Sunday, September 29, 2013

That Love Talk

So I was with a few friend having the usual talks about...well money, life, jobs, and that whole messy love life thing. Of course the majority of the time, the topic was more geared to relationships than anything else.

I have always been the type of guy that knows what I wanted in a relationship...or so I thought. My last few attempts of a healthy relationships... just didn't work out.

Picture by: samcaplat

My friends were basically telling me that I often put up with stuff that I shouldn't, and seem to get confused about the things that should bother me more and so and so. So then they asked me what I wanted. I simply replied with, "something real." What the hell does that really mean though? Well here I go trying to figure this out:

Alright so what do I want in a relationship? I definitely need someone who is mature. I really think that is one of the most important things for everyone right? Definitely someone who can support me in my sobriety and not judge me because of my past.

Someone who puts in the same amount of effort I would, while not considering it a chore. I think this is huge too. If it feels like something that you need to do instead of wanting to do, then it most likely is not going to work out. Nor should we want it to work out right? I need to remember that relationships are supposed to be fun!

Someone that is respectful is another huge deciding factor. I want to be able to be confident when I bring my boyfriend to meet my family. Someone respectful in the everyday sense but also meaning kind, honest, caring, and persistent. Everyone tends to worry or feel insecure in a relationship, so I feel like making our partners feel safe without them constantly having to ask, is just the right thing to do.

Openness. It isn't that I need to know every little thing going on, but I just want someone who doesn't feel the need to be so guarded about everything as well. Just knowing what is going on in each others lives, I feel takes care of so many possible issues. If we know what is generally happening with our special someone, it doesn't leave much room for us to get insecure or even suspicious. I feel like, at least for me, as soon as those feelings start to come into play, it is so hard to make them disappear. Then we are just constantly worrying and over-analyzing which, I think we can all agree, isn't fun.

Also, I definitely don't mind having some different opinions about stuff, I actually like that. Some stuff though I feel are kinda important to agree on. Like the big stuff. Does that make sense? Basically just the stuff that we would constantly have in the back of our mind, and it eventually turning into holding a grudge. Whether it be kids, opinions about money, attitudes, religion, etc. Don't get me wrong, I love different cultures, different opinions and all that stuff, but I'm just saying it's important to figure out if we can be 100% accepting of those differences.

Alright so there are definitely the big main things that I would consider being a "real" relationship. Something that I really want. And when those problems appear, and they will appear, both of us should be willing to work it out.
We all deserve the relationship we want and need. ALL OF US.

Don't you think?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Drugs, Present, Happiness

I found myself thinking a lot of my past. Reminiscing on the times I thought were good times, and trying to cope with the times that were the darkest. I don't know why the past has been on my mind so much, but I didn't like it. I find that in my down time is when the thoughts come to attack , and lately I have had a lot of down time. I keep trying to busy myself in someway, but it just wasn't enough.

The thoughts of the last seven years kept rushing through my mind. It was more though that I was blaming everything on my past. I am now a little over a year sober and the struggle is still a daily one. It isn't that I expected this to be easy, but I guess I am still used to getting the "quick fix" that I thought the drugs gave me. Having to slowly process things and work through the pain is still something that I am getting struggling with.

When I was sitting in my room, wallowing in my self-pity, I was watching some show when I heard:
"You might be dwelling on the past because you are unhappy with the present..."
I really thought about that for a good minute. I mean, it is not that I am generally unhappy, I guess I just wanted to be completely somewhere else in my life entirely. I am now 22 and I feel I am so many years behind. This has been one of my worries ever since I stepped out of rehab.

I think it all just goes back to having to fight your own thoughts. I have to remember that I am still alive and that I am sober. That is the most important part. And like I said in my last post, being alive means that we have the chance to better our lives for ourselves. We have the chance to change our present and work on it until it is something that we are happy with. And as long as we keep doing that, I don't think it matters how old we are. As long as we keep doing that, we truly are alive.

If we are in a time in our life where we think all we see is ruins, there are a few things we can do. We can either concentrate on the bad and just stare out in misery, or put in the work and build something we are happy with.

Picture by: Nico Nelson

And for me personally, I would much rather put in the work and get rid of the ruins.

I think I had the idea that after some time of sobriety, I would just be done working on getting back to a "happy place." I would just be in a place of content. I was wrong...but now that I think about it, I am happy that I was wrong. It means that we have a constant opportunity to improve.

