by Dr Gonzo
This is my blog & my hope, writing daily will help me see my progress and log supporters.
|I wake up and serve breakfast. My mom likes her's warmed up and her tea hot. She then settles in front of the TV, even though I try to get her to do something, a few movements...anything but sit there waiting for me to bring lunch.
"Lift your arms above your head ten times, mom." But exercise is too hard now. It's much easier to watch reruns she's seen a hundred times before, with the volume turned up to a point where it grates upon my soul.
I've tried pushing her to do some movements, but then I become resentful. I've tried coaxing, but it goes in one ear and out the other.
It's become easier for me to just let her sit there. If she doesn't care, why should I? I've cared for so long that I can't even remember what it is to care about me. I've given everything I have, and now, there's not much left.
I want to run away, but I am committed. I want to have fun...like I used to do. I took drugs because it was the only joy I felt. So I could forget for a few brief moments where I was. So I would forget what life might be like if I didn't have to wait, hand and foot, on this person who has become so reliant upon me that she cannot do without me.
With no support from family members and no help from the community. To take a week off is a nightmare. All the arrangements that must be put in place, forms and medications and timing booking a holiday in conjunction with booking a facility with a bed available. Hotels require lot's of notice and aged care facilities won't offer anything beyond the next week or two.
And Covid 19 has isolated me even further. I have even considered if life is even worth living. But then someone will have to step up...someone will need to feed her...get a bucket and sponge and clean the floor when she doesn't make it to the toilet. Someone will have to care...because I am almost out.
At least before, when I took drugs, I was numb...and now, I am starting to remember why I did.
Nobody told me that being a caregiver would destroy me, yet, that is what it is doing.
|As the world begins to open up, my thoughts have been focused on getting back to a place I love, Thailand. The people are, despite the hardships and poverty they face (in general), friendly and welcoming...the land of smiles.
At the end of my last meeting (in fact, for all of them), we are given a challenge...something that we would like individually to achieve by the next meeting. I often speak about returning to Thailand, and Vicki put it to me to look at costing another visit there. So, I went one better and booked my flights and accommodation. I fly out on the 30th January 2022 for two weeks at Patong, on Phuket Island.
Now to organise respite care for my mom and find someone to birdsit my canaries while I'm away. I deserve this holiday, and it will give me more incentive not to fuck up during the next three months.
Today I didn't use...and today, I gave myself a reward for getting this far.
|I am just seven weeks into this journey, and today there came a realisation. No matter how many times I have been down this road, it is never the same. Withdrawal can come quickly and only last a few days...or it can last for weeks. Symptoms at the beginning range from panic attacks, which are so frightening, claustrophobia, terrible anxiety and the feeling that I need to run.
Luckily, this only lasts for a night or two, and then the variables kick in. Last night, even after all this time, my skin felt like someone was randomly poking me with a sharp needle over my entire body, and at night as I am trying to get comfortable, this was a reminder that I am far from being totally detoxed.
I have gotten off lightly though, and I count my blessings each and every day that I don't succumb. Knowing what the results will be if I do, which fuels my desire to continue this battle. It's a battle that is far from over, and it would be arrogant of me to think otherwise. Defeating this drug, that has plagued my life for so long, will be ongoing and may last for many more years to come.
At the moment, I am enjoying this feeling. I'm happier than I have been in a long time. I'm proud of myself and of the work I am doing. I look at myself in a new light. I'm morphing from an addict, into someone who can actually envision a future without meth. Someone who knows only too well the problematic life that choice would bring.
Seven weeks, that feels so much longer. I want to put so much more time between myself and the person I was. I have many challenging days ahead, but I am ready to face them. Every day, I am preparing my body and mind, so as to give myself a chance of finally overcoming these demons...demons that I know are still inside of me and will take any opportunity if I drop my guard...even for just a second.
Today, even with the disappointments and reservations that came, I didn't use meth, and for me, that's all that matters.
|I just got home from my meeting. I haven't missed any since that door opened to me, and that it is something of which I am pretty proud.
