The insanity that was my life in 2011…Part 1

I personally do not like to sit around and talk about old war stories. It always gets my gut twisted up and honestly brings on some serious depression. However, in some ways in can be therapeutic. We addicts and alcoholics speak our own language. As it says in the Big Book of A.A…

“But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours.  Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 18

Today I thought I would share a little about this past year. My life completely spiraled out of control and brought me to my knees finally in August. Earlier that year I was seeing a girl that was in recovery too. Our relationship was a total mess! We were not good for eachother and she has her own issues that hopefully she will work on. After one of our breakups I “twisted off” bad! I found myself taking alot of Dilaudid and drinking again of course. Dilaudid is a synthetic opioid, Hydromorphone. Its very strong and when you mix it with benzos or alcohol it can put you out permanently.

One day in particular I was over at a friends house off Riverside. I woke up in the morning with a couple of Klonopin and went straight over to my Dilaudid hookup, who was this sweet lady in her 50’s, sick right? I started with 3 and a friend and I headed straight to the bar at around 3 in the afternoon. All I can remember is the cocktail waitress kept coming over to check on me. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I was breathing very lightly. To give you an idea, look at me here, I look like I’m dead, because really in a way I was.

That right there is just a little chunk of reality. I remember back in September when I had finally gotten sober, I opened my email one day and saw this picture. It really freaked me out! I couldn’t believe that I ever got that bad! It really hit me hard.

This past year I have been in the hospital twice because of full blown black outs from alcohol.

I urge anyone that is having a problem to please seek help! I’ve known too many people who are casualties to this disease! The only way out is to change everything! Sounds pretty difficult huh? Well, it is, and it isn’t.

For me I was finally so worked over by this disease I was able to surrender and turn it over to God. Thats it! God came into my life and He gave the strength to overcome this!

I remember it used to scare me to think I couldn’t drink or use anymore! I didn’t know how to deal with life without it. I have to tell you with all sincerity that not only am I happier and healthier, but the rewards are incredible! I’m so grateful for what God has done for me and my family! (Yes this disease involves them too) Today I have a chance to work that Step 12. It’s all about helping others! Look at that picture! If you are struggling think about that picture and remember that if God saved a junky like me, trust me, he’ll save you too!

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A.A. and The Big Book

There are many many 12 step recovery groups out there. Everything from Gamblers anonymous to Overeaters Anonymous and just about anything that more than one person in the world is suffering from. I think it’s great! The 12 steps are based on Christian principles straight from the bible. This may spark some debate, but it is true.

I’ve noticed that to some people, Bill W.; The co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the man behind A.A.’s basic text, affectionately called “The Big Book” by A.A.’ers; is put on a somewhat undeserved pedestal. Now before you stop reading hold on. In my opinion and experience A.A. really does work, all of the A’s work, I’m focusing on A.A. because it was the first.

Bill Wilson was a little bit of a hard case. He was known to be a womanizer and a shrewd stock broker. However he had that personality, he knew how to get what he wanted out of life. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t quit drinking! Bill W. had a sudden and powerful experience with God, as described in the Big Book…

Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It
meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn
in all things to the Father of Light who presides over
us all.
These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but
the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric.
There was a sense of victory, followed by such a
peace and serenity as I had never know. There was
utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though the great
clean wind o f a mountain top blew through and
through. God comes to most men gradually, but His
impact on me was sudden and profound.

Alcoholics Anonymous p.14 Second Edition.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe Bill W. is given credit where it was not due. I know that doesn’t make sense to you, but hear me out. I have read the Big Book several times and I am fully convinced that a stock broker with only 6 months of sobriety could not have written it on his own. I am convinced that the Big Book was divinely inspired to get through to a bunch of self centered, know it all, hard headed drunks! I’m one of them, and I managed to find God! God wants us all to be with Him in eternity. God is so awesome that he reached down and impacted this man, Bill W., so intensely that a society was able to spring up and now millions have found there way out and have developed a relationship with God.

The Promises

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and selfpity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Alcoholics Anonymous p 83-84 fourth edition.

This book is written so well it hasn’t been changed since 1935! It has stood the test of time and brought millions to freedom and peace. I thank Bill W. For publishing this book, but more importantly I thank God!

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The great Stevie Ray Vaughn

This is interesting, below is a speech by Stevie Ray Vaughn, one of my favorite guitarist, at an A.A. convention. He’s got some great things to share. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

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Complacency

Complacency

noun \kəm-ˈplā-sən(t)-sē\

1
: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.

