Just Another Recovering Person

Posts tagged ‘Mental Illness’

A Steamer Trunk of Fear


‘When at the end of the road we find we can no longer function as human beings either with or without drugs, what is there left to do?’

It seems I have made it somewhat, ‘Beyond the End of the Road’. I can say this because I have the ability today to function without drugs. I couldn’t have said that just a short time ago, but I can today. This is where the title of my blog came from, a quote from the NA Textbook.

I haven’t been to a meeting in a while. The last meeting I tried to go to was about 3 weeks ago. The door was locked and the lights were out. I sat in my car and questioned myself. Maybe question isn’t a good term, I took an inventory of myself. I began to ask, do I really need to go to meetings anymore? I have no sponsor, I have no homegroup, I have my Higher Power, My Book, and My Desire…..Are they enough to carry me?

Realistically the long-term answer is no. I feel that I have a decent understanding of myself, my motives, and my disease. I also have the uncanny ability to lie to myself. I can tell myself things are ok and they aren’t. I can tell myself things are bad and they really aren’t. I guess my point is when I am left to counsel myself in matters of my thinking and behavior I am, well, biased.

All that being said, a lack of motivation has set in. Apathy if you will. I had this in my work career recently as well. Telling my boss I was content in moving boxes and almost passing up this promotion. I’ve done it in learning the town. I have been here almost a year and can still barely get around. What this is, is my inability to be willing to invest myself emotional to things here and I don’t know why. Maybe somewhere in my sub-conscience I have the idea that it’s not worth it, or I don’t want to take risks, or whatever. Now that I know what it is I have to move past this….this fear.

Is that it…..Fear? Fear of what? Fear of acceptance….Fear of success? I know that all of my life I have carried fear with me like a worn out steamer trunk. That nagging feeling that it really isn’t worth it, so why bother? I am a decent person today, I try. I try to do what is right, not for the pat on the back, but because I did just the opposite I feel that it is owed. It is owed to myself, the people in my life, and my HP.

Fear of not getting it right.

I have to remind myself we all live this life breath to breath. Mistakes will be made, things said that shouldn’t have been, decisions made based on shaky motives. In the end….as long as I haven’t used it is all really a success. I am too hard on myself, my worst judge, jury, and executioner. My mind will tell me all is lost, my world is falling apart, and when I step back and look…it isn’t.   

My kids are ok. My wife is ok, and the new dog is a pain in the ass. The weather here this past week has been frightening. My heart aches for those in Alabama who lost so much and I don’t mean a house or a car. It’s like what the President said, ‘We can’t bring back those who were lost, but we can grieve with you’.

My wife and I rode that night out holding our breath. I have never seen storms like that. They swept along the I-20 corridor one after another. Our house shook from the thunder and wind. Having satellite we would lose signal and I kept our radio close. Being it was at night there was really no way to know until it was on top of us. There are no sirens here, just the weather man who lets us know if there is rotation in cells and approximately where they are. I feel very fortunate today.

After the storm moved through here they went on to Miss, and then into Ala. We didn’t know how bad it was because information here via television is sporadic at best. The local news here to be honest…sucks. It wasn’t until I got to CNN I saw what happened. There was flooding and power outages. Our town was fortunate we only lost 2 people. It could have been worse.

School is almost out and summer is almost here. I’d like to take a ‘Holiday’ for all my friends across the pond, or a vacation as we call it here. But I don’t think it is in the cards. I should know something about the new place in a few days. I hope this all falls into place. It’s something both my wife and I have been working towards for a year now.

I hope this post finds you all well. For those who are struggling, questioning, and stumbling….Don’t worry….The end of the road is in sight.

Peace.
Bob D.

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There are 2 Kinds of Crazy


Charles Manson
John Hinkley
David Koresh
Steve Martin
ALF
Spongebob Squarepants

Charlie Sheen

Wait this isn’t the Charlie Sheen I’m talking about….I mean this one.

