Nov 03, 2010
So today I turn 91 days old :)....
Free from cocaine....
Today I realize, as I am surrounded by stressors popping up left and right, that I don't need a substance to deal with them (or, more like NOT deal with them!).
Crap happens. All the time. To everybody, everywhere. No one is immune.
While in full blown addiction mode, said crap was still there, rearing it's ugly head all over the place. On days I would get sober, if only for a few days, all that crap that piled up while I was using would come to a head. And I couldn't handle it...the stress, the pressure, the overwhelming sinking feeling of never being able to dig myself out of the hole of crap....so inevitably, I used again for months, then try to stop again...got myself overwhelmed, anxious and depressed, and would use again......and so the cycle would continue....
In sobriety, this time around, I'm dealing with it as it comes. There's no escaping it. But I can handle it a little bit at a time. Feeling the bad that comes with the good. Life is truly a ying yang. It's about handling it.
Dealing with it.
The good, AND the bad on life's terms. Equally. It's not about avoiding it, either side of it, and waiting for it to just go away.
It won't. That's a guarantee.
I've been in aftercare this time around as well. I chose to go the NA/CA route, because I don't have the health insurance to cover behaviour modification counseling, with a therapist...which would ideally be what I want to do to get better and change my thought patterns.
NA/CA is a great group of people. Admittedly, I don't think the group is for me, 100%. I don't know that I agree with the whole package...for myself.
HOWEVER, and this is a big but, I still go to meetings, once a week, and listen to shares and share. I still share with my online group, and listen to others share. I am still trying to work the steps. On step two now. It's a slow process for me but I would rather take it slow and do it right rather than trying to rush through it just to say "I did it". I'm a slow learner....when it comes to this.
And it can't hurt to try. I doubt anything bad will come of trying to work the steps and being around supportive people who are sober and can inspire me to stay sober as well...and if that's all I get from the experience I'd say it's a pretty awesome start:)
I struggle with total "surrender", to a "higher power"...even if it is of my choosing. So I've taken it upon myself as a personal project, to read about and learn about all of the basics of different spiritualities....and take from each what works for me. I know there is something greater than me out there. I think as long as I keep feeling that sort of presence in life, that's all I need to know. I don't need answers and definites, about GOD. That time will come after this life on earth is over. No need to stress about it now....
I know all too well I suffer from some forms of mental illness, ie, depression, anxiety, cyclothymia ( a rapid, but not as intense form of bipolar disorder), and addictive personality. I also believe that everyone has some form of something that they struggle with, so having these "issues" does not make me a defective person or "damaged goods".
I am NOT hopeless...I DO have a lot of work to do.
That's the other thing I admittedly struggle with with NA/CA. Seeing, at least for me, that I am so weak and damaged and have no personal power. I don't know that I agree with that.
I see my addiction in another way. I see it as my way of being a coward and holding onto what hurt me and "made me this way" in the past. It was my excuse to use and not deal because I felt I was so damaged that I couldn't handle the real me, because I was taught that I was a defective child, and then later as a teenager because I was different from others.
Because I didn't like the real me.
My relationship with my family .... Something I blamed for years and critical messages about myself that were constantly circling in my brain, causing me to have to "get out of my head" in whatever way I could. From the time I still lived at home with my parents, and was in full blown anorexic/bulimic mode, to when I started drinking and smoking pot, through the cocaine use....all of it.
But I'm not there anymore, and they no longer have a hold on me, unless I allow them to...
I was a crazy artist my whole life. And I was teased in gradeschool and middle school for being different and shy and quiet. We all know the peer pressure that comes at that time, in our prepubescent and teenage years....that all played a part in wanting to "change myself", to conform, to do anything to fit in. To be pretty and skinny initially and to have lots of friends and be "like everyone else", to have the "cool guys" want to be with me...oh Christ, lol...all of that played a role in my "running away from me".
Because I wasn't like "them", I believed fully that I wasn't "good", "normal", or "ok".
I'm still that akward and shy kid, in every way. I still would rather lock myself away in my house and work on my art rather than be out at the bars being "cool"...lol. Unless I had substance...then I could conform.
The difference is, today, I LOVE that about myself. I know where I am happy. I know who I am. I AM OK WITH IT!
There is NOTHING wrong with who I really am.
I don't need the drugs and the alcohol to feel "cool and normal" anymore. I no longer want to run away from the real me.
I haven't "needed" that in a long time, but in my drugged out haze I thought, really believed that I did.
I was wrong.
Lately, I feel like I've been re-raising myself. Ie, catching all of those negative, paranoid, critical thoughts as they come at me, one at a time.
It happens all day, everyday.
Every situation that comes up, I react initially the only way I know, the way it's been ingrained into me from the time I was born. I have to stop it as it comes, nip it in the bud, and realize where it's coming from. Step away from it, reanalyze it for what it really is, and then allow for change and growth.
99.9% of the time, I realize how completely ridiculous and out of context my initial defensive, angry, overly sensitive, paranoid and sometimes even delusional, reaction is.
And I realize it doesn't have to be that way and I CAN CHANGE IT.
I DO have the power to change the way I think. And I'm doing it a tiny teeny bit at a time every single day.
Unlearn, and relearn.
I have the tools from when I started therapy 15 years ago after my suicide attempt. I am now putting those tools back into good use.
A friend who knows my drama all too well said something to me the other day and he was right on. I am parenting myself, right now, and doing it in a loving and nurturing way.
The opposite of what I knew as a child.
For now this is working, and it's amazing the changes that have already taken place.
I have been able to reroute feelings of depression, anxiety, and have even managed to reanalyze and change my thoughts so much that I avoided an explosive interaction of jealous rage (that was a big and hard one for me).
I have a good friend who about a year ago, entered into my life, I believe, to teach me how to have a relationship with someone who pushes almost every button in me, but is also exactly like me (but not an addict, just in thought patterns and personality).
My relationship with him is actually teaching me how to stop, rethink, before I react. And be able to see it for what it really is, and not the crazy initial reaction that gets drummed up in my head.
It's unbelievable how different they are, my initial reaction and what it turns into when I stop, disconnect from emotion, and really see it for what it is....
I had a friend like that before I found cocaine, 15 years ago. He was my best friend, and we were really helping eachother...until I numbed myself out and walked away from him. It's one of my biggest regrets. Back then, I told myself that he was dragging me down and I needed to leave.
But he wasn't.
It was my excuse to not have to look in a mirror and see myself anymore....
I feel blessed today to have found this new friend, and have been given a second chance to learn and grow from this very blessed experience.
Changing behaviour and thought patterns...
It will be a life-long commitment, I realize that. It took 34 years to get here, and nothing changes full circle overnight.
But I am ready to take on this challenge, and I welcome it with open arms.