Tonight, I had a run-in with Vicki (the facilitator) about how the meetings were being conducted. It ended up making a difference because after this confrontation occurred, the group finally felt like it became a real group. Many people fear conflict, but in my opinion, so long as it is done with a degree of assertiveness, it can bring solutions that remaining quiet never will.
I believed that Vicki had too much structure and control and that there wasn't enough talk happening between the individuals within the group. Instead of sitting back and saying nothing, I took the opportunity to voice my concerns, and there was an immediate change. We then spoke as a group...supporting each other with our battles.
To her credit, Vicki released the reigns quite a bit to allow us this extra freedom. Whilst I understand from her point of view it cannot be a free for all...that there are rules as far as what is said not to trigger or cause offence, it was a good feeling to know that we can voice our thoughts during this process...that we are heard...the very reason I chose this type of therapy compared to one on one.
Monday and Friday are my double training days...workout and then bike, but yesterday afternoon, we were hit with a storm, and I couldn't ride. So instead, I went this morning and it was so peaceful compared to the afternoon clamour of traffic. So from now on, I'm doing both a morning and afternoon ride.
Today I didn't use meth, and just writing those words brings a smile and a sense of pride that I like a lot.
|The weekends have always been my Achilles heel. Triggers are to be avoided, but Friday and Saturday nights will come no matter what I do.
This time, it's different...I'm different...things are different, and now, the weekends are not stressful, they are enjoyable.
There's nothing and no one that can make me lose this fight but me...and I don't like to lose.
I didn't feel like getting on my bike today...I've been having trouble sleeping and I was up till 2.00 am the night before, but I made myself go because I want this more than I have wanted anything in a long time.
When I got back, I felt like Rocky Balboa at the top of the stairs . This is my fight...and I am going to do everything in my power to win.
|This week saw my first real craving...it didn't last long and I wasn't in danger. In a lot of ways, I'm lucky I am addicted to meth and not some other drug. I imagine how hard it would be if I was addicted to alcohol or nicotine, and then when the urge came, within ten minutes, how easily all my hard work would be lost.
I am lucky that the current shipping restrictions, caused in part by Covid, are stemming the flow of drugs from SE Asia, which makes it extremely difficult and expensive to buy meth (that's even if I wanted to). Fortunately, the only thing I want now is my health, my wealth and my wisdom, and that leaves no room for a drug that will rob me of all three.
Next time I feel a craving, I'll reach for my phone and call the 24/7 hotline that is saved to my contacts and speak to a Counsellor...knowing that in a very short period of time, the feeling will pass.
Today, I did a workout, then got on my bike. It was a lot easier than last time and next time, I'll push myself even harder better faster stronger (thanks Kanye).
Today, I didn't use meth, or for that matter, any drug.
Today, I lived the best life possible.
Today, I'm happy and in control...taking comfort in the knowledge I will never go back to that life I left behind.
|I didn't use today...there's not much else to say that I already haven't.
Take the good and enjoy...accept the bad and realise it is not as bad as it seems.
Attend my meetings and take what I can from them...train and train and don't stop training.
|Things are now beginning to settle into a new norm. I'm not sure if this is the end of the honeymoon or I'm just having a down couple of days, but I don't feel as enthusiastic as I was last week.
Training is still going well and I can feel my strength building...even seeing my shoulders in the mirror becoming more defined is a good feeling and shows the results of my efforts...but still, something is niggling.
I am due for a break from caring, but with international travel opening up within a few months, I would rather hold off taking a break now and wait until I can get on a plane and go O/S. Thailand again. Chang Mai or somewhere up north...or maybe I'll go back to Phuket Island which is such an idyllic place to stay.
I've been having drug dreams...last night I was at a party and everyone was high on MDMA...they all looked so happy and were all touchy-feely with each other. I felt really left out and sad that I wasn't involved and if someone had offered me a pill, I have no doubt I would have taken it. At least if I had, it wouldn't have cost me anything and no come-down to deal with, but no one did...and I guess that's how it has to be. Funny how meth was my poison, and yet, I dream about taking Ecstasy.
