Tag Archives: addiction

The Addictive Voice

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Well, as I knew it eventually would, my addictive voice, the voice in my head that tells me the answer for my problems is to use, came back.  It wanted a drink.

Work stresses, physical pain and that weird state of suspended animation I fall into where I feel I can’t really connect with anything, least of all myself, were the culprits.  The voice said, “You know how to make this all go away.  You know what will calm you and soothe your spirit and help you breathe again.  Just a few sips and all the world will be right.  A few sips could barely be called a slip.”

Oh, it was whispering its sweet nothings in my ear, attempting to seduce, promising relief from pain and care.  The usual hook.

I didn’t give in.  As a matter of fact I was never even very close to giving in to it because I’ve gotten real about the disease I have.  A lot of people don’t like that term, but if diabetes is a disease, even though it’s just as much a “choice” when the diabetic lifts the cupcake to their mouth as when the alcoholic lifts the drink, then alcoholism/addiction is a disease just as well.  But you don’t here people arguing about whether or not diabetes is a disease or a choice.  It’s a disease brought about by a predisposition of the body AND choice.  Everyone accepts that.  No problem.  In the case of Type I diabetes, there’s no choice involved at all and I think alcoholism/addiction is much the same.  For some there is no choice at all, and for some their choices will eventually lead to the manifestation of the disease process.  And for some, diabetes nor alcoholism/addiction will EVER happen even though they continually make the same poor choices as the diabetic and the alcoholic.  Their bodies are not predisposed.

I don’t know.  It seems fairly simple and straightforward to me now that I’ve re-educated myself.  We like to make things complicated.

When I see my disease for what it is:  chronic, progressive, and fatal if left untreated, without all the bullshit about a morally defective character, then I can begin to make informed, good choices.  Then I can hear the addictive voice for what it is:  a dying part of the disease that is being treated.  The treatment?  Don’t drink or use no matter what.  Simple.

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

 

 

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New Stories

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82 days ago I started telling myself a new story.  I began my story with the firm statement that I will not drink or use no matter what.  I repeat this statement to myself daily, sometimes several times a day, in writing and out loud.  I haven’t had a compulsion to drink or use and maybe my statement is part of the reason why.  Maybe I really am just finally sick and tired of being sick and tired.

No matter.  It’s working.

I ran to an AA meeting because it was the only place I knew people would understand and I’m glad AA and the meeting were there.  I thought maybe my new story would be one of returning to that fold and it finally working for me.  But in about 3 weeks of daily meetings and talking with a sponsor,  I knew in my heart this was not to be the case and I am finally alright with it.  When I think of the rest of my life in AA all I see is grey.  My new story is vibrantly colored – alive with magenta, violet, gold, chartreusse, indigo, fuschia.  It is a very bright impressionist painting or an exploding nebula.  It’s Venus dancing across the face of the Sun.

I’ve been making good use of some of Charlotte Kasl’s 16 steps to empowerment, but I don’t know if that will be my story either.   Charlotte’s steps appeal to me a lot more than AA’s twelve, but in some ways it just feels like the same old story in a different outfit.

I’m after a brand new story.  One that is not numbered 1-12 or 1-16 or 1, 2, 3.  I’ts a circular story and so far it consists of this:

I don’t drink or use no matter what.

I believe nothing.  I entertain all possibilities.

I don’t drink or use no matter what.

I connect with other sober people in any venue.

I don’t drink or use no matter what.

I follow anything that feels life-giving, affirmative, empowering, rich and fun.

I don’t drink or use no matter what.

As you can see, this is not necessarily a “we” program (gasp!andgodstrikemedown!).

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

 

Venus Dreams

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We’re living in a time of revolution.  Nothing is more reflective of this time than Venus’ transit of the Sun today.  The goddess of beauty and love will infuse the male energy of the Sun with the grace necessary to bring forth manifestation of our deepest desires.

Venus if a very important planet and goddess in my life.  As a first-house 5-planet Scorpio, Venus on my ascendent is the saving grace of what has otherwise been a rather difficult chart to live out.  She’s having a long sit-down with my 5th house Chiron right now and because I’m sober, I’m able to work with this energy in a powerful and positive way.

Chiron instructs that wherever lie our deepest wounds, there also lies our salvation.  Addiction is the defining issue of my life.  I have absolutely no business being alive today; no business being sober; no business being happy and excited about sobriety.

My time sober since my last drink, 81 days, is not indicative of all that I’ve learned in the past 18 years of strivng for a lasting sobriety, getting sober and then relapsing again, learning more, trying something else.  It’s not indicative of the 6 years of sobriety I had from 1988-1994 – good sober years but in a program not suitable for me, a program I had no desire to return to, a program that left me with no life raft when my addiction was reawakened.

