Just Another Recovering Person

Archive for March, 2010

You Hid it from us all along……


Usually when one makes this statement it is of the not-so-good nature. On the other hand, yesterday it was a positive statement. I have been saving this news and I’m not sure why. Probably because I’m used to doing this…..

Not Giving Myself Enough Credit

This is an acceptance letter for a piece of art (a photograph) that I entered into an art exhibit. The show is called “In the Field of Recovery” and is a statewide exhibit here in Ohio. It will be on display at the Fresh A.I.R. Gallery; May12- July 9, 2010 at 131 N. High Street Columbus, Ohio. The link for the galley is: http://freshairgallery.blogspot.com/

There were 79 entries for the show and I feel honored to have been picked. I was at lunch yesterday with some co-workers when the Director of ODMH stopped me in line at the deli and asked how I was. She congratulated me on being selected and said, “See Bob, you hid it from us all along, the fact that you are an artist.” I thought I just took a picture that captured something that was beautiful to me, I guess that is art, but I really just thought of it more as a photograph.

Work has been extremely hectic and I find I have so many irons in the fire but the odd thing is my life feels manageable right now. I’m sure that could change in a moments notice, but that’s the way it feels right now. I have been reading, writing, parenting, and having some laughs. Things right now are ok. My daughter has been under control, things are calm, and I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop as I have in the past with life. I’m tired of living like that.

The NA Basic Text reminds of when “Good times can also be a trap”. I wonder if it is referring to times like this? When all seems right in the world and I am doubting that times like this can actually be good and not have strings attached to them. I know in a sense it is reminding me to keep my priorities in order, which I have, and to remain vigilant.
We are getting ready for our trip at the end of the week. The dryer has been fixed. It took the repair man all of 15 minutes to fix it. Some capacitor on top of the heating element fried in half. I believe I will be packing some things tonight.

Tomorrow will be my last post for a while. I need a break from thinking and writing. I have found in writing this book draft some things have been made very clear to me about life events. I have found it rewarding in the sense that things seem to make more sense now than they ever have. I will post another excerpt from it tomorrow as I leave town.

I will surely take pictures and have some road stories…..

Until Tomorrow…
Bob D.

Book Excerpt #1 Chapter 1:Why?


Here is an excerpt of a rough draft for Chapter 1 of a book I am currently working on:

I am escorted through the building to a detoxification ward. I am searched, and shown a small room with a bed and a night stand. I sit down with my bag, and a picture. It is a picture of my 2 children sitting on Santa’s lap from the mall. It had been taken a few weeks prior. There is a note from my daughter that I still keep to this day that begins, “Dad, I don’t know if I will get to see you for Christmas……”

********** 

The reality of life floods my soul as tears begin to drop on the picture. What have I done? I muttered to myself. You are worthless, you deserve to be dead. Why don’t you just leave this place and do what you have always done? You are a failure anyway; just go crawl back to the hole you came from. My mind is on overload, the room begins to spin. Then as God does, he places someone in my life when the timing is right.

A nurse walks past my door and looks in. She said these words that continue to have a profound impact on my life. “Are you going to just sit there and suffer in silence or are you going to get about to living again?” I sat there stunned, and mumbled something unintelligible. As quickly as she appeared, she disappeared and I fell on the floor. I grabbed the edge of the bed and mumbled these words, “God, if you will help me, I will try.” I passed out and wouldn’t wake up for 2 days.

Now before anyone jumps to visions of rapture, healing, and divine intervention I would ask you to consider the following. I had not tried honestly to do anything, for anyone, let alone myself in years. The room did not fill with a bright light nor did I hear the voice of God, I was praying out of desperation to something I didn’t even believe in anymore. I had asked God for help in the past, selfish help. You know, God get me out of this, or God give me that, but I had never honestly asked God for help.

God and I had become disenfranchised years ago. I had even studied at one point in time to become a minister. I became bitter towards the church due to my addiction and the personalities that I found there. I didn’t feel like I fit in no matter how hard I prayed, no matter how hard I read the Bible, no matter how hard I portrayed myself to be an upstanding man of God’s word. It wasn’t enough. The reoccurring theme that has prevailed through my life. Whatever avenues I sought while still having a clouded mind, body, and spirit were never enough.

I am sure I will touch upon the God subject throughout this book. For those who don’t believe in God, it’s cool. When I first heard of God in recovery I thought of Charlton Heston. That’s the truth. I was trapped in ideas gathered from my childhood. I have come to understand God is more what I don’t understand than what I do.

