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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Sometimes I fucking hate being an addict

So, I had a relapse recently and have been putting some of the pieces back together slowly. I’ve been getting time and distance under my belt and putting back into action certain behaviours and practices that I need to grow and stay strong. Like so many of my peers, I am incredibly lazy and prone to procrastination and so it has taken a little bit longer than I would have liked but it is what it is. I don’t actually have much of a choice here. If I want any peace, joy and happiness in my life then I have to work at it. I know from my own experience that it doesn’t come easily but when it does comes then all of a sudden it seems well worth the effort.

But, and here’s the rub, I want to listen to the voice in my head that screams, whispers and repeatedly tells me to just ‘go on, go on, go on’ and take a break. Go and get myself a little something to take the pressure away just for a minute, evening, day or, and let’s be honest here, just for a week or two. Damn, but I know I need it! I am so tired anyway! It would only be for a while and ‘we’ know ‘we’ can get it all together later after ‘we’ have had that reward that ‘we’ so desperately need. I want to run and go hide. I love the feeling of letting go and relaxing into the slow, groove of a mind altering buzz. I want to take control of the crazy thoughts running riot through my head and put them on hold while I slip the brake on and chill.

The promises that slide through my thought processes are all similar lies. They assure me that my actual experience is the lie and this time it will be different. This time it will stop my washing machine head and supply a superior kind of peace. They tell me that the tiny pieces of enjoyment that I have had before will unexplainably gel into one long, pleasure-filled night of wonder. Alongside these lies are the other lies that tell me that I will achieve a new acceptance of myself, suddenly become desirable to women and will be the centre of attention at a party that is perfectly suited to my every desire. Lies, lies and more lies and every one of them sounding exactly like my own voice which somehow gives more credence to the words.

As these voices continue to scratch at my resolve I find myself struggling the most when I am out and about. Scanning the pavement in search of a partly used bag. Hoping that some idiot has dumped a little bit of some drug or other and that I am the one to find it. Or better still hoping that someone approaches me to ask if I want to join them in taking whatever mood-altering substance they happen to have.

I am now fifty-four years old and have thirteen years of living with a recovery head. I know the score. I know all about running the tape forward and thinking through what the result will be. For fuck’s sake, I know from multiple experiences how it ends up. I have been there, many times, and lived through the struggle of trying to get clean after yet another lapse. I have been that bloke that goes to meetings and goes straight back out for another hit somehow unable to keep it all together. I have been there and I’m too old to go back out there . . .but . . .those lies sound so appealing.

If it wasn’t for a loving God, I know that I would be back out there. If it wasn’t for the people out there that are not afraid to show me love. And so, I am getting back to that place where I get to choose whether or not I am going to enjoy my life. I have put in the work and am continuing to do the things that I need to do cos when it does come there really isn’t a comparison.

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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Spinning Plates

My life was so much easier way back when I thought that spinning plates was an image that concerned keeping on top of the best practices that would ensure a good spiritual connection with my God. I had one plate on a stick that I had to remember to keep spinning that was reading the bible regularly and then there was the other plate that represented spending time talking to God. There were other plates with labels like tithing, serving others at church, witnessing, controlling my language, reading the right books, etc etc. These plates were already becoming hard to keep an eye on and as time passed they were only added to with more directives. The ‘world’ held so many different distractions that could take my mind and will away from ‘serving my God’ in the way that I was told was so important and the way to fight this was to keep these plates spinning.

Little did I know that I was actually too busy spinning a different set of plates to be able to give these old plates the time they needed. Since getting into recovery I have started to learn that I was an expert at keeping myself lost in levels of denial that have kept me incredibly busy. I was denying how I felt about past situations that confused and hurt me, I was denying how I felt about most of the relationships I was either in or had been in, I was denying how badly I thought of myself and I was denying how little hope I held for my future. I had learnt how to be a chameleon as a massive defence mechanism and I had learnt to take all my feelings and stuff them in some random room in the mansion of my mind. I was a walking, talking defence mechanism. Old childhood ways of defending myself from pain and discomfort had carried on into ‘adulthood’ and were choking me, stopping me from maturing and blocking any real chances of creating useful, working relationships with anyone around me.

