by Dr Gonzo
This is my blog & my hope, writing daily will help me see my progress and log supporters.
|Thirty-one days until I board my flight for Thailand, and then two weeks to enjoy all that beautiful country has to offer. It's been a struggle, and it has been costly, and there were moments where I didn't think it would happen. I now have my Thailand Pass (one of the last to be secured before the Thai government changed the entry rules). Everything else is in place. We have a lady moving in to look after my mom whilst I am gone. She comes highly recommended, but I have given mom a code word to mention to me on the phone if she feels it is necessary...but I think everything will be OK.
Of course, Covid is a concern, but as per flight and entry regulations, I am double vaccinated, and next week, I will be getting a third booster shot. Then, other than being careful, the rest is out of my hands—no dishes, no cleaning, no cooking and no one to care about but me. I won't know what to do with myself for the first few days.
Thoughts of using drugs persist, but they are becoming weaker by the day, and there hasn't been a moment where I have felt in danger in the past seven weeks. And not counting THAT little slip-up, it has been seventeen weeks since I decided to turn my life around, and turn my life around I have. I train every day without exception. I'm not entirely free yet, and who knows if I ever will be, but I am in a different place now. I have never been more confident of finally beating my addiction.
Since being promoted to preferred author, I've been spending time cleaning up my port...pride has come to my life in ways I never imagined, and WDC has played a significant role in this new life. I owe a lot to so many people, and I know the best way to repay it is by remaining on track and seeing out this journey I undertook all those months ago.
|Tough love? Is this the only kind of love an addict understands?
Is addiction a disease? Or do we (addicts) CHOOSE drugs instead of, or over treatment?
Is childhood trauma/abuse a good enough reason/excuse to continue to use drugs? And for how long?
Is it Ok to lie, steal, abuse or abandon those who love us so that we can get high?
Can we (as a society) be too hard on someone who suffers from addiction? And alternatively, can we be too soft? Or is there a balance between the two?
Should we decriminalise all drugs of dependence? And will this reduce harm? And if we were to do this, would it change society's attitudes towards those who become addicted?
Will this course of action solve any of the problems caused by addiction? Or will it create a whole new set of issues? Or both?
Should drug use become a health issue instead of a law and order issue?
Will there ever be a time where drug use will become a thing of the past? Not cool or hip, but what, in reality, it is...playing Russian roulette with our lives...mental, physical, financial and legal?
Are there any easy answers when it comes to drug use in society?
These are only some of the questions that will need to be answered before we can begin to heal from the epidemic of drug abuse that is gripping the world.
|Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months.
I began this journey at the beginning of September, and as we approach the end of another year, I can say without hesitation that this has been one of the most monumental years of my life.
I've never felt so sure of my direction as I do right now. I have a future now and this is very much a new way of thinking for me. To be completely honest, which was the promise I made when I began this blog, I was committing a slow version of suicide, but then, something turned me around.
When faced with death, there comes a strong instinct to survive, and perhaps this kicked in and changed these dark thoughts I was having. I also became tired of the lifestyle. Taking drugs is said to be the easy road, and in the beginning, this is the illusion that it creates. But, after too many years of waiting for dealers, of getting ripped off, with little to no sleep for weeks on end. The shame and disappointment in the choices I was making. The lies, the self-loathing...and I guess, even for a seasoned trouper like myself, there had to come a time...to face an inevitable reality...stop now or die. Maybe not today, or even tomorrow, but there is no doubt that I had rolled the dice and been lucky, but my time of using drugs has well and truly come to an end.
Also, I became bored with getting high...realising on the rare occasions when I wasn't wasted...when I could see more clearly, that I enjoyed those moments more than the short term high that meth gave me.
Money was also a motivation to stop using. Every cent I would have spent on meth has been saved and put towards my future. My trip to Thailand...all paid for with money that would have ended up in the pocket of someone who preyed on my addiction.
