Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

room1

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.

A powerful testimony, we CAN get back on track!

poesjunk

I am not a product of my environment. I grew up in a traditional American family, attended private schools, and went to church every Sunday.
During my childhood, we moved quite a bit. I changed schools nine times by the time I finished high school. In spite of this, I was an honor roll student, cheerleader, and leader of my church youth group, but I learned to build walls at a young age in hopes of protecting myself from fear of rejection. Later on, drugs would strengthen those walls and turn them into a fortress. I didn’t know I would become a prisoner inside my own mind.
I left home at 18. I had never tried drugs, alcohol, or even smoked a cigarette. One year later, I was experimenting with anything offered to me. I tried weed, pills, ecstacy, lsd, and cocaine, and eventually methamphetamine. I used Meth every day…

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Lets first define the word disease. According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary the word disease is defined as: a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.

OK. Then the dictionary gives types, examples and origins of diseases. You can look up other resources and other dictionary sites but overall the definition is pretty much the same.

I decided to write about this topic as it seems many people do think that drug addiction and alcoholism is a disease and there are others that do not. Most of society, yes the place where substances such as alcohol, Oxycontin (Oxycodone) and where most mind altering chemicals are produced, believes it’s a disease. Which is understandable. The blind leading the blind. Again, the same pharmaceutical companies that produce these drugs also have an alternative drug to help get off the initial one. For example, Suboxone, Methadone, Naloxone and Narcan for opiate users. Like walking into a store. You see cigarettes. Next to those cigarettes are an alternative vapor cigarette with a pamphlet on how to stop smoking. Makes sense right?

I could do some crazy research and find the Greek origin of the word disease and I can go into a concordance and look up the word disease, which will come up hundreds of times, and I could really get into a study of biblical proportions. But that’s another place and another time. Lets keep this simple.

There are hereditary diseases. There are viral diseases. There are bacterial diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases. Mental diseases. According to the dictionary a disease is a condition. There are hundreds of conditions a human can have. As a matter of fact, we, as humans, are coming up with new conditions every day. Almost like excuses. Reasons for why we act and do what we do. Yes, there are diseases that are legitimate. Actual diseases and conditions which are out of our control. Physical diseases. Immune deficiency. Infections, illnesses, diseases that are obvious and diseases which are contagious.

I am going to speak from experience. Experience from being an addict for 10 years and also experience from being around other addicts. I was in a rehabilitation center for a total of 10 months. I saw a lot and heard many stories, I have been to many NA and AA meetings and I have spoken to many counselors and therapists alike.

And I’m not talking about just a pill here and there. I’m talking 1000 mg of Oxycontin, an 8 ball of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, some benzos and God only knows what else, all in one days’ time. I’m not bragging, I’m just giving you an idea of where I was at, during my destructive path. I still attend meetings to this day. I say all this to paint a picture for you; so you understand that my ‘experience’ is sufficient enough to make judgment on this topic.

So plain and simply, do I think addiction is a disease? No, I do not. It may feel like one because there is a point where all self control is lost, but it is not a disease.

Here’s my explanation:

Addiction is not in the air. You can not catch it. It is not contagious. It is not a bacteria. It is not hereditary. It is not in our genes. It is not an inheritance passed down from a family member. Addiction is not in our blood. It is not a virus. It can not be injected into our bodies. Addiction does not leave rashes and boils on the skin. It is not an immune deficiency. There are no pills to become addiction free. There is not an antidote for an addiction.

Now is addiction a condition? It sure is. Is it a state of mind? Yes it is. Is it physical? No, however it does affect the body tremendously. Is addiction a spiritual problem? Yes. It is a three fold problem as the mind, body and soul are affected as a result of being addicted. There are multiple symptoms of an addiction however the drug or whatever you are addicted to is only a symptom of something greater. Our poison is not the main problem, it is a symptom of an underlying issue. Just as guns don’t kill people, we do, we pull the trigger. See ‘Drugs Subsidiary to the Underlying Issue’.

So if addiction is a condition and the word disease means having a condition, then how is it not a disease?

Here’s why. Addiction is the only condition in which we made a voluntary choice to have. It’s the only condition where we expected a euphoric reaction. Yes, we can choose to catch another disease but addiction spawned from an enjoyment. It took us away from pain. It took us away from the past, from stress, from anxiety and daily strife. I don’t think there is any other disease in which one would result in an enjoyment from and would catch it over and over. You may say addiction was not a choice to have yet we made a choice to use, right? We did not know which drug it was going to be. We did not know if it was even going to be a physical substance! Pornography. Lust. Gossip. Fashion. Work. Obsessive compulsive behaviors. Who knew? I smoked weed. I didn’t love it. I drank alcohol, I didn’t love that either. I sniffed a rail of Oxycodone, I fell in love immediately. For many reasons. It was the most euphoric experience I had ever had. Ever. See ‘Is Addiction a Choice?’

