There are things that money just cannot buy. There are many things you can replace in life, but that which is most important you can not. Time cannot be purchased nor replaced. And nothing is more valuable than time. Never has it been more clear to men that I have been so incredibly selfish. I have been living in a vacuum, disregarding the time I have stolen from those that wanted nothing more than to spend it with me. They just wanted to share my time- because they loved me. Just because they loved me. Was I so blind that I didn’t see this or was I so numb that I just didn’t care. I’d like to think it was the prior but experience tells me otherwise. Sometimes, but in my case always, things have to be taken away in order to realize the magnitude of their importance. What used to be important to me is being chipped away with time. Filling the void are things that used to be so alien to me but are now vital and without comparison. Things that the people who truly cared for me exemplified. Those same people just wanted to love me and to spend time with me and to share their lives with me and I wouldn’t let them. I chose to be selfish instead.
The universe does not revolve around me. If I die nothing will change. The world will keep on moving just as it did the day before. But if I live everything could change. The world will keep on moving, as it always does, but I get the chance to change the lives of those around me. I get the chance to make them better. Choice is a precious gift and can be taken away. I recognize today that I can and will choose to be part of the solution.
I have been so frustrated lately. Not by anything in particular but by a number of things that have been building up. I’d like to believe that I am a relatively easy guy to get along with but lately I have not been so. I love people. I thrive in social settings and making new friends is one of my most favorite things to do. It comes easy to me. So when it gets to the point where I hermit and tell people to piss off, without actually doing so, I know that there is something going on in my life that just isn’t right. It’s similar to the knot you get in your stomach when you start to fall in love, or realize that you care deeply about another and it scares the living hell out of you. But there all similarity stops. The healthy fear becomes unhealthy, the butterflies become anxiety, and while both situations stem from this uncertainty, only one lights a fire of hope inside whilst the other clenches down on you like a vice grip. Is there anyone to blame for this but myself? In the past I would just let it pile up and pile up and then escape when the pressure became too much. I yearned for escape. What was I escaping I often ask myself. I think about the externalities of my life in the past and I cannot come up with a single reason that I would want to escape from that. My life was great: great father, great upbringing, great neighborhood, great friends, etc. I needed for nothing and wanted for little. By the process of elimination I was escaping from myself and what was going on in this completely incomprehensible brain of mine-a blessing and a curse all the same. At it’s most basic level, fear is the catalyst for all of the compounding actions or inactions which lead to consequences. So fear is what’s at hand. Healthy fear and sickening fear and how we recognize each and then separate so that we may address both individually. Healthy fears for me are those involving loss: life, freedom, loved ones. For myself unhealthy fears are those that stem from insecurities. I should respect and honor those fears that are healthy to me. I don’t want to die so I will do everything in my power to continue my life. I love my freedom so I will obey the law. My family and friends mean the world to me so I will treat them better than I treat myself. It sounds simple and it is when your goals fall in line with your actions. As for my insecurities, which are vast and of epic proportion, I must first admit and then choose to not let them control me. I am the master of my own destiny and who I am has to be someone I love, first and foremost. Without love of yourself, with all of your flaws, misdoings, and imperfections, the insecurities will consume you. They consumed me for too long. I no longer allow this. I love who I am today. My flaws I now see as quirks. I have accepted my misdoings and I work towards bettering my future and society in general. Most importantly, my imperfections are perfectly imperfect, as the cliche’ goes. Continual improvement first requires recognition that there is room for such. Recognize–> reflect–> change–> accept. And acceptance is the answer to all of life’s problems.
I watched something this weekend that almost brought tears to my eyes. It wasn’t anything mind-blowing or earth shattering but it was most definitely moving. It was one of the many videos posted on social media that I usually overlook but, I believe, was clearly meant for my eyes to see. It was about giving. Not only giving, but giving for the sake of just doing so-for the sake of betterment of mankind. I’m not all too familiar with giving. I am, however, a hands down a bona fide expert on taking. So I sat back and I watched and then I sat some more in my thoughts. What I couldn’t stop thinking about was how selfish I have been in my life and really how incredibly selfish I still am. The latter being the harder pill to swallow. There’s a saying amongst the myriad of cliche’s that brings my selfishness and self-centeredness front and center: the drink or drugs are but a symptom. The real problem is me and my completely messed up way of thinking. If this weren’t so blatantly true, than as soon as a person put down what their “problem” was life would miraculously turn perfect. I can tell you that this does not happen. In fact, until you actively decide (after you have come to the realization that perhaps this world is not centered around you) to change the person you were, I believe nothing will change. In addition, work must be put in following this decision. It may not be easy, but I have come to recognize that if it were easy I would probably get bored, put it off until a later date, soon forget about it, and consequently return to a life of misery. Since cliche’s are apparently on my mind today how about another one: the best things in life are the things we work hard to acquire. How true is this statement? It would be nice to get opposing perspectives on this. An opinion from a trust fund baby and an opinion from someone who had to work for everything they have in life, but with similar financial securities (I only use finance as it is easy to compare). I feel like our trust fund baby may not have the same appreciation and vigor for life as our worker. Our worker, I feel, might be more empathetic towards the blight and suffering around the world. His time would be spent ascending toward a higher plane as opposed to remaining stagnant or descending. His life would be more fulfilled and complete and he would be happier, that I can almost guarantee. I have probably said before that I have some of the best examples of what it is to be a good person in my life. My father, his father, my brothers, my sister, my stepmother. They all show me daily how what I mentioned above is not only true but also so incredibly worth it. Sure, they have things that are nice like the houses, cars, etc., but they have something which no material object can compare to. They love. They love and in return are loved back. My father, who I cannot stress enough is the best man that has ever walked this earth, has showed me unconditional love from the day I left my mother’s womb. I would lie to him, he still loved me. I would steal from him , he still loved me. I would be someone he never thought his son could be, and he still loved me. Now he has told me he didn’t like me very much during these dark times but who in their right mind would like someone who continually robbed them? Today my father likes me. He wants to spend time with me. I see him throughout the week and usually have brunch with him and the rest of my examples (family) every Sunday. This is what I live for today and I just need to keep reminding myself that it can all be taken away. I have choice today- I know how to take but I am learning how to give freely of what has been given to me. Nothin’ but love ya’ll.