“You’re Bob, right?” John asked me. John was my counselor in treatment. A straight up big black dude with dreads. This isn’t going to work, I said to myself. You see I was raised in a prejudicial environment and taught that all blacks were trash. I wish I had a better way to put it, but that’s the way it was. It’s something that I am not proud of, nor is it my thought process today. I wondered how is it I am supposed to talk to him. How is it I am going to relate to him? We are worlds apart. We are different. I am better than him, even sitting in detox my ego so large and dominant almost allowed me to miss the most important message I would receive while in treatment; that I was not unique.  So as I sat with this guy and he tells me to talk to him about what was going on. He asked me, “Who is Bob and why it is you are here?”

“Why am I here?” How did it get to this point? I’m not even sure. It seemed like it took forever for my life to get to this point and now someone has hit the fast forward button on me. Twenty years worth of drug use and bullshit can have that effect on a person. I began to tell him about what I had been doing, I’m still not sure why. I guess I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. Pain is the greatest motivating factor not only for the using addict but the recovering addict as well. When the pain becomes great enough, the addict will do something.

John looked at me as I sat and cried. I hadn’t cried like this in years. He looked and listened and only said two words to me. He said, “I know”. He told me a little of his story, a little of his life, and I soon realized he did know, he did understand. John was a recovering addict. The basic building block to understanding for the addict is empathy, not sympathy. Empathy can be the driving force that sparks an initial desire for something different in the using addict’s life.

What I realized was that I was not as alone as I thought I was even for that brief moment. Our feelings had paralleled just enough that it affected my spirit. I still felt like shit, had a ton of guilt, had a million feelings, and was at the lowest point in my life but I would soon realize that when all seems lost, there is really nothing left to loose at all.

 **********

Copyright 2010 RLD Holdings, Ltd.

Reading, Writing, and Precious


If I only had 4 more hands and two more heads…..

I’ve been busy, really busy. It’s good though. Wanted to let you in on a few things.

Friday went out to dinner with the family and had a nice evening. I came back home and decided to go out to a late meeting. I don’t normally do that but on Friday I was missing that feeling of being connected. I went to the meeting and a guy I had been sponsoring showed up after a 2 month relapse.
He had gotten involved with another person in the program. Both of them with under 6 months clean, and well, they ended up both using together. She came back about 2 weeks ago.
This is just another example of getting involved in a ‘relationship’ well before the time is right. I spoke with him after the meeting. He said he wanted to kill himself, that he felt like he couldn’t recover in this area, and on and on.

I told him that he relapsed, traded his recovery for some comfort, and it was time to move on. I told him he was full of shit if he thought running to another state would ‘fix’ this. I told him he used because he wanted to use. Some may say this is harsh but this was something that had been brewing since about 30 days of coming into the program. There are a million excuses to use over and none of them are worth it.

Saturday my daughter and I helped a friend move.

Sunday the dryer broke (again) and put me behind in washing clothes for our trip. The service man is coming out today. I went to the Sunday night meeting and had a good meeting.

I have been reading and writing like crazy. I have been reading Chapters 3,4, and 5 of new literature the NA fellowship is working on. I have mixed feelings about Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 was excellent.

I have begun writing rough drafts of 2 chapters for a book. If it goes somewhere that would be great, if it doesn’t, oh well. I will post an excerpt of it tomorrow.

I watched the movie ‘Precious’ on Sunday. I haven’t cried like that in a while. Now I know why Monique’ received an Academy Award. That was a powerful movie. It still has me thinking.
What an unbelievable performance. I saw her acceptance speech in which she said something like, “Sometimes you have to forego what is popular to do what is right”. Sounds like more than just an acceptance speech, sounds like sound words of wisdom.

I read a lot of posts on here about Addiction. When I first started blogging there were BS posts about addicted to MarioCart, Starbucks, and Foot Massages. Now the tone has changed. There are a lot of folks, particularly loved ones and friends of addicts who are looking for support. I continue to add them to my blogroll and hope they can link up together via my page and maybe gain some insight on addiction from each other and from me. It’s not that I am some “Wizard of Recovery” but I hope that if my story helps you understand what is happening or has happened then I feel that my own existence is somehow transformed, that my future has been changed. That somehow it was all worth it.

Take Care…Bob D.

You Know My Face…Right?


I am standing outside of where I work this morning and a car rolls up in the alley. It is a beater or Hoopde’ as it is known in these parts.
It slows down and stops. Not unusual. The guy rolls down the window and yells out to me, “You know my face, right?” “You know me.”
I reply back, “I know you Jake”….