Addiction sets in shortly after multiple bad decisions. We find something that makes us feel really good so we continue to do it. Responsibilities and priorities go out the window. Our poison becomes number one and we will do just about anything to get that feeling as often possible. After time we make an attempt to stop and we can’t. It feels like a disease because we are stuck. We feel like we can’t get out. Our hope, our faith and everything we know and learned has been erased, a thing long gone in the past. This is why some may call addiction a disease. Our love for whatever we are addicted to overcomes us. We get into an autopilot mode. The only thing we think about is to feed it.

But there is hope. We do come back. We do fight and we do persevere. We do win. We do overcome. We do conquer. We can learn how to come out of the place we put ourselves in. The chains of addiction can be broken. We can get our self control back. We can renew our minds. Addiction is not a disease. Once and addict NOT always an addict. Once an alcoholic NOT always an alcoholic.

Telling someone that they have a disease because of a series of bad decisions is just dreadful. It destroys all hope for that person. It’s telling them not to take responsibility for the decisions they made. Where is the accountability? Are we just going to let them live this way? Life is unmanageable for this person. So let them continue? This is enabling in a whole new sense. Enabling destruction. We have the power to use and the power to destroy ourselves then we have the power to uplift and the power to help others.

We made a bad decision and we have to deal with the consequence. When we start making good decisions we can deal with the rewards. We reap what we sow. When we surround ourselves with like minded people, productive and strong people, we become like them. God has a purpose for each and every one of us. Set Him as your platform, your foundation, a Rock in which you stand and watch your world change and watch your purpose be revealed. Here’s ‘How to BecomeFree!’

Be Strong, Be Courageous.

Become Free… Become the Difference.

“He who is in Christ is a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Believe it!!!

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It seems to be a regular announcement. I’m hearing it more and more. A friend. A friend of a friend. Someone’s family member. A loved one. A loved one over-dosing on heroin or some other familiar drug.

It’s sad. You will read in the obituary, “Died suddenly” or “An unexpected death”. A young girl. A young man. No one wants to admit that their child or family member has lost their lives to addiction or to a foreign chemical. Well, it’s not so foreign any more. It’s becoming an epidemic. I will soon update my past blog on ‘Drug Statistics’ very soon.

Not because I want to. Because I have to. We need to become more aware of what we are doing to ourselves and we need to start taking it a little more serious.

Many of us in my community lost a friend to drug abuse, she left behind two children.  It kills me. I hate hearing it.  It breaks my heart in so many ways.  Children going on without their mom.  Without guidance.  We can not be replaced.  We were put here for a reason, for a purpose.

Losing our lives to a chemical due to our own lack of self control was not what God intended.  We need to become more aware of why we resort to chemicals; destructive chemicals.  Why this generation feels the need to self medicate.  Why we ‘think’ we need medication for our anxiety and for our other thought processing issues. Seriously, we are living in a pill popping society and a self medicating world.  There are more mental symptoms than there has ever been.  But that is a whole other blog.

A few weeks ago, between my friends and people I know, I heard of 5 people in one week found dead or that were unable to be resuscitated.  They are dropping like flies.  I mean, it’s unbelievable.  Especially when it’s someone you know and someone you had thought highly of and that had so much potential.

Now they have shots such as NARCAN (naloxone), which are used to revive people, well, it reverses the effects of opiate and opioid depression.  Another words, when someone is overdosing, it will remove the high and wake them back up; in most cases.  And they, the pharmacies, are making more and more versions of these ‘Overdose Remedies’.  You would think this would be great right?  They’re saving lives!!!  Not so much.  They are just putting out a fire that is destined to restart.

Now addicts almost have a reason to overdose.  They think that they will be fine.  Often, if an addict is living at home, a  family member will have a ‘shot’ at hand, kind of like an EpiPen, ready for that quick wake up.

So where is the lesson being learned here?  “Oh, Johnny has a problem and we’ll be ready when it happens.  There’s nothing we can do, he’ll never change.”  That is called enabling.  That is exactly what we should not be doing.  Addicts need help.  Plain and simple.  Every chance we get to hold an addict accountable is life saving.

We have a voice.  We have the ability to hold people accountable.  We have the power to say no, the power to not enable people and to just sit there and watch them get devoured by their lack of self control, destroying themselves with chemicals.  They don’t have self control?  Be their self control.  Don’t just watch them decay.  Help them.  Find out how to get them help.  There are so many detoxes and rehabilitation centers all around us.  They don’t want to go?  They don’t want help?   Research treatment centers.  Talk to someone who has been through the destruction and has made it through.  Have someone who has been through the ringer talk with them.  Do what ever it takes. Pray without ceasing! You pray for them every day.  Pray for a way out.  Ask God to intervene in their lives.

