I am not only an addict, I have been in relationships with many addicts. All addicts, in fact. When I think about it I have to assume I was looking for enablers. I don't want to say misery loves company because let's face it, it wasn't always miserable. Straight up my top ten experiences and best times ever were in these relationships during times we were using and drinking. Now I settle for having good experiences more often instead of raging experiences few and far between, but I do not wish to shut the door on those! Hell no. Anyway, my kid's dad is still using meth and still on the streets. I'm having to deal with yo-yo rehabs and chronic relapses and also his mother who puts pressure on me to bend to his requests.
Once upon a time in the early days of his recovery I thought I could manupulate or control the outcome. What if I let him see the kids? What if I don't? What if I fly him out to where I am at? What if he lived with us? Should I talk to him? Should the kids talk to him? Should we turn our backs on him? It took me a long time to figure out that nothing I do matters in the scope of his treatment. This is why they say that when one person in the family is sick, everyone is. There is a ripple effect when your efforts or lack thereof don't have the desired effect. Resentment rises up and ego's get destroyed. Blame gets thrown around because everyone is frustrated. The addict now has ammo to run off of, the shame from family, the fact that they didn't let them see the kids or didn't let them see the kids enough, the feeling like they can't ever please anyone. The family in turn gets frustrated once again by the addicts reaction and turns on eachother because the addict is out running again. I've come to understand the codependent cycle as very similar to the cycle of the alcoholic/addict. The beginning of that cycle is the rescue/savior complex. Feeling gung ho about swooping in and helping the addict. Then the letdown when, despit all of our efforts, the addict fails. Finally, the swearing off thinking "I'm never doing that again". Sometimes this drive can be just as powerful as having a drink. I NEED to help, if I don't help they will die. It can be very hard to surrender.
I've now taken the advice of support groups and al-anon, I've let go. There are endless avenues of support for addicts that want to get better, all they have to do is walk in most of the time. I've realized that my help is nt really helping him. When you do the work for an addict many times they feel they are in the waiting room to get back to their regularly scheduled bender (I know this from experience). That initial drive to get help is something that is very important to their recovery so if they miss that step, the initiative, they just don't want it. The next best advice I received..you can't help someone that doesn't want it.
Haha, I love AA humor. It's cheese, but at the same time when you have an inside joke that only two heroin addicts understand, how not dark can it be? One of my favorites is the overused saying...I got the monkey off my back, but the circus is still in town. Every time someone says this I can hear the merry-go-round music do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do and imagine the wheels spinning. The planning, the cover ups, the scrambling, the hustling. Then the realization "Shit, wha?" I'm still fucking nuts. I'm not using anymore and yet I'm still trying to score fucking gift cards or fake a stamp on my frequent coffee card. Steal perfume samples at Macy's. I used to hustle for coke, now I'm trying to talk the guy at Goodwill into marking down these shoes after I pocketed the laces. The circus is not only in town, it's syphoning electricity from the meter at the carnival.
No fronts is another one. A person only has the sober time that they have in that moment and yet most addicts at one point or another will say I'll have four year next week. Then some old guy will yell in the meeting "No fronts". What does this mean? It means we're all burned out on fronting a bag to someone cause addicts are full of shit. Anything other than money in hand is a pipe dream. These old guys really seem to get a kick out of saying it too. This is just an endearing way of saying "you're full of shit".
Check Out These AA Options During Corona Virus Shut Down
Need to talk to someone about cravings, but you're socially, environmentally, mentally or transportationally challenged (I mean esp. with this Corona Virus Outbreak)? Here's a few suggestions.
* REDDIT - Register with Reddit and you have a whole forum of not just alcohol and drug based threads, you have pretty much anything you can find. I'm a moderator on the Sherry Papini subreddit because when I want to have a drink I go try and solve kidnappings. There is a r/Roastme subreddit if humorous trolling brings about your flavor of catharsis. There's r/alcoholicsanonymous if you want to go talk to someone about what you are feeling, someone will surely help you.
