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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:46 pm 
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I was in NA on sub for 3 years and my sponsor and friends were supportive and I worked steps and was involved in service. This got me to where I am today...sub free and clean. I just started over with the steps and have no problem with this approach. I had 3 years clean on sub maintenance, now I have 25 days clean and am thrilled. I have been off of the sub for 3 months but had a benzo run. Benzo withdrawal sucks. Anyway, if you find the right people in NA/AA they will help you.

I wanted to share something that I just wrote:

Thoughts on Recovery

I want to live a life free from active addiction realizing dreams that are beyond comprehension. My problem is that I am scared of living with a hole inside, a hole that only drugs seem to be able to fill. As time goes on that hole is becoming smaller and smaller, however I still feel the need to self-medicate at times to deal with the anxiety of work and everyday life. This must come to an end. I have trouble being honest about it with my sponsor and trusted friends, although I do tell it in little bits and pieces.

I want what recovery has to offer; the spiritual life, a life where self-realization is possible and lost dreams awaken. There is something inside that wants to destroy this opportunity and I am told that this is the disease. Is it diseased thinking? Maybe it is permanent brain damage, I don’t know. Others say it is only temporary, but in the here and now it seems so real and the sick part is I want to self-medicate which only prolongs the trouble. Usually self-medicating leads to outright debauchery in my case, therefore it must cease. I must come to terms with the fact that I am going to feel like shit at times. I must get honest about these feelings in order to let others in so that I may be helped; otherwise failure and relapse are inevitable. I just want the emptiness to fade away and joy to take its place. I know that this won’t happen overnight, but patience and perseverance don’t always come easy. I see others relapse and a part of me is jealous and another part of me pities them. It is the disease that is jealous and my true compassionate self that feels pity. I want to cultivate the latter.

All that being said, I need to persevere, work steps and realize that this pain and suffering is temporary. Many addicts say that willpower is not possible, but I disagree. It was willpower that allowed me to taper off of Suboxone over the course of three years. It is willpower (and surrender) that allows me to stop using something for temporary relief of anxiety and insomnia. When I decide to take a substance to relieve my pain it impedes the healing process, a process that I wholeheartedly want to proceed with.

My biggest fear is getting completely honest with myself and those close to me. This would create a true accountability and I would not in good conscience be able to use again. The idea of not using anything ever again terrifies me, at least at the moment. This is called a reservation, or so I’m told. I am riddled with fear and anxiety on the inside all the while wearing a happy mask on the outside. I know that there are some who can see through the façade, but these people know that I must experience enough pain to want to change, to truly stop fighting and surrender.

All in all I am in a fairly good place right now, but I have a guilt complex exacerbated by every chemical that I have put in my body to change the way that I feel, albeit just a small amount for some slight relief. There must come a time when I look elsewhere for that relief. There is certainly a spiritual reality, for I have felt and seen it even though the fear and anxiety blinds me from it much of the time. When I am good and ready all of my focus will go toward the spiritual solution lest I am doomed. I am indeed an addict.

I think it is true that there comes a time when the tired old lie “once an addict, always an addict” comes to an end. We do recover and I must recover. Life or death, which will I choose?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:02 am 
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Hey BB,

I like your thoughts on recovery. I've experienced most, if not all, of those thoughts too. Being open and honest with your true self is sometimes a terrifying thing, but what I've found out is that we're usually nowhere near as "bad" as we think we are. Sure, we've all done some exceedingly stupid things, but we're not evil.....far from it.....we're sick. You've recognized and accepted that you're sick and it looks like you're in the process of moving on and that's great!!

In my experience, the longer I've been away from drugs and practiced some recovery concepts, the more normal I feel NOT using drugs. For a long time, even though I wasn't using drugs anymore, not using drugs felt totally foreign to me. That's not the case for me anymore. I do still get cravings from time to time, but overall, not using drugs feels perfectly normal now.

Good Luck on your journey and thanks for your post.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:11 am 
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Beautifully put, BB.

Amy

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:48 am 
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[font=Comic Sans MS]See?? THIS IS WHY I LOVE THIS FORUM! Because of posts like this one....It was so intelligent, and well thought out. And it makes perfect sense. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! It's like you were inside my head, and typing out my feelings.

