Saturday, August 11, 2007

Becoming willing

Last night I was doing an H&I presentation in the county jail and I was babbling on about euphoric recall and how our brain seems to forget the bad stuff. Where I was going with that was how we have to retrain the process and think the relapse through in spite of our natural instinct to romance the dope. But instead I took a little pause and detour from the point and concluded this brain malady might be a good thing in some respects as without that natural reaction to painful situations we would probably blow our brains out at birth. All the women in the room burst out laughing as did my fellow message carrier. And I new at that moment I was in the right place as only a room full of dope fiends could laugh at visual that gruesome.

I was in rare morbid form last night. I'm always grateful for a low bottom, jails, institutions and near death. I know not everyone has to go to those extremes and can get off the elevator to the bottom any time. So I was informed. I was given the opportunity at 16 to stop my wild and wicked ways as my 12 steppen' uncle dragged me to a meeting. I was so repulsed by those old alkie women that tried to reach out, glasses half way down there nose and the knitting needles clickity clacking with a vengeance. That was all I could see... what made me different... coming from a mind full of contempt.(prior to investigation).

I didn't get this thing for another 17 years. All I could remember is how much I didn't want to be saved buy those... zealots. I was having a good time. I was tough. I would rather die then give up ... live fast, die young... yada yada yada... And I really don't remember when I turned the corner. Maybe when my mother died and my aunt had to have the police come to my house to tell me. I was phoneless. Had better things to spend my money on. I had fifty pounds of pot sitting around drying,stinking and a cop leaving a note telling me my mother was dead. I wouldn't answer the door. I wouldn't leave the closet I had barricaded myself in.

Thats one of these pivotal moments in my life. The gold star bottom. Not that I stopped that instant. But an instant of clarity I never want to forget. I was so estranged from my family of origin and my family of making(dope fiends)were falling by the wayside. I had woven myself into the pain of isolation and abandonment. All of my own making. I never want to forget that slice of life/death, as I reached the point of complete spiritual, mental, and emotional bankruptcy.

I became willing to see the powerlessness and unmanageability that had become my life. One of the moments of motivation to seek help. And I remembered the old woman with glasses. And I was beaten down and I was willing to go to any length even though I was still full of contempt. But I was becoming sick and tired of being sick and tired. I just needed a place to rest but I ended up finding a new way to live. How lucky is that.

Focus Pocus

Recent posts have really demonstrated how incredibly powerful a group blog can be. Though all of us write about an array of issues around life shared with addiction, this weeks theme seems to have been devoted to the stepping off point, the touted bottom that brings each of us to our senses whether we are the addict or the one in love with an addict (or both). Everyone has a different place where their focus becomes centered on their life and their need to have a better one. That act of taking care of ourselves is the foundation of our being able to give support to an addict, a friend or a loved one because it enables us to do what is best for them as well. Sometimes it means appearing selfish and it always means not supporting the addiction. Sometimes we can do it while together and other times we have to separate. Always, if we put our own well being first, we are giving the best advice by example. We show others our ability to love and just how strong we are by loving ourselves and having a joyous life. I know this is hard. I struggle to remain positive so I do not succumb to my addiction but more importantly, so I do not succumb to life.

It is no easy feat to get clean or sober. And I am finding it's even more difficult to build a life once you do. I liken it to crawling out of a deep hole and finding oneself at the foot of a very, tall mountain. I have to develop disciplines. I have to seek new adventures on my own. I have to explore my own spirituality. I have to contend with the joy of learning to manage overwhelming feelings in the best way possible while at the same time not be totally daunted by the awareness now that there are more feelings to wrestle with... a lot more. Where will I find a new answer seems to be my agenda. And on that quest I am finding one new thing leads me to another and then to another. There is no end. What is this? Life? I think it is my friends.

It's great to hear the stories of people who are at different places in their journey to a better life. It is inspiring and magical. So thank you all.

Women In Art

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cutting the Strings

I can honestly say that I don’t think I would had ever gotten sober if I had stayed close to those that loved me. They were always there to buck me up or bail me out. Food, medicine, and a sense of belonging that only a family and loved ones can provide- especially the way I treated people. No matter how bad things got, I could always run home for relief. I eventually did become homeless, not so much that I was out of options but more so that I was too embarrassed of the trembling wreck I had become to face those that knew me. I didn’t really love them because every thing played second fiddle to my addiction; I just knew I needed them so I played the game.

