Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Does Relapsing Make Me A Failure?"

A few days ago it was one of those unfortunate days where I woke up from a text from a friend that I had met while in Rehab. 
"Danny, I did something stupid."
That was all it said, but I already knew what had happened. As much as I hated getting those texts, they are better than the ones from a loved one saying that they have passed. I think we can all agree with that. 
I got myself out of bed and got myself physically, as well as emotionally ready to handle what was about to become of my day. Of course I was going to help, there was no question about it, but I always seem to forget just how much it can take out of me emotionally. Especially when you see one you care about going through those agonizing withdrawals that us addicts are just all too familiar with. 
I got there and it was just as expected. The normal symptoms of withdrawal had already kicked in. I hated not being able to really help. Natural remedies and support was all I had to offer at that time. 
After calming down a little and her being able to get some words out, I was just in...I don't even know how to explain it really. The words that were spilling out of her mouth made me so incredibly sad, but yet were so dangerously familiar. 
After quite some time, I had to leave to follow-up on some errands I had to take care of. Still though, the scene I had just left would not leave my mind. I really started to think about the sentences she was putting together and noticed it really connected to one main thing: Guilt. 
Now, as I have said before, I am not in the traditional 12-step programs but have nothing against them. It just simply was not for me. She was so scared what the others in her program, or group, would think when she would have to announce it. But with anyone, I feel it can be that exact guilt that could drive us to the next bottle, or pipe hit. We don't want to deal with the aftermath of having "failed." 
That is when it really just got to me. There is such a big concentration in the world of Addiction that relapse means failure. To me, I think that just does the exact opposite of what it needs to do. I was trying to explain to her that she did not relapse, she had a "slip." 
Anyone coming from a hardcore addiction knows how truly miserable it can be sometimes to stay clean and sober throughout the toughest times of  the new life we are trying to lead. 
I mean personally from my experience, when I relapsed, the guilt came rushing in as soon as that codeine blanket lifted just a little. And for me it was that guilt that just kept getting me to the next bottle of pills, or black tar. At that point, I would have rather kept digging a deeper hole for myself than to talk about what I thought was just another failure in my life. 
Don't get me wrong, I still consider relapsing, or having a slip as a serious matter, but how serious is completely in our own head. As addicts, I think it just comes natural to be super critical of ourselves anyway, so when the slip up happens, we go right back to what we were used to doing ... hiding those emotions.
The way I look at it now, is that it is just once again my dark passenger trying to lure ourselves in that same hole we had become so accustomed to, but managed to get out of. 
So alright, lets say we make that mistake and use when we have tried so hard not to. The fact of the matter is, at that point the shovel is just placed in your hands. It is completely our choice if we decide please our own dark passenger and dig that hole for ourselves. So from there on I believe we have two  choices we can make. 
  1. We stay critical of ourselves, please our dark passenger, and dig that all too familiar hole of darkness that is agonizing to get out from.                      OR
  2. We realize that as addicts, and just like EVERYONE else, we are not perfect. We slipped. We caught the shovel our dark passenger tossed in our hands, BUT all we have to do now is just drop it and walk away. 
shovel 2
Picture By: Kelly Sikkema on Flickr

Mistakes are made everyday, but lessons come right after those mistakes. I myself have a good talent for being overly critical of myself, but when I think about it as a kind of situation I just described up above, my mind starts to be at ease much faster. 
Sobriety takes time. Sobriety takes practice. Sobriety takes commitment. Sobriety takes strength. 
None of us are failures. It bothers me when I hear addicts talk about themselves that way. 
No, we are all part of the force that won the battle against our addiction. The war might continue for quite some time, and yes, just like in any war we might gather up some battle wounds. So relax, let the wounds heal for some time, and get right back to the fight. 
You are all some of the strongest people this world has to offer. Just in order to see that, that fog of negativity we constantly immerse ourselves in needs to be evaporated for that message to be clear. 
Stay strong fellow bloggers. 
And as always, much love. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Abuse? Rape? Drugs?

