Archive for the ‘Sanity’ Category

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I moved out on my own I was finally free.

I signed a lease and boom, my own pad, my own apartment. I was so excited to finally take on the responsibilities of being an independent man. First thing’s first, a new T.V. I went to Best Buy, opened a credit line and got the biggest and baddest T.V. they had, well at that time, the Sony Wega. Lets get a virtual cinema surround sound system while I’m at it. I was a carpenter so I made a sweet set of custom maple speaker stands for the front left and right speakers. And let me tell you, that T.V. and surround sound system made movies alive!

I went out and got myself a little kitten. I couldn’t have a dog there so I figured a cat would be comforting enough. I opened up multiple credit cards, bought myself a really nice laptop, got some furniture, got a new truck, a new motorcycle and a new girlfriend. Things were great, really great. I owned my own business at the time and was making a lot of money, had a great reputation and made a lot of new connections. I held parties all the time and had friends over a lot too.

A few years went by, things were going good. I was successful and busy. I had a lot of new ‘friends’. I was really making a name for myself in the new town I was in. Until one day it hit me, like a ton of bricks… Oxycontin. Yes, the old school ones where you peel off the coating and go at it.

Someone had come over and introduced me to my new girlfriend, my new chemical romance. Now, I was drinking here and there, popping Valium and sniffing Ritalin, maybe some ecstasy once in a while, your typical weekend party moments. But nothing was more incredible and more euphoric than this form of oxycodone. I bumped a 10 mg line on my glass kitchen table and fell in love immediately. The sun came out in my living room. My smile went ear to ear. I leaned back and said to myself, “Why do I even go to the gym? This is great!”

I couldn’t believe the rush of happiness and strength I got off that one little 10 mg pill! It lasted quite a few hours too. I was just in simple amazement by what I experienced. Well, obviously that connection hung around for a bit. I put everything else aside that I tried and focused on my new obsession. I started using Oxycontin just on the weekends for a few months, I honestly thought it was so good that I didn’t want to waste it.

I noticed myself thinking about it during work. I also noticed how it freed me from stress and problems that were running through my mind. It took me away while still being here on earth, it helped me function better and perform better, so I thought. Things were still going great.

I started using during the week and I went up from 10 mg to 20 mg per bump. Cocaine came into the picture during the weekends too. I really didn’t like the cocaine and noticed that I needed to take a couple of oxy’s to counter the speeding rate of the coke. So I would do them after my bag ran out so I could sleep, after 12 hours of blowing cocaine up my nose, it was needed.

I would wake up pretty messed up, fighting with my girlfriend, getting in arguments with my friends. I was showing up to my jobs later and later. My landlord was getting complaints from my neighbors about me being too loud and saying weird things. I was like, whatever. It’s normal, I’m a free man living the dream! Everything’s gonnna be alright.

Well, I went from 10-20 mg a day to 40 mg. Then 40 mg to 80 mg. In just over a few months too. I had multiple connections. All my ‘friends’ were doing it too. Actually, just about everyone I knew was doing them. They were so easy to get and available 24-7.

Time goes by and my little mental vacation habit turned me into a full blown addict doing well over 1000 mg a day. I tried stopping in the early stages but nothing ever worked. I accepted myself as an addict too, I accepted myself as a junkie and justified my problem daily. I was railing two 80 mg Oxycontin for breakfast and an 80 every hour just to function. I was smoking cigarettes every 2 minutes too, close to 3 packs a day.

Now what I’m about to explain happened within the 3rd year of me abusing oxycodone. My entire run of being an addict lapsed 10 years, but the downward spiral started right around my 3rd year.

I started to not show up to work. I would take deposits on jobs and never show up on some of them. My girlfriend was fed up with me showing up late, lying and cheating, malnourished and unhygienic. Not being a good boyfriend at all so she left me. I would be late to any family gathering because I had to ‘pick up’ before I got there.  Credit card statements and bills we not getting paid.  I was getting threats of being kicked out of my apartment, I had 3 of my surrounding neighbors move within 6 months of each other due to my recklessness. Things were changing and I saw it, and not for the good either.
A few more years go by and I am stealing money from family members, stealing from stores, hustling anything I can to make a few bucks to go get high. I wasn’t making the money I had because my reputation was getting destroyed so my daily intake of oxy’s were dropping day by day and I was getting dope sick.