* CYBER SOBER- Some sites are just for people needing help and some of these sites you can actually register, pay a fee and they will sign off on your court ordered stuff. Isn't that amazing? Honestly, if you don't have people up front and personal calling you on your shit I don't know how long your sobriety is going to last and how long sites alone work. Pray tell if you've had that solitary experience. Here are a few of the websites and directories I have found:
* PHONE A RANDOM - If you call intergroup which is the main AA hub for telling you where meetings are you'll get a volunteer whose job is to be of service to those who need directions or a listening ear. You can look up intergroup in your area for the exact number.
* ONLINE CHAT - These are less formal than the meetings where there is curriculum. With the meetings you have to wait until a specific time and follow the meeting format, here you can just go and get a load off your chest. I Just found this one https://stepchat.com/chat/room1.htm. I'm gonna try it out, I'll let you know how it goes.
1. Smack it out of their hand and scream, "Are you trying to kill me?!"
2. Put on a white glove, take the wine by the stem, turn the glass upside down, turn it right side up, hand it back, take off the white glove and walk away.
3. Spit in it and tell them "I don't want this anymore it has spit in it."
4. Smack it out of their hand and scream, "I'm an alcoholic you idiot!"
5. Run away.
6. Simply tell them you are a proud alcoholic and that you stand by your choice not to have a drink. Go off on a rant of all the ways your life has changed for the good since you stopped drinking. Ask if they think they might have a problem. Tell them if they need help you'll be available to talk and that they should get a higher power immediately. They will never offer you a drink again.
7. Make sheep sounds every time they try to hand it to you. "Baaaaahhhhh, baaaaahhhhhhh."
8. Sneeze and then say, "I'm actually allergic to alcohol."
9. Smack it out of their hand and scream, "I choose life! I choose freedom! I choose abstinence!"
10. Simply say, "No thank you, I'm good."
War stories are drinkin' stories that supposedly aggrandize or romanticize or minimize alcoholism. We're not supposed to tell them, but I'm far from that kind of thinking so here goes one of mine. I'm not trying to live 100% by the book (the blue one). I hoped to make recovery a little bit lighter through poking fun of myself and the culture of recovery. If I can't have fun, I'm just not gonna do it is what I've learned. This is the first story of my "WAR STORIES" series.
MEETING KINKY FRIEDMAN, WRITER OF "KILL TWO BIRDS AND GET STONED" ON COKE.
I was travelling to Austin, Texas with the Salt Lake SLAM team with the full intention of performing some of my own poems. I wasn't on the team...I had made it past two rounds in the try-outs and got so drunk in between that I never showed up for the last round. I was invited as a dishonorary guest and because the guy renting the RV had a hard on for me. I, unfortunately, had a hard on for Nate who was invited as kind of the equivalent of a poetry rodeo clown. At the time I was working for a popular hotel chain and ended up staying at a much nicer hotel than any of the actual real poets which caused some contention (along with the fact that I was bloody drunk off of bloody Mary's the whole 23 hour trip). The hotel had a bar and some other features that I can't quite recall.
One night Nate and I had jumped ship on the SLAM tour and gone out to drink along sixth street. On the way home we were approached by a guy named Ian who offered us some drugs and to take us up to the twentieth floor of the office building where he worked. Evidentally the place he worked at was an architectural firm with tiny model buildings that we used to snort lines off of with what seemed like a never ending bag.
Nate, Ian and I stayed up all night on the balcony ad-libing lyrics and making up horrible Irish diddy's. When the sun came up we went to a Starbucks to sit drunk, high and stoned on the outside patio and sip lattes. Then Ian started telling us about 9/11 and how he saw the towers go down. He also said that he would love to see Nate and I make love to eachother (which we hadn't even done yet) and we both looked at eachother a little freaked out and "No". That's when I got up to refill my coffee and saw the news inside. They were with a guy in black who I didn't recognize (although I had read his book --- which was like a 200 page war story) and I asked him if he was Johnny Cash.