In reality, they never did cut the strings, I did. Then it got real bad, and I had no relief or sanctuary, no place of temporary solace. You can call it rock bottom, I think Scout and I would probably call it more of a surrender. But it wasn’t until I had no place to run, unable to acquire drugs and alcohol, and I was out of all options that my addiction was at the mercy of my health and resolve. I just physically and mentally couldn’t go any further and my addiction began to starve.

Once in recovery, I did learn to love again. My relationship with my family is now part of the bedrock of my existence. But if I never would have cut the strings, my family might very well have remained the enablers of my destruction.

Just because the strings have been cut doesn’t meant they cannot be retied.

Pregnant pause

To read all those thoughts and questions from you Scout...was hard because (arg! where are the words). It was hard because I knew as I read every question that my answer was because I love him, plain and stupid. I may not like him right now, but I love him. I owe it to us to try- in fact, as free as I felt at the prospect of being away from his addiction, and as disappointed at the quick loss of that freedom I was - that is not my first choice in freedom. My first choice is freedom with him. I have had that, hence the hope.

It made me sad reading this, because I forgot that. Does that even make sense? I forgot that I know he is and will always be an addict. I forgot how horrible relapse can be, but that also, it can be just that- a relapse. I lost hope that he was the man I thought he was. For me, when my addict is in active addiction he at times becomes a monster that is inherently evil and is thinking, all day, of ways, devising plans, to destroy my spirit.

But, then, this man looks at me and says- with a layer of fought back tears- "I don't want this." And, at that point I see a man. I want to leave the monster. I want to grow old with the man- addict forever and all. I did make that choice. But, perhaps, for the stayer- relapse is like childbirth. It doesn't matter how many children you have, you always forget how fucking painful it is to go through it, even if you have a magic pussy (that one deserves constant re-mention). Right now, I think maybe his head is crowning, or maybe he's fucking breach! Son of a bitch.

I guess, I felt that the monster took over his mind and body- to the point of no return. I lost hope. The moment he gave me hope again- my disappointment was that I had, for me, to take the hope. For me hope is, until I see him walk the walk, a ball and chain, bad medicine, nasty ju-ju. To make matters worse, I can only hope that will change. I have to trust that this is a relapse- not forever. I have find that place in me that sees the man, not the monster that is his disease. I owe us that, or more so, I owe me that.

Is it sad that as long as there is some semblance of hope I will be here? I guess it depends who the measure of hope is, what the circumstances are. There will be a time where hope doesn't factor into it anymore for me- but it turns out, that wasn't the day. Damn fucking close though

I still look forward to a day where, if he doesn't find a spiritual recovery, I will live free of his disease. But I will wait for my slow friend- because I can, and because I said I would. Because he has hurt himself more than he has hurt me, because I am safe from harm (this depends on how I view his choices, of course), because- we've made it this far. And most importantly, because he wont leave me alone- No... I'm kidding. Stupid joke, I know.

Ug. I gotta go. This post touched me and I really wanted to answer it well, but I think I am tired and I'm trying to be funny. Scout's post made me realize AGAIN (7th time this week? maybe the first ones were just braxton hicks realizations) that this is okay- it is MY choice. I don't need to be disappointed.

I love you alllll

Thank you guys ... you are allllllll the BEST!!! Now im gunna have some fun with this!! yay

help a sister out

I was moved to post by the latest entry of Mantramine. The post without a title from Thursday has touched me in a profound way. I had told her that I would comment once I had found my words, but I decided to post them here. And here is why:
You all touch me in a way that is difficult to describe. Those of us who are addicts touch me in an identification sort of way -- we sort of know each other in a way. Those of you who are loving an addict touch me in a different way.....and there's where I lose my words.....and I am try hard to find them.
You touch me in a guilt and shame kind of way -- of exactly what I have done in the past to a partner who adored me and eventually left me, and also to partner who still adores me and who has stuck by me. You touch me in a good reminder kind of way -- of the pain I have caused and could cause again if I were to return to active addiction. You touch me in a love kind of way -- in a spiritual kind of way that is wrapped in difficult to express stuff like G-d as love and G-d working through people and being expressed in other people.....You all simply touch me beyond anything I could find the proper words to convey and are a major part of my recovery from this thing called addiction.
That being said, let me try to address the Mantramine post.....
She got excited about being free. I think that's what hits me the hardest. She finally, finally felt free. She got to a spot where the pain of staying was more than the pain of leaving and she felt it and got a taste of FREEDOM. She was happy and seemed like she was making plans that seemed right for her and her children. And then he brought up the Methadone idea and it felt like a bomb to her -- something that blew a hole in her plans; in her freedom.
Help me out here, "stayers." I need to know why this would change someones plans to leave? I am not judging the decision in any way, shape, or form. I just need to know why him coming up with a new approach to getting clean would change someones mind about leaving? I need to understand. I care about what goes on in the "stayer's" thinking and I need to understand.
"Stayers"???? Can you help me out here?
And to my dear Mantramine -- I want to see you happy, joyous, and free -- whatever and however you get there. But that is my wish for you, my friend. I will email you soon cause I'm not done with what I want to say to you personally.