During this time of being dope sick, not showing up at work and hustling and thieving my way to get high, my truck got repossessed and I had to leave my home. I sold everything, my T.V., the surround sound, my lap top, my guitars, my couch, my motorcycles, my credit cards were maxed out by cash advances, I almost sold my cat… I became that guy that needed to ‘borrow’ money and things all the time. I bounced from home to home, even moved to the south for a year to get away and quickly realized that my problem followed me everywhere. I became homeless because my pride didn’t want to fix anything. I didn’t understand how to mend a bridge and didn’t care.

At this time I’m having full blown panic attacks, insomnia, skeletal pain, bicycle legs, hot sweats, cold chills, nightmares for the 2 minutes I may have got from a nap, diarrhea, heart palpitations to name a few. The flu had nothing on what I was going through. This spiritual and physical pain I was going through was something I wouldn’t want on my worst enemy.

Finally during my 10th year reign of self destruction, after losing everything that mattered to me and all my personal possessions, I became suicidal and did not want to live anymore. I was beyond depression and beyond mental illness. I was incredibly dope sick and needed out. Getting clean on my own was impossible and I knew it. I had no structure and not an ounce of effort to find any. My only hope was in a pill which I could no longer get.

I lost all my hope and all my faith.

I hit rock bottom.

I admitted myself into a 6 month rehab program at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center.

I will have 5 years clean this November 11th 2016. Today I am grateful for everyone at rehab, church, friends and family who offered admonishment, support, encouragement and their time to help me.

I have learned so many things in Recovery and still do to this day. I learned that we are all human and that we all may fall. I also learned that I can not judge another person when they fall. I’ve learned to give back and to help others. I’ve learned that we are all in need of a Savior which we so constantly search for on a daily basis. I have learned that God puts us through things for reasons and that we all have a purpose. I have come to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and understand that my purpose here is much greater than what my mind could and will ever conceive. I have learned that this life is not about me, it’s about others. It’s about sending a message that our Creator, in whom we are to glorify, loves us unconditionally and all He wants is for us to surrender our ways and to live according to His Word.


God is very real, miracles happen every day. I lost it all and got so much more back from nothing.

To be at total peace and to live in His harmonious Grace is the most overwhelming gift one can ever use.


Become Free. Become the Difference.

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This is a little personal. I wrote this to myself the day before I admitted myself into a 6 month program at the Salvation Army rehabilitation center. I gave it to my brother and told him to give it to me when I got out.
I was suicidal. I was at my rock bottom. I had no hope and I had not an ounce of faith left. I am sharing it now because it is not only a reminder of where opiate abuse left me, but maybe someone will read this and will be able to relate. I’m not even sure why I wrote it, maybe after almost 10 years of running around like a rampant junkie, I finally wanted help. Maybe I knew I was finally ready? Because if it wasn’t then, if I didn’t get help, I knew I couldn’t go on any longer. Even breathing was painful. I was done.
By sharing this I’m hoping maybe someone can relate and find a bit of solitude or enough energy to get up and get help too… It may not make much sense but It sure did 4 years ago.

“You’re back, congrats for making 6 months of sobriety. DO NOT let it get to your head. You wrote this withdrawing, sick, diarrhea, confused, afraid, helpless, down, pissed off, ALONE. You did this all to yourself. All to yourself. You want this all back? Start sniffing those f****** percs up your nose. Go ahead, your life will go right back into a hole again, a lifeless, useless, lonely f****** hole.
You want to keep your life? Stick to Christ, family and surround yourself with encouraging people. Stay busy. Love what you have because what you have right now is so precious. Trust me, I wrote this. I AM YOU.
Just a reminder of how you felt the day before rehab… sick, food will not digest, cold sweats, hot flashes, diarrhea, INSOMNIA, headaches, heartburn, nausea, blurred vision, quivers, skeletal and joint pain.
Here are the pains, repercussions of life around you… You feel mentally inadequate, alone, afraid, people will not trust you. You hurt your beautiful mother, your brothers, your father (who will never understand you, but hey, love you for you, and love him for him.) You lied, stole and cheated. You have come so close to going to jail, so many times God intervened.
You became a bum. A junky, a loser. You are so fortunate to be alive, to be reading this, a free, rehabilitated man.
Remember that 6 month journey. Keep your head up! Put this behind you. Stay strong. Help those in need.

