Posts Tagged ‘loss’

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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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About 5 years ago, a year after my grandfather had passed away, I visited his grave. I only visited it once.
It was a time where my addiction had full control over my mind, my body and my soul. I spent time with my grandfather before he went. Watching him suffer and lay on the bed helpless while I’m doing whatever it takes to get high.
I can’t even remember the last time my grandfather saw me not on drugs, when he saw the actual me, without having opiates running through my veins. Just coming in to say hi and leaving as fast as I could. It wasn’t fair to them, I’m sure my grandparents knew I was up to something. But they always told me that they loved me. My grandfather’s exact words “I love ya kid”… “Love you too grandpa.”

My grandfather had Mesothelioma. He battled it for many years. He needed oxygen to help him breathe better because a very low percentage of his lung tissue was working on its own. Many times he would choke on his food and gasp for a breath of air with all his might and all his strength. He would turn purple trying to breathe that gulp of air that would make everything ok. He struggled. He also had a great woman to take care of him. They were together for almost 60 years. My grandmother was by his side every step of the way and never complained once. They were both a great example of what a relationship should be and the perseverance of love no matter what the obstacle.

It’s about 3am and I pulled up to my grandfather’s grave. My truck is pointed to his headstone with my headlights on. I get out and walk up to it and I fall to my knees. I start crying. I scream out “Your grandson is a f****** junky”… “He’s a piece of S*** and he doesn’t care about anyone but himself”… “I can’t stop,,, I can’t stop” There I apologized for not being the man I was supposed to be. I apologized for losing control and destroying my life. I lost someone who valued life and struggled to keep it while I was sitting back abusing it.

I got back in my truck and continued living the life of an addict for another year and a half before I got help.

Last week, five years later, I pulled up to his grave for the second time. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. I know he’s not there but it was a place where something happened and I simply returned. I pulled up and there was an elderly woman caring for a grave literally right next to my grandfathers. So I didn’t stay long.

I said “Gramps, I just want you to know that your grandson is doing good, he’s doing really good, God, tell him I love him and I miss him and wish he could see the strength I now have. Tell him thank you for loving me the way he did.”

This may be too much truth for one to handle. Some of you may agree with this, some of you may not. It’s a blog and I’m sharing how I feel.

What, you went to rehab. You went to a detox. You got all better on your own. You got ‘cured’ from that disease that had been destroying you for years. You fixed what was broken. You broke the shackles, the chains and everything’s all better, right!?

Life is just this smooth canoe ride over still waters during the sunset, with birds flying by and a perfect breeze blowing through your hair.

I know many people that have fixed an area in their lives, specifically an addiction, and they just can’t seem to stay out of trouble or they can’t seem to better their lives, like they are stuck in the same spot and can’t get out. They just put a blanket over one problem, expecting it to go away, and keep living the same way day in and day out. Talking change but not living it. Taking no action to further their lives. Saying things that sound good and make them look good but we know it’s all a facade. And once that blanket is removed and placed on another problem, that previous problem becomes number one again.

If you can’t tell by now, if common sense hasn’t kicked in some where down the line, or maybe you just haven’t realized it yet. You have a lot more than one problem. And taking care of only one of your problems will not make your life any better. As a matter of fact, taking care of all your problems won’t solve that universal peace that you are looking for because you are as stubborn as they come.

Here’s a blanket, medication. You know, those pills you take to get rid of the ‘pain’. How are you going to learn and grow when you resort to a pill every time something bad happens in your life? You MUST be at peace having those prescriptions in your drawer. Everything’s solved right? No worries. The definitions of perseverance and faith are no longer needed. Everything’s fine. As long as that little orange or green bottle is full.

You ever walk around telling people you are the President of the United States? Why not? It’s pretty obvious no one will believe you right? It’s also obvious that your life is where it is today because it’s what you made it. Living off of excuses and ignorance. Trying to find hope through a facebook post and sharing it like it’s going to make everything better. Trust me, everyone sees it.

Then you realize that nothing is getting better. No one wants to hang with you and be your friend. You are just coasting along. Hoping for anything better than what happened yesterday. Truth is, people have already tried. Friends have already tried. So much time has lapsed by that no one thinks you are going to change, ever. So they stopped communicating with you.

