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There is Enough Time to Live One Day at a Time

“Now, let the weeping cease; let no one mourn again.  For the love of God will bring you peace.  There is no end.”   — Sophocles

When I look back on my life, I sometimes feel again the pain of how things used to be; the pain of a life once led.  But I know that my life doesn’t ever have to be as difficult and “dramastic” (my word for “fantastically dramatic”) as it once was.  My life never has to be as out of control, as unmanageable or as terrifying.  It simply isn’t necessary for my addictions to haunt me at every turn.  Time has in fact moved on, as it must.  The past is over, I accept my relationships as they are and I’ve begun to know real safety.

Maybe I’d have to completely bale altogether from my recovery plan and path toward personal growth for quite some time before I’d go back completely to the way I acted and lived before.  I may slip today, or some future date; I make no promises of perfection.  I can never let myself forget however, that as an addict; I am one decision – one bad choice, away from using or acting out.  But that is very different from going back to the beginning, before my new life.  Each day I choose not to stray from the path I am now on, my heart is strengthened so that I no longer want to go back.

Through this blog, I wish to share with my readers to live life “one day at a time” whether you’re in a 12 step program of recovery or not.  If you read my earlier blogs, you’ll come to know that I’m not, though I am part of a recovery group (SMART Recovery).  Finally, trust, as I do, that you have all the time you need.

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Beware of What Lurks in the Shadows

As an addict and when I have been actively using, I grasp only at the shadow of things.  I neither relate to people as if they are real, nor do I communicate as a mature, loving person.  Instead, I have pursued phantoms and a few dragons, and in the end, have found only dissatisfaction.

Addictions diminish and demean us as much as they allow us to see things only as extensions of ourselves.  We become afraid of individuality and differences.  We allow ourselves to see other people only as reflections of ourselves.

Through my efforts to grow personally and in my recovery, I have come to need substance in my life.  It is when I am working at real problems, connecting with people as they are that I truly feel alive.  In my relationships, if I am to see growth, I need to give and receive genuine and authentic love and affection.

In my healthy relationships with family and friends, and in my recovery groups and network, I find substance and particularity. I find authentic people who are learning not to be afraid to extend themselves and who come to meet and greet me in life.  Together, we can all learn to live and to love as vital, whole individuals in a real world.

I am learning to get out of the shadows and darkness of my addictions and wanted to share my experience with my readers so that we can all live in a world of substance, reality and love.

“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.”  — Aesop

Become What You Are Capable of Becoming

 

“The great law of culture; let each become what he is capable of becoming.” – Thomas Carlyle

Each of us is unique, precious and human.  We need to join in the movements of life and culture that encourage us all to grow and change and live out the fullest of our potential.

By remaining immersed in addiction, we are simply joining the ranks of the dead in life, those who deny the possibility of growth and becoming.  Addiction is a stunting illness that holds back the healthy forward movement of life.

In recovery, there will be moments of hesitation and even relapse.  Relapse is part of recovery.  When this happens, do not lose faith in yourself because we are constantly strengthened through our personal growth and recovery work.  Insight will be gained and the support we need will be found in our groups and through our connection to our Higher Power. And so we continue to reconnect with our own rhythm and pattern of growth. Try making this affirmation to yourself: “I am part of a living culture and I am capable of change and growth.”

Who is it? Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?

 

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” — Shakespeare

Only recently, have I begun the long, slow process of reconnecting with family and friends whom I abandoned when I chose a life of addiction and lies.  Are they running toward me with outstretched arms, embracing this new and improved me?  No.  I didn’t expect them to either.

You see, I spent much of my life living a lie.  I was split into two people, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and one of the two could never speak out, tell the truth or own up. Mr. Hyde gradually took over until everything was fraud, deception and betrayal.  And finally, I came to see my life in ruins.

So began my path toward sobriety, clean living and personal growth.  This meant Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – the two sides of me, had to find a way to work together.  I knew I had to win the trust and confidence of both fellows before one tore the other to pieces.

There is one way in: honesty.  I came to know that Mr. Hyde works in the darkness of deceit and opens up to the light that steams in when I speak openly and honestly.  And this light endures: honesty doesn’t only give momentary insight; it leaves a legacy that lasts a lifetime.

How Can I Ever Recover From My Addictions?

 

 

Some days I wonder, “How am I ever going to recover from my addictions?” “What more must I do to get well?” These are the basic questions I ask myself, as I struggle with my illness: an addiction to Crystal Meth.

The questions I ask in my mind are obvious, once I have taken time to really think about what is going on in my life. And the answers are just as simple – stop acting out, stop using, stay busy, and work my plan of personal growth through the SMART Recovery program, whose logical approach works best for me.

I know however, that it’s not enough to just go to those meetings once each week and putting in my time. Easy solutions may seem plausible, but just mouthing the words isn’t going to do the job. I have been a sick person, very sick at times, and I am going to struggle sometimes to see things straight again; to get back on course. The route is charted by the people who support me.

