On recovery

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 –

Thom

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Rebuilding

My name is Thom and my life has been a mess for pretty much as long as I’ve existed. I’ve been deliberating over what to do about it for some time. I’ve done so off and on for the better portion of twenty years that I’ve struggled with substance abuse.

I’ve had my share of moments of clarity and dramatic realizations and what have you,  I just haven’t taken them very seriously up to now. So why have I chosen to do so now? Let me illustrate my plethora of reasons:

1. I can’t get any money saved. Ever. I’m always riding the ragged edge and I have gotten quite worried about doing this long term.

2. I have a family and great friends that I’m sick of letting down all the time.

3. I love my fiancee and want us to have a stable future.

4. I’m growing increasingly concerned about my physical and mental health and the very real danger I’m exposing myself to by living as I have for so long.

5. My younger brother looks up to me and currently has more clean time than I do.

6. I just can’t do this to myself anymore.    I’m sick of sobbing and feeling hopeless and lost.

I went to an AA group today. First time in four years. It gave me hope and it’s right by where I live so I don’t have to worry about getting there.

I’ve lived near a recovery clubhouse for nearly a year. I’ve walked past it countless times either drunk or high or both. Never been able to stop wondering if I should go inside.

I nearly ruined Mother’s Day by being in a really bad emotional state from drinking earlier that day. Only a few, but enough to turn me into a mess and worry my family.

I’m not an idiot,I just act like one rather often. I know I’m playing a dangerous game mixing booze and weed with my various meds. I know it has to stop now.

I love my man so much. He asked for me to marry him and I gladly accepted. I want the mental clarity I need for us to have a prosperous and long life together. I don’t want to be anything but there for him in every possible way. Which in order to do requires me to be there for myself.

To say that I have a bit of emotional baggage would be a grotesque understatement. My Dad finally knows I’m gay and isn’t thrilled with it. I have dealt with this and a number of other things by heavily altering my consciousness for longer than I care to admit.

I won’t lie, I’m horribly afraid of dealing with life on it’s own terms. The fact that I work as a barback is another problem. Being surrounded by booze is turning into a bit of a trigger for me. I don’t know what I’m going to do but this is me trying desperately to change my life.

Suicide in slow motion no longer interests me .Prosperity- now that’s intriguing.