To say I am happy now is the understatement of the year. I'm welling up now with emotion. That last experience when I fell, will be the last time I do. Although I learned a valuable lesson from it, I still retain the fear, but also the pride...the first time in my life I have taken my drugs, which once upon a time meant more to me than anything, even my kids, was flushed down the toilet in an unceremonious fashion, and to this day, without regret.
I rarely think about drugs now, but even when I do, it's with revulsion rather than desire, and this, to me, is a sign...I have begun my new life. I'll need to be on guard...not put myself in harm's way or get too cocksure of myself. It's a journey broken up into fractions...one day at a time, but with one eye on the prize...my future...a future I never thought I would have, until now.
|It's been five weeks since I messed up and used meth, and although I would have loved to instead have fourteen weeks under my belt (of no use), these last five weeks have brought me to this place I find myself today...happy, content, confident and positive in my approach.
The physical training, which I have gruelled out daily, is finally paying off, and like a snowball, which collects more snow the larger it becomes, each session now brings more gains than during those first couple of months. My mental health is above and beyond the person I was before...when using meth was causing me symptoms such as psychosis, paranoia, depression and the fatigue that accompanies desperation. I feel like a different person because I am different...my priorities have shifted, I think about others, and I'm more considerate. I'm no longer antisocial and find myself smiling more than I did when I was a slave to methamphetamines.
Cravings for drugs have become rare, although I am acutely aware of the timeline for when I will become triggered (around eight weeks after I last used). I need to lean on my support networks if/when those moments come. I'm not perfect, and that showed five weeks ago. Still, I gained something from that experience, and hopefully, if/when that demon 'comes a-callin', I will have the intestinal fortitude to stand and fight rather than succumb to my addiction.
At my last meeting, we were asked how much out of ten we want to live a drug-free life...and there was no hesitation in my voice when I said ten. I want this more than anything. I know it won't be easy and that there are going to be challenges, but I will never stop this fight to be free from my addiction.
|I exercise every day. My goal is better health and fitness and is the cornerstone of my recovery.
Cycling is the mainstay, along with weights to complement the cardio. I don't particularly enjoy those first few sets in my gym, but once I get through that, with some music playing, I knuckle down and push as hard as I can.
On the bike, it's different...no music because I need to listen for the ever-present dangers that are all around me. I'm am the smallest kid on the playground, but far from the weakest. Many who share the road with me, don't seem to care, or simply don't pay enough attention when cyclists are about.
Yesterday, as I approached an intersection, a car pulled out onto the road in front of me. I expect this to happen at every intersection, and so, I am half-prepared when it does. I screamed, more in fear than anger. The lady caught sight of me and hit the brakes...luckily for me before I became roadkill. I received the wave of acknowledgement...an unsaid sorry, before I continued down the road, shaking my head in amazement (that once again, I survived).
It doesn't happen often, but often enough that I cannot daydream for one second whilst I'm out there on the bike. I have a flashing red tail light, a front strobe light...both are on, regardless if it is day or night, and a helmet that is the only thing between my head and the road.
Today is Sunday, the roads are quiet, and it is usually a pleasant day for me to go out on my bike and have a relaxing ride...how wrong was I? I get into a groove and focus on my breathing when going uphill. I heard a car approaching from behind. That is one area I have little control over and in my mind, poses the least danger to me as a cyclist. As the car passed by, the passenger screamed out of his open window, and because I wasn't expecting that to happen, it scared the crap out of me. The car then continued on its merry way, disappeared over the hill, and to the person who thought it would be funny to scare the lone cyclist, I was forgotten.
The person who did this was so dumb. I realised this as I rode past our local 7/11 and spotted the car that had, only a few minutes earlier, been so brave. I confronted the occupants, a young couple who should know better. The passenger was a guy around twenty, and I told them both my thoughts on the prank...pointing out that they have a young child in the back seat, and one day another idiot might do the same or worse to their child.
