I have a lot of empathy and compassion for people. I no longer look at the less fortunate with a sense that somehow they are at fault and responsible for their troubles. Nobody as a little boy or girl wants to grow up to be derelict and bankrupt in every aspect of life; morally, spiritually and physically, but it happens. These people are someone’s son, daughter, brother, wife, mother or father. They were once innocent children who for some reason grew to adulthood feeling that living life on life’s terms was too hard. They chose to live a life of addiction. I went down that road myself and unlike many, I survived.
I moved to Western Washington in 1980 from my hometown. A little town on the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains. I eventually landed a job with an office equipment company in 1981 and worked for them until the end of 1992. I was good at what I did. I liked working for commission and not punching a clock. It appealed to my independent nature. During this time I got married, raised step daughters, bought a house and was by all outside appearances, living the dream.
My wife and I separated in 1989 and were eventually divorced in 1992. I was drinking a lot at this time. By the end of the year I lost the job and had to sell the house. I worked for a few companies through 1994 and finally could work no longer.
The next eight years were ugly. I became lost; no purpose. I became a Heroin addict. I destroyed dreams and said good-bye to uncountable golden opportunities. I was in and out of treatment centers, hospitals jails and psychiatric units. From 1999 until 2002 I lived with my girlfriend and her little boy. Both of us were using drugs and wanting to quit. It was a struggle we were losing. Her son was taken away from us. She broke and was hospitalized. I struggled to stay clean and failed.
I was sent to treatment for the 16th and final time in June 2002. I used drugs for the last time on June 17th. Since that day my life has been a constant revelation. I emerged from all the chaos a changed person. I can see all the mistakes and I have awareness like I never had before. I actually attach importance to my life. I have great things to offer as a result of my experience.
The girlfriend continued trying to clean up and continued to fail. I had to let her go. I loved her, but I could not help her. The relationship with her was over. I would not have stayed clean if it had continued. That was a very painful decision for me. It did not leave without a toll. Not only did I know I would never see her again; I would never see her son again as well. I had a bond with him and him with me. I knew I would miss him. I spiraled into depression, hoping for a quick antidote. I did not find one, I found strength to endure. He was to go and live with his Paternal Grand Parents. It was the right decision; both for of us.
I did not escape my drug use without physical problems. I was diagnosed with hepatitis C in December 2001 . . . . In March of 2003 I began Interferon Treatment. I gave myself an injection once a week for 52 weeks. Interferon is rather toxic. It is also used for certain forms of cancer. It is comparable to Chemotherapy. I completed treatment in March of this year. I am now undetectable. The Hepatitis C virus can not be found. During that year I stayed home most the time. Interferon has a tendency to make a person fairly ill. Through this experience I found the good in me. I learned to be my own best friend. I was comfortable being in my own company. I spent a lot of the time learning about and building my computer. I had not touched a computer since 1994 and I had a lot of catching up to do. Through the internet, I corresponded with others on interferon therapy and we encouraged each other.
I have felt like giving up many times. Feeling that way is not necessarily off beam. An addict is going to experience that feeling from time to time. Having a feeling and ‘acting’ on that feeling are two different things. That is where the fellowship and the steps come in. The key is learning to live life on life’s terms. A person who chronically alters their mood with chemicals has little practice at doing this.
I can think of nothing that would justify giving up and using again. However, I am not naïve enough to think it could never happen. If I work the steps and practice spiritual principles, when and if, life slaps me in the face, I will have the means to walk through it without using. In this I believe and place my trust.
Part II – Reality & Depression
The slap in the face happens; rejected by the woman I loved, simple enough everyday occurrences in the world. It happens to someone every minute, somewhere. These people grieve, pick up and go on. Oh, but I am different; me, of feeble emotions and frenzied reaction. I am persistently depressed, paralyzed with fear and cowering in total isolation. Fleeting moments of euphoria had been my only refuge for years. Where are they now? Here I exist between two worlds; dreams and my reality. A moment of less than euphoria would work.
What do you do when you can see nothing appealing on the horizon? When you've been there and done that with all the anti-depressants, doctors, rehabs, clinics, and jails. Perhaps a little distraction from my self deprecating mind, just enough to make it through another day of depression.