Today is my double day...weights soon and then on the bike...I can feel the difference it's making in my fitness and my general health. I won't let a dream shroud the reality of what could happen if I let my guard down 'just this once' and take drugs 'for old times sake'...addiction is raising its ugly head to test and see if I am ready to fall back into its clutches.
"No addiction, not today. But thanks for reminding me you're still there."
|Today, I wondered...how did I do it?
Yes...meth can give some extra energy, but it only lasts until the next dose, and as time went by, those extra doses needed to become more and more frequent. And with every dose, the money would disappear.
Time seemed to pass so quickly when I was high, and I thought I was getting things done, but now I look back and see, I wasn't getting much done at all...the walking dead.
A big part of my decision to stop using was when I started noticing my short term memory was slipping, and not just when I was high. Even on the days I wasn't high, I would go to find or do something, and all it would take was a small distraction, and it would be gone...which is a very scary thing indeed.
My 'friends' only came around when drugs were involved...and since I stopped using meth, so too, these 'friends' have stopped calling and coming around.
So much of that lifestyle now has me wondering...but the good news is in the six to seven weeks since I last used...my memory has noticeably improved...my lungs don't hurt when I breathe and the wheeze has improved a lot. My bank account has stopped hemorrhaging and has now turned around.
Even though I have fewer friends in my personal life, I know I will meet people who are real...who will care about me and aren't just hanging around because of a common addiction.
Today I wondered how I did it for so long, but not once did I wonder why I stopped.
|Tonight, I'm completely spent. Did the double this afternoon ...an hour in the gym followed by thirty minutes of cycling .
Someone I used to do drugs with popped by to see me this morning...he didn't call my phone first cause meth, pot, alcohol and ciggies tend not to leave much money leftover for bills.
He collected some stuff I was storing for him and once he realized I was stiill on track, he didn't stay long. He did comment that I was looking good, which made his visit worthwhile for me.
Early to bed sounds pretty damn fine to me. Today, all it would have taken is a word, and all would be lost...but as we carried his stuff to his pickup, he looked like he was going to collapse from exhaustion, and I was hardly breathing...and I was content.
|Hi...I'm Neil and I am addicted to Methamphetamine. It's important for me to never forget this or become complacent.
But, my addiction does not define me. I now choose to live my life without this drug...choosing a better life with more opportunities, more fun, more years and more friends to come...more places to visit and more people to meet...just more...there really is no choice when it comes down to it but still...I could have chosen death, but something inside me screamed...ENOUGH!
Some things about me you may not know...
I have eight tattoos and two piercings, one in my tongue and one in my left nipple (and yes, they both hurt like a MF).
I'm a Google Local Guide, Level 5 and have been reviewing local and overseas restaurants and businesses for over four years. I've written sixty reviews under the moniker, furry fun and I love it...always looking to write positively but truthfully. Rarely do I tip off anyone that I will be reviewing them unless I immediately like what I see.
I breed canaries...I'm a caregiver...I'm an Aussie...and about five or six weeks ago, I decided enough was enough and used the last of my meth...and haven't looked back since. When I made the choice to stop using, my life changed for the better (who would have thought...LOL).
I wake up looking forward to each and every day. I'm seriously enjoying my progress both physically and mentally...but it's the emotional awakening that I'm loving the most. I am a different person without meth...in every way...and the truth is, if you had told me all of this two months ago, I wouldn't have believed you.
Today I didn't use...mainly because it never crossed my mind that I would want to...this is me...and I like me a lot more now...actually, a hell of a lot more.
|My Tuesday night group meeting went well...Vicki was back and I like the way she facilitates...very organised and has the know-how to get to the heart of things without touching raw nerves...a gift I think.
We all learn things about each other in groups, as well as learning about ourselves, and that's what draws me to these types of meetings. I like that there is encouragement and recognition in the things we share...and with each meeting, I feel my confidence rising.
Tonight, there were three of us and Vicki...Alex who I met at my first meeting, Josh who has been before, but who I met for the first time tonight, and five minutes after we began, in walked Jonh the Irishman from last week. Honestly, I was dreading him coming again...not because he is bad or causes any interruptions...it just doesn't feel right to me that an intoxicated person should be at a meeting where people are trying to better themselves.
