BiPolar???

So with the loss of Robin Williams to suicide I like many millions of Americans am saddened by this. But I am also scared shitless by it. I identify with Robin Williams. I have been to the deep dark unshaven, sleep all day, don’t bother getting dressed depressed places. I have seen the world through the dark side of the prism.

But I always held out hope.

I always knew thing would change eventually. And that even doing was better than doing that.

Suicide: A permanent solution to a temporary problem. Its all about hope. Im afraid of one day my hope running out. One day in the far off distance, maybe in 30 years when Im 63. who knows. Who knows how my brain chemistry will react. The damage I have done to brain and the recent realizations that there is permanent damage done. That I will never ever be normal. I will never be a happy go lucky asshole.

I have recently come to the conclusion that I am BiPolar. My moods swing with the winds. I was diagnosed years ago but never bought into it. Now Sober for a little bit of time and with the help of people who specialize in mental illness I am able to see my behaivor patterns and see when I get whacky.

It is an on going battle with my meds. I am not sure what I need. Talk therapy, a psychiatrist, or just an old fashioned ass kicking. Even though i know i am not well mentally there are times I still think I am normal and should just “Man up”. There is no easy way out. No simple answer for me. I have to face certain truths if I am going to be able to survive in this world. One of those truths is I AM NEVER GOING TO BE NORMAL! and thats ok. Just for today thats ok.

So goodbye Robin Williams. I see through the same set of eyes. I know how you viewed the world and I thank you for slapping me in the face and showing me just how dangerous and volatile this thing is.

Thats it. Thats my ramble these are my thoughts!!

 

 

 

Inside the Mind of a Relapse

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Today we are going to look into the mind of the most feared aspect of recovery. The relapse. They say in the program that relapse is apart of recovery but it doesn’t have to be apart of yours. Its funny because I’m looking online researching relapse and it occurs I’m already an expert at it. I’ve relapsed more times than I can count. It is also said that the relapse really starts way before I pick up a drug. In my experience this is true most of the time.

When I talk about recovery or clean time or sobriety I usually mean the AA/NA version of sobriety which is not just abstinence. It’s a being a better person and living a clean life in all aspects of your life. No cheating or stealing or lying. AA teaches that once you clear away the wreckage of the past you have to be careful not to make new wreckage. So you have to live by a code. A moral code that is yours and yours alone. Much like a higher power of your choosing you need to be able to live with your choices.

Relapse is a sneaky son of a bitch. It creeps up on you, it starts with little speck of thought about using, no scratch that it doesn’t start with any thought about drugs or getting high.  It’ll hit you with something innocuous. Something like its ok to spread a rumor about someone because they don’t like you anyway. Or something may  happen, the death of a loved one maybe. These things will happen and if everything is going as planned you’ll use your support system, pick up the telephone and call someone. But maybe you don’t maybe you just sit and stew or pretend it doesn’t bother you and maybe that time it doesn’t and your ok. Maybe it happens a few times and you remain alright..But eventually that one time something happens and a click goes  off in the addicts head. Some kind of gear that’s constantly turning always trying to fit its teeth in a spline. And then the whole process is able to start. Slowly at first. Now something’s wrong but you might not even know it is. You go around like everything’s normal and meanwhile there’s a piano ready to fall on your head.

One thing, for me that will happen before any physical manifestation occurs is Ill start telling myself stories. Mostly about myself. About what a piece of shit I am. How I’m a no good thief, liar, cheater, adulterer. Whatever. My self esteem dips into the toilet. Again, it happens slowly. But if you don’t like yourself its much easier to hurt yourself. Feelings of inadequacy and stupidity. Feeling awkward in social situations. These are all emotional signs of relapse for me.

Next is my meetings. I’ll reel back on my meetings. I usually go to 4-5 meetings a week but when getting off of work I start thinking “ehh I don’t need a meeting tonight, I’m too tired. I can start cutting back now after all I’ve got a whole year sober.” So I don’t go to a meeting Monday and now Tuesday I get the same thoughts. So now I’ve only gone to  2 meetings that week. I’m not happy with myself. I’m stressed out because I’m messing up at work and I haven’t told anyone about any of it. For addicts secrecy is synonymous is with death. I stay up in my head for too long and I really start to believe my own bullshit.