 

This kind of crazy I know. This kind of crazy is like a bad car wreck, no one likes it, but everyone stares at it. This kind of crazy is called addiction.

The Spider, The Frog, and The Fair


At night I have become accustomed to seeing all sorts of critters and varmints. Noises and bumps in the night here in Louisiana. Sometimes in sitting outback I will see any assortment of bugs, frogs, and the like just going about their business.

There is a spider by my back door that I have been watching. Diligently she spins a web and catches things to eat. I noticed the other night how large she was getting and then the cocoon was made. I knew it wouldn’t be long as she would lay her eggs. I had forgotten that soon after she does this, the spider, dies.

I saw her sitting quietly in the web, not moving, and for a moment something washed over me…..The simplicity and complexity of life….all in the same breath. I wondered if other people saw the things I do, or if they feel the same way, or are they too caught up in the doldrums of existence to see one small spider?

 There are tree frogs that love to cling to the siding on our place. I think because the siding is cool at night. They just sit and watch me, sometimes giving out a croak as to acknowledge my existence to them. I have seen several and find them relaxing. Salamanders on the other hand seem to crawl and stop to see if I am worthy of climbing on. I have seen a few that are pretty big, but take no real interest in me.

I set up our telescope out back as the moon has been full and brilliant at night here for the past week. A front rolled through last night and it rained. I think the skies will be clear tonight and it is supposed to get cool which may hold the mosquitoes at bay.

We went to the ArkLaMiss fair last night which was ok, but rather small and expensive. I am looking more forward to the State Fair in Shreveport at the end of October. In going to the fair I had memories of us going to the Ohio State Fair and the good times we had there. When I laid down last night I found myself homesick yet again. I told myself there are a million new memories to be made here if I am open-minded about it.

I went to another AA meeting on Thursday and I spoke for the first time. I was extremely nervous and told folks that I was new to the area and commented on the 1st three steps. I spoke in general recovery terms as I have no working knowledge of AA’s Steps or Traditions. They are similar to NA but also different. I learned a long time ago, when you are in someone elses house, you respect the house you’re in, so I made no specific reference to things but was able to convey my feelings on the topic.

I had a couple of people come up to me after the meeting and talk for a moment or two, but I still remained guarded. I’ve been guarded since I got here. I feel a little more comfortable but just not yet ‘at home’.
I continue to work, pray, and talk to my HP. I continue to balk at certain things as well. Progress…..not perfection is the goal.

I hope this post finds you all well.

Sweet 16 Lorna Doone


Today is my daughter’s 16th birthday. I’d like to think I’ve been a good dad. Part of me says yes and other parts of me say no. I remember at the end of my using my wife telling me the same things I resented my father for, I was doing to my children. This has stayed with me; that unless I was the one to break the cycle, that it would continue.

Some of you have read long enough to know my daughter has a ‘mental illness’. I’ve been told she has ADD, ADHD, BiPolar Disorder, Rage Disorder, and Aspergers Syndrome. To be honest with you I don’t know what she has or doesn’t have anymore, maybe she just has a lot of rebellious teen in her. The frightening part is she reminds me of me.

There have been days of complete bliss that I longed would never end with her. There have also been days of complete anger and frustration as I have sat and cried and wondered where my daughter has went. Since she turned 13 it has all been a slow downhill ride with her. We have endured 3 years worth of behavior that should have driven me crazy, but it hasn’t. I haven’t used over it. It has been during these times I believe I have experienced my greatest growth.

Happy Birthday my sweet Lorna, you are still my little girl no matter how big of a pain in the ass you can be!

Book Excerpt #2: Chapter 2-When?


Here is an excerpt from a draft of Chapter 2-When?

I will see you all in about 10 days. Take care of yourselves and I will talk to you all soon.

Chapter 2

When?

Fantasy is the alternate universe to reality that addicts live in. Projection is having events play out in my mind the way I feel they should be. Expectation is the unrealistic agenda that addicts measure other people, places, and things with. All of these contribute to the disease in a way that raises the addict’s ego while lowering their self-esteem and self-worth through feelings of self-pity, guilt, and remorse. It sounds complex and unbelievable at the same time, but these are the feelings that are common to most addicts.