"The past is the past."
How many times have we heard that now? I could honestly not even tell you. It isn't even that it makes me mad I guess, just because deep down I know they could not understand. (No Offense)
I get it though, and don't get me wrong I don't completely disagree.
Anyways, as I have said before, different things work for different people. Trying to forget it all and move on? Well, in the most polite way I can say it, there was no worse way for me to try to deal with it.
For a while I was just trying to push the memories out of my mind, using any sort of chemical help I thought would help. The only thing that achieved was a 7 year addiction and two good old overdoses where I ended up waking up in two overly bright hospital rooms. (I don't recommend it)
So then how the hell do we do it? Why can't we just go back to normal?
After some good time of just bouncing that question around in my head during endless walks on the beach, I gave up. There is no normal...
Nah, there is no forgetting that. And no one should even try to, trust me you will make yourself crazy.
So what am I doing now and what the hell does this whole post get to?
My Abuser, my Rapist, the blood that was spilt, and the pain and torture I experienced will be something that will be apart of me for the rest of my life. I've tried the running away, I've tried every synthetic chemical happiness this world has to offer, and, like I am sure you guys know, that doesn't do a whole lot.
I decided I couldn't let him win. They were not going to control my life, nor were the other experiences I was told to forget. These are all events that have already happened. That is something I can not do anything about. I had no other choice but to accept it. Sadly, don't we all?
I can't give you much advice with the unfortunate events that have happened in your life (as sorry as I am), but I can tell you what I did.
I let myself cry. I got angry...really damn angry. I cried more. And I had enough. The bullet had already pierced through my body and all I was doing was letting it bleed out. I saw myself in the mirror and all I saw was that big hole in my chest that was just getting bigger letting more and more of myself escape through it with how I was handling it. Looking up at my face shocked me even more, it just seemed like I was wearing a mask.
I was ready to win this battle. I did everything I could think off every day. At some time I knew that a slow healing process would close up the hole little by little; pieces of that mask were starting to crumble off right along with it.
So now. a few years later from all of that. Well yeah, it still hurts quite a damn lot sometimes, but it controls my life in a completely different way.
My strength comes from what I have endured. My determination comes from what had happened to show myself what exactly I can do. My hope, that I can try to help some other young that have been through some sort of the same thing. But most importantly...
It came down to one simple thing. I WILL DID NOT LET THEM STEAL MY LIFE.
Don't be scared of your previous chapters...after all, it's what makes our story and the ending so damn special. And the cool part about that we have the power to write our ending exactly the way we want.
Picture by: Moyan Brenn
And I don't know about you, but I am nowhere near finished with mine.
Much Love fellow Bloggers.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

MISSING: Winter Codeine Blanket

Image by: Akzidenzsetzer

That time of the year is here once again. The crisp cool air is beginning to roll back in, followed by those dark clouds and the release of rain. It is the kind of weather that I love. I guess it kinda reminds me of my early childhood back in Ireland. And besides, who doesn't love breaking out their whole set of favorite winter coats and jackets.

Anyways, there is something new about the cold seasons that unfortunately brought my excitement down a few levels. Basically this weather and time of year is just one big trigger for me now. Can that even be possible? I mean, last years winter, with it being my first, was definitely a tough one. Every day I had such strong cravings. The kind where the frustration would just bring you to the point of uncontrollable tears.

Anyone who has ever taken any kind of painkillers or any kind of Opiates, knows that warm blanket that gets immediately dropped in your lap the second those chemicals take effect. So I am thinking that might be the reason why it hit me so hard at first? Who knows.

This time around I can already feel that it will be easier, but I know the frustration will still make itself known here and there. I really don't know why this time of year affects me this much. I mean I know I didn't physically feel the cold as much, but I don't think that is the only reason why it became that big of a trigger. Do any of you guys get it?

Well until something about this makes more sense, this is how I am currently looking at it. I feel like maybe the pills added that extra bit of synthetic euphoria to something that already made me really happy. So ultimately while I was using, I feel like I got used to a raised "excitement level."

So for now I am trying to remember that it was all chemical and not real. What I found that really helped me was to just actually go sit out at my favorite coffee shop (or somewhere nice outside), and just remember what I really enjoyed about the upcoming season. I sat there, sometimes for a few minutes....sometimes for an hour.

As soon as I remembered the actual things that I enjoyed about my favorite time of year, the cravings slowly went away. And honestly, there were actually many things I forgot I liked about some of these places, since being loaded doesn't really let you feel much.

So figuring that out made me look at many other situations the same way. When I first got sober, i remember just everything being so dull without the drugs. But again, like I have said in so many of my posts, it really just comes down to having to rewire our brains. We are really forced to just dig deep inside, get past the good times we THOUGHT we had on drugs, and figure out what it was that really made us happy.

Sitting in that chair, letting the cold breeze wash over my face, while the sweet smell of my Caramel Macchiatto drifted up to my nose, is when I remembered that it was this that I really liked. The calmness. Not synthetic or chemical calmness, but actual calmness.

Well I guess that is on trigger I can cross of the very long list. Addiction has a way to keep on surprising me. It really just makes me assume that the enjoyment I had in the past came from the high itself, when all along it was just a cover. Just my dark passenger, once again, trying to lure me back to his side.

All it takes is some work and reminding. I had been on his side for seven years, and it wasn't anything to be missed. It is in this world...this scary, uncomfortable, but new and exciting world that there is still so much for me....for all of us to figure out.

Stay strong fellow bloggers.