So somewhere out there is video footage of me with runny mascara, high AF shaking Kinky Friedman's hand on the news and asking if he is Johnny Cash.
Happy to announce I have met someone in my life that I've started to develop feelings for. Terrified to announce that I have met someone in my life that I've started to develop feelings for.
The good news is that I feel over the edge with excitement. I try to hold back from checking the messages on my phone every time it dings thinking it might be him checking in. Patterns of mine rise to the surface like fat on water, like this is the chemical reaction I can just expect given the ingredients I'm working with. The let down when its not him leading to doubt and neurotic inner dialogue. I know it sounds dramatic, it FEELS dramatic. These are the things a co-dependent feels in the beginning. I hate that word "Co-dependent". By all appearances I am independent. I've been alone a good deal of my adult life. Leaving home at 17, renting my own apartment downtown Salt Lake City at 20 and now raising kids completely by myself including financially and every which way. And perhaps that alone time makes my relations burst. When I suddenly latch onto some poor schmuck my seams are coming apart and I data dump on them telling them everything about myself as quickly as possible. I know that this hopeful attachment leads nowhere good, however the more I feed into it...the better it feels.
I have to ask myself "What am I going to do different this time?" Expect different results from doing the same thing...I know that doesn't work. I need to change things now, twerk them a little bit. The better it feels now, the worse it feels later somehow.
I watched "Eat, Pray, Love" recently, a movie I love that was directed by Ryan Murphy (of American Horror Story fame) and this woman talks of the same dilemma. I couldn't help but acknowledge that even by disappearing into her story I was relieving myself of the obsession with things that are not even in my present. I've been reading about co-dependency and becoming familiar with the algorythms of my behavior. Even the act of engaging with myself over these habits keeps me in the present which is key. I'm not putting him before my own needs in those moments. I'm not agrandizing what he is and putting him on a pedestal. I'm not reliving the moments we've shared in the past which seems to add (or stockpile) value and meaning every time I do it.
Another thing I have chosen to do is limit the time we hang out. I've noticed that the days after we hang out I'm not very productive. This has led me to limit our time together to weekends. You know the truth about it is that it's not romantic or fun to regulate oneself, the whirlwinds are the high roller coaster rides, but I know that my roller coaster rides end bad. Real bad. So I'm trying something different and calculated. So far I'm not experiencing the extreme worry of losing him or of it not working out so that's an improvement on my well-being.
1. Don't do drugs.
2. Here's some drugs.
3. Maybe if you just cut back.
4. Why don't you just switch to booze/weed?
5. You don't have a problem, you just think you have a problem.
6. If you could just drink like a normal person none of this would be happening.
7. Drinks on me!
8. Drugs on me!
9. Alcoholics are just quitters.
10. I'm Jesus, I've just returned to change this water to wine. You down?
Why do I have to identify myself as an alcoholic? A Drug Addict? A Codependent?
Some people think it's stupid. My name is ________and I am a food addict. Some people are of the belief that identifying yourself as an addict will perpetuate the problem. The problem lies in that if we don't communicate with our unconscious mind, we will forever see the problem as existing outside of ourselves.
One of the fine doctors that took part in the writing of the blue AA book was none other than Carl Jung. Jung was one of Freud's students who studied the subconscious/unconscious/collective unconscious. He was the one who said "Until you make the unconscious conscious it will control your life and you will call it fate." By saying that we are addicts, it is bringing our repressed ideas of self into perspective. Now our ego has become aware of who we are and what is actually taking place. When we say we are addicts, we are becoming aware that we have a problem. We are not convincing ourselves, we are just starting to notice. It's the same with repressed memories. When you think about it, it's quite ingenious these reasons why we identify ourselves with our disease.
This is called step one: admitting to ourselves that we were alcoholics and that our lives had become unmanageable. You can't skip this step. It is the most important one if you want to change your life.