I need help

So since im new to the world of blogging.. i dont no how to do many things

... i want to be able to add you guys to my blog.. like how on this one on the right hand side it lists all your names and or blog names... i want that one mine!!! how do i do it??

or if im reading someones blogg and i want to add that person to my "list".. how does that work???

i know this isnt related to the group but i need help and i tried looking but cant find anything.

so anyone? help me pweeeeease.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I wanted to thank you all for your comments. It seems there is a lot of methadone info out there and a lot of people who ultimately accept it as a tool. I think I am stuck in the stigma of methadone as a failure. I guess it doesn't really matter if he is doing it or not, what matters is what he does with his time. What he does for his recovery program, what he does to fix what is broken. I guess most of all I have yet to see that start, and that is what I am waiting for. I am afraid that the methadone will be seen as a get out of jail free card- and that he wont do all the other spiritual work he should do. So, that's what matters most to me. Methadone, or no methadone- I want, need, to see him do the work. And all I see is him high. Actions speak LOUDER than words.

Thanks again for all of your support and info on this. All of you rock.

Thank you

Thank you all so much for your support. I'm in a situation were i dont live with him.. so "ignoring" him while he does him would mean..dont go there.. dont see him.. but then if i tell him that it results in arguments.. and he needs rides to..important places like tonight he starts this counseling thing and i agreed to drive him.. if i dont. how will he get there? i know dont worry about him and how he is getting were he needs to go but i cant help it. its my nature to want to help someone. help someone?... havent i helped him enough... thats the problem its time he helps him self.. i no that.. i just cant see my self not helping him get there. ughhh this is horrible why me.. why did i have to get involved with this SHIT my life was JUST looking brighter b4 i met him... i had lost weight i had a bunch of new friends.. i was doing things.. i was happy.. and then i met him.. became even happier.than it all went down hill i started gaining weight again.. losing those new friends. and now im F'ing miserable..I tried doing me... i joined the gym. have i been going NOPE ..why? cuz i got in a fight with my friend (over this shit and him) and i havent been able to go by my self.. i have such a problem with that word.. by myself im scared to be alone..its pathetic..and its all b/c of my lack in self confidence...He brings me down so much its not even funny.. but then he also brings me up too.. i F'ing love him to death.... i just want this to work so bad!!
Tuesday something bad happened.. he didnt use his best judgment.. i didnt either for the matter to make a long story short he left his wallet at his bosses house ..we went there to get it, boss wasnt home.. i was up his ass to get the wallet.... he went in the house to look for it... daughter was there.. she freaked out..called her father.. he screamed "get the F outta my house b4 i call the cops" now he lost that job (didnt even get his wallet..apparently they looked for it n it was no where to be found) so now its this hole big thing.. he is ashamed..embarassed..u name it.. this guy..his boss. is friends with F's sponsor so of course they talked about it..everyone is mad at F now.. i feel bad cuz i pressured him into getting it.. so last night i went straight to F after work..we went to his moms for a few and then he just wanted to go back to the room to lay down.. so i drooped him off n went home. i was sooooo worried about him... i asked him if he was thinking of using and he said yes. but that he wasnt going to.. i am most scared he is going to kill himself one way or another...
when i walked into work this AM the phone was ringing it was him from the pay phone at the motel... there was a huuuuuuuge sigh of relief on my end when i heard his precious voice...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Somethings gatta give