I spoke to Vicki about John being intoxicated the week before, and she explained that depending on the level of intoxication, everyone deserves a chance, and she told me that although John is only there because he is ordered to be, doesn't mean he should not get the same opportunities as I do...and I saw her point. And I have to admit that perhaps there is resentment there for me...after all, he is able to continue to use his poison, but I am not.
In any case...last week he asked for a lift home and I agreed...we spoke along the way and by that stage, I had gotten over my little hissy fit and even though I still believe showing up to a meeting drunk is not good form, I thought of him more as another human being rather than some drunkard who I didn't want to know.
So tonight he came over and sat down in the chair nearest mine and immediately asked if I could give him a lift home, and I agreed...he then let the group do our thing. He was asked by Vicki a few times if he wanted to join in, but he politely declined. There was a marked difference from the week before and I could see he wasn't intoxicated at all...in fact, on our way home, he was quite chuffed to tell me in his Irish accent that he hadn't had a drink in three days.
I must admit, a strange feeling came over me when I heard this...pride...mixed with regret. I don't know John or what he has been through...and once again, I had judged someone before I knew anything about them. Humble pie is an acquired taste, but one I am becoming quite used to, and even though it does have a slight after-taste of guilt, I know how healthy that is for me and so, I ate every last crumb.
Next week, I'm picking John up on my way and we are going to the meeting together...two strangers who have different problems...who are different in so many ways and yet, we also have something in common.
Our demons don't care who we are or what poison we choose to put in our bodies, and the reality is, alone, we are nowhere near as strong as we are together. I like to think he responded to a kind act in the way he respected the group tonight, and I responded to that show of respect with more determination than I have ever felt before. John might be just the man I need to bring me back down to earth, and show me that no matter what we do on any given day, we all deserve a chance at winning this battle.
|Springtime (in the southern hemisphere) is my favourite time of year.
The days are warming, yet the nights are still cool enough to sleep comfortably (although today was 37 degrees Celsius...98.3 Farenheight...and the hottest October day in seventeen years). From my bedroom window, I can see the afternoon storms rolling in over the mountains to the west...the fact that it's my birthday in September and I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth gives me a sense of appreciation that I didn't have before...before I got meth out of my life.
I am thankful for a lot...I still have my health, and now, with this new outlook, a future...a future I never thought I would see because I was killing myself with methamphetamine, and I didn't care.
It's incredible how quickly things can turn around if you can just see...and with my main obstacle removed, I can see clearly now where I am headed.
|Everything is on track...did the double for the first time since I stopped using...did a workout followed by bike ride.
Eating more fruit...bananas, strawberries and dates...yogurt is a fav and the weight is falling off.
I can breathe and my endurance is building...all in all, considering it's only been a couple of months, I couldn't be happier.
The blog is losing steam and that's fine. I am going well and in the coming week or two, I will probably stop...if anyone reads the old entries and wants support themselves, I'm only an email away.
|We've been getting afternoon storms for the past week or so, coming in from the northwest. They come in fast and hit hard, and this is the norm at this time of year. I try to get out on my bike most days and have been doing well, but a few days ago, I left it a little later than usual and got caught out in a big one...I said I'd ride rain, hail, or shine and on that day, I got the first two in droves.
Been drying out my clip-on shoes since and they are ready to go. I see storm clouds on the horizon and it's time to leave before another one sweeps across SE Queensland.
No meth today and it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but I understand just how big of a deal it really is.
|I have a plan...an ultimate goal if you will.
Being from Australia, SE Asia is right on my doorstep and will be my home one day. I am a Buddhist at heart...giving is what makes me happy...be it my time, my ideas, my knowledge and eventually, my assets.
You only have to see a Westerner walking down the street anywhere in SE Asia and holding hands with a child to feel a wave of anger and a deep desire to bring change. To save just one girl or boy from a life of degradation and shame and to bring these individuals to justice in their own countries, might serve as a deterrent, and a way to dry up demand...would make my life worthwhile...REALLY paying it forward
I feel very passionately about this...and about the plight of animals that are abused and neglected anywhere in the world. Human encroachment robbing them of the habitat they need to survive outside of zoos...which in the end, only robs us of a balanced ecology.