Find what you love to do AND DO IT!

Love,
Yourself

P.S. DON’T F*** UP MICHAEL.”

I’m not too sure what pushed me to write this back then. I’m glad I did though. I read it once in a while and I reflect on where I was and what life was like being an addict. It’s like a book mark. When I see it, it puts me right back where I used to be for a short time. It helps me be grateful for everything I have. It helps me stay humble. It helps me remain teachable. I don’t ever want to go back to that lifestyle ever again. I can’t. I know it will destroy me. It will kill me.
I thank my heavenly Father above for the strength to keep moving forward each and every day. I hope this helps someone in one way or another.

God Bless you

Become Free. Become the Difference!

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I think the number one thing that holds us back from progressing, growing and moving forward is the inability to forgive and let things go. Are you ridden with anxiety, problems and wonder why there aren’t more blessings?

We hold on to so much. We have been hurt. We have been sexually assaulted. We have been verbally abused. Beat. Thrown around. Left for dead. We have been destroyed in so many ways. Neglected. Ridiculed. Bullied. You can add one if I may have missed a specific event. You get the point.

Now before I move on, I am not and I never will ask anyone to ever or even try to ‘Forget’. Because that’s impossible. It may come with time but everything that impacts our lives and that has wounded us leaves a scar. Some deeper and bigger than others. Scars that can be seen not just through our own eyes but even through other people’s eyes. Scars that have affected our personalities, which have affected our quirks, our manners and how we react in different situations.

There are reasons why we react and overly engage when strife comes our way. There are reasons why we gossip and verbally destroy others when we are around a certain person. It’s the outcome of what has happened. The outcome of what we think may happen. We have a predestined and a preconceived notion of just about everything that is going to take place with people all around us.

So even with these scars, are we able to let go? Are we able to let go of even the meanest and dirtiest things that have ever happened to us? Yes. Are we expected to let go immediately? No. But we are expected to forgive. We also need to understand that we are not the only ones going through this. That there are others, many others, that have been through worse circumstances than us and that have also been freed from them as well.
We do have it in us to forgive. To let go. Sometimes we need time to figure out what happened, why it happened and how it could ever happen. It’s mind boggling to think about. But we need to forgive.

Feelings of resentment and anger towards someone may never go away. And when we come across that certain someone it may trigger extreme immediate anxiety. It can be painful. I have been through it. Hyperventilating and blackouts. A feeling that I can’t breathe. Loss of direction. Loss of a reason of even why I was standing where I was. Vertigo.

It took time. It took perseverance. It took talking to God and reading the Word of God to understand why I went through what I went through and why I needed to forgive. Could I say that all the drug induced instances and problems I caused were because of a childhood trauma? I could. I could also say that people never forgave me and why the hell would I ever forgive them? And even worse, I am done caring. I am sick and tired of everyone, just stay as far away from me as possible. People suck.

I can come up with one thousand reasons why I did what I did. I can give you thousands of legitimate reasons and excuses on why I am the way I am. I could write a blog that would sound so good and so comforting that many psychiatrists and therapists alike would just swarm in their chairs with excitement. It would be ‘socially’ and ‘politically’ correct to the society we live in.

But I will not give not one excuse or one reason for causing pain towards others and for the destructive mess I left behind during my addiction. I take full responsibility. Period.

Why?

Because I let go of what was holding me back. I let go of the torturing pain that set me off like a rocket. I let go of the destruction of my childhood, the pain, the loss, and the indescribable events that happened behind closed doors. I let it all go. I will never forget. But I have forgiven. There are scars. I am human. I am not perfect. I still have flaws. I am and always will be a work in progress and I am not afraid of talking about anything that has made me who I am today.