And whatever "improving" means, is up to you. And.. well, to put it simply, that is pretty damn cool.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Was it Death?

Yesterday was kind of an off day. A day where I guess Death was just a main theme. I had found out that a friend of mine lost a friend due to an overdose of heroin. Another life sadly cut so short because of addiction.
So the day already kind of just had a feel in the air. I was already trying to keep up with the thoughts that were racing though my mind.

Well a bit later on, I went to meet up with a few friends at out favorite coffee house by the beach. It has always been the place I go to when I just need to relax and calm the storm going on in my own head.

Just as the thought of death was starting to drift away from me, a man came up to us who looked about in his late 60s. To sum up the next 30 minutes of conversation with him, he basically told us he had lung cancer and was only given a few months left. He had told us that he had done so much in his life. He had fought in wars, traveled to many different countries, and crossed off everything on his bucket list. He was now, "tired, and ready to go."

He walked away, and that was that. All of us were at a loss of words without a clue to how to react to this, and he just walked off. I felt sorry for the man, but also glad he was so accepting of what was happening to him.

The rest of the night just consisted of me deep in thought about death. One of my biggest fears. My mind wandered back to all the friends I had lost, all the lives that were taken daily by addiction and so on. I specifically kept thinking about my last overdose. I was lucky enough to survive three, but never thought much of it. I remember sometimes wishing I hadn't made it, that it would just all end and I would be at peace.

Thinking back now of that time... well it just gives me chills. There is so much I still want to do in my life. So much I want to be. From school, to my career, to my writing, love, and just so much. Unlike so many others, we still have the chance to make life better for ourselves. And we need to take that chance and try our best. If there is something we are unhappy about, we have the option of trying to change it.

I want that mindset that the older man had. I want to try my best to accomplish everything I want. Then, at my final years, hopefully them still being far far away, I will be satisfied with the life I have lived.
So maybe the main theme of yesterday wasn't really all about death, or maybe it was? Either way, until that time comes, I still have so much left I want to do. Don't you?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Drugs, Love, Sex ?

Alright, so we are finally sober. After the first few days are over and the pink cloud has drifted away, we all the sudden, some of us anyway, feel an overwhelming amount of one of those feelings that we have been trying to numb out for so long.

Loneliness definitely being one of them.

One of the few things that touches every single person in this world. Speaking from personal experience and from many of those around me, lots of us try to get ourselves involved in some kind of relationship when we feel this. Whether we are trying to occupy our time with meaningless sex or just trying to obtain that feeling of being needed, we are in some way or another hoping that the loneliness will wither away. 

And as much as some people will try to deny it, I believe most, if not all of us want love. That stupid, unpredictable, complicated, irrational, crazy love. But at some point though we all have to ask ourselves if we are actually ready for that emotional roller coaster of commitment.

At first, the thought of having someone around seems to be just what we need to heal our emotional wounds. Soon after jumping into some kind of relationship though, I think we start to realize that just like the drugs, it only temporarily had us feeling better. 

Being in the early stages of sobriety are already hard enough, from having to deal with the wounds we have been ignoring, and from just trying to figure out how to live life "normally." Adding something as complex as a relationship at this time and having it work out seems almost impossible to me. Don't get me wrong, I am sure it can be done by some of you...just definitely not by me... not that it stopped me from trying.

After about two short-lived relationship attempts, I decided to (for the first time in a VERY long time) actually focus on me. There was still so many things I had to figure out about not only my past, but what I want as the new person I am trying to become. I now know I had to first learn to accept myself and feel comfortable with who I am to ever even have a chance at a successful commitment. 

Leaving those kinds of wounds open and not giving yourself time to heal and move on only paves the way to more insecurities, trust issues, and all that other stuff that usually tears any couple apart.

In no way can I give professional advice... this is solely based on my experience. There is one thing that I wanna include to end this post with. As tempting as it might be to rush into something, I really believe it is much more enjoyable if you first take the time to really have some "me time." For so long have we been trying our best to really avoid looking inward, but that obviously has not done us any good. Agree so far?

After having that desperately needed "me time" and felt I had really started to heal, I noticed things from my past popped up less and less, letting the insecurities stay silent rather than screaming in my face at every second. 