 

 

Counselors and good friends have become my guides. But when all is said and done, I have to make the choice to accept the answers and the help that will bring me renewal and health. I know the way forward to health isn’t easy, but I have confidence in myself that I will come through. Like the elegant Phoenix, I too shall rise from the ashes and be beautiful!

 

 

 

Sex Addiction

Sex addiction. It can be an easy way to hide from other people. We can delude ourselves that, since no one knows what we’re doing, our actions aren’t that bad. It’s possible to live a double life: a healthy person some of the time, and a rtunately, it is often necessary to find ourselves in great pain or facing horrible consequences before we confront our behavior. Otherwise, the complex defense system we erect to “protect’ our addiction also keeps us from learning the honesty we need to recover.

Sex addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful. Rigorous honesty is important, especially in telling other people what we would rather keep hidden. It is usually the things we try to ignore that we are yearning to share and let go. We owe it to ourselves to be as honest as the program teaches us to be.

Looking for an alternative to 12 Step programs? Heard about SMART Recovery?

SMART Recovery (Self Management and Recovery Training) is an international non-profit organization which provides assistance to individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviors. The approach used is secular and science-based using non-confrontational motivational, behavioral and cognitive methods. Substance/activity dependence is viewed by the organization as a dysfunctional habit (rather than a disease), while allowing that it is possible that certain people have a predisposition towards addictive behavior.

The meetings are free for all wishing to attend, and are intended to be informational as well as supportive. Approximately 365 weekly group meetings led by volunteer facilitators are held worldwide. In addition, the organization provides online resources and support to the volunteers and those attending the groups and one or more daily online meetings.

Meetings are held in many states including: Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.


That Slippery Land of Fantasy

“At the bottom of the modern man there is always a great thirst of  self-forgetfulness, self-distraction…and therefore he turns away from all those problems and abysses which might recall to him his own nothingness.” Henri Amiel (1821-1881), Swiss Philosopher and Poet

I am aware of the way I sometimes rush around or slide off into the land of fantasy to distract myself from looking at myself too closely. Am I afraid that what I might find is nothing but my own… nothingness? Are my addictions a misguided search for some kind of identity at any price?

I am discovering that identity is not something given, once and for all. Perhaps there is never a fixed point at which I can say, “I am that.” Life is a process, upheaval, reversal, change and a continuous process of becoming. If I can be brave enough to welcome change and the pains it can cause, I may never have to fear the vertigo of nothingness or the madness of distraction that becomes self-destruction.

 

The Risks I Took and the Risks I Take

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The Risks I Took

“One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.” —Helen Keller

The risks I took in my two previous relationships were profound. I look back at my behavior in each of those relationships, and I am absolutely horrified; ashamed even. I took the chance in those relationships that my partner or any other loved one would discover the truth about my promiscuity. I juggled multiple relationships; multiple lives even.

I gambled that I wouldn’t pick up a sexually transmitted disease (STD). I gambled that I wouldn’t pass on an STD to my partner.My life in those relationships was built like a house of cards. Without either of my partner’s actively investigating me, my schedules, computer histories or personal items, still found out about my activities. The data would somehow present itself to them. It would appear to them through some freak action it seemed. I may not have gone so far as to label myself as a compulsive gambler, but in retrospect, I was. I risked our very own lives for the thrill of living dangerously.

Both relationships ended similarly; the expectation they had of honesty was not respected and my behavior presented them with risks they did not choose to take.

By the time I had finally hit my own “rock bottom”, I could claim two failed suicide attempts and a hospitalization of more than a month and a half for recovery of an addiction to crystal meth. During that hospitalization I was diagnosed as being HIV+. The deadly STD had silently infected me, thrived even, within me. A viral load of close to 2 million and a CD4 count in the double digits began to make me aware that my body felt differently than it had in the past.Infections and malaise became the norm for me.Eventually, I was classified as being in “full blown AIDS” and was told by one doctor that I would be lucky to be able to live out my life for another two to four more years.

The Risks I Take Now

In my life as it is now, I am part of a relationship that allows me to channel my willingness to risk into constructive change. For the first time, I am experiencing true love and respect – both as a receiver and active giver of these feelings. I am, for the first time in my life, mastering the attainment of rigorous honesty with my present partner and loved ones; something that eluded me in the past. I can trust that what I am able to do now will help me grow; I can act and then let go of the outcome.

I try to make choices that result in the healthiest outcome possible. However, I am human and imperfect.Overall, I wake each day grateful to be happy and alive.Although in the past, it was my willingness to take risks that got me into trouble; it is this same willingness that has given me the platform from which I can grow. I am still taking risks, but these risks are now risks of love which keep me in this healthier form of life and relationship each and every day. The ghosts from my past still drift through relationships, hurting their loved ones and fooled into a shallow, misguided sense of happiness by their risky behavior. Those images are held in my mind as a touchstone to remind me of how I choose not to be. Today, I feel proud to take risks in order to enlarge my life.



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