Sharing my thoughts on an addict’s story published on NPR

Article:  Longtime Heroin Addict Fights for Recovery

As someone who has struggled with various addictions throughout my life, the worst being alcohol, reading this story about Andrea Towson touched me and hit home.  I was never addicted to heroin, but I feel that many of my days while active in my disease mirrored hers… get up, start drinking, make sure I have enough to get through the day and into the next, plan on how I was going to get more, then continue drinking until finally passing out.  Every day was the same.  And it was a nightmare.  I also had more than one near death experience, but still continued to drink for some time before finally ‘waking up’ to the idea that I needed help.  On July 13th, 2017, I gratefully celebrated five years of sobriety.  It also happened that an AA event that my spouse and I attend every year was a week early this year and fell on the same weekend of my sobriety birthday.  My favorite part of the event is the countdown.  Now mind you, upwards of 1000 people attend this event every year, and what is staggering about this number is that we live in a small community.  During the countdown, the person at the podium starts by finding out who has the longest sobriety – it’s usually someone with 45-50 years.  Then we countdown one year at a time, and those who have that period of sobriety stand up to be recognized while everyone claps and cheers for them.  Once the countdown gets to one year, then we continue by month, and once we hit one month, we countdown by day.  There is always someone who has only one day of sobriety.  That person walks to the front along with the person who has the most time, they hug, and the person with the most time under their belt gives the person who has the least time a copy of the ‘big book’ and words of encouragement.  I always tear up during the countdown, especially when I see those who have only days or weeks stand up.  I remember that time so clearly and how hard it was and wondering how anyone could make it a whole year, or even longer.  As time has gone by, I have grown and gotten stronger and no longer wonder how, as I am living it day by day.

Sadly, there are many who will never experience sobriety because their lives will be taken too soon as a result of their addiction.  It is unfortunate too that rehab is very costly, and often there are no available beds, leaving those who want and seek treatment out on their own.  Addiction is very complex; there are many factors in play as to why someone becomes addicted.  Too often people who have never been there do not understand this, all they want to do is point a finger and place the blame.  And unfortunately, the U.S. currently has an administration who largely does not understand addiction and they are going about fighting the current epidemic all wrong.  Most of the people who are out there still struggling are good people; many have the qualities our society deems as good, but we can’t see these qualities because they are masked by drugs and/or alcohol.  Many would be very shocked and surprised as to how many people who currently hold, or at one time held, positions of power and prestige also have a past that includes addiction.  The point is, addicts are worth saving, and building walls and returning to a 1980s-style ‘war on drugs’ absolutely will not stop the problem so many are facing.  Instead, educating people and the public, creating safe places for addicts to go to, and providing support and programs is what will help.  Congrats to Ms. Towson for finding sobriety and reaching out to others, I wish her the best!

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What is happening to