As gross as things can get, they happen for a reason. That reason will be revealed to you one day. My problems and trials made me a stronger person. I didn’t always persevere, but when I did, when I made it through the storm, purpose was revealed. The sun shined and strength, like no other, blanketed me. God said, “See, I told you! Follow Me.” As I called upon Him, even when I thought He wasn’t listening, He was there guiding me the whole time. How I even knew to call upon Him during struggling times is beyond me. But today it is an automatic. He has guided me and brought me out of darkness so many times. His presence is so evident.

So the big question, how do we let go? How do we let go of the anxiety fueled train that is steaming through blockades of medication, gossip, character assassination, anger, hatred, bitterness, scorn, self-pity and ignorance? How do we get to a place of peace, hope, love, temperance, faith, joy, long suffering, gentleness, goodness and meekness? How is this even possible? How do people get over their past? How come some people move beyond the destruction in peace and walk a life of happiness after all that has happened to them?

Read this verse, the immediate verse after the Our Father Prayer… “For IF you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But IF you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14, 15.
Now believe what you may. Truth is not determined upon one’s belief. It merely sets a stage for a choice to believe or not to believe.

There is so much in this one verse. This verse is very self-explanatory and needs no introduction or synopsis. It only needs an origin for the strength to do so. The strength to ask God to forgive and the power to forgive. We pray. We seek. We ask. We take action. Continually. We persevere.

“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your STRENGTH. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11

Become Free. Become the Difference!

Well, it is at first.  Then again, at first, we are not addicted.  So when does addiction take it’s power over us?  How far into our habitual obsession do we need to go to see the decision making become automatic; into it’s predestined pattern?  

Yes, we have the power of choice.  We choose to experiment.  We choose to hang out and commune with the right people and the wrong people.  We have a decision making process which makes good choices and bad choices and we have to deal with the consequences either way.

We constantly hear of people, friends and family, overdosing and dying from substance abuse.  “Oh, they made a bad choice.  What were they thinking?  They chose that path; they made their bed now they have to sleep in it.”  I hear it all the time.  Usually from people who have never experienced addiction and the power it has over us.  People think it was our choice to suffer and become thieving junkies.  That first day when we experimented with our long term poison, we weren’t saying to ourselves, “I can’t wait to screw everyone over and destroy my life and every bridge I have ever walked across.”

Addicts made a choice one day to use.  We made a choice, for whatever reason; depression, stress, a loss, childhood trauma, whatever.  We chose to take a mental stimulus to impose happiness in one form or another.  We also chose to take a dip in it at the end of every stressful week.   Which became a couple times a week, to every other day, to every day.  Has addiction set up it’s scaffolding yet?  Not yet.

mhYqfi4Believe it or not, our minds are still at peace.  We are happy.  We’re feeling really good and enjoying the high.  It enhances our abilities and helps to see positively; it’s a new hope!  Well, that’s how it seems.  We don’t know whats going on yet.  As far as we are concerned, it’s just something we are doing, like brushing our teeth, with magical toothpaste.. we do that every day right?

sad-woman-silhouetteSome time goes by.  Something tells us we may have a slight problem so we try to stop.  We try and quickly realize life isn’t the same without this chemical.  Our thoughts change, our conscience tells us one thing and we compromise with another.  There is a mental battle going on between what is right and what is wrong.  What we used to spend time on, our priorities, important things, very important things, we no longer have a care for and become secondary.  Then we get depressed because we are trying but we are not able to choose.

Something either tells us or moves us to constantly feed this compulsive obsession.  It’s needed.  We persistently depend on it.  Now addiction has moved in and it is renting space we just don’t have.  It has become our engine, being fueled with chemicals.  It is the mainframe of our thinking, the electrical system for our thought process and like a cancer it grows and grows and surrounds our thoughts like a vine wrapped around a telephone pole.