I don't get my self.. why am i still with someone who i cant trust in the least bit. I question EVEYTHING he says yet im still with him.. even when i find out things that he as lied about. and confront him with it, he just makes up more lies, and i buy into them sometimes... am i a fool? Why cant i leave him?... i just wait until something big happens so i have a real good reason ( i seem to be forgetting that he stole from me that wasnt a good enough reason) to leave him..but then when that time comes.. do i leave... noooooo there is something holding me there. like that knot in your shoe lace that you just cant get out no matter how hard you try but u keep wearing keep squishing your feet into them until one day they just break....havent i felt enough pain? What makes me think i will be able to "get" him when i cant even "get" my self.. I dont no what to do anymore.. sometimes it just makes me feel better to ignore all the crappy stuff and go on living my life how i want it to be... its like i pretend things are ok. and keep telling my self its fine.. i just push all the shit that has happend into a place far away so i dont have to look at it or think of it...

... help me untie this knot before i break..

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mixed bag

I am of many minds this evening. This morning I had it all worked out. He had to move out. I could no longer live like this. The night before, I almost chose going to bed with him, my only intent being to figure out if he was high or not, over hanging out watching TV with my daughter who wanted to hang with me. I almost chose going to bed to play detective-good cop/bad cop. I almost made that choice, and it made me sick.

And so, this morning I knew the pain of holding on was becoming much greater than the pain of letting go. I had to let go.

And then... The juice. He's seriously thinking of going on the Methadone pgm. I think both of feel, on some level, that we've lost the fight. I don't know.

I think I am relieved on some level, but then a little concerned that it wont work some how, or that there is someway that he can make it not work.

Any words of wisdom?

Introduction Of An Addict

I figured I would spend one post introducing myself to everyone and filling you in on a little bit of my background...just so you know where I'm coming from.

My name is Erin and I run the site What Winners Do. Basically this site is my novice point of view on addiction recovery. It's a way of putting it out there for anyone who can identify with me.

So what credentials do I have that would allow me to run an addiction recovery site? I'm a recovering drug addict. I'm still pretty early in my recovery and I try to be as honest as possible with all of my struggles and my success.

I Went Down, Down, Down And The Flames They Got Higher

My abuse of drugs and alcohol began and a very early age. It started off innocently enough with trying to choke down a beer even though I thought it was the most disgusting thing I ever tasted.

This progressed into drinking hard alcohol and eventually smoking pot. All of this was done with friends in a social way. That was until I discovered prescription pain medication. To me, this was not a social drug. I would take prescription narcotics to escape the world.

I started this behavior at around the age of 15. Already I was laying the foundation for addictive thinking. Hiding the fact that I abused prescription drugs and isolating myself was the beginning of my career as an addict.

I would use for a period of time and then quit for a period of time so in my mind...there was no drug problem there. I could stop when I wanted to. Even if those periods of down time only last a couple of weeks. Addicts can't do that...can they?

Well, it turns out they can. I continued this behavior for years. I would basically poison myself with drugs and alcohol, pushing myself further and further away from any resemblance of a normal healthy lifestyle.

Flash forward to the age of 29. I tried Oxycontin. No, it wasn't prescribed to me and I didn't take it because I was in pain...not physically anyway. I tried Oxycontin knowing full well that people try this drug and on many occasions become addicted to this drug. That didn't stop me.

I would pay $20.00 for 20mg of Oxycontin. I would suck the time release coating off, shave it down to powder form and then sniff it up my nose. Within 7 minutes (another sign of a true addict is the need to know just how instant the gratification will be) I was completely numb from all of my feelings - good, bad or other.

Well you know the story - I used to do a little but the little wasn't doing so the little got more and more. Flash forward about a year later I had spent my entire 401k and I was slowly draining my husband's bank account to keep up with my habit.

There were times that I tried to stop and that is when the realization started to seep into my drug riddled brain that "maybe I have a problem". My body was completely addicted to Oxycontin. About 10 hours would go by of not using and then the withdrawal symptoms would start to kick in.

It was about this time that I started to freak out. I had kept my addiction a secret from everyone. They knew something was wrong...they just didn't know what. I was afraid of telling anyone for fear of losing my husband and my child. I was stuck.

Finally, after going about 35 hours without using and having withdrawal symptoms that could not be kept under wraps I confessed to my husband that I was addicted to Oxycontin.

The Best Ultimatum Ever Given

I still was under the impression that I could still handle this myself. When my husband was telling me that I would need check myself into a facility I was almost laughing at him. There was no chance in hell that it was going to happen. I just would not do it. I can withdraw from this, people do it all the time.

