rationally about things.  I don’t ask questions like “God why me? God are you testing me? God where are you?  God Please help me.” I never got an answer. If something positive happened, I thought “hey God is answering my prayers” I came to realise that it has only happened, because of what I did.

I also justified my addiction through religion. ‘’I can use, because my sins are forgiven. If I die at least I will go to heaven.”  So you see for me, religion was detrimental. It was always a cop out. Everything happens for a reason right? With this mentality, you would never do something.  I would rather say ‘’every action has a reaction’’ We will only get as much out of life, as we put in.

For the first time in my life, I feel liberated.  I am the master of my own destiny. The captain of my own ship.  I understand myself. I know what boundaries to set.  I listen to others, I am more open to suggestions, and others opinions. 

I don’t judge others, I am humble, and I am thankful, more thankful than I ever was, because everything I do, I did it for myself. Something didn’t give it to me, or blessed me.  My priorities have changed.  I am content with myself for the first time.

Now my priorities are, to better myself, study, help others. Just living a chilled out, relaxed, comfortable life.  For me “I saw the truth, and the truth set me free”

 

P.S.  Again I am not trying to convert people reading this.  I am stating everything in regards to my life.

Being a recovering addict is a blessing for me.  The disease keeps me humble, it shows me my strengths and weaknesses.

I am thankful for everyday that I am clean.  I became a much wiser person whilst battling this disease.  I have learnt to be humble, I have learnt to forgive, and most of all I have learnt to be thankful.  I have seen things, experienced things few people have.  I have learnt to look past the outside of a person, and look into their heart.  Everybody wants a sense of belonging, and acceptance.  Everyone needs love. 

We live in a broken world. People are being used, and things are loved.  Addiction is one of the ways to escape the harsh realities of life. But addiction also enslaves us. It takes away our homes and, loved ones.  It takes away our soul. Addiction is a lie. It gives us a false sense of security.  Addiction gives us a false sense of belonging, and acceptance. Addiction brings likeminded individuals together.  For the first time we are accepted, by others.  This makes us think that we are right, and society is wrong.  We believe that we are a minority group fighting for equal rights, with the majority.

Everything unravels fairly quickly.  After a while addiction isolates us. After we alienate our loved ones, and others that truly care for us, our new so called friends also disappear. That leaves us alone, and feeling hopeless.  We try to use more drugs, to try and take away the pain.  Which only brings on more, and more misery in our lives.  It’s a spiral with only three outcomes.  Death, incarceration, and if we are of the lucky few, rehab or institution.  Every time we relapse we get back into the spiral of death.  ‘’insanity is trying to do the same thing over, and over and expecting a different result’’.

Now in Recovery I see things differently. Other things are more important to me.  Not things, but people. My heart goes out to addicts.  I know there pain.  I understand their plight. I see the person behind the addiction.  No one wants to be addicted.  No one wants to be distrusted, and labelled by society.  No one wants to be slaves, and out of control.  The lost needs to be shown hope, love and, forgiveness.  Not hate, and rejection.

Addiction taught me valuable lessons in life.  Although it all came at great cost, I believe it has made me a better person.  I am going to give back to society.  I want to share my story with others, and maybe just, maybe.  Others can find hope again.  In themselves, and others.       

Allot of recovering addict feel ashamed by all the things that they have done in the past.  I can’t believe all the terrible things I’ve done, just to get another gram.  We normally hurt the people that’s closest to us the most.  All thoughts, or feelings of morality goes out the window when we use. 

In recovery we need to deal with all these negative emotions.  This is also one of the major reasons why we relapse.  We aren’t used to feel this way.  The substance numbed the pain.  That’s why we should leave THAT life behind.  We must accept the fact that, yes we did all those things, we can’t change it.  The only thing we can change is how we live life from now on.  Do you know how fortunate we are to be clean?  It is our mission in life to show addicts that there is hope, there is life after substance abuse.  We need to show the world, that recovery is possible.  We need to rid the world of the stigma connected to substance abuse, and drug addicts.