Me personally when I’m using I’m a thief. Nothing is safe. I will steal your wallet and help you look for it. Not so when I’m sober. I’m a naturally good and caring person who helps people not hurts them. But when I’m teetering on a relapse I notice some bad thoughts in my head. I find my self tossing a candy bar into my pocket without paying for it.  And then totally rationalizing it away. For me that’s a sign that I need to get somewhere and talk to someone. I now after years of trial and error know my own signs.

If I’m allowed to go on unabated and don’t tell on myself relapse is right around the corner because now I’m really telling myself that I’m a scumbag and with no one to disagree with me because I’m not only believing it but I’m starting to dwell on all my short comings.

The only thing left for me to do now is pick up a drug or a drink. I don’t always go right to my drug of choice Heroin sometimes its been alcohol. But one drink is a slippery surface. It will eventually, at some point in the future, lead me to sitting in my bathroom with a needle in my arm. Its been proven time and time again.

Now that I’ve relapsed the whole cycle gets to start all over again.  Depending on how bad it is dictates my next move. I’ve had one day relapses where I can go back to a meeting the next and tell everyone I relapsed and reset my clean date. I’ve also done it while in AA and continue to go to meetings like everything’s ok. Unable to face the shame of a screw up. I continue to use and life deteriorates only now the hiding is upping my stress level so I’m twice as unstable now. Going along only until I hit some sort of bottom again.

I’ve relapsed where I stop going to meetings and give up on recovery, burn my copy of the big book and all AA related material and just live my life getting high. Not caring who knows about it. I have sustained this lifestyle for a good amount of time and for this option my bottom needs to be really low. I have to lose my job, my apartment. Friends need to go their separate ways from me and family members have to be disgusted. Even then I can still run. What gets me into recovery when things get that bad? A miracle. When I’m that deep in a hole and feeling like that big of a piece of shit I don’t want to get better. There was a time when I wanted to die. But I wouldn’t kill myself because I still wanted to get high. This is true drug addict, junkie, alcoholic hell. Where life takes on an almost liquid like quality. Feeling like I may burst in flames at any moment from all my sins.

I have been very lucky. For many recovery reasons and many personals ones. The miracles, and I’ve only seen 1 or 2 in my lifetime, seem to come when I’m ready for them. I just always give them back. I forget how bad it gets. How bad I get. I forget that sobriety is truly a great thing for a drug addict who isn’t using. But if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.

Seriously you just gotta keep trying to get straight over and over. If you slip, pick yourself up and keep it moving. Disregard the jackass when they bust your balls about hopping in and out of sobriety. Do what’s best for you.

Hope This Helps

 

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Alcoholism Disease or Moral Failure?

Is alcoholism a disease? I recently watched a south park episode where Stans dad gets busted for drunk driving and has to go to AA meetings where he’s told he’s an alcohlic and that it is a disease.  Being a hypocondriact Stans dad takes this way too literally, he thinks he needs a miracle to be saved.He thinks he finds one in a statue of the virgin Mary bleeding out her ass. When the statues shoots blood on him he thinks hes cured. Anyway, through out the episode the shows creators repeatedly try to convey the message that alcolism is not a disease abd that all the alcoholics at AA had to do was to simply drink less.And use some will power.

Heres the link: http://beta.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s09e14-bloody-mary

Its clear that the creators know nothing about addiction and are obviously not addicts themselves. I can understand that. I can also understand that they are writers of a comedy show and need to make fun of something but when regular people with no stake in this thing argue adamantly that alcoholism is not a disease but an issue of will power I just wonder why they care so much. What is it to them if its classified as a disease or just a phenomenon of the human experience.

So whats the answer? Is it a diesease? Now I dont want to mislead anyone I have no kind of medical training other than any research Ive done online and what I have been taught in my impressively extensive list of rehabs and treatments centers. I have taken in all this information and made some decisions based on common sense.

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Alcoholism has been characterized as a disease by many medical institutions. The definition of a disease is that it is Primary, Progressive, Chronic and sometimes Fatal if untreated.

Primary:

Definition: a disease that arises spontaneously and is not associated with or caused by a previous disease, injury, or event, but that may lead to a secondary disease.