When I first got sober I was afraid of change. In my mind I had worked hard to become the person I was for good or bad. I was afraid my sense of humor would run dry or that I would become an intolerant bitch that suddenly shames everyone for drinking. I was afraid I would become a person that blogs about how not to drink exactly like I'm doing right now. Let's admit it...it's a little annoying. But I do find it therapeutic to document this journey. I can look through my post and say "Ohhhhh yeahhhhh, I do not want to go through THAT stage again!"
Anyway, I was told by a friend that I had changed and the way she said it totally validated me fears: I'm not liked or cool anymore. It sat with me for awhile thinking there is something wrong with me now and it shows. Then the reality hit that she was right. The not drinking me doesn't have a lot in common with the drinking me anymore.
And that is okay.
Many times the only people ruined by change are the ones that would like to keep you as a cog in their well-oiled machine. You changing has diminished their dynamic. If you used to be enabling, but now you have boundaries...people around you will be uncomfortable. They would like to continue walking all over you. They would like you to continue using you for money, time and all else.
If you used to drink and be crazy and fun, your friends might disperse when you focus your attention on improving your life. It maybe true that you aren't as fun (but you will be crazy, I promise). When you quit drugs and drinking you shift your focus. The purpose of your life is not centered around just fun any more. Maybe you want to be a better person or parent. You want to do something with your life. You don't want to deal with the nagging obsession that was the central point of everything you do. That doesn't mean that you are not fun or will not have fun again, it means that right now you are not all that thing that the people you've associated see you as.
You've changed! When you hear this statement instead of reacting defensively like it's a bad thing...simply say "Thank you so much! I really appreciate that!" You've metamorphasized into a butterfly and you're not in a dark caccoon anymore.
I know about "The Secret" via Oprah. I didn't read "The Secret", I read "The Celestine" prophecy which is secretively "The Secret". Both of these books talk about the unseen laws of the universe like karma, manifestation and the law of economics (we get back what we put in). Somehow the atom is an accepted theory, but the law of economics is a very hard concept for people to understand. We let things like perceived unfairness cloud our perception i.e. when bad things happen to good people we start to think there is no God, no fairness, no order. We expect our rewards to be relative to our offerings i.e. If I give to the poor, people will help me when I am struggling. The problem here is that we are assuming that we know what is best for us at all times without consideration of things that are outside of our contextual environment such as: how it will effect others around us, how it will shape our future, etc.
A good example is a meeting I was in recently. This older guy starts talking about how his house was broken into a year and a half ago. He called 911 and the woman asked if he had a gun. He did. She then proceeded to tell him that because the intruder was in his home, it would be fully legal for him to shoot them. This man was fairly new in recovery and really didn't want to do that. Instead he waited for the cops to arrive and apprehend the man.
So the guy telling the story goes on to talk about how at that time he was volunteering to hold meetings at the prison. Maybe you can see where this is going. He ends up running into the (then) meth addict that broke into his home. For the next year and a half he goes through the steps with this guy. This is where I come in. At the meeting I'm at he explains to us that he just gave the man his 18 month chip THAT day and the man's 2 children came up to him and thanked him for saving their dad, not only by not shooting him, but by giving him a second chance at life by being sober and a part of their lives again. It was really beautiful.
This is a perfect example of God/The Creator and/or Universal Law. A man does the"right thing" (gets sober in his life). He then gets "punished" or a perceived punishment (If I'm sober and doing the right thing then why are bad things happening to me?). He then goes on to save the man's life. If you don't follow that whole path to the end, the man is sober and volunteering and yet he's still getting fucked over. With our limited knowledge of the future, our lack of vision gets in the way and instead of being merciful (in this man's case) we pull the trigger.
There are laws that exist in the universe and whether you see it immediately or it happens down the road, you will get back what you put in. Hopefully, this story helped to illustrate that. I have many, many more supplemental stories just like this as evidence, but the literature is out there too. The thing I like about this story is that it that it also talks about the path of the man on meth and that sometimes it's necessary to go down before we go up.