We have been there, we know what hell it is to be trapped, and out of control. We need to show the addicts that there is people that actually care about them.  People who doesn’t judge them.  We need to take a stand against drugs.  Not out of force, but by love.  We need to get fathers back to their homes, mothers of the street, and kids out of gangs.  We can change society. We can bring values, and morals back to society.  You know why?  Because we know how it feels like to have none, we know how it feels like to be judged.  We don’t take things for granted.  We know how it feels like to have no hope.  We know how it feels like to have nothing. 

Society can learn from us what’s important in life, things they have forgot, things they take for granted.  Family, Love, and caring for each other.  These things are the most important.  It’s not about what you have in life that matters, it’s about giving.  I’m not just talking about money.  Give advice, show love to the lost and broken.  Give people hope.  We need to inspire people. 

Recovery is our chance to give back.  To bring healing not just to ourselves, but to others out there.  Just imagine how we can change the world, one small step at a time.  One person at a time, one family at a time, one neighbourhood at a time etc.  Let’s start today, For tomorrow can be too late for someone out there.

How many of us have been in romantic relationships in the past, where one, or both of us use drugs?  I have had a couple of them in the past, and what was the outcome? Heartbreak! I know there are couples who overcame their addiction together, but in most cases it usually ends up in heartbreak.  Either one quits, and the other one doesn’t and we break up, or life becomes so unmanageable, that we start hating, and blaming each other for everything that’s wrong, and we break up.

Like any relationship there will always be problems when more than three people are involved.  Like I mentioned in one of my previous post I regard the drug as romantic relationship as well.  The drug in 99% of the time becomes the most important thing in a relationship.  When the focus shifts from your partner to anything else, the relationship is doomed.  A drug relationship is a co-dependence relationship.  Both partners use each other to get the drug.  It may be for financial, living, or psychological reasons.  We don’t stay with each other for love anymore, we don’t stay with each other out of choice. We stay because we have to stay.

I have heard boyfriends pimping out there girlfriends for the drug, boyfriends steeling and robbing to support their, and their girlfriend’s habit.  Where is the love in that?  That isn’t love. That is co-dependency in its harshest form.  This is an extreme example, not all drug relationships take this route, but non-deles this happens.  The drug becomes everything, morals, love, respect, trust.  All are lost.

No matter how much family, or friends plead with both partners to break up. For the sake of their sobriety. It will always fall on deaf ears. Out of fear of losing their partner.  This is not to be confused with love.  We are scared, to lose control. We are scared to face the world outside alone.  “Maybe we are scared to do drugs alone from now on”.  I don’t know? It’s difficult for me to think why I stayed in the relationship now that I am sober.

Then there is always the times when we both got sober.  The feelings of love for each other returned.  We decided that we will do things differently.  We will give each other support in recovery. Together we can do this!  Given the nature of this disease it almost never works that way.  How can you possibly be with the person you used to use with?  The drug “hyper memories”, the cravings will be a hundred times worse.  Every time you see your partner, memories of using return.  Not the negative memories.  As the brain searches for instances in the past that huge dopamine spikes occurred, all it finds is when we used drugs, and it places a positive connotation, or memory with it.  In the end one of the partners will fall, and it won’t take long for both to start using again.

To break up at the best of times is heart-breaking, but we have to.  For the sake of your own sobriety, and that of your loved one.  If you really love someone, you will have their best interests at heart.  You will let them go. In the long run both of you will thank each other.  If you want to stay sober.  You will have to let go.  If you really want a new life, you’ll have to start everything from anew.

Forgive and move on.

This week I had allot of feelings of frustration, and anxiety.  Allot had to do with feelings of disappointment towards my brothers.  I am a very positive person by nature, but it’s hard to stay positive around negative people.  It’s hard enough to try and stay and stay sober with support from family, and friends.  Can you imagine how hard it is when one of your family members uses Drugs, and comes over to your house? He knows that I am trying to stay of drugs, but he still persists on using.  It’s if he wants me to fail.  He has always been jealous of me.  When I was using he had someone to blame everything on.  He talked so much crap behind my back to everybody.  Of course they believed him. I was the one using drugs, I was the one that caused all the shit.  Back at the ranch, he was using just as much as me, and no one noticed.  All their anger, and judgment was directed at me. 