Jake is the son of a mutual friend of my wife and I. I wrote about him a couple of months back. He had went to treatment and called me a couple of times. His Dad called to thank me for speaking to him. I used to party with his dad and he is aware I am in recovery now.
So Jake gets out of this car, and hugs me. He tells me he is getting ready to go back to meetings, that all he is doing is “Smoking some tree”, and let everything else go. That he is scared because he has been escalating physically towards his girlfriend and his dad.
I tell him that it would be great if he went back to meetings. He tells me he saw me the other day but didn’t think it was me. “I was thinking of the 90’s looking Bob”. I’m sure he meant it as a compliment.

He hugs me again and I tell him good luck, and by the way Jake you might want to brush all the dope off the front of your shirt……

I stepped back and turned away, angry. I brushed my own shirt off. The front of him was literally covered in dope.
Why did I hug him I thought to myself. Why didn’t I just turn away or offer my hand for a handshake?
Sometimes a simple, loving hug can make all the difference.
I hope it did today.

I went inside and did some work. The conversation with Jake has stuck with me. That initial feeling of anger and I’m still not sure why.

I went to my daughters psychiatrist appointment yesterday. I find it odd that at the beginning there were all of these “issues” that seem to center around me and my drug use causing our family problems and now there has been no mention of it.
We talked about the 18 year-old (whom my wife is sure she is till talking to in some manner) and how he was told not to come back. We talked about Lorna’s volume level in conversation’s and how that can be worked on. We also talked about diet and exercise. My daughter has gained some weight due to the medication she is on, but she has been also eating non-stop.
I have went over labels, serving sizes, ingredients, and healthy snacks and with a 15 year-old it all went in one ear and out the other.

The doctor had asked how her behavior had been, if we had anymore altercations and we haven’t. Just her loud demeanor and not wanting to get out of bed, but I believe it to be typical teenage nonsense.

I have no news about moving. Our trip is at the end of next week.

I have and still am taking feedback on possibly writing a book. A friend on here, Lynsey, reminded me that starting a book is the easy part, it is finishing it that is difficult.
She reminded me I have written a large majority here on this site. I have blogged consistently for about 3 years here and on another site. I believe I have more than enough material and experience. The concept would not be a confessional book ala James Frey about how terrible I was and poof, I am all better, but more about the day-to-day feelings and thoughts being a recovering person in society today.
I believe, in this generation, we are at a crossroads on how addiction is being viewed, the treatment options, and how this affects society as a whole.
Addiction has been present since the beginning of man in one form or another.
From habitants of primal tribes chewing local plants, to earliest forms of medicines. From troops returning from WWII addicted to morphine, to the experimentalists of the 60’s. The crack epidemic of the 80’s and now the resurgence of opiates, it has always been with us. I believe in this day and age of “Instant Access” we have grown into a society of “Instant Addiction”.
The problems are many and obvious, but the solutions still seem to elude us.

We could have arguments and debates all day on whether or not addiction is a disease, or if 12 Step Programs are cults, but at the end of the day this is the reality:

Today someone will die from addiction.
Today someone will try a drug for the first time.
Today someone will get clean.
Today someone will realize they are a human being.

Take Care…
Bob D.

 

A Book in the Works???


I have said it before, I’m not writing a book.
I’ve thought about it and something is compelling me to perhaps start this journey. I hope it is not based in ego. I have to check my motives, I have to pray and meditate on it. I need to speak to my sponsor about it.
I would need to have people in place around me that would see the vision through in a clear, honest, and informative manner.
I want to remain anonymous….Is that possible?
I don’t want to put anyone in an uncomfortable position. I know there are a few writers on my blogroll lost, perhaps I should consult with them.

Any thoughts or suggestions????

Desperation to Desire


I was on the phone last night with a friend. He is not an addict and has been a friend for a number of years and is aware of my struggles. He has been steadfast in support and said something last night that brought me to tears….

Bob, if I can give back half of what you have given to me I would consider myself rich.

WTF?!? What have I given you?
You listened when no one else did.

I’ve always cared to some degree about people. I guess I couldn’t find that same level of self-concern when it came to my own life. I’ve been talking a little about desperation the past couple of days and what is drawing me now is the word desire.

A dictionary defines Desire:
To Long or Hope for; To express a wish for.

See, I thought I was the smartest guy I knew until I actually picked up a dictionary and started reading what words meant. Desire, to hope for.