The reality I was facing seemed like a steep mountain. I would soon be leaving the confines of a treatment facility to return back to the circumstances of my life. The fear of facing life, my inability to deal with life and my own emotions and feelings soon closed in on me. A million questions ran through my mind. What if this happens? When will this happen? What if so and so shows up? Over and over the constant obsessive thoughts that are based in fear, anger, and guilt are the driving force that leads to early relapse from those that leave treatment.

*********

I think it was summer, or maybe spring. It’s foggy now. I see him standing on the side porch. My dad, with a suitcase. I had been out with friends. I see his old American Rambler sitting, idling. As I walked up to him I see a bag of canned goods beside him. He looks at me and says, “Your mother has asked me to leave.” I looked at him and said, “Ok.” He tells me, “I never fucking left you, don’t ever say that, ok?” “I never left.”

But you did leave……I was 13.

This event I can say was a pivotal moment in my life. I realize today that my mother could not take anymore of my father’s nonsense. She had put up with it for years. I could tell you stories of endless fights, emotional and verbal abuse, moving from one town to another, and bankruptcy. I don’t understand all of the decisions that were made for me as a child, but I know that my parents aren’t to blame for the way I turned out. I guess there were times in my life it felt like I didn’t have a voice or no one listened to me.

It felt like I was tossed to the side by the events of life. This is when I made the decision not to feel anymore. It almost seems clear now that it was a conscious decision of a frightened boy hell-bent on destruction, self-destruction. I had tried drugs before this, drinks here and there. I tried drugs when I lived in Florida shortly before this event, but this life marker, this age of 13 is when I began to use on a regular basis and it would continue until I was 36 years old. I would stop maturing at this point in my life. From this point forward, I no longer cared what life had to offer, except how high I could get at anyone else’s expense.

I never used socially. I want to make that clear and upfront. It may have seemed at times when I appeared to be in control, but I never really was. This is an illusion that addicts convince themselves of on a daily basis, that they have some control over it no matter how despicable the act or how far we let ourselves go. I know of addicts who are still using today, spanning over 30 years of use whom believe they still have control. It’s a mindfuck.

I see myself in my mind’s eye. I was a punk, I’m chuckling to myself at the moment because I thought I was something special, but in reality I was a punk. I see myself with that silly mullet haircut! Good Lord, the 80’s were difficult weren’t they?!? Most of the time I was in some sort of trouble, with someone or something. Sometimes I would want to be alone to the point of isolation and other times I wanted so many people around me for comfort I would carry a crowd. Most of all I was in pain. I see that today. I was confused, angry, hurt, and lonely. I never told anyone how I really felt about anything, ever.

**********

I climbed into the van. The silence was deafening. I tried to kiss her but she turned her check to me. Figures, I said to myself. This is bullshit. I knew she would act this way, and I bet the kids are going to be off the fucking hook too. My wife had come to pick me up from treatment. These are the 2 things that stand out to me vividly; the silence and the colors of the world; I don’t know which one was more a slap in the face than the other.
I have spoken to literally thousands of addicts in detox facilities. It never ceases to amaze me the numbers that are lined up to call loved one’s at home to let them know “How well they are doing in detox.” This constant need for outside validation. I mean, what is a loved one supposed to say? “Great job for going to rehab?” “I will be there for your graduation!” No one graduates from detox or rehab, we just move forward and do what we should have been doing all along.

The colors of the world still bring tears to my eyes at times. I have had the opportunity to see a few sights while clean and nothing compares to a Gulf Coast Sunset or an early morning sunrise on the bayou. Riding in that van the colors were like when Dorothy stepped out of the house into the Land of Oz. It was surreal and frightening. To think I was this blind, this clouded?

Copyright 2010, RLD Holdings, Ltd.

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.

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.