This morning as I was sitting outside enjoying my morning cigarette (yes, I still smoke, one thing at a time!) I was watching our Blue Heeler Cowboy running around in the front yard. Cowboy is known for getting out and running around all night hound doggin and who knows what else. As I was watching I noticed how free and completely content he is when he’s out front. He gets so comfortable that alot of times he’ll just sit in the middle of the road out front. This is a busy part of Tulsa so cars come by constantly. When one does pull up he just looks at them and watches them come within inches of ending his life.

Well that got me to thinking. He is comfortable out there, totally unaware that any danger might be coming, even if it does, he doesn’t seem to care. This is like the addict. When we are new in recovery we really don’t know what is going on in a way. Our brains are learning to work without the chemicals, what they call P.A.W.S, Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. If we are not careful we can end up putting ourselves in a very dangerous situation.

I remember a relapse I had a couple of years ago. A friend messaged me on facebook and asked what I was doing that night. I told her nothing and we made plans to go to a concert. I knew deep down that, being this early in my recovery, this was a possible hazard. I went anyway and convinced myself to have just one drink. Of course I didn’t stop after that, the old demon was back!

We must remain on guard for these temptations, among other things. We must or it kills us!

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My Higher Power

Deuteronomy 4:29

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Though I am a Christian and I declare that loudly and proudly daily, I must honestly show gratitude to Alcoholics Anonymous for opening the door to God. I was not raised in a church and I was not brought up with any religion. From what I could tell most of my family only believed that there might be some great creator out there. My Mother and her Mother, my Grandma, are the only christians I was around. In fact, before last year, I hadn’t been to a church service since I was 15, and that was just to see my then girlfriend get baptized.

In the fall of 2008 I got my first A.A. sponsor. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but he began guiding me through the steps the way he was. Step 4 is the infamous inventory step. This one is alot of work. I spent almost a month writing out my 4th step. First it was resentments. A “grudge list”. After that came a fear list. I wrote out over 60 things that I’m afraid of and why. When I got done with this section I called my sponsor. He said, “Alright Kevin, I want you to say this prayer for each one of these fears, ask God to remove that fear so you can better serve His will” Now, I was seriously a skeptic. I was agnostic, which means I didn’t believe in God, but I was open to the idea, if I had proof.

So I agreed and told him I would call him back shortly. I put my list in front of me and began to pray, my second real prayer of my life. I said the first one and was distracted because I left the T.V. on. I switched it off and continued. I said the prayer for my second fear, and wait a minute, I felt a little tingle come over a me. Nothing too significant but I felt it. I said that next one and again, I felt that tingle! I kept going down my list and each time that feeling got stronger and stronger. After about 5 or 6 of them, I was overwhelmed suddenly with an amazing sense of peace, and clarity of mind, and I was crying uncontrollably! I’m not a crier, and this sounds cliche, but it was a very good cry! You might think I’m crazy when I say this, but I literally felt hands on my shoulders as I prayed for God to take my fears away one by one. By the time I reached the last one I felt totally amazing!

I opened my eyes at the end, and my whole room was so bright! Everything looked bright and crystal clear and beautiful! My energy, wow! I was full of some kind of energy that I’ve never felt! I ran around the house gathering up my roommates and told them to come outside with me. I shared what happened and told them that A.A. really works. Haha! I had no idea that it was actually, The Holy Spirit! A.A. just opened the door for me to come to God! Today, I am saved! God is awesome!

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Benefits of Sobriety

My family means the world to me. My little sister is my very best friend, the person I’m closest to, and with whom I feel comfortable confiding in. My sister has 3 kids and those kiddos love their “Uncle Kevy”. When I go to Oklahoma City to visit, they literally attach themselves to me. Its pretty funny actually, and incredibly wonderful. I can honestly say that I would do anything in the world for my sis and her kids.

In the past, while lost in my addiction, I did everything in the world to hurt them all. Not on purpose really, but that lifestyle is a very selfish lifestyle. It doesn’t matter who you need to walk over to get what you want, you just do it. Like a freakin zombie, you just go and go and go, mindlessly.

My niece, who is the oldest of the 3 kids, loves me dearly, as I do her. In a few years she will be in middle school, they grow up quick! One of the things that took me a long time to let go of, was the fact that on more than a few occasions, she has seen me get totally crazy from the drug use and alcohol. She has seen me and her Dad get into fights. She has just seen too much, no kid should be around that. I had to learn to let go, and live a new way if I really wanted to be a positive influence in her life.