What moves one from desperation to desire? Desire cannot be measured and is often misunderstood. I’ve had a desire for a number of years to go skydiving, but it doesn’t mean that I have done it.
In talking about recovery the 3rd Tradition of NA talks about, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using”. The only thing I was a member of in the past was the old Columbia House Record and Tape Club where you got 11 albums for a penny, and I defaulted on that.
So I have a desire and that makes me get clean and stay clean? Perhaps, but it also has to deal with the commitment I make to myself, my HP, my family, my fellowship. I can wish and hope all day long and it is just that day spent wishing and hoping.
There is action and effort required on my end to take that initial spark of desire to stay clean and fan it into a flame.
I remember being at my first NA meeting and seeing a guy there I had run with over 16 years ago (at  that time) and he said he had been clean for 16 years. My initial reaction was, “If that crazy fuck can stay clean 16 years, I can certainly stay clean for 1 day!”
That’s not to say he keeps me clean today, but for that moment, that day, the power of the program working in someone elses life was enough.

There have been really cool days in recovery, and I have had days I thought would never end. Life and the world continue to go on whether I accept them or not. Throughout it all there has been some level of desire and commitment or I wouldn’t have stayed clean, that’s just the simple truth. My hope today is that today I will become a little better than I was yesterday. That I will be able to help someone in some way, whether it is recovery related or not.
There are days I don’t feel that damn spiritual and I have had days where I have felt the presence of a power greater than myself in a moment that I could not bear alone. Our literature reminds us of this, that I do not know when the day will come that it will take all the effort I have just to stay clean.

Even after 4 years, 3 months, and a few days I still think about drugs. For some this may seem abnormal, for me not using is abnormal so were on the same page! The thought came to mind last night, almost to the point of euphoric recall. The difference today is I know what is going on. The disease concept of addiction is in my thinking patterns and my emotions. I realize that the feeling will pass and it did. I am no longer bound by impulsive action and compulsive behavior, I am set free.

I talked to my wife last night after my friend I mentioned earlier made some things clear. I knew what the answers were but I have been looking past them. I told my wife if she really wants to move down south to be with her family, we would make a go of it. It’s crazy I know but here is the thing…

My wife for 18 years has made selfless decisions and thought about our well-being first.
I am capable of making good decisions today based in the right reasons.
Those 2 things combined, we can’t be all wrong.
She cried last night and looked at me. She said this was one of those decisions she wasn’t even sure of. I told her whatever we decided to do, we would face together.

There are a lot of people on my mind and my heart today. So many people passed through my life that I never thought of telling how much they really meant to me. With that….

For whatever I did or didn’t do..
Know that I Love You.
Bob D.

For My Wife


I am ever mindful of our Traditions. That I need to maintain anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. It’s not that I’m someone famous, in fact, just the opposite. I am just another recovering person. I use only my first name, I use only my children’s first names. I have found that disclosure, although a personal choice, may not necessarily just affect me. It can affect my children, my siblings, and so on.

I have been asked why I haven’t attempted to write a book. The thought has crossed my mind. I don’t consider my story anymore unique than the millions of others in this life who have struggled with an addiction. It’s not that I have discovered a solution that isn’t readily available to those who want it. I have no corner on the market in living by Spiritual Principles. I believe there are enough inspirational books out there that my story is best suited in its proper place.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t freely share when I am asked. To a large majority of society they could care less that I am in recovery. Most of America loves a scandal, but in turn, love a story of redemption just as much. We are a society driven by a media that thrives on fear and consumption. For every headache, there are at least 100 remedies. For every 100 remedies, there are 1,000 side effects.

I guess the point of this post, yes number 2 for today, is that after formally writing on a Step, for me, it takes a matter of time for the principles of the Step to sink in. For things to become a bit clearer. Having worked all 12, the 12th Step of “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs”, is being able to do what I was intended to do in the 1st place.

To be a human being…..

For my wife….

Although you joke that my memory has faded, or better yet how it is selective:

I still remember how you looked the first day I saw you.
I still remember our first kiss.
I still remember how you looked on our wedding day.
I still remember the look on your face the first time you went in the ocean.
I still remember the smile on your face the first time you saw our children.
I still remember the look on your face at the “Jurassic Park Ride”.
I still remember the look on your face when I told you I was addicted.
I still remember the look on your face when I had 1,2,3,4 years clean.
I still remember the corny movies you made me sit through.
I still remember the boat ride in Nashville as one of the most picture perfect moments together.

You are my angel, my light in the dark, the constant voice of reason in my insane world. I walk out the door each day knowing that you are the greatest thing that could ever happen to guy like me. I am blessed more today than I ever have been.
Someone once asked me why it is an addict like me deserved a woman like you. I didn’t have the answer then, and I still don’t today.
I guess why she has stayed with me these last 18 years is that she saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself……until today.
That I have a purpose for being here, that there is always hope, love, and a life worth living.

I Love You Christa,
Bobby.