At that point, I realised all my anger was not going bring about any change in curbing future actions by this bloke. So, I calmed myself, changed my aggressive demeanour to a less confrontational one and became assertive instead. I said, "Please, don't do that again." We shook hands, and I rode off, leaving him to contemplate his actions with his girlfriend.
I am sure that if I had remained aggressive, it wouldn't have had the same impact, but in the end, all that counts is that I live to ride another day.
|I'm scared...but then, who isn't?
Fear is one of the main driving forces in a human. We fear losing our job and, so, our wealth. We fear those who are different. We fear war and famine. We fear losing ourselves in an increasingly demanding society. Living in fear is not bad if that fear is justified, and it doesn't control us to the extent that we no longer enjoy life.
We put on a brave face every morning...sometimes even fooling ourselves that we have no fear. Some suffer anxiety so crippling that medication is essential to get through. And for some, alcohol and drugs are all that can dampen their fear...at least, that's how it was for me.
I remember a time when I wasn't so scared, and then someone handed me a baby (or two), and for the first time in my life, I learned what real fear was—responsibility...to protect, nurture, feed and teach those who I brought into this world.
Things change...and the things we fear change along with us. It wasn't that long ago, and whenever my bag of meth got low, fear would see me doing whatever I had to do to ensure I didn't run out. Then, as things became real (as they always do), my fear turning into a nightmare.
If I am smart, I will never forget that lesson. I would be a fool not to hold onto the fear and pay it due respect because if I don't...well, that scares me more than anything right now. I've tried bravado...I've tried denial...I've tried just about every way to stop using drugs, but I have never feared relapse more than I do today. I hope this fear is something I can use to my advantage...fear God...fear failure...fear dying alone while in the depths of addiction...fear is what you want it to be...a positive or a negative...friend or foe.
|Yesterday was my twin daughter's sixteenth birthday. Instead of being a time of celebration, for me, it has become a time of reflection, sadness and disappointment. I have a picture of their smiling faces on my wall. It was taken four years ago, and because I haven't seen either of them since around that time, in my mind, they are still only twelve. I do wonder if I were to see them today, would I recognise them?
Over the years, it has become easier...to accept that they want little to do with me. One of my girls communicates with me on rare occasions, but I have learned not to push for contact. So, I feel I have no choice but to wait until they want me in their lives...if they ever do.
Every birthday and Christmas, I put money into their bank accounts, and while I do get a thank you from one, I hear nothing from the other. This hurts me a lot because I think, what would it take to say, "Hi dad." Or just a simple thank you, would mean the world to me.
Being sixteen is a difficult time for a girl, or so I have been told. But I cannot help but feel that I am teaching them how to treat me. I swing between anger, indignation and the hurt feelings this silence causes. I wonder why they don't care...why they couldn't be bothered to show much, if any, appreciation for the gifts. I don't believe bad manners should be rewarded, but if I stop trying...stop gifting this money, am I giving them an excuse to hate me? Will they hate me anyway?
I attended my group meeting tonight, and it was a good one. We all chimed in offering honest opinions and support for one another. I feel strong and healthy, and other than a few cravings, which passed quickly, I am doing well. I will not allow sadness or disappointment to get in the way of my goal to find a better life...one way or another, I am as determined as ever to see this through and find the life I know I deserve.
|Progress update is as follows...it has been four weeks since I fucked up. I took the next week off training, but since then, I haven't missed a day.
To say that I am feeling good would be an understatement. My cravings have been manageable and I've had no contact with my friend/dealer/nemesis. I wouldn't be surprised if he is already back behind bars. It's where he wants to be, and after only two years inside, I think he has become institutionalised. The bottom line is, it makes no difference to me...we all make our own choices, and have our own lives to live.
My body is changing due to high caloric output, resistance training and a modified diet. Swapping Poweraid for water and chocolate for fruit and vegetables have had a dramatic effect. Cycling forty-five minutes every day not only helps me cut body fat but clears my head and gives me a little timeout from being a caregiver.
All in all...I have no complaints.