Noone will ever understand that hole inside of us that we try so desperately to fill. The part that scares me sometimes is this:
I'm afraid that only drugs will fill that hole. Yes, it gets smaller and smaller as time goes on, but the scary part is that No matter how hard I try, I cannot find something else that will fill it, and satisfy it. Does that make sense?
Don't get me wrong, I am happy and content with my life. I have been very blessed with what I do have.
I guess I'm just saying that I can totally relate to that feeling inside.
I am so grateflu for this forum. To have so many people from so many different walks of life, all in one place,
that have that one thing in common. And we support each other through whatever comes our way. It's really an amazing thing.

Again, thanks for sharing this...I enjoyed reading it![/font]

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:32 am 
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There are some schools of thought (and I think we've discussed this before) that believe that addicts do have a difference in their brains and that once that first opiate is taken, they feel "complete". As though a switch in their brain was flipped and it can never go back again. These are the people - some feel - that are predisposed to addiction.

I've wondered the same thing, for example in the context of how well many people do on suboxone - with an opiate occupying their brain receptors yet still remaining sober. Most of us admit we feel "normal" during sub treatment (save for those who have bad side effects). However, many people feel miserable after they stop their sub treatment. For the most part it's thought to be PAWS - and that IS the likeliest thing - but what if it's because we addicts DO have an almost literal "void" in our brains without the opiates? That thought scares the fuck out of me, too.

It's been about 2 years since I've done any searching for interesting studies on opiates and the brain and the brains of addicts, so maybe it's time to start researching again.

I'd love to see more studies done on how and why people are predisposed. This is one good reason that I'm donating my body to science after I die. They can have my previously-drug-addled brain to study. LOL.

Thanks for a very thought-provoking post.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:42 am 
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This "void" ... or God shaped hole ... or whatever catch phrase is circulating the 12-step fellowships at the time. Some people call it being born a drink short of normal, or a shot short of normal... or a line short of normal.

I know that for some of us there's a label for that lack of normal. For me it's pretty much because of the bipolar. I was interested in drugs since I was literally a little boy. The moment I heard about them on Degrassi High when I was barely in primary school I knew I wanted to take them. I thought they'd give me the answer to life. Also as a kid I went through bouts of melancholia. In primary school I had periods of thinking about suicide etc, which is pretty messed up when I think about it now. I'd go from being a prize pupil to occasional periods of being a fucking ratbag child. The main theme though through it all was questioning the point behind life. I thought if I took LSD like the beatles it'd give me the answers. When I finally got old enough to find and try LSD it didn't give me the answers I wanted (but I saw some pretty fucking cool shit), so I kept trying other drugs looking for the answer. Then I found heroin, and I found the answer because finally I didn't care about the question anymore. I felt normal because I stopped questioning life and my purpose. It all melted away.

After spending a long time in the fellowship of NA and rehabs and among clean and using addicts, I tellsya there is a huge overrepresentation of mental health issues in the addict community, be they treated or untreated. Some people might say the damage was caused by the drugs... I see it the other way. The mental health issues were there beforehand, be they born with it (genetic disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar) or personality disorders brought on by childhood trauma etc ... the drugs are just a symptom, stemming from a desire to self-medicate.

Maybe I'm too scientific. Some people look at it from a religious point of view (God shaped hole) - an existential view (born an Oxy short of normal). I look at it from a medical / scientific view. Unfortunately I've found that the medical view and the religious / spiritual view don't seem to mix that well, as I always felt this internal tug-of-war whilst in those rooms between the spiritual and the medical.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:54 pm 
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TJ, I alway enjoy your posts. You are well informed and always give intelligent, insightful and thoughtful responses. I have a scientific mind, too, so I often relate to the way you analyze things. I totally agree with the mental illness aspect, and that it existed before the substance abuse and isn't "caused" by the substances. I have to disagree, however, that this opinion doesn't mix will with the religious/spiritual view.

I think it is part of the human condition that we are born with a spiritual longing, or a need for some kind of connection with the divine (God, higher power, source or whatever one believes in). People strive to fulfill this longing in a variety of healthy and unhealthy ways. I think both explainations for addiction are true and aren't mutually exclusive. My having Major Depressive Disorder per-dated my becoming an addict, and I believe I did self medicate. But I also believe that drugs became a form of idolatry to me. The we're my "higher power" that I turned to in times of distress.


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