I am reminded on a daily basis how blessed I am. I see things from a different perspective now. It is as if I am the watcher now instead the watched. These constant reminders of how cunning, baffling, and powerful this disease is aids me in achieving one more day of sobriety. I see the pain in people’s eyes when they tell me that their loved one is out there suffering and I see the hopelessness in the faces of active users (some of which I have used with in the past). I know firsthand that until I was ready and wanted to get clean more than I wanted to keep using how little people’s pleas, suggestions, and demands meant to me-nothing. But today I, rather than telling people how great it is not to have to live that way anymore, just try and show them. My hope is that when someone who is struggling meets me or sees me they will want just a little of what I have. That they will want to be able to wake up with a smile as opposed to a wrenching knot in their stomach. That they might not have to worry throughout each and every day. That their friends and family might want them around (after a considerable amount of time usually). That they will know peace, serenity, honesty, love, and all the other invisible things that make life worth living. Words mean nothing. That right there is extremely difficult for me because I love words and in the past I have used them for all the wrong reasons. I can talk to a person about any particular subject with as much passion and fervor as I can muster and they might nod their head and agree or disagree, but until I can show them that whatever it is means as much as I say it does than everything I had previously stated was all for naught. I have excellent examples in my life today. I spend my time almost exclusively with people that have things that I want. Not the rims, or the women, or the cash, or the mansions, or the bling, but the confidence, humility, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and most importantly the desire to live a life free from the bondage of self. These are the things I crave. How do I attain them? I clean house, I trust God, and I help others. Clean House, Trust God, and Help Others. How simple.
Life is good. Life is really good. I’ve been told this is “new guy syndrome” but then again I’ve been here before so who knows. Whatever “it” is I don’t want it to stop. It will, however, do just that if I even think that for one second I am not capable of returning to the man I was yesterday, figuratively speaking. I am just one drink away from the monster and that is if I’m lucky. Someone said something to me once that really stuck with me. It was in response to the infamous “What’s different this time” question. They said that the thing that was different from all their other attempts at getting sober was that they were positive that they would not get lucky enough to go back out for said amount of time and enjoy the misery of using- they were sure that death was the only thing left. I feel this exact same way. Death is the only option left for me. I have visited jails and institutions more times than I care to remember, I have been homeless, and I have been so hopeless that death seemed like a welcome vacation from the life I was living. Today my views are different. The worst part about addiction is how blind you become. But it is not the loss of sight of what you were used to seeing that creates the biggest void. For me it is losing sight of hope. Hope for a better life, for love, for success, for peace of mind, serenity, happiness, truth, and building relationships between other human beings. I firmly believe we were not meant to be alone. This belief was cemented and reinforced after a small stint in solitary confinement. The connection between two human beings, no matter what degree of involvement, is something that cannot be described yet we all know what it is. Its the feeling when you meet someone for the first time but you are so positive that you NEED this person in your life. It’s what is unsaid between the two of you, the looks, mannerisms, and that “spark” that lights the flame inside your heart. I know when I feel this and I yearn for it. Mind/mood altering substances falsely provide that spark and we think that we have found the answer to being alone. Unfortunately, what happens is the spark gets dimmer and dimmer and eventually becomes nonexistent and we are now slaves to this substance, alone and afraid and dependent. So what is it that I fear? Why do I seek isolation and misery? The priceless question. Is it the fear of the “connection”, the fear of letting someone know my deepest darkest secrets, the fear of getting hurt? Or is it a combination? I suppose that if I knew the answer to that question addiction, or at least a large majority of it, might possibly be avoided all together. Taking it one step further…Would you change the past if you could?
Today I am 5 months sober. No mind or mood altering substances, including alcohol, with no weekends off. I feel that there needs to be a message from a different perspective: a message of hope from someone like myself, an addict. I am not unique, especially in this day and age. My drug of choice is more of everything but heroin was what gave me everything I thought I wanted and needed and later took everything I didn’t even knew I had or wanted to keep. This blog is in response to my sister’s (myjunkiebrother.wordpress) ultra depressing, true depiction of what it was to live with and love an addict such as myself. It is extremely hard for me to read because of how completely honest it is. If you have read it or plan on doing so you will see just what I mean. There is no shortage of words to describe the atrocities, pains, and suffering that I have been the cause of, yet there is light at the end of this tunnel. I have never lost hope, and I hope I never will. Maybe, just maybe, we can just slightly change the view of who the addict really is with my help. This is not an altruistic goal of mine. This is for me. My sobriety is the most important thing in my life today and must remain so. Helping others helps me but the prior is yet to be determined. Let’s give it a try.