Recovery and relapse

I had a friend relapse yesterday and this morning I am reading chapter 7 in the NA Basic Text. My old sponsor used to have me read it every time I relapsed or whenever friend I cared about relapsed.

It is an amazing bit of writing. The last paragraph on page 80 is me… in fact I’m all over this chapter.

It wasn’t enough to see my friend coming down from a three day binge on meth… I knew I didn’t want to be in that same position but reading this chapter is reinforcing that I was in fact about to go out. All the signs were pointing to a relapse for me.

I’m writing this even before I finish the chapter… I’m only on page 81 and I had to stop reading because I felt a spiritual experience come over me. The answers are truly in the writing and I just need to refer to it more often.

SIDE NOTE:  Hanging out with this guy yesterday was so good for me… it was the reminder I needed of the consequences of using… sure, it can be fun and all of the things I keep thinking it’d be, but his condition after a three day run was sad… super-twitchy and unable to sit still, feeling guilty and ashamed, hungry and tired…  I was grateful I could be there for him and even more so for the IRL experience of the downside of using… the fucking come-down.

My new favorite page.

I’m not used to this

It makes me feel uncomfortable when people are genuinely nice to me… when they care for reasons I can’t figure out.

I do this all the time… I go outside of my comfort zone when pain or my brain get too bad. I ask for help in a text or email and then dread a response… please ignore what I just said… everything is fine actually… oh fuck… you responded. Damn.

And I side-eye the response… a short skim of your message looking for something cringeworthy… not bad but kindness cringeworthy… it feels better when you either don’t respond or you give me something to be resentful about…

But nope… people send me shit I ask for and I’m supposed to respond but I get so uncomfortable with the level of care I just send back those damn thinking bubbles until I exit out of the message app altogether…

Here’s and example from today that’s got me writing…

See what I mean… ugh. I hardly know this guy and he’s so fucking nice… responded right away and dinner?

Honestly, I love that I have people like this to turn to. I can’t figure out shit on my own and it’s nice to ask someone who has been through the same dumb stuff as me and made it to the other side. It’s uncomfortable because of my own issues… it’s not him, it’s me… I still can’t get used to this feeling…

I have to go respond now… the bubbles have disappeared.

Perceived added value

I’m at my parents house helping out on a few household honey-do’s, doing my part as a loving son and keeping my status as all-time favorite offspring (sorry Becky ;0))… and as I wash my dad’s car, I can’t stop thinking about how much better/more fun this would be if she were here with me.

I write about my obsession because this is crazy… I’m washing a fucking car at my parents house and I want her here with me… as I’m washing the car, I’m having conversations with her… in my mind of course, I’m not crazy (ha.)… I can see her next to me laughing or conversing back and when I think… when I realize it’s not happening, washing the car becomes a chore… I get resentful for doing it and I’m mad at her for not being here…

These fantasies create added value to everything I do… until they don’t.  Riding my bike I eventually miss her and it becomes less fun. Driving/grocery shopping/working/whatever would be better with her here…

That’s the insanity of this obsession… I don’t see the same value in the activities I do by myself or even with other friends… not yet anyway… one day.

It Works: How and Why, pg. 14

Feeling blessed

Blessed is the best way to describe how I feel the past few days…

I have an opportunity that could be life changing and I get to ask others for help… I don’t have to do this alone and I am grateful for that.  I am using the tools and spiritual principles of NA to guide me to the right decision… I’m practicing acceptance, patience, open-mindedness, honesty, humility and surrender…

I am blessed to have friends in NA who care for me and want to help me in my recovery… who believe in me…  love you and thank you.

This is what surrender and acceptance looks like.

Speaker Tape: Dana M.

This one is kinda rough… it’s a hard listen to at certain points… the pain and circumstances she endured are valid reasons for using… to me anyway… I appreciate the amount of self-deprecating humor she includes to help this share not be so depressing.  She takes responsibility of her drug use and consequences and there is so much hope in her story… this one is in my top 5.

I relate to a few things specifically… at one point she mentions not knowing how things work and feeling small.  She said, “I can deal with most things, but the minute I feel vulnerable, all bets are off.”  That’s me… even when I think back to moments in my life where I felt small or dumb in front of someone… that physical sensation of flight/taking off where my stomach turns with shame and embarrassment… of course logically I know everyone makes mistakes, but I’m so worried about my self image and of you liking me, I can’t handle that potential strike against me…

At the beginning she talks about self-doubt and not trusting herself… yeah, thats me too.  It’s amazing how that creeps in and again, rationally, I know its not true, true but fuck me if I don’t have to go a few rounds with myself to push past it…

She speaks about NA and the fellowship and how its the only thing that makes sense to her… again, I relate.  I feel that today… it makes sense to me.

Anyway, these speaker tapes are the meetings in between meetings for me… they help me tap into my empathy for others… they help me stay open-minded and keep me from the self-pity of my musical selection of late.

 

Reading again

I started reading again… “It Works:  How and Why“.  I’m desperate for some relief today and I found a PDF of it on the internet and started reading… and it took me back to a couple of years ago when I was really, really trying this out for the first time and my sponsor, Baer, had me reading from this book every damn day… and I remember reading aloud in my empty house… no one but me in a 2000 sq. ft. home, only a couple of pieces of furniture left and my voice echoing in the living room… I paced back and forth in front of the windows and I’m sure the neighbors knew I had lost it by then…

This book goes deeper than the Basic Text and it took me reading it multiple times for some of it to sink in… “It Works” goes beyond the symptom of my disease… it assumes I know that drugs are an issue, but I have deeper, underlying issues with my addiction… it discusses the obsession and compulsion…

I am obsessed and therefore, I compulse… right?

I read chapter one again, on Step One and I started crying… I had forgotten the technicalities of my disease… it’s simple but it’s not… I was so grateful to be reminded that I suffer from obsession and compulsion, especially after the past few days to weeks…

This paragraph hit me the hardest today, because…

The spiritual part of our disease, the part we may recognize only by a feeling of emptiness or loneliness when we first get clean, is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of addiction for us. Because this part of our disease affects us so profoundly and so personally, we may be overwhelmed when we think about applying a program of recovery to it. However, we need to keep in mind that recovery doesn’t happen overnight for anyone.

my feelings of loneliness lead me to obsess and be compulsive.

So anyway, I’m in my room, reading aloud as I pace back and forth… it just feels right.

Identity: Depressed

Due to my inability to not show it, I’ve started to say it… come to terms with it I guess… admit it in hopes of changing it… I’m fucking depressed.

It still seems like it’s not a thing I should be concerned by… I don’t trust the signs that this is depression and not a drug related issue… fuck me. Still in a detox-like state… or…

If I would just surrender, fully admit I can never use drugs again, find and trust in a fucking higher power, get a sponsor, work the steps then all my depressive disorders would be addressed and I wouldn’t be a big mess like I am now.

I feel guilty for not surrendering and for outright fighting the notion of working a program… for not believing the literature or other addicts or history… I feel guilty for not trusting you or the process… for not accepting, it seems, my fucking fate…

I fight, therefore I am depressed… not the other way around. Every thought I have seems to bring about a Depressive response… it’s probably not every thought, but my mind is mostly in high gear analyzing and comparing everything to how it fits into a program.

I’m not trying to bash 12 Step programs… hell, I’m waiting for a NA meeting to start now… there is value for me in hearing other people share as it keeps me from thinking I’m the only one… but the fear I have moral inventories, trusting someone with my shit, believing in a higher power turns to guilt for having the fear and not pushing through.

Which leads to depression…?

I’m grateful I don’t want to use right now… I just want the depression to be gone… I just want to be Craig.