This means that it must be treated before any other illness may be taken care of. Such as an alcoholic with alcoholic diabetes; it is pointless to treat the diabetes before the alcoholism.Alcoholism can cause many other diseases.  Liver disease, heart disease, problems with the pancreas and many other issues.

Progressive:

Definition:Progressive disease is a term that describes a disease that is progressing, or worsening. With lung cancer, progressive disease is defined as at least a 20% growth in the size of the tumor or spread of the tumor since the beginning of treatment.

In other words you start out healthy and clear headed but as the disease progresses and the alcoholic drinks more and more bodily systems start to become effected and worsen in a predictable pattern.

Chronic:

Definition: A disease that persists for a long time. A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear

I think you get that.

Fatal:

Definition: Causing or capable of causing death.

If you dont stop drinking and you are a true alcoholic or drug addict you will most likely die from it.

This is how I was taught the disease theory of drug addiction and alcoholism. I found a few pages that may be helpful.

http://www.abletochangerecovery.com/articles/disease-of-addiction.html

http://www.mentalhealthminute.info/primary-progressive-chronic-and-fatal/

http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/info2/a/aa022697.htm

Alcoholism – A Chronic and Progressive Disease

The whole thing is really subjective and it depends on what we will consider an alcohlic.  You’ll get someone who says “alcoholics can stop anytime they want to, my cousin was an alcoholic and he stopped cold turkey and hasnt touched a drink since”

To them I say maybe your cousin wasnt an alcoholic. Thats where the biggest problem comes from. The word alcoholic gets thrown around alot. If someone has some problems with alcohol they quickly get branded an alocholic. Some people are just problem drinkers.

This page explains it very well

To me the biggest symptom of a true alcoholic is that it causes you to do things that you don’t want to do. When it has taken over your life and has become the central focus of everything you do. If you have a job interview tomorrow and you tell yourself your not going to drink tonight but you do and you drink too much, guess what? You may be an alcoholic. You still might not be if you can stop tomorrow. But if it continues to happen over and over…

And an alcoholic will eventually drink, it may take years but eventually it will happen. We do not follow people 25 years to see if they take that drink. Plus Alcoholics are professional liars we manipulate loves ones and will hold onto a lie till the end. Shame causes us to lie. We want our loved ones to think we are doing good and that we are ok. So we lie. We tell people we havent had a drink or a drug and that theres nothing wrong with us. Even when there is.

Plus now the drug court system has thrown a real wrench into the mix by putting anyone with a DWI, who may not neccasarily be an addict, into treatment with mandatory AA meetings and are labeled alcohlic.They even put drug dealers in treatment. People with no drug problems other than the fact that they sling drugs. Not everyone in drug or alcohol treatment is an addict.

I also wonder whats the big deal if someone needs to believe that they have a disease in order for them to feel better about themselves or their lives I say let them go and do it. I dont believe in a God persay. But when I hear people say that their God saved them and has helped with their drug addiction I say horay for them. If thats what they need to get through the day sober and happy then good for you. If it worked for me I would be doing it as well. It comes down to peoples vindictive behaivor. Wanting to see other people fail or not get better so they can feel better about their own shitty little lives. We’re all guilty of it to some extent or another.

So to answer the question is it a disease? Personally I whole heatedly believe it is. Medical professionals agree with me. It fits the diagram for a disease. But like everything we have a choice to believe them or not.

So what do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Thanks

My why

I have been agonizing over what to write about in my first blog post. Of course I’m going for a recovery/addiction theme but there are so many things but then I thought about it and decided to keep it simple(yup!) and just tell you guys why I’m here. Why I’m doing this thing that comes so unnatural to me. Its so against everything I have stood for for almost 20 years. Drugs have been my best friend, my mistress, my dirty little secret that of course was not a secret. I used on occasions of great joy and I used on occasions of great sadness. So this begs the natural question why would I abandon something that has been such a big part of m y life? And the answer is simple,

I don’t want to die

You see I am that special type of addict who doesn’t know when to throw in the towel(aren’t we all). I want better drugs, better purity, faster routes of administration I want it all  and when I start I don’t want to stop.