No matter what you have done, what people have thought of you, we all have a chance to make ourselves into something we are proud of. We all have the power to slowly heal ourselves making it possible to move on. We all deserve to forgive and love ourselves, but most importantly, we all deserve to be loved. Never think otherwise. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Simple Works.

Do you ever get in those moods. I feel in my recovery, that feeling has visited me a number of times now. I was reading a fellow bloggers post and it just really made me think. To summarize his post, it basically covered the topic of lack of motivation. Being completely, "underwhelmed by life."

(Photo taken from: Scott Robinson on Flickr)

I automatically knew exactly what he was talking about just because of how common it is for me to feel that way. Talking to some other addicts has told me they go through this (not so exciting) period quite often as well. Alright... so how do we fix it?

If I had that answer, I would be doing my happy dance right now (yes I have one). But I don't have the answer, so I won't get to do my longed for victory dance.

What I did figure out though, is something that at least gets my ass out of the chair and pushes those feelings back a little. And when you are at that point ( where you don't see the point of getting dressed, the curtains have to be closed, and you are watching episode after episode of whatever you haven't seen on Netflix yet), it only really takes a little to make you feel a whole lot better.

So back to what helps me. I'm sure many of you already do this, and for some it might not do anything, but if you know this feeling and haven't tried this, I hope it helps.


Yup. Small daily or weekly goals. For me it helps if I write it down somewhere. Specifically I write it on a small whiteboard I got. I guess it is something about the weird satisfaction I get from crossing or checking something that weird? Well anyways, that is what I do.

Oh and for the goals? It can literally be anything. For me it has been a lot of studying, or chores and errands, or photography, or cleaning..literally anything. If you need to go somewhere on a certain day, write it down. When you come back from whatever it was, check it off.

So yes, it is definitely extremely simple, but it helps. It gives me that satisfaction of knowing I am getting something done. I am actually accomplishing something. It makes me feel like I am not just sitting around and wasting away. Then, that little bit of motivation I get helps me set bigger goals for my future that I actually really want to reach.

Again, it might seem lame or overly simple, but we all just need that little bit of a push to get us back in the swing of things.

So if this is how you have been feeling lately, think about doing it. It really is the small stuff that actually helps quite a lot. Besides, Netflix will always be there later. Don't worry I checked ;)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Addict AND You

Whether it is you first week sober or you are reaching your 5 year mark, we will always remember the shame and guilt that comes with getting clean. There comes a time though, after we have learned from our mistakes, where you should be allowed to move on. Enough emotional and physical pain has been endured. In no way am I saying that the person you were should be forgotten about, but I believe that it should be known that we have all made quite the change. When we make the choice to decide to get clean, we slowly start ripping out the monster that had possessed us for so long. 

That's the thing... Addiction changes you. And with all the hard work that comes with getting clean and reverting back to a "normal" lifestyle, it is something that everyone deserves to move on from.  

Something that I really wanted to bring up in this post though is that some people won't let you separate yourself from the addict. You have apologized as much as you can. Really tried your best to explain that the person you have changed into is nothing like the one that was. It can be a complete stranger, or someone who you have known for years. If it is the latter then that is when it can be really frustrating and hard.

I believe to really understand addiction, what it does, how it makes you feel, how it simply takes over every part of who you are, you have had to of gone through it. 

So that is why I can't be angry at the people who don't accept the change we go through. Why I can't be mad by the choices they make to not trust, or to not see us as a completely different person, and for relationships to not go back to how they used to be. It definitely sucks yeah, but if we have tried multiple times to apologize and try to prove we have changed, there is not much more we can do.

My opinion on this now? Just another part of this struggle we have to go through. At first I didn't want to accept that I might have to let go of more people, but then we need to realize that we deserve the chance to change.
We already accomplished the hardest step. We got clean. Now it is as simple as bettering our lives for no one other than ourselves. Part of that involves surrounding ourselves with people who give me, you...all of us support. It is a brand new part of our lives where we have to opportunity to rebuild, and start new. No one should get in the way of that for us.

So if it comes to a point where someone is constantly dangling your past in front of you after many attempts to heal the relationship, it is time to accept them not being able to understand. Many other people out there will support you. Many other people can be in our life without having to bring us down. And remember we deserve that chance to move on. Not forget, but move on. In no way is it their fault, but it isn't fair to us either. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Addiction and Missed Opportunities

At first when I got out of rehab, I wanted so badly to be happy. But I couldn't help but think of everything that was laying in ruins because of my addiction. There were so many people I had taken advantage of, lied to, and there were so many missed opportunities. The safe barrier that had been felt in the rehab facility was nowhere in sight.

