My good friend posted this today and i thought it extremely relevant.
the last time i was on day 8, i was on the same day of what turned out to be 122 days of residential rehab. i was still testing positive for my DOC, which seemed more than a bit odd to the staff, since normal time from last use to negative-test for that substance is 2 to 3 days (i finally had a clean test on day 10).
anyway, everyone thought i was still using -- i would nod off all the time in group, or (even better) i would just sort of nod off and begin talking under my breath, presumably to myself. apparently i found much of what i was saying quite funny and would break out in laughter every few minutes.
i just felt awful most of the time that first 4 or 5 days and it seemed like i would NEVER feel better. several afternoons a week we’d have to pile in the van for a trip to the f-ing gym. I’d make it as far as the couch in the gym lobby and just crash – work out? i couldn’t even sit up! i don’t know that i actually slept much on the gym’s couch, i just lay there in a semi-coma occasionally opening an eye and hating the peppy people who, if you asked me, seemed to have just a bit too much bounce in their step.
it was somewhere at the end of the first week before i started to feel human - a frail, 95 year old human, perhaps, but human nonetheless. it was not until about day 30 that i was actually ready to use the gym when we went to the gym.
it has been my experience that spending an extended time in active, late-stage addiction is really tough on the human body – frankly, I still don’t see how mine survived what i put it through. in any event, it takes time to recover from the physical effects of active addiction and, as they say, “time takes time.”
i believe there are several things that can be a huge help during the early days of recoveryphysicalrecover process.
first, of course, is DON’T USE. i can’t count the number of times i used “just a little” to get me past what i perceived as a too rocky part of the early days only to find that almost immediately i was back at it full throttle. time after time i would be dismayed at how that had possibly happened. i hadn’t wanted to let it get like it had been before, i had honestly intended to use just that little bit, just that once, and even that was only because i “REALLY needed” it.
then, in no particular order:
* NUTRITION, WATER & SLEEP"
I was taught that i needed to take good care of my body and mind so they could heal. i needed a healthy, well-balanceddiet of good, nutritious food - avoiding junk food like the plague. I drank LOTS of water. plenty of sleep at night, every night (if you can’t sleep yet, don’t worry - you will eventually). assist the restoration of brain chemistry with vitamins and aminos through a program such as noted in the Amino Protocol (better yet - get Dr. Gant’s book upon which it is based: End Your Addiction Now..great read!
- as soon as i was able i actually did start getting regular exercise. it was a tremendous help – not only did it begin to rebuild my body physically, but it floods my brain with all sorts of feel-good neurotransmitters
*** PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS
– it was critical for me to avoid all people, places and things that were in any way associated with my addictionbrain into some kind of pattern that was directly linked to using. I believe that PPT’s are VERY DANGEROUS. these days the scope of places that i must avoid has narrowed and I can safely go to places that during the first year or so made me feel like i was in the middle of a using-dream. but the same is not true for me with respect to People and Things - the only time i will allow myself to be around People associated with my using is if they happen to show up in a recovery program. Things i think will just be out of my picture forever.
**** RECOVERY PROGRAM
- it was absolutely essential for me to begin and stay active in an active recoveryfirst i used NA and AA, now I’m exclusively AA. For me there was magic in “the rooms” once I let down my defenses enough to allow it to flow into me. Both NA and AA are focused on livingrecoveryintolerance toward spiritual principles. Three of these that are indispensable are honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. With these we are well on our way.” If I could add anything to these thre..it would be "Keep a Positive Attitude"
***** ONE DAY AT A TIME.
I had long been aware of the one-day-at-a-time business. it really seemed like so much bull to me. it seemed as silly as setting my watch 10 minutes fast so I had quit being 5 minutes late. That wouldn’t work for me because I would know the watch was 10 minutes fast and i’d act accordingly – i’d still be 5 minutes late, but my watch would (wrongly) say I was 15 minutes late. Same thing with one-day-at-a-time . . . I saw that was just a stupid way into trying to trick me into thinking i could do this impossible thing F-O-R-E-V-E-R, when I KNEW that was impossible.
I finally got it when talking to a counselor near the end of my first 30 days in my last rehab. It was clear to her that I was scared to death of relapsing. She asked me why and I said “because I always do. sooner or later I always do.” She asked if I would be using today and I told her “that’s not the point - sooner or later . . . .” She interrupted me and said “ARE YOU GOING TO USE TODAY?” I told her “no, but . . . .” she interrupted again and said “well, then you’ve made it - that’s all you can do.” For whatever reason it finally sunk through to me. I remember saying “oh my God, when you guys say ‘one-day-at-a-time . . . you REALLY mean one-day-at-a-time.” she just smiled and said “yea, we REALLY mean it.”
That moment changed things for me. Suddenly i went from a man who was just trying to hold off the inevitable failure for as long as possible to a man who was succeeding at recovery.
****** Shame - another big deal for me was getting over the shame and self-loathing that goes hand-in-hand with active addiction. For me this was a tough one that took some time. I read a lot about it. It was talked about frequently in meetings. I talked about it a lot with a counselor. It didn’t matter how well I seemed to be doing in myrecovery, deep inside I KNEW that I was a bad, bad person and that nothing was ever going to change that.
It now seems that while nothing I did broke through the shame, the things i was doing put cracks in it. Crack after crack after crack, until one day there were too many cracks for it to hold together and it all just fell off. So, I’m glad I kept working on it even though it seemed to have no effect for a while.
It was important for me to finally be able to believe for myself what i had heard so often in the rooms: “I am not a bad person trying to become good again - I am a sick person trying to become well again.” And I will become well again because I want it so very badly!=======================
hang in there - it not only gets better, it gets REALLY GOOD.
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