Well, it’s been fifteen days since I’ve had any drugs or alcohol. At first it wasn’t that big a deal. I felt way better all around and thought it would be a cinch. Deep down I knew that this would not be the case.
I AM a lot better all around, make no mistake. I’m eating way better, sleeping better, have more money and am in general functioning at a significantly greater level. For the first week or so I wasn’t even really thinking much of using.
However, reality is setting in. This is both a wonderful and terrifying thing. My brain is working much better than during the twenty-some years I was stoned, drunk and otherwise altered. Sounds awesome, right?
Not entirely. I am finding myself absolutely flooded with emotion and anxiety of late. As long as I keep busy I’m fine. I’m going to NA meetings every day, talking to my sponsor regularly and beginning to do step work. It’s when I stop moving that the floodgates open wide.
All the mental turmoil I’ve drowned in a haze of substances is bubbling to the surface whenever I get down time. I’m doing my best to develop some real coping skills but it’s harder than I thought just to relax and take a breather.
The day I decided to give it all up everyone seemed to want to sell me drugs. I’ve been strong so far and kept my distance. I’m trying to ‘Run with the winners ‘ as they say. If I have shit on my mind I pick up the phone and call someone who is committed to staying clean.
Still, I feel exhausted. My body hurts and my thoughts are scattered about when I stop moving. I have issues with chronic pain and used opiates in various forms for many years. I thought I was self-medicating but what I was really doing was murdering myself one dose at a time. Suicide in slow motion barely articulates the hopeless routine of self-destructive behavior I was locked in to.
I kicked the poppy derivatives and thought I had myself under control. After all, I never lost a job to drugs and always paid my bills, albeit badly and barely. No matter how well I was doing I simply could not stop drinking and smoking weed. I never had a spare cent to my name and frequently went hungry in the name of maintaining a buzz.
Today is my fifteenth day of complete sobriety. I’ve caught up on bills and noticed many positive changes in my life. It’s scary, though. It’s as if I’m learning to live all over again from point A or square one or whatever. I’m having issues with anxiety mainly as well as some depression. My meds are keeping this stuff fairly well in check but psych drugs can only do so much. I’ve thoroughly convinced myself of one ironclad truth: I WILL NOT GO BACK TO LIVING LIKE THAT.
I’m tired of hurting my family, my friends and myself. I’m simply sick of being sick. One of the things that has really stuck with me is something I read in a recovery related book: Your bottom is wherever you choose to stop digging. I didn’t ruin my life as badly as many people do. I am certain, however that I could and would have if I had stayed the course.
I have a somewhat strange concept of God or whatever. But the night I made the decision to change my life was the first time in years that I honestly through bouts of sobbing asked my deity for help. I don’t want to fucking do it anymore and I can’t do it myself. Trying has nearly killed me too many times to count.
Lo and behold, little blessings are already revealing themselves to me. I made a Metalhead friend at the groups, which is something I haven’t had in ten years. I have food in my fridge. My job is so much less of an ordeal to soldier through. Little by little, I’m rediscovering the friend in myself that I was sure I had exterminated.
I’ve seen recovery work genuine miracles for friends I was sure were going to die from their addictions. It’s time to work on my own.
All systems go. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and in spite of all the crazy shit in my head I am cautiously optimistic .
If you know me personally, just be aware that I haven’t been myself for longer than I care to remember. You just might find yourself getting to know me for the first time. I don’t think that I’m a bad guy, just a little dark and messed up. But I’m working on it.
That’s a promise. I leave you with a photo of one of my favorite bands of all time. Napalm Death. I’ve seen them live three times and plan to do so many more.
Your humble narrator –