Now I am in recovery and have been offered a set of tools that can help me to look at theses things. I have worked through a lot of the past situations that used to have the power to confuse and hurt me, I have spent time looking in the metaphorical mirror at myself and seen a generally, genuinely good man looking back and I have put work into creating a future that holds hope and promise for me. I have also put work into looking at the area of relationships from the past and those I am in now but this is the one that keeps possibly the strongest hold on me. I don’t want to admit to myself how certain women in my life have held excessive power over me either because they represent a critical parent role to me or because I want them to desire me sexually. Yet another area where the saying ‘progress, not perfection’ protects me from complete meltdown.

Alongside these areas of deception and denial, I am very aware of more denial concerning the things that I allow myself to do that I do not consider to be the best choices I could make. That ugly word ‘justification’ comes to the fore here. I can happily explain to myself or anyone in earshot just how I can’t be expected to bring too much change into my life, or how I surely deserve a bit of a reward considering my situation, or maybe even the old fallback of how God hasn’t really pricked my conscience over this particular subject. Some of these things are works in progress and some are just going to be thorns in my side for the foreseeable future.

I have found much solace in the knowledge that I am not alone in my struggles, it is one of the reasons that I enjoy 12 step meetings. I can go into a room of people that are basically just as mad as I am and are happy to admit that truth out loud. It doesn’t take too much of a mental jump to extend that truth to all those other people around me that are following a similar spiritual path. I am not alone in my struggle and just as long as I can keep myself from insisting that there can be any rules or laws that others can break that I have any right at all to challenge then I can hold open the possibility of connection. With connection comes love and with love flowing not only from my God to me but also from me to others then continued growth is a real possibility.

So I am slowly learning to put all these plates down. As a wise woman told me the other day I need to stop being and start doing and one of the best ways I feel that I can achieve this is by speaking through these areas of denial and bringing them into the light cos it’s amazing to watch them shrivel.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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How the mighty . . . Pt 2

No doubts about it, I am remarkably fortunate to still be breathing fresh air and have the opportunity to tell the tale. I can see no further than that this is due to a loving God who, in His infinite wisdom, has a plan for me and my life. He did not save me from the waters to just leave me to die on the beach. Having been there for me, even though I have made some fantastically crazy decisions throughout my life He is still watching over me and I can’t help but wonder about what part I may have to play in His grand plan. This recent period of my life has included a large amount of joining the dots concerning ideas and concepts that have been ruminating through my mind over time. Like smoke, these ideas swirl in front of me and I see clarity as often as I see a knotted mess.

The one thing I am sure of at the moment is just how much ground I lost by picking up. I believe that we all operate in a holistic manner. Everything is interconnected. The spiritual effects the physical which in turn affects the emotional and so on. My mental capacities seemed slightly slower and easier to derail after my relapse, I was a complete and utter wreck emotionally and I see the links between these two aspects of my personality. When I am not firing on full capacity in these two departments I will obviously struggle to connect the dots and laziness kicks in big time. My struggle with shame loves such an opportunity to step in and suggest that I don’t deserve to gain understanding anyway.

So it seems that I have some work to do to give myself the best chance of being ready for the next big adventure. I am starting to put into action a number of the suggestions that have repeatedly been sent my way over the years. Top of the list for me is creating a close circle of friends that I can meet with regularly and share my journey with. Like a lot of people around me, I can draw further and further into myself and fail to work on trust issues because, after all, I am special and unique. Experience tells me that this doesn’t actually work all that well for me and instead of moving forward I tend to stagnate and seek escape through damaging practices. When I do give this option a try I usually find a security and safety that encourages me to try more things.

