Back again and on an airplane from Cleveland Ohio to Ft. Meyers Florida, this happy occasion that I can enjoy now being sober. The amount of gratitude I feel for my life and the people that are in it is overwhelming; I wouldn’t trade this feeling for anything in the world.
So many of us that are relatively healthy don’t fully appreciate being able to wake up in the morning and not have to worry about withdraw on a daily basis. The freedom is astonishing, I been a slave to heroin for so long that normally before going to the airport I would have had to make last minute with a dope boy to get me well then brace myself for the long trip of feeling like shit while I’m trying to enjoy life.
Active addiction if you fly and are a man you can’t hide needles well or any drug, so I would get loaded before going and by the end of the night wherever I was my mind was only fixed on when I could get back home. I would run out of the plane when it landed to the nearest dealer I had set up before departing to alleviate my pain and mind.
A nightmare, so at the moment I am truly grateful to all that helped me so far and humbled by the goodness of people around me.
Even the woman I’m sitting next to had a nice brief conversation as we were talking off, and we talked the whole flight. These are the things that I notice I can do and feel happy and clear (even flying in the turbulence we are experiencing at the moment). With an attitude of gratitude and realizing how utterly wrong my outlook on not only my own life but society, in general, was completely wrong, there are genuinely good people everywhere you can go. We all want the same basic things in and out of life, and we are connected, young and old, in this moment of time.
This basis and the unexplainable way life and the people in your life appear and become part of yours is all the proof I need that a higher power exists and I was the biggest critic of that idea. So as I write on this 2 ½ hour flight, I wonder this, but also have a heavy heart from the news I heard today.
While I was in rehab at Matt Talbot (an intensive 60-day in-patient program that changed my life), I have already heard of people who were in there passing away from overdoses within weeks of getting out. This morning I head through facebook that our friend Jason S. died last night, and it hit me as it always does when someone you were friends with dies so young. So many good young men and woman between the ages of 18 to 45 and beyond are dying daily at an astronomical rate from opiate addiction. I lost my ex and dear friend Tonia in the same fashion, here today gone tomorrow, and the ones I feel for the most are the children of these people that have passed. Just because they could not quit and struggle with addiction does not mean they even remotely deserved to go this way, as for people who are cold and judgmental I know it’s hard. We all deal with stress differently, and death of a friend or especially a loved one is the ultimate pain, the only consolidation I can offer is that we all feel this way at one point, and we move on together. You are not alone, and their memory lives on within us.
It is a much different feeling when someone has had cancer as my Aunt Toni did for years and years, she died last April, and I had to sit and make the decision with my father to not allow them to cut her up more and pass away in relative peace. It was a hard moment but inevitable that she would pass away. Now the pain I felt when Tonia overdosed, was a whole other feeling (as I wrote on in my last post), losing a life so young and close to me was and still is devastating. Grudgingly I still write about it and her because it helps me cope with the pain, and when the pain is all I have left so it’s hard to let go. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone close to them from their addictions, there are so many “if’s” and “but’s” when we try to rationalize it in our minds, but it comes down to why do the details matter?
It won’t bring them back.
I digress and am sorry if I dwelled on this difficult topic, for me, I wish I could help and change what is going on in America and my hometown of Cleveland and the surrounding suburbs with the current opiate problem. Frankly, I’m not sure if it will ever change or get better, but I must do my part in promoting sobriety even without any experience besides being a failure for over a decade.
In memory of the ones I loved and lost I feel I’m indebted to those that helped me and I must somehow help. Patience and action during the practical application of spreading messages of hope without appearing to be a preacher. It is also harder for me to constantly focus on addiction and recovery subjects constantly, I don’t care what anyone says I need other things in my life as well. Balance always comes back to being a very powerful and reoccurring word, the same as recognizing is within the context of early recovery.
So how do I go about this most difficult task?
Well, I must be patient in whatever I do because I’m still and will always be working on myself let alone having time to focus on someone else. I can only give the examples of my own life and what has been working for me, plus how I perceive recovery and the step process of Alcoholics Anonymous. Despite people’s controversial approach to A.A. and others “extremism” within these various fellowships, it comes down to what works for the individual. What worked for me was following the steps pretty much to the best of my ability.
Chapter 7 of “Alcoholics Anonymous” is an excellent manual for breaking through and reaching out to other alcoholics and addicts even in present times despite the book published in the 1930’s.
12. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Such a broadly interpreted step of Alcoholics Anonymous, I believe this “spiritual awakening” on page 567-568 in the “Big Book,” is the clearest definition I can explain. Hopefully, you can flip through your book and give it a read to come up with your thoughts, ultimately that’s what matters. No one can tell you if you have had one or many of these “experiences” or what your particular beliefs are (or lack of beliefs), but I beg you to read the phrase at the end of this section (page.568) and understand it.
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation”
This amazing quote rings clear in my head, we all have a set belief in principles and ideas. Ultimately blocking us from completely being able to absorb and see the information we are taking in if we are set to believe one way or the other no matter if this information is contrary and opposite from our viewpoint.
How are we to learn if we are as stubborn as stone in all our beliefs?
Investigation of all in my mind and life is important for my program of recovery and spiritual growth. I’m far from perfect by all means, but I try my best to be accepting of others ideas and open to things that I don’t necessarily believe in, giving these ideas an honest, unbiased thought. Otherwise, I won’t progress and that I believe is the death of enlightenment.
I believe that the 12th step isn’t necessarily to mean sponsorship but can fall under the idea behind the step. I’m trying to in essence share my experience, strength, and hope, with another alcoholic/addict that is sick or suffering. Or other people in recovery just maintaining their sobriety, and living a life of good principles means that this message ultimately is just being a good person to me. It is not my job to preach; it is not my job to convert or stop someone from getting drunk or high, all I can do is share the way I stopped and reached the current point I’m in my life right now. I’ll remain open to share but in this specific time in history we are in no shortage of people looking for a way out of their misery, there are plenty of us to talk to and share what we have with you because someone out there has been through the exact things you have.
My main goal is simple.
Being happy in the life I was born with not needing to take an illegal drug. I’m a firm believer that if you are truly honest with yourself and that you want this cycle your in to stop, you don’t need me to convince you. But you will have a much easier time doing this with the help of others that have the experience to share with you, a and they want to it is part of their recovery. If your suffering from addiction and want to reach out do not be scared to ask, you’ll be helping whoever helps you more than you realize.
Thanks for reading