We have to face facts though... that individually, we can't save the entire world...as much as that would be nice. There is so much wrongdoing...injustice and tyranny...corruption and greed. These are the things that attract the attention of the media, and to a degree, are presented as the norm. But, there is so much good also happening...people who care and see the truth...people who are willing to act...be that by physically going and trying to make a change, or by supporting organisations and foundations that are willing to do that work all across the world...to educate...to make a difference.
I want to make a difference. I thought it might come from my writing and perhaps one day it will help...to share with anyone who feels as I do...that apathy and an attitude of 'it's no use trying' just isn't good enough anymore. To sit and watch TV and hope that the world will change is only looking at things through rose coloured glasses...and if that is all some people can do, then so be it...but that's not what I'm going to do.
I'm going to make a difference, maybe I already have...but there is always more that can be done...that should be done.
One day...that young girl or boy, whose destiny was to be sold...by parents who had little choice because the money they would get could feed an entire village for however long it does...to make better someone's life by showing these parents that alternatively, giving these children an education and choice of career can bring so much more, and far outweighs any short term gain from selling their children into a life of prostitution...now that sounds like something I want to be involved with.
Today I feel some regret at the time I wasted...but I will use this regret as a learning tool for what not to do in future.
Today, I wouldn't use meth if you paid me.
|My Internet is down due to storms, and as much as it is annoying, nowadays, I am looking at things from
a better place.
I'm not high anymore, and so, I am seeing things in a different light. I now realise how lucky I am just to have access to the net...to clean water and to free councelling services.
Yes...we have lockdowns here in Australia (boohoo), but that's for the greater good of the community (and it works, regardless of how the small, but noisy minority feels about that).
We can't travel overseas yet, but once we, the silent majority who are willing to do what's necessary for us to gain the upper hand on this pandemic, have rolled up our sleeves, then that is only months away (or within the year, depending on the attitude and uptake of each individual country).
The light is no longer at the end of the tunnel...it's right there, and I can't wait to see how we, the people of this world, come through this most difficult of times.
I hope there will be celebrations...and a new awareness of what's important and what isn't. And how we can do things differently, which will help prevent future pandemics from occurring.
Perhaps this could be looked at as something akin to nearly losing your life, and that feeling afterwards of appreciation for the world as a whole...we can never go back to normal...but a new normal? Yes.
Since the dawn of time, there have been changes...everything changes, and that's just the way it is.
Another day without meth...another day closer to my goals...another day to celebrate life.
You don't have to be a recovering addict to do that, you just have to understand and appreciate that each and every day you are alive is worthy of celebration.
|Wow...what a day. I won't go into detail and bore you, but I'm pretty beat.
Last night's meet was once again interesting. Vicki was not in...sick. The receptionist was going to can the meeting altogether, but I let her know I wasn't very happy about that, and so, she got a lady called Ruth to take the group...group being three people...again...me being the only common denominator. There was a woman around my age...meth and still using and an Irishman called John who was drunk and insisted he had to be there on a court order. The girl was court-ordered to and well, it feels a little disappointing when you realise you're the only one there who isn't high or drunk and actually wants to stop.
Being high at a meeting kinda defeats the purpose I think, and I doubt Vicki would have allowed John to stay...I know I definitely wouldn't have. He was boisterous and talking a lot of shit and a couple of times I thought about telling him something about himself...especially when he said, "Druggies."
I pipped up with, "You do know alcohol is a drug, don't you?"
He then mentioned his bad temper. I didn't mention my 11 years of Muay Thai training because I was saving that as a surprise for him in case his temper got the better of him...but, ironically enough at the end (finished half an hour early) he asked me which way I was headed, and I dropped him off at his building...which was on my way anyway. He even asked me if I wanted to go drinking with him the next day, but I politely declined...he wasn't a bad bloke, just not sober.