I guess I hadn't realized just yet that my goal needed to be not only withdrawing from this drug but to also never slip back into using again. Then came the ultimatum.

"Erin, if you do not seek professional help for this I will leave you and I will take our son with me." There it was, I had hit my bottom. I was about to lose my husband and my child over drugs.

Off to rehab for me. I was so frightened. While checking in I kept see "these people" walking around. "Oh my god, what am I doing in the same place with all these losers?" I get a chuckle out of my thinking now but really at the time I was convinced that I was in a separate class from these alcoholics and drug addicts.

It took about one group session for me to realize that these people had basically the same stories as myself. I belonged here. I was no better than any one of these people that I was sitting in a circle with. There it was, I was humbled.

This all took place at the end of January of this year. I have been working hard at my addiction recovery ever since. It's a struggle, some days harder than the others and there have been two times where I have given into temptation. But they were stumbles not falls and I'm proud to say that I am still a work in progress.

Monday, August 6, 2007


One of the many things I'm coming to realize that we codies and junkies have in common is the way we beat up on ourselves. I think that's the most powerful thing I'm getting about being here in cyber-recovery world, the ability to focus on our sameness rather than our differences.

Anyway, lately, I've really struggled with being in-between, as Melodie Beattie refers to it in 'The Language of Letting Go." Here's part of her daily meditation for August 2nd,

"Sometimes, to get from where we are to where we are going, we have to be willing to be in-between....

Being in-between isn't fun, but it's necessary. It will not last forever. It may feel like we're standing still, but we're not. We're standing at the in-between place. It's how we get from here to there. It's not the destination.

We are moving forward, even when we're in-between.

Today I will accept where I am as the ideal place for me to be. If I am in-between, I will strive for the faith that this place is not without purpose, that it is moving me toward something good."

There's a word for this phase that I learned in college Sociology. It's the liminal phase, when people are "betwixt and between" and when people go through it together, there's usually a sense of communitas, where social barriers are broken down during that period of time.

Hmm, so here we are, junkies and codies, people from all walks of life who probably wouldn't have the opportunity to know each other in the outside world because of cultural restrictions, journeying in this "betwixt and between" space together. Oh yeah, there's usually alot of ritual involved. Serenity prayer, anyone?

Oh, but look how quickly I go to my head and get away from my gut. I started this post to share how many ways I'm feeling like this summer has been such a liminal, in-between time for me and how uncomfortable that can be for me. I'm in between jobs. I spent most of the summer in between showing up for OA meetings and identifying myself as a compulsive overeater. I also spent most of the summer in between starting and finishing my fourth step.

You know what else? I've already shared something from this passage with two different authors in this space as a way of telling them to give themselves a break when they're in-between. But it's so much harder to tell myself.

So, me, give me a break! In-between is exactly where I've needed to be this summer. I give me permission to feel all of my feelings in this in-between space, knowing that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. And I'm so grateful to have friends, both cyber and real, who are sharing this journey with me.

Thanks for letting me share.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Mighty Metamorphose

I cannot escape the feeling that change is imminent, though how imminent and exactly for whom I am not sure. Seeing as how it is my premonition then I can only speak for myself. I do know through my own explorations in search of a spiritual persona that I am not the only one searching nor am I the only one finding. I also have found that there is so much out to explore for shaping that persona; so much more than ever before. Each point of interest brings to my attention some new aspect of how to perceive my purpose here and some new direction to explore. Each new direction is as interesting as I could imagine and in some way brings me some kind of peace of mind.

AA for example. There is much about the structure of the AA dogma that feels false. But my going to the meetings, listening to the peoples stories and allowing myself to be part of a collective of people who share the desire for something better has more than intrigued me. I always walk away with a new perspective on my self just by having the experience. And I am allowing my feelings to guide my perceptions and letting my thinking play second fiddle.

I have begun to practice meditation daily. That probably has allowed me to be more open to everything else. It's all about feeling better, gaining a positive perspective and preparing to have a joyful life. Little by little, it's becoming apparent that this is possible.

I would like to be more specific but my head is all over the place and writing about each venture, each meeting I attend, each new age idea I explore and each realization I have is not something I can articulate fully because I don't have a full understanding of what it all is. I just know it feels good. Especially when I allow it to. It also is my journey and not another's. Not that anyone could not have one of their own.