The other thing I am trying to do is to find a good reliable way to connect with God on a one to one, daily basis. I have tried various ways of ‘having a quiet time’ over the years and usually give up because it becomes formulaic or legalistic and I find myself following a set routine without actually checking out if God is with me. Some of the elements of previously tried quiet times are probably worth putting back into practice to begin a structured routine but I know I need to be careful that I don’t just tick boxes and shoot off thinking that God will be happy to squeeze Himself into my plans. My heart longs for an honest connection with God but my head thrives on being busy in a quiet time and after a while, there is no space for God to capture my attention and connect with me.

At this moment in time, with my relapse fresh on my mind, I feel a pressing need to push myself as much as I can but I am aware that this strong desire for change will probably start to ease off over time. I am, therefore, reliant on my God meeting me halfway as I step out. I am relying on a loving God and can not think of a better way forward than in His hands.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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How the mighty . . .

So, it seems I am remarkably fortunate. I had a slip/relapse/physical, mental, emotional and spiritual crash. Call it what you will. I took my eyes off the prize and made a conscious decision to pick up a drug that changes the way I feel. I had gotten sick and tired of turning up to hospital appointments with two separate consultants to be told they did not know what to do about the two health issues I had been presenting with for the last eighteen months. In my ‘superior’ way of thinking, I decided that getting a prescription for some painkillers would at least give me some low level high to balance off the pain and discomfort of the two problems. It seemed that it was working for a while, that is if you ignore the fact that I had to regularly take a day or two off from using the painkillers in order to use the toilet and I also picked up a frozen shoulder that gave pain levels that made the painkillers almost totally redundant.

I chugged along for just over five months on this course and while it is true that I was putting a block between my loving God and myself, I can’t help but look back and accept that this time was also some of the best times of my life. I was at a place in my life where a lot of the work I had put into myself was coming to fruition. I was growing to love myself for the first time in my life partly because I was moving away from a lot of the lies that I had been living under. I am not attempting to claim that the using was in any way a positive part of this or anything like that. I know that I was working against my growth by using and I am convinced that I would have grown even more if I had not been using but I can not turn from the fact that I had some great times of joy, peace and acceptance during this period.

Then, things took a turn for the worse. I visited my ‘closest’ friend for a week and all of a sudden a few pills turned into some weed and then cocaine and then vodka and then a half finished wrap of what I think might have been base amphetamines. Shortly after arriving I was informed that she was just needing to finish off some weed that she had brought back from her cousins. Now. she knows that my drug of choice has always been cannabis and looking back I can see that she was wanting a partner in crime. She was almost but not quite waving it under my nose. I know that I was the one that made the decision to stay and then made the decision to pick up but, for what it’s worth, I was under duress. When I did snap and decide to join in with the weed it escalated faster than I could believe and within minutes she was offering me some of the cocaine she had tucked behind her phone.

This, that and the other happened and the next thing I knew was that I was on a train back to the Christian dry house that I currently live in. I had stopped the painkillers while I was away. My head was a complete mess and my heart was even worse. I had no ability to reach out for help. I was just trying to get through days of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pain. After a couple of days of uncontrollable sobbing and hurting beyond my ability to cope, I gave in and reached for a bottle. I had tried to find some weed or other drug but fortunately had not found any. I spent an evening drinking and found that I was still no closer to working out how to come clean and own my mistakes.

The day that I decided to begin sorting this all out was the day that my friend phoned up the rehab I had attended and grassed me up. I was just changing into suitable clothing for living rough for a few days when a staff member came up to my room to challenge me. My plan had been to come clean at the house after I had borrowed another tenner and then sleeping where I could whilst I was in contact with someone that I knew could get me off the streets and away somewhere safe. The staff member soon assured me that I did not need to leave and that my best bet was to stay and work it all out here.

And so, as I say, I am remarkably fortunate. I am still alive.

I am continuing the process of putting myself and my life back together. It has been a seriously hard task but I am moving in the right direction. I have people around me that love me and are willing to show it and although I still find that hard to accept, I know that it is true. I have had to accept that this little escapade has cost me and I am slowly getting back to the person that I was before this.

Gratitude is a crazy little thing except when you are wrapped up in it and then it is a fantastical creature

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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