Every choice and decision we make from here on is like flipping a coin.  We are lost in a maze with no solution; we have no idea how we got in and have no clue how to get out.  Integrity, motivation, self control, and happiness are all out the window.  Hope and faith are so far away we can’t even come up with any words to define them.  We are on a self centered path of destruction and we don’t care who or what is in the way.  Emotions and feelings are for the weak.  “Just give me what I want, please, I need one more…”, is a daily mission statement.  Scheming, lying, cheating and manipulating are now our new characteristics.  We are on auto pilot and we are so far in, well, lets just say it’s like a tunnel in the shape of a circle, it’s a vicious cycle of disappointment and regression.

Welcome.  This is drug addiction.  You can relate to this or you can relate this to someone you know.  Some of you may even be able to relate this with addictions other than drugs and substances; the thoughts and the obsession.

Choices and decisions are not of our own.  We are not thinking clearly.  We are lost.  We are addicts and in our addiction, getting high, fueling up, our doses, our outcomes and our thinking become compromised.  No quote card on a website is going to make us better.  We are under siege, we are being controlled by something else.  It’s not us.  It’s not a choice any more.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or drug addiction, there is hope.  Constantly offering help to a loved one is difficult and they may hate you for it, but when they come around, they will love you for it.
This is why there are detox and rehabilitation facilities nation wide.  There are people willing to offer help, resources and information on treatment for people struggling with addiction.  Call 888-831-2327 for a Treatment Center near you, anywhere in the United States, 24-7.

Most importantly, keep them in your prayers.  Do not give up on them. Pray to God Almighty that He intervenes and breaks their addictive behaviors and sets them free!

Become Free!  Become the Difference!

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This is a picture I drew while in rehab. I drew it with a BIC pen.

When I first got into rehab, I was confused and lost. I was dope sick. My mind was racing, I couldn’t sleep and all I could think about was myself and how I was going to get through this.

I’d say the first month was all about myself. I was literally losing my mind. I was shaking and my stomach had a mind of its own. Dope sick is the worst. My whole mind, body and spirit was aching. I wanted to leave but the little conscience I had left told me to stay and wait it out.

That month was a testing of many mental trials. It was all about me. Because of the way I was feeling, I was extremely selfish in my thinking and only wanted everything to benefit me. All I wanted was comfort of any kind and I didn’t get it. Well at least at that point, I thought I wasn’t getting it. I thought it was absolute torture. No one cared, no one loved me and no one wanted to help.

After that selfish first month of living without my poison running through my body, I realized that I WAS getting help and being comforted. I started becoming grateful for the place I was at. I was being fed. I had a bed to sleep in. I was getting counseling, I was being taught principles and I was being transformed into a clean human being again. Waking up was getting easier, sleep was getting better and my attitude was being adjusted. There was a slow metamorphosis happening, from selfish to benevolent.

I started doing things I used to like to do, on my free time, even to this day. One of them is drawing. Just whipping a pencil back and forth is fun. Something usually appears on the paper. I can draw fast and make a quick sketch or I can take my time and whip up a detailed drawing. Either way, I now have the ability to put my problems, my anxiety and my selfishness aside.

It’s the same with helping others. I talk with many people who are struggling with drug addiction and other habitual quirks. I stand strong in my recovery, knowing that I have a purpose and that it is not all about me. I have my life back and I thank God every day for the chance to go out and live a productive lifestyle.

During my stay at rehab, I got a chance to work at the front desk. It was kind of like my own little office. I answered the phones, completed new beneficiary intakes and basically was an assistant to all of the counselors and housemen. As the days went on, I saw people, lost, dope sick people, coming in and going through the same thing I went through. They were on a mission to benefit themselves. Some didn’t last long but the ones that made it to a few months began to change too. They got happiness and some of the void, which was filled with hopelessness, filled with hope and determination.

Many of the guys who had a few months of clean time began helping the newcomers. They shared their struggles along with the in’s and out’s of the program. Now that I think about it, I had a few guys help me out my first month. They guided me along and kept me afloat. It’s an awesome thing to be led and encouraged when you need it.