And why is this? Because how can someone who wants to succeed and better themselves commune with someone who does not? You are a weight. Dragging down people who live productively.

Change takes a complete 180 degree turn. A complete turn from your ways. You got issues, you got trauma, you got mommy and daddy issues, no kidding. Join the club. Everyone does. You’re not the only one.

The problem isn’t the drugs, it isn’t your living situation, it isn’t your past, it isn’t anyone but you. The day you start dealing with your ‘self’, is the day your life will start to get better. Change starts with you. Keep feeding into the lies and your own self pity and your universe will continue to be nothing but a shadow. Misery loves company. Yes, the ones who feed off your ridiculousness and spawn new cravings on how to worsen their lives.

If you don’t want to change then stop complaining. Call your local transitional assistance, become disabled because you can’t handle life, suck on the government’s nipple, and get that check every week. It’s now the new American Dream. Don’t worry, the successful ones will pay your way. It’s the life you have chosen… funny, guess you have made a choice. Just don’t expect anyone to go on that run with you. And don’t tell me your problems. I know so many people with problems just like yours that are living as conquerors. Don’t tell me you have this special disease that no one else has and it’s the reason why you are the way you are; that disease is you. You are so wound up in it that it’s all you know. You let go. Now it’s time for me to let go.

The ones who live victoriously can only deal with people like you for so long. Good luck.

I’ll be praying for you,

I wonder how long that will last…

Black-Friday-Line

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s get all excited to meet up with family and friends most of us do not even want to see. Sad but true. If we were that excited to see our friends and family we see on Thanksgiving, we would probably see them more often right?

A time for harvest and celebration of gratefulness, giving thanks and overly warming others with comforting propaganda. A time to eat a ton of food that will most likely knock you out for an hour or two. If you’re of Irish or Italian descent, the gossip has already started in the kitchen.

It IS a great time to catch up and spend time with family and friends. Eat some great home cooking and just take a break from life for a few and relax. But the main reason for this holiday is in its title ‘Thanks’… ‘Giving Thanks’.

Welcome to America. Home of commercializing anything that makes money and ups ratings. ‘Black Friday’… Shop until your wallet’s empty. Camp out in front of a huge chain store as if you wanted to be first in line to be touched by the Pope. Trample over anyone and anything that’s in the way when the floodgates open to get that ‘once in a lifetime bargain’.

Anyway… back to giving thanks and being grateful. I thank God for work. I thank Him for being able to do the things I was not able to do. Simple things. Like remaining opiate free. Not so simple yet so simple. Things like not having to wake up in the fetal position, dope sick. Like not having diahrea flying out my back side due to withdrawals. I thank Him for the people in my life who are productive and beneficial to my success. Success as in a forward movement, not living in the past and overlooking where and what I was but where and what I am today, strong, confident and alive.

I’m thankful for the littlest things. Things I dare not say because most of you just won’t get it. I got a heater switch fixed in my work truck. It made my day! I thanked God. I’m STILL happy and thankful for it. I bought a new pair of boots; my smile is much bigger because of them.

I’m also able to do the best I can at work; to perform at my fullest. I’m thankful for the ability to show up to a job and complete it within a scheduled time frame. Thankful for the ability to keep moving forward to the next job, building integrity and trust with clientele.

Why so thankful? Why so thankful for the small things as well as the big things? Why do I resort to thanking God for everything I have? Well, who else am I going to thank?

There was a time where I was a slave. A slave to an addiction. I gave my life to it and I lost everything. Literally. Homeless. Lost. No faith. No hope. Complete emptiness. On a suicidal road to a second death. So when my life turned around, I gave birth to a whole new sense of living, a whole new sense of self-worth and a whole new method of understanding gratefulness; what being grateful really means.

See, I gave up. I surrendered. God pushed me toward this place called the Cross. Where I fell to my knees and fully surrendered MY ways, MY wants and MY needs. I asked Jesus to come into my life and make me new. And why it took so long to do so, I do not know. It’s free for crying out loud. I always knew it was. It didn’t cost a dime. Just took willingness to understand that my ways got me no where and that His ways are True and will guide me as I move forward. I always knew He was there and always knew He was willing to forgive me of my transgressions and wipe them out as far as the east is from the west. But this is my story. The path I chose.