I'm going to call the counsellors tomorrow (just too busy to do it today) and ask if this is how it's always going to be.
I want to surround myself with people who have hit rock bottom and know which way is up.
Still riding my bike most days...eating better too. I don't know how this happens, but somehow, all my pants are getting bigger.
Today, I didn't use...and for that, I am so grateful.
|I have a confession to make.
Today, I saw my neighbour who suffered burns out in in his garden, and since it's bin night (we have to place our trash out on the street for collection every Tuesday) I popped over to take his bin out as I was doing my own then anyway.
He has improved a lot and I must admit that I was curious as to if he had actually noticed that his lawn had been mowed. He didn't say anything as we spoke about his recovery, so I left it at that and went to get ready to go to my meeting.
As I was leaving, I saw him reversing out his driveway, waved and...POOF...there appeared a saint on one shoulder, and the devil on the other...and in a 'who should I listen to' moment...I must confess that the devil won...and I am so glad he did.
Here's exactly how it went down...I waved, he waved back and once the devil made me do it, I walked over and tapped on his window as he waited for traffic to pass...he rolled down his window and I said...and I quote, "Geez mate, your lawn sure is looking good."
The next few seconds were the funniest few moments I have had in a long time...facial expressions tell a lot, and his went from a really proud smile, then in an instant went to bewilderment as the realisation that it DID look good...then the Ummmmm moment of confusion...to...WTF are you doing over here paying me compliments on my lawn...all in a matter of two seconds.
I walked away with the biggest smile on my face because I seriously don't think he knows (and so anonymous reigns).
Now, I know anonymous is a great thing, but, my payoff for mowing his lawn and those few seconds made it so worth the effort...and for once, the devil did a good thing.
|Meth is becoming 'less' in my life. Once upon a time, I would wake up and think about meth. Go to lunch thinking about meth...while I was thinking about meth, guess what I was thinking about?
In the last however many weeks (some people count the days weeks and months, but for some reason, I don't) I haven't used, these thoughts about meth have almost disappeared. Progress? Danger? Overconfidence or a drug just waiting for me to fall?
Whatever...my mind is now contemplating other issues, which keeps it busy and that has to be a good thing, right?
I don't know the answers to all the questions...one day at a time eventually becomes a week or a month...I mean at some stage I have to believe...truly believe that I will never use again? I can say the words, but I am no fool and realise they are just words if not backed up by real and absolute determination and commitment.
FEAR...I used to fear running out of meth, now I fear running into it again and not being strong enough to resist. Is this a healthy fear to have?
Fear has become a four-letter word, but without fear, can there still be respect?
Like we are supposed to fear a parent (wait until your father gets home was once upon a time a real thing)...or the fear of God.
Without consequence, we lose fear, and without fear...there can be no respect.
Look at what is happening in the world...this is not just my problem. Drugs are not the problem, I am the problem. WHY I use drugs is the real issue I need to tackle now.
Why is there so much civil disobedience now? Riots, mass shootings, terrorism and war? Why is it that we put our own interests above the interests of our own children and grandchildren?
Why can't we see what is happening and stop...at the most basic and fundamental level and stop polluting the very water we rely on for life?
Have we become so ineffectual and apathetic that we have given up? What use is a job if we don't have a planet that is able to sustain us?
In Australia, there is a saying...more of an attitude really..."She'll be right mate." And when the person who coined that phrase...who had that attitude first said it, she was alright. But now, she is not alright, nothing is alright and like it or not, Coronavirus is the direct result of our inability to see what we are doing as a species to this planet.
All the energy people put into resisting wearing masks, defending our rights and the rights of our children wouldn't be necessary if we just opened our eyes and could see.
Since I stopped using meth, my eyes have opened and I can see where we are headed...can you? And more to the point, are we...you and I...willing to do anything about it except believe it is someone else's problem? Because after we are gone, it will be someone else's problem.
Look at your children and grandchildren and realise that just because we won't be around to see the results of our failures, doesn't mean we won't be held accountable for them...only through their eyes will the consequences of today's actions be seen.