I have this crazy dream.  I have this dream that when an addict desires sobriety, there is a meeting in every city of a program suitable for that particular addict.  There is a Lifering meeting for those who have no need of steps or a higher power.  There is a 16-step meeting for those like me, who need to build a healthy ego and empower themselves; there is a spiral step meeting for pagans and other nature-based spiritualists.  There are meetings I can’t begin to imagine now because they haven’t been created yet.

If there’s one thing in the entire world I’m absolutely sure of it’s the creative genius of most addicts.  It’s time for this genius to be unleased, to create new forms, new programs, new meetings.  It’s time for us to follow the lead of Bill Wilson, Charlotte Kasl, Martin Nicolaus, and Renee Bledsoe and get interested in our own recoveries.  It’s time to be unflinchingly honest about what does and does not work for us individually, for us to know what we know, see what we see, and feel what we feel.

It’s time for us to be committed to each other rather than to a particular form.

I’m willing now to back up my crazy dream with commitment.  By this day next year, not only will I have one year and 81 day’s continuously clean and sober, there will be a Lifering and a 16-step empowerment meeting in my town.  I’d also love to see an Addiction Alchemy model available here.  With Venus as my grace, guide and witness, so let it be written, so let it be done.

Woo Hoo!!!

 

Here comes the PAWS

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I’m approaching what I’ve heard described as “the wall” in recovery.  I have relapsed numerous times around the 3-4 month mark.  It seems to be when the post-acute-withdrawal syndrome reaches a peak and my brain and body seek relief at any cost.

This time I’m not going to let it happen.  If I have to go check myself into a treatment center to avoid it, I will.  If I have to lock myself up in the house, I will.  If I have to have my partner watch me every minute of the day, I will.  I am not going to drink or use NO MATTER WHAT!

That said, and while the symptoms are still manageable, I’m going to take some steps that I think will help.  Oddly enough, foodie that I am, consistently eating well has been a challenge as has been getting exercise.  But I think these things will help tremendously with the PAWS so I’m going to start focusing my efforts on those things.

Part of the problem is that I’ve been trying to attend as many meetings as I can and between work, and then being tired from work, it leaves little time or energy for cooking and exercise.  My main meeting is the aftercare group on Thursdays and I will definitely continue to attend there regularly.  But I’m going to give myself a break on the AA meetings.  The truth is I don’t get very much out of the meetings, and while I still plan to attend, I’m no longer going to push myself to attend.

Also, I’ve made an appointment with my psych doc and my therapist.  My next big task is to quit smoking and I want to revisit the medications that I’m on with the possibility of going on Wellbutrin to help with the smoking as well as seeing if there’s anything safe that might help with the PAWS.

77 days today.  Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

Know What I Know, Feel What I Feel

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I was in an AA meeting the other day and a woman was expressing how she’s relapsed twice:  once after the 4th step and once after the 9th.  Instead of questioning whether the steps were appropriate to her and her recovery, she, of course, questioned herself, berated herself for not doing them properly, and was getting a new sponsor to begin going through them once again.  I felt so badly for her because I’ve been there, too. 

It’s taken me over 15 years to finally realize that I was just practicing the wrong steps for me.  It’s taken years of involvement with people who use no steps at all and no higher power, but manage to obtain a full sobriety anyway.  It’s taken soul searching, relapses, trying different things, reading and re-reading Charlotte Kasl’s book to finally begin to trust my reality and daily affirm that I see what I see, know what I know and feel what I feel. 

Thank my creator, gods, goddesses, spirits and allies for Charlotte because I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out on my own.  It’s an especially hard road sometimes for those who have no affinity with the 12 steps, who are not ego-driven, but ego-broken, who always blame themselves anyway with absolutely no help from outside influences, who are not in denial just desperate. 

So glad to be here and be sober today.

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

Dumb Kids

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Perhaps I should begin to qualify myself a little here.  I was 13 year’s old when I first smoked pot.  The year was 1974 and I was a freshman in high school, which was 8th grade back then.  I didn’t get stoned the first time I smoked, but that didn’t deter me.  The next time I got very stoned and it didn’t take long before my best friend, W, and I decided we needed to have our very own stash of the stuff.

We bought a “nickel bag” for $5, which was probably a quarter of an ounce or more and hid it in my parent’s basement.  Every day after school we would retrieve our stash and roll the worst joints you’ve ever seen and get absolutely ripped.  The thing I remember the most is the munchies.  We would often eat a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts at a sitting and we had a habit of getting in the kitchen and concocting all sorts of sweet treats out of whatever we could find.  Chocolate syrup from Nestle’s Quik, butter and milk was one of our favorites – on top of pancakes.  Cinnamon toast with a big glass of chocolate milk was another.  God only knows how much Nestle’s Quik we consumed in those days.