I call myself a heroin addict but that’s only because that’s the drug that brought me to my knees. But truth be told I will take anything that’s on the table. My drug of choice changed with the season. But when I found opiates oh boy here we go!! The world took on a shine, a hue that I had never seen before not even on acid. Everything was ok. I was a strong confident man who could handle anything and was afraid of nothing. Life was good. Opiates allowed me to be the person that I thought I wanted to be. But it was all a sham. A bait and switch. My new persona just melted away and I turned into a worse version of myself. Someone I do not like and am not happy with his actions.

I had a job that paid for my habit, I was just munching some pills after work and on weekends. I didn’t even know what the word withdrawal meant. So when one day when I went to work feeling a little under the weather it didn’t even occur to me that it was the pills. And when I scored later, after work and felt better I just attributed it to the magical potion we call oxycodone.

Things started to deteriorate slowly at first. The stealing was occasional. I was still making it to work on time and everyday. But then one day, a day that at the time felt completely insignificant but turned out to be a life changer. The day I met the needle. Whoa to the needle I say you are an evil little invention so tiny in stature but so large in consequences. From then on I was truly trapped. Any drug I did went into that syringe. I was crushing up pills, emptying out capsules, dissolving coke, mixing bath salt. My life was that needle. If I could have gotten a hamburger to dissolve in a spoon I would have shot it.

Now it got serious. I was shooting bath salts(the most dangerous thing I’ve ever come across) and heroin, or oxy’s or suboxone or any opiate. Sleep was a memory. I was up for a week at a clip. Lost my job but that didn’t stop me. At my job I was stealing from anyone and anything that crossed my path. Now unemployed not as much crossed my path. So I had to resort to stealing from friends and family(I know, I know, I’m a scumbag). Causing me to lose some really good friends not just drug buddies but real people who had my back when the shit got thick.

I’m a wreck, arms looking like pin cushions. 95 degrees outside and I gotta wear long sleeves. The hallucinations start. I m terrorizing my poor mother, leaving needles to be found around the house. life is slipping away from me as I contemplate suicide. The reason I didn’t kill myself is not the usual. I had such a desire to get high that I didn’t want to die cuz I still wanted to use. The addiction was that deeply ingrained in me. It was my master and I was its slave.

One night god smiled on me. I was getting ready to go to my third rehab of the summer. I was fixing a shot of Bath salts and I guess I put a little too much in the spoon because when I shot it I noticed immediately something was wrong. Instantly a strong bitter metallic taste appeared on my tongue. My left side went numb briefly. My heart rate was JACKED and I was scared. I woke up my Mom and told her to call an ambulance.

We went to the hospital and I was treated like a real piece of shit. The doctor told me I was wasting the services of the EMT’s that I should just leave. He treated me but he did so in a very unprofessional manner.

In that OD something happened, something changed I felt confident about getting sober. I felt I could actually do it. Like the world wasn’t the black cloud I had been living under. I was physically ok, mentally strung out but spiritually I was changing.

I went to rehab the next day as planned. Spent 4 month in treatment and then another 9 months in a 1/2 way house. Unfortunately life doesn’t always have a happy ending. A month after celebrating a year I relapsed. There were reasons and there were no reasons. It is what it is. I got high. Stayed on the streets for a week or so just using and jumped around crisis centers and detoxes until I found another rehab. Yes another rehab, I know, I know. This was the illustrious St Joes in Saranac Lake NY. Supposed to be the top of the line of Medicaid rehabs in NY.

What can I say? I came out of St Joes and relapsed again. Shooting Dope, you know how it goes. When I get the bug in me its not easy to suppress it. Sometimes you just have to let it run its course. Sometimes though you die. Which is what has happened to an extremely large number of people in the past year. We are in the middle of an epidemic and I’m in danger of becoming another statistic. When I was younger I had dreams for my life, I wanted things. But this lifestyle  doesn’t really afford much. I got a place to sleep and a mother who still after all that I put her through has my back. I’m 17 days sober today. I know that this thing is not a joke. I know that I am going to be ok and I know that I can do this if I really try. The same goes for  everyone else.

Well that’s my story. That’s my why. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you got any similarities or identified with any of it.

Thanks

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