So I decided to get clean, and I did.  I haven’t looked back since.  Yes, I crave but I manage it.  I am productive, busy learning again, busy with a new website.  He fears that I would have success.  So he tries to get me back there.  Back in the same shitty position as before.  I will not go back, I want a new life.  The way he acts on drugs, the way he acts when he is coming down, actually disgusts me, and I feel sorry for him at the same time.  He is a reminder to me, how I was, how I could be.  That thought alone, puts me of using.  I will never again be like that.  I will be in control of my life.  I will never, ever again let something control me. 

So I will keep strong, be positive, and keep strong in my fight with addiction.  I love my new life right now, and nothing, or no one, will compromise that. Remember no matter what happens in your life, good or bad.  Stay positive, be thankful, and be humble.  Never be too proud to ask when you need help, always help if it’s in your power to do so.  Be thankful for everyday that you are sober, because there are many out there, who isn’t as fortunate as you.

There will always be those that will try to bring you down. Stay strong.  They are afraid of what you might become. They are afraid of being left behind.

There are days that I miss my old life.  I miss the parties, I miss the awesome weird road trips.  I miss the adrenaline rush when we went on a mission to get stuff.  I miss the care free attitude that I had.  I miss all the crazy people that I met along the way.

I have learnt a lot from my substance abuse problem.  I’ve learned that, I am one of the lucky few that have survived.  One of the lucky few that have sobered up.  I have been lucky to have been on both sides of the fence.  The “normal” world, and the “real” world.

The “normal” world is where life is, comfortable.  Where everything is easy.  There is always food on the table, a warm bed to sleep in.  Education is there, both parents are there.  Everything seems right your life has been planned out.  Get educated, get a job, get married, have 2.5 children, etc. blah, blah, blah.  How boring?

The “real” world is where life is, well life.  Some households don’t have enough food, Parents get divorced, daughters fall pregnant, kids drop out of school, use drugs, and people scrape by.  Life in itself is not pleasurable experience. Family violence is rife, substance abuse is rife, people don’t have jobs, and some lose their homes, if they had homes in the first place.  It’s a daily battle for survival.

I know the above mentioned are extremes on the “axis of life”.  There are circumstances where theirs a mix of both. Living in South-Africa, the gap between rich and poor is huge.  The middleclass is very small indeed. Socio-economic problems are everywhere.  Anyway getting back to the point.

Everybody I met always asked me. Why do you do drugs?  Why on earth would you throw your life away when you have it all? If I only had half the opportunities you have.  If only my dad had so much money etc.  I always felt bad. I should’ve been more, could’ve had more.  Then again I wouldn’t have seen the world in another perspective.  I wouldn’t have been grateful for things in my life, and I wouldn’t have discovered my purpose, my calling in life. To help other people.

Drugs, took me out of my comfort zone.  It showed me that there was more to life than money, it showed me there are people out there who is in dire need of help.  I would have been stuck in a highly paid, boring, everyday 9-5 job, and I would not have been happy in myself.  Something would’ve been missing.

Always think twice before you wish you were in someone else’s shoes. Don’t envy what other people have.  Be content with your own life.  Maybe just, maybe you will discover what you were truly meant to do. “The problem with this world is that things are loved, and people are used” not the other way around.

Which brings me back.  I don’t miss the miss the parties, the road trips etc.  What I miss is seeing the “real” world.  I miss talking to the “forgotten people”.  At this stage in my life. I know I’m not strong enough to go back. The temptation will be to strong.  But when I am.  I going to show them that there is a life beyond addiction.  I am going give them the tools to help them, to get out of their circumstances.

Recovery is about giving back. It’s about giving hope.