W had four brothers and one day we were at her house conjuring one of our munchie madnesses when one of her brothers came home.  I think he had graduated the year before we started high school and he was immediately onto us.  “Are ya’ll stoned?”, he asked.  I can only imagine the guilty faces and stunned expressions that answered his question undeniably in the affirmative.  He had quite a talk with us of which I specifically remember nothing but the jist was that we were dumb kids who didn’t know what we were getting into and we’d better stop it.

That was enough for W.  She said she was done and I figured I would be, too.  Just as soon as the rest of that nickel bag was gone.

I rolled the last joint, a rather large one, on a Friday evening before the high school football game.  My parents were going out to eat and I waited until they were gone and lit that baby up.  I sat in my room and smoked the entire thing alone.  I was fried out of my mind.  I opened the shutters on my bedroom window to finish getting ready for the game and got the shock of my young life.  My parent’s car was in the driveway.

The entire house was full of pot smoke, but I still tried to lie my way out of it.  Needless to say there was no football game for me that night.  After finally admitting what I’d been doing, my parents took me out to eat and to a movie.  It was a sad movie about a young woman who became paralyzed and I cried through dinner, through the movie, and until I went to bed – just as I was beginning to come down.  To this day I don’t know if I cried more from the guilt or the knowledge that my smoking days were over before they’d barely begun.

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

To Disease or Not to Disease

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I’ve been doing a tremendous amount of reading about addiction and recovery and after years of personal confusion and internal chaos I’m starting to make sense of some things for myself.  When I attended treatment in 1988 the absolute most helpful thing for me was becoming educated on the disease of addiction.  Today there’s tremendous debate about whether addiciton is really a disease or just a behavioral problem, which given the scientific findings, seems to me a somewhat ridiculous debate.  People call it the “disease model” or “disease theory”, but again and again it’s proven that addiction has a hereditary, and thus a genetic, basis and that most addict’s and alcohlic’s brains and bodies are primed for addiction before they ever take the first drink or drug.

I firmly believe I fall into this category.  I was never able to drink or use in any way that might be deemed “social”.    I was hooked from the get-go.

However, I think we can’t overlook the fact that even if those genetic markers are not present, anyone can drink or use themself right into addiction.  I also think that the presence or not of such markers can make a huge difference in how easily it is for one to overcome addiction and get on with the process of living.

The analogy is often made because it’s a good one:  Diabetics can be born diabetic or they can eat their way into diabetes.  But they’re both diseases whether brought on by genetics or lifestyle choices or both.

So I believe addiction is a disease.  It feels like a disease to me.  It manifests in my life as a disease process.  It runs in my family and my experience confirms that my brain and body only needed that first use to wake the addiction up and get it going.

What I find most interesting though, in reading about people who have recovered, is that it doesn’t really matter whether they choose to see it as a disease or not.  Some do; some don’t.  About equal numbers of each go on to lead full lives of sobriety.  So apparently what is most important is figuring out what you believe about it and using that to create a sober life.

I think it’s probable that more people who are like me, who started young and immediately had problems, will lean more toward accepting the disease than those who succumb much later in life.  Again, the most important fact to me is that it doesn’t matter when it comes to recovering.

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

The 3-Day Rule

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This week I’ve had many reminders about how valuable restraint of tongue and pen can be.

I’ve attended AA meetings where newcomers are told that any deviation from the AA program just exactly as it is written is dangerous to their recovery and that the steps are suggested like it’s suggested that you pull the ripcord on a parachute.

In my on-line secular support group a member left because he felt we’d been infiltrated by an AA’er and it started all sorts of less than well-thought out posts.

We addicts are passionate people, there’s no doubt about that.  And when we find recovery we can carry our passions a little too far in our insistence that the way we’ve done it is THE RIGHT WAY.  I sincerely hope to not fall into this trap, but if the experience of others is any indication, I probably will at some point. 

In order to hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls than can happen in the passion of the moment, I’ve implemented a 3-day rule for myself.  If I’m faced with a big decision; if I’m considering drinking or using; if I’m having difficulties in a relationship or if I just feel like running my mouth to hear myself talk, I wait 3 days.  If in 3 days what was so all-fired important is still an issue, and usually it isn’t, I then talk to another sober person about it, write about it and begin to form a plan as to how to deal with it.

I’m sure this rule has already saved me a lot of embarrassment and if the compulsion to drink or use comes up it just might save my ass.

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.