This needs to stop.  Lets lead by example and step up to this wave of self extermination.

Become Free… Become the Difference.

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Does a cloudy, stormy picture like this make us miserable or are we already miserable and this triggers it? I think storms are awesome and beautiful myself…

I’m no doctor. But I can tell you, that through perseverance, dedication and remaining grateful for what I have simply makes me happy. I actually love life and everything it has to offer.

I’ve heard quotes like this one, “The seeds of depression will never take root in a Grateful heart!” How true is this? I sit back often and reflect where I was, where I could be and where I am. Yes, I have days where I am stressed out but it’s temporary. I feel anger, sadness and loads of pressure with the daily struggles of life but I constantly tell myself that I have a God who is greater than any problem I will ever have.

Usually when I’m driving to work first thing in the morning, I daze off a little and remember where my life used to be. I put myself where I was, depressed, tormented and enslaved by addiction then quickly I snap back to reality. I usually say to myself “Thank you Lord for your Grace and where I am today” or “What a sick way to live”… those are my two replies usually.

Then I thank Him for saving me and I reflect on what I am grateful for. I go over every little thing I have and am so thankful because I know that if I were still living in addiction, I would be so miserable and depressed; barely living, just floating around like a zombie, hustling and haunting anyone with money and seeking enablers.

I see people who claim and hold on to bi-polar, anxiety and other excusable issues. I see people who are so stressed out. I see people who are constantly complaining and are just absolutely miserable. I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t experienced what it’s like to lose everything. And I mean everything.
I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t fully surrendered their old nature and allowed a change to take place. I don’t know if they are just so stubborn that being humble, teachable and grateful are nonexistent in their daily vernacular, that they are words they probably do not understand.

I used to be on the quick acting Ativan, Xanax and many other long term anti-depressants as well. I actually still have panic attacks but they are getting so much better. Yes, the hyperventilating, “where did THAT come from”, no warning, “I’m gonna piss myself” panic attacks. They suck. I actually went to a respiratory doctor, had x-rays done and he said, “Everything’s fine, it’s all in your head Mike.” “Oh, great, that’s just wonderful, thanks Doc.” I said to him as I was leaving the hospital with a confused look on my face. Now what am I supposed to do? I think I may have even laughed at myself the whole ride home!

“So not also do I have an addiction problem, I now have a mental issue!? Great.” That’s what I was dealing with. Totally freaking out over everything. This was a time before I got help. Before I tried. Before I put any effort into anything. I was still lost. I didn’t even know how to persevere, I couldn’t, I was so weak. My choices were wrong and my addiction belittled my sense of who I was.

Well, 3 years coming up with one very short relapse after 10 months, after a surgery I was not even close to being prepared for. Glad it happened though. I am stronger from it. I knew what to do, who to talk to and where to go, thanks to time in rehab and thanks to the people who offered time and served as lighthouses in my life, God I am so thankful for them.

It took time, clean, no drugs at all, not even Tylenol or Advil. It took time to persevere and gain a strength that I have never had before. A strength that keeps getting stronger as each day goes by. I persevered by remaining teachable. That I am and will always be a work in progress. That I will always have the ability to learn and grow. That I do have the capability to be humble and close my mouth when I am supposed to. To thank God for a paycheck, for family, for friends. That listening to others speak and understanding that it is not all about me. That accepting others for who they are and where they are in life, without judgment, puts my life into perspective. That I do have something to offer. That I am strong enough to overcome obstacles and achieve my goals. That I do indeed have the power to say no, but not only say no, but to tell someone that they do not have to live this way, and offer advice, plant a seed, and move forward.

Thank you Lord for this gift. As I continue to be humble, remain teachable and stay grateful for what you have given and continue to give me, I am looking forward to a happy life with You and every blessing You are going to offer. The biggest blessing is hoping I touched someone’s life in one way or another.

Become Free! Become the Difference!

Drug use isn’t becoming an epidemic, it IS an epidemic.

It seems like people are trying to solve every one of their problems with a pill.  Every other commercial on TV seems to offer a pill for every problem we can possibly come up with.  Anyone can simply go to the doctor and complain about anxiety and get a prescription.  I guess now a days, one can actually claim a social anxiety issue and become disabled and start collecting from the government!

What happened to learning and growing?  What happened to persevering through tough times and becoming stronger from them?  Why are we giving up so easily?  Are we setting a good example for the next generation?  Hey!  Feel like crap?  Take a pill?!!!  As a matter of fact, take these for the rest of your life!   Become a zombie!

Our bodies were not designed for this.  We need to be strong, learn from our troubles and move forward.  We need to grow together.  Hold each other accountable.  You got questions, ASK!  This generation is learning to give up too easy and resort to chemicals that stimulate our minds, our souls and our lives.  Drugs destroy, take hold of your life today!