As I grow and as I watch others grow, I have come to an understanding of what a renewal of the mind is all about. Understanding that putting ourselves second, or even third, well, last for that matter, enables us to move forward, grow and help others. Staying Humble, remaining Teachable and being Grateful is the only way we are going to become who we are supposed to be. Putting effort in these three things keeps us at a level open for opportunity and blessings. Put God first, others second, your’SELF’ last and watch Him make a difference every where you go!

“Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'” Matthew 18:1-5

What IS the Greatest commandment?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30

Become Free. Become the Difference!

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I went to CR, Celebrate Recovery, last night. We went over the twelve steps and being a meeting which is filtered through the Word of God, all the steps had a relevant bible verse which supported each step. Then we broke off into groups. The men got together in one group and the women got together in another. It’s nice because you get to share with each other, the common struggles that each of us go through.

The discussion topic was on sanity and had a two part question, “What do you keep repeating over and over again, expecting a different result? What result are you looking for?”

It’s a funny and very fitting question. So I related it to my addiction. When I was using and abusing drugs, I was continuously chasing a high with the same result. I knew how I was going to feel. I knew it would only last for an hour or so. I knew that the same consequences were going to arise every time but I kept doing it every day for years.

Why did I keep chasing the same result? Why did I constantly obsess over and adapt to the same old routine? I had no idea, at the time. My day started with hustling and stealing and getting my fix. I knew how I was going to feel every time. I knew that getting high took focus off my problems and my daily stress, I also knew that I was going to withdraw off the chemicals that I put into my body. So why, over and over, did I continue doing this expecting a different result?

Well the more and more I used, my tolerance grew stronger and stronger. So I actually did get a different result every time. I got higher and I got a more euphoric mental vacation. I was looking for a better result every session. I needed that same feeling if not better.

I do the same thing with other things as well. I will take a ride to McDonalds, get a McDouble and a small fry, knowing it will give me a stomach ache, and continue to do so about once a week. Why do I do that? I have no idea! It’s like playing with fire in a careless way, I know I’m going to get burned, but I play with it anyway. Or when we get into a relationship with someone who is using, knowing that it won’t work, but go ahead and keep meeting up. How about going into work with an attitude, knowing we are going to start conflict, and continue being a miserable brat while expecting people to just get over it. The list goes on and on.

So we went around the room and the guys gave their synopsis on the question. It was amazing to hear all the different battles and struggles they were dealing with. It’s good to hear what others are going through, it puts your life into perspective.

As we concluded the meeting, I realized that we keep chasing comfort of some kind. We keep doing things over and over looking for a serenity and a peace of mind that we never seem to accomplish. Especially in habitual and addictive circumstances. So why? Why this constant attempt to fill in a void we just can’t seem to fill?

Then it hit me. We search and search for a savior. Something to free us of our strife. Something to make up for the past and even the future. We do things to make us happy. We do things like we are trying to solve a puzzle but there is never an answer and if there is an answer, it is temporary.

I am convinced, after struggling with drugs for a decade, and other mindless quirks, that God wants us to come to Him with all of our problems. He wants us to put Him first and to rely on Him when we are in need. Just being a Christian and a ‘believer’ isn’t enough. I have been a Christian most of my adulthood, however I never really walked the walk the way I was supposed to. I went to church here and there. I hung out with a few people that were strong in the faith but most of the time I was living life on my terms.

Surrendering daily, hitting meetings, attending church, praying, reading the bible and constantly talking with God keeps me on the right path. I am persistently seeking Him every day. I want to because I know it’s what I’m supposed to do and I love reaping the benefits! I feel blessed. I don’t have much but I am extremely grateful for what I do have, especially having my obsessive and compulsive nature behind me. Putting Him first keeps me humble, keeps me grateful and helps me remain teachable.

It’s an amazing life following our Creator. It’s in us to worship a Savior, it’s in our DNA to come to our Father with our problems, our struggles and most of all our praise! He deserves ALL the glory. Call upon Him and seek Him daily. You will find a loving and caring God which no chemical or any other path can replace!

Become Free. Become the Difference!