Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I did it My Way

I am someone who has always done things my way. I dont mean having things go my way, or work out in ways that are favorable to me I mean doing things how I would do them...my way. One of my favorite songs is Frank Sinatra's "My Way" were he talks about all the ups downs triumphs and regrets but that no matter what he did it his way. I do things my way too. The only problem with someone like me is that doing things my way usually gets me into a geyser of trouble, most specifically with chemicals. My way of dealing with what life gives me is to escape it and the fastest way for me to do that has always been with chemicals. Sure you can do it with money, women, food, gambling, reading, tv, music, some are just much more harmful than others. When I first was introduced to the idea of getting sober, the whole turn your will over, change people, places, things, none of this stuff worked with my way of doing things. I would do what I had to and it was good as long as I wasnt using substances. I than used other things such as women. Either way by doing things my way I ended up right back with the substances. This process went on as a miserable struggle for another 7 years before I started to listen to what people were telling me. My way of doing certain things sucks. I dont know how to live or be sober, I dont know how to love and respect women, I dont have a clue how to handle money, no idea how to be honest and faithful, no idea on how to treat people with respect. My way of doing things involves ways that screw me myself and I and anyone who cares about me over. Certain things I had to change.
Today my way of doing things can be seen in many ways, at the core of me there are things that can be difficult to change. On the other hand I am sober now and I do alot of that work by generally doing the opposite of what I would normally do. Feel like drinking...call someone, thinking of stealing...work harder, feel like hurting someone physically...walk away, feeling depressed...make a gratitude list, feel like not being honest....definitely tell the truth, buildin a resentment....let it go, see things one way...look for the other way, it is all about doing something different than my way. I havent used in 5 years, havent cheated on my current girlfriend who is the only woman I have never cheated on, most people would call me an honest genuine hardworking person which is not what you would have been told 5 years ago. The other thing is that I am much happier and stress free. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is humble yourself and admit that you dont know shit and you might want to try something different. If you had a clue how to be honest, you wouldnt lie, if you had a clue how to be in a relationship you would be in a happy one, if you had a clue how to get sober you would be. Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I have been there and today thankfully I dont have to. I see an awful lot of it and it always proves itself true. Real change comes from actual change. Frank said it best though:

And now, the end is near;And so I face the final curtain.My friend, Ill say it clear,Ill state my case, of which Im certain.Ive lived a life thats full.Ive traveled each and evry highway;And more, much more than this,I did it my way.Regrets, Ive had a few;But then again, too few to mention.I did what I had to doAnd saw it through without exemption.I planned each charted course;Each careful step along the byway,But more, much more than this,I did it my way.Yes, there were times, Im sure you knewWhen I bit off more than I could chew.But through it all, when there was doubt,I ate it up and spit it out.I faced it all and I stood tall;And did it my way.Ive loved, Ive laughed and cried.Ive had my fill; my share of losing.And now, as tears subside,I find it all so amusing.To think I did all that;And may I say - not in a shy way,No, oh no not me,I did it my way.For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught.To say the things he truly feels;And not the words of one who kneels.The record shows I took the blows -And did it my way!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January 2, 2004

My good friend wrote a very inspiring blog on the day he collected 5 years worth of one day at a time without a drink or a drug. I have been putting off writing something about this topic, and probably wont be able to say it in any different or more profound way but I feel that this is something to be shared and I have put it off for awhile.
On January 2nd, 2009, I myself reached 5 years of being clean. This is not something I like to acknowledge but it is also something that has been defining in my life and important to others as well. 5 years of being clean, not sober. Sobriety means many things to many people and to me it is a state of being, of character. Not what it says in the dictionary. For the first year or so of sobriety I was a miserable, sober, person....not who I am today. Sobriety today means that "my cup runeth over", life is really, really good. I was not planning on being alive this long and never had a desire to be a part of anything that I am doing today.
I battled with addictions to almost every drug you can think of. I aggressively abused drugs to the point that my body suffered at 18 years old with damage to my liver and stomach. I dropped out of school, was kicked out of my home several times and couldn't feel if I was dead or alive and to me it didnt matter. I hurt family, friends, and people I greatly respected....and didnt realize or care what was happening all around me. The most important part of my story was the people that God put in my life. I had a tough but loving family, had some real true friends, teachers and Pastors that stood by me. The only hope I had came from things that these people said or did during those times. I know God put them all there for me to be where I am today.
I had several relapses from the age of 18 until 21 and on January 2nd, 2004 I spent the first of these collection of days clean. There is no real epiphany there, or moment of clarity that is just when it stopped for that day and than another and another and here we are. It was never easy but once again God had the right people at the right time. A crazy girlfriend helped me realize that you can be just as miserable and insane even when you are not using which led me back, after fighting away for so long, AA. My first encounters at 13 and 15 didnt go so well. These things changed my life. Doing what people suggested, doing the opposite of everything I had ever done. I used to punch people in the face for looking at me funny and today I walk away from those situations. My whole life was running and escaping from feeling and dealing with reality as simple as it is. I still run at times, but not to things to kill me. I look at being clean as being on something because I was on something 24-7 for 11 years of my early life. Being clean is new and crazy in itself. I feel everything. I laugh harder, cry harder, love more passionatley, and breath deeper. My thinking has expanded and I hope to give this all back to many other people.
I got my GED and went to college, I have an associates degree in liberal arts and a bachelor degree in pyschology and religion and philosophy. Now I am working on a Masters degree in substance abuse and clinical psychology. I have a beautifull loving girlfriend who reminds me of how important all the small things that I never thought about really are. I have some of the greatest friends anyone could ask for and get along with my family for the first time ever. I also participate with school and counseling and help people. I have passions for things other than chemicals and criminal activity. The point being I dont even recognize who I was and how I lived. I dont know how I am alive and have these opportunities for things I dont understand I give it to God and do the next good thing. I do know that anything is possible for anyone out there. I am still strange, crazy, intense, and have moments of fear and resentment. I find hope in most things. My girlfriend asks me if I think about using or if I ever would again, and I do think about it, not as much but to this day it is my first thought or instinct, happy take some acid, sad have some coke, angry grab a drink, peaceful grab a joint, hyper grab some dope, I just dont act on it and feel pretty damn good about it. Eric Clapton is someone I greatly admire. When his son died the way he died, Eric didnt use. When I think of that I am blown away, and do not know if I could do the same, but there is my hope...that someone like Eric Clapton could do that....I can do that. Dont use no matter what life throws at you, somehow it does change and improve.
Being that this is something I dont enjoy writing I hope it didnt put you all out. I love life today and am grateful for everyone that impacted my life because I wouldnt have one without you. One day at a time....