Did anyone else have this kind of reaction after getting clean and rejoining the world?

Anyway, it is safe to say that over the last 7 years of my addiction, I have become increasingly more negative towards...everything really. My overall outlook was that there was no way out of the deep hole I had dug myself in. I was trapped at the very bottom, watching all my opportunities pass by.

So some guy a long time ago told us to, "be the change we want to see in the world." As hard as it was for me, I tried listening to this Gandhi fella.

From there on out I tried changing the way I had been thinking. Catching myself and stopping my negative rants, and so on. Mainly being positive about life again.

To my surprise it was starting to work. Don't get me wrong, it was definitely hard and is still something I am trying to control, but it works.

Just like if you are at the bottom of the hole, if you keep doing what you have been, you will either dig further down or simply stay stuck. I had to change how I thought, and look for ways to get myself out of the muddy hole in the ground I was in.

The more I tried, the more I saw opportunities that were available to me. So instead of looking up and wishing you could make a ladder appear to make it an easy climb, put in more work to dig some kind of edges in the walls to climb up.

 With each step we are proving to ourselves that it IS actually possible to rebuild our lives. It just takes training your mind and your eyes to see those hidden opportunities that are in our reach.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The crappy, annoying, hard things in life

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well to put it simply today has been a...well a shit storm. Excuse the language. To sum it up, the past was on my mind today a lot due to it being the two-year-anniversary to a good friends death. Then just a whole bunch of little things went wrong and everything just added up. You know that point where you are so frustrated you don't know whether to scream or cry? Yeah, that's what it felt like. 

Anyway. I saw this quote and it kinda just made me think. 

After quite some time thinking about this on my patio, I finally felt a little better. We have all been through hard times in our life. Not just addicts, but everyone. The thing is, whatever happened in our past our past. We can't do anything to change that it happened. Same with the things that are going to happen right? Whatever those events may be, we won't really see them till it is happening. 

Still with me?

While we don't really have control over some event that will happen in our future, how we choose to react to them is completely in our control. In no way am I saying we should all be completely positive about our pet dying, or getting fired, or some other crappy thing that might happen (personally I think that would be kinda weird), but is there some way we can learn something or take something away from whatever already/will happen?

Trust me, I know it is a lot harder said than done, but I would rather be trying to find the light than to dwell on everything bad in the world. Asking ourselves why this or that happened will only lead to more frustration, and in my case more tubs of Toll House cookie dough. 

We can choose to grow with every thing that happens in our lives, the good and the bad. That is what we do have control over. Whatever you take away from it that helps is your choice. In the end the corny saying is true, we DO only have one life. 

So while dealing with our not so pleasant emotions is a good thing, just try to not get yourself stuck there for too long. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

4:45 A.M & Sober

It is nights like tonight that just make me really happy. Wasn't anything extravagant or anything...rather simple actually. A few close friends came over and we all just enjoyed each others company and watched some movies. When I was still living in my world controlled by drugs and my addiction I could never fully appreciate something like this. 

Before I got sober I am pretty sure I would be out with people till sunrise almost every night. Doing whatever really. And naturally many of them were dealing with the same strangling addiction that I was. But at some point I always questioned if some of these people were around because they actually really cared about me, or if it had more to do with the drugs.

I think many addicts sometimes feel this way. We never really know who are "real" friends are when drugs are involved. It was definitely something that I questioned many times throughout the years. 

I think that is why nights like these feel so special to me now. Just another reason why getting sober has made life better. The people that stick around and are willing to just have a lazy night and hangout are... well, they actually want to be there. Not because drugs were available, but because they actually want to be there with you.  

I am looking around at my friends, who are now either drooling on a pillow, snoring, or both, and can't help but just smile. I'm smiling because...I mean it would definitely be an amazing picture if I wasn't to lazy to go find my phone, but I am mainly smiling just because when you are sober you can actually feel a real friendship. I don't really know how else to explain it...but I like it. 

I hope everyone beats addiction for so many reasons. But I think this is one that I would put at one of the best. Just being able to feel the connection from people, as well as the happiness that comes from that.

Everyone deserves to feel that.