What happened, how did I arrive at this moment? The gradual spiral that seems to consume so many I’ve known, including myself, is generally a result of too much thought. I question everything too much. I am consumed by cynicism.
This thing, mental illness, this ugly thing, an affliction of the feeble; it has been my keeper for so long. I have not the will to challenge its power. I am tired. The alcohol and heroin took all residual decency. They will not yield, only beckon me.
Why does my mind see monsters no one else can see? Why are my emotions so over the top? Why am I not capable of having a life? With or without answers, the reality is this; I am essentially worthless to the world. One can not live with absolute protection from feelings; yet that is where I exist and thrive.
An education, a job, a place in the world; all of it gone, I have only my waking moments of thought; thoughts that race and swirl. Peaceful sleep, without dreams; I find irresistible.
What now for this frightened man, a little boy, if truth be told? Where does he go? Go forth, struggle; gain ground. It will all tumble again. Over and over the trudging and toil; until it swirls down around a worthless moment of feeling.
Where did it all originate? Have you heard the emptiness of silence…endless stillness…stretching out forever? Have you heard it? A single silent nothing, where so much else should really be, have you heard it? What is this thing labeled Depression? Why? Why indeed. I wonder how I was ever that bad. Maybe you could have loved me if I'd done better.
It’s not the girl. Adoption by lottery; buy a ticket. I somehow feel impotent, all the anti-depressants, doctors, rehabs, clinics; I‘m terrified. When she comes back will I be treasured? Will she know me? Will she care? Sometimes I wish they would keep her.
Adoption by lottery. Mine was just the luck of the draw; I Lost!
You start your wonderful sharing of a slice in the life of FarFromLuhzin by stating in your first paragraph "I survived."
You then end your wonderful, deep, insightful narrative by saying "I lost!"
In between the initial, wonderful high at having fought a major battle, over and over again, never giving up but following the path which finally released you from so many unbelievably difficult challenges and emotional drains on your life you seem, at certain periods to stumble and fall occasionally when you question "why was I ever that bad?"
And yet your senses, once you had fought some major demons in your life found the compassion, the understanding and the connection to realize that you are no longer capable of condeming anyone in life, no matter what their circumstances are because you understand the wide diversity in the human condition.
Are you not worthy of that same love and forgiveness and understanding towards yourself too? All the goodness and understanding which you radiate outwards; perhaps you could direct that at yourself too? No longer see 'them' and then there is 'me' but know that what is good, right and just for others - the same applies to you allowing yourself that same grace?
You question "why am I not capable of having a life?"
Anyone who reads your wonderful travels through the battles you managed to conquer can only be moved by your determination, your tenacity and your will to survive that which you knew was not helping you to be all that you can be. I would say you *were* and *are* living a highly capable life!
As the Buddhists would say, if you have the choice between choosing between two paths, choose the more difficult one because with each step that you manage on the tougher path, your true, inner humanity will become more and more clear to you.
It is not about what was good or bad then or now; it is about living your life each moment at a time, in the best way that you can, according to the ebb's and flow's of your energy levels at the time. There is no 'better, there is no 'worse.' Anyone can only do what they are capable of doing to the best of their capability at this very moment. The next moment will again be different just as the previous one was.
You find great comfort in the peacefulness of sleep. No monkeys are jumping around in the brain while in that state. (Have you ever considered C.B.T. therapy of even getting hold of some of the many good books out there on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Just as you behaved your way out of your previously negative and destructive way of life, you might find that you simply need to also retrain your brain out of that eternal groove it seems to be stuck in where there will always be more questions than answers and your final step could be to behave your brain back into letting go of all those what if's, the why's.
You proved to yourself the incredible capacity of the brain to behave it's way out of many unfortunate life choices once made so believe once more that you can climb even further out of your present fears and sense of isolation by knowing that you can also halt so many of those disquieting thoughts which fill every moment of your waking day.
Once your mind becomes more peaceful and your thoughts will be more focused on living in the here and now instead of worrying so much about what is on your horizon, I do believe that so many answers will automatically begin to reveal themselves to you. You will find your happiness not in your yesterdays or your tomorrow's but they will be there in each quiet moment of each hour.