Today, she only looks at me as her uncle, someone who would never let her down.
My mother and my step dad have also been put through the wringer by my disease. I’m so grateful to God that today, after everything I did, they trust me again. God is real and he does work miracles! They trust me in their home, they know in their hearts that I will not use them, or lie to them anymore.

What am I ultimately saying here? If people get sober they automatically get everything back, including the people they’ve wronged? No! It takes time for wounds to heal and some of this damage cuts very deep. What I am saying, is that through a higher power, humility, honesty, open-mindedness, love, and spiritual growth sobriety is possible. Having sobriety brings a stable life with less chaos than while using. A stable life puts you in a position to help others, helping others brings you closer to God, and God opens the door for a life of happiness. And that, is why I’m sober.

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Drug Replacement Therapy

When I was growing up, I always felt a little different. In social situations I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. I felt alone. When I was 16 I tried alcohol for the first time, and I tried it because everyone else was doing it. It instantly gave me courage, made me feel smarter, and filled the hole, temporarily, that was in my soul. My low self esteem and genetic predisposition doomed me to years of filling the void in my heart with alcohol and various chemicals. It’s no wonder that the idea of living totally sober without my spiritual crutch, actually scared the hell out of me.

At 17 I tried opiates for the first time. All I took was 3 Tylox’s but I had found my true love. I felt a warm rush of euphoria, and felt confident and just perfect in all of life’s situations with this stuff. I had arrived, or so I thought

It’s no wonder that years later, when I desperately wanted to stay sober after detox, I found myself searching for a legal replacement. I began to plot on scamming Doctor’s for narcotics, out of being just totally desperate and anxious all the time. Before I go any further, I will say this…Replacement therapy IS NOT the answer! It is just that, replacement, another crutch!

The first thing I tried was Suboxone “Therapy” Here’s the definition of therapy.
therapy [ˈθɛrəpɪ]
n pl -pies
(Medicine)
a. the treatment of physical, mental, or social disorders or disease

SUBOXONE/SUBUTEX

Buprenorphine HCL/naloxone

This stuff is horrible! The first two days I was on it I felt great! I got that warm opiate high and I was feeling no pain!  The Doctor I went to gave me 3 pills a day, that’s 24 milligrams of buprenorphine per day. For those of you that don’t know, Buprenorphine is, are you ready?….36 times more potent than Morphine!  What the?! It works as a partial agonist on the opiate receptors responsible for the euphoria. As I said, the first 2 days were great. After that I had the usual irritability and apathy that come with chronic opiate use. When I say irritability, I mean I didn’t want to see you, be around you, nothing. I became a total loner. I craved real opiates  the whole time I was on it, which is what it is specifically marketed to help with. This stuff made me extremely sick when I quit taking it, and of course I went back to normal opiates. I’m not going to tell anyone what to do, but I recommend everyone stay away from this stuff. It is not the answer!

METHADONE HCL

This is the classic replacement therapy for opiate addicts. It was once used for Heroin addicts only but not anymore. I was able to get into a clinic by faking withdrawals, seriously. I’m not gonna tell you how because again, this is not the answer! Methadone is extremely potent! Let me say that again, extremely potent! This stuff is so potent it is almost poison! I got up to 95 mgs per day for only 7 dollars a day. I was high all the time! When I tried to quit, my God, I was SICK! The full blown opiate withdrawal lasted over a month. I had to take Benzo’s like candy and drink vodka just to be able to get out of bed. Everything hurt, my hair even hurt! This stuff is evil. It feels supremely great, at first, but soon you are trapped and without it, you cannot function. Anything that feels that good is always bad. I’m telling you, stay away from it!

There are many replacement therapies out there. Smokers take Chantix to quit. People take Benzodiazapines like Xanax and Valium to cope with life. Millions of Americans take anti-depressants for this same reason. Although some of these are great for certain situations, many people that take them do not need them. It’s a crutch for some.

I can tell you one thing for sure, I am a full blooded, deep down in the soul, horrible addict. I choose to chase God today with all my heart. Today I am addicted to spiritual growth rather than the easy fix of putting something on top of my emotions. Today I am happy, joyous, and free. From my experience, if you are struggling with any of this, please, find a higher power, mines God, you can borrow him if you want. Find yours, and surrender! Let go of the ego and pride and humble yourself a little. It can happen, sobriety is not only possible but it’s free!

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