I’m thankful to be alive to be able to be thankful. So why do I thank God? I thank God for His Son paying the ultimate penalty for my wrongs. That because of what Jesus went through for me, I am able to live, through Him. I am able to live and enjoy His Grace and His Mercy on a daily basis with thanks and gratefulness because of Him. This is why I thank God for every little thing that I have that goes good, that goes bad and that simply goes.

“Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am Strong”
Let the poor say, “I am Rich”
Because of what the Lord has done, for Us… Give Thanks.”

Become Free… Become the Difference!

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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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I found this toy in the dirt on a job I was on. We were digging dirt away from a foundation to expose some cracks in the foundation wall for mortar filling. It’s a Denmark toy from the 1950’s. In good condition it’s worth anywhere from 90 to 150 dollars.

But after removing some of the dirt. I realized it wasn’t restorable. The tires were missing, the cast metal frame was broken in areas and the interior was simply destroyed. Too bad, because it’s a rare item, and would have been worth something. It’s funny, I come across a lot of old jars and old toys that used to have life. That used to have meaning and a purpose. But all too often they are rendered useless due to the condition they are in.

My dad likes to go out to the beaches with his metal detector. He digs up some pretty cool things. One time, pretty recently actually, he was at the beach swinging away with his little beeping machine. A couple saw him and approached him in distress. “I lost my wedding ring!” says the wife of a concerned husband. And of course, my dad, who has the appropriate tool for the job, starts swinging left and right looking for it. Not too long after, he finds it, hands it to the wife and the couple lives happily ever after.

In this case, what was lost, was found. Still worth the same amount it was before it was lost… why? It didn’t have a chance to corrode. It didn’t have a chance to become deteriorated by its surrounding elements. It was strong enough to go through it’s little endeavor. That ring was lost for a very short time and was recovered. It’s purpose was reinstated. There was no loss.

I know for myself, my body definitely needed to recover from my many years of abusing Oxycontin. Railing cocaine from 8 at night to 8 in the morning. Sniffing what ever pill you had and I could find. Drinking myself into a lushified (not a word) state to attempt to reduce the depression. I abused my body, my mind and my soul. It took close to a year to recover and I thank God I am able to talk about it and share what I have gone through.

Unfortunately, not everyone battling with addiction gets to talk about their past. Not all addicts make it through the storm. I have lost a handful of friends to substance abuse in this past year alone. It’s horrible. Each one of them came to their own conclusion. Each one chose to fuel themselves to the point of self destruction. They didn’t get a chance to become restored. They corroded too quickly. The elements engulfed them. Their mind, body and soul were compromised. What they were; strong, intelligent, courageous, adventurous… was quickly brought to an end. Their purpose was consumed. They were brought to a level where they could not be restored.

If you are reading this, you or someone you know has a chance to become restored. It’s not too late. Becoming restored takes time and perseverance. Restoration involves cleaning. Fixing what is broken. Installing new parts that are missing. Refinishing the surface. Rebuilding the internal components. Revitalizing, rehabilitating, reconstructing and so on.

If you have breath, you have a chance at a whole new life. A life where you do not have to live broken down and corroded.
That toy car I found had lost its value. You have it in you to gain your value. Do not let yourself go and lose your purpose. Do not give up! Become restored through the One who is calling you! Feeling like a ton of bricks is on your back? Like you’re surrounded by dirt and can’t get out? Feeling weathered and beat up, have no strength to move on? Feel like a beat down, worn out, useless piece of junk? WELL YOU’RE NOT.

Become free, become renewed, restored through Jesus Christ. The Way, the Truth and the Life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
Yes, a popular verse and a very important one. It’s about restoration. About not wasting away. Becoming new.
Another relevant verse is “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
You mean if I just accept Christ in my heart, I become a new creation, just like that? Yes! Just like that! It’s free, no one is going to call you for additional sales pitches, no “hey, not only will you get a new life, you also get a chance to get a new car!”, none of that.

I know for me, God has been calling me for years. I used to dip my toes into the water, but never just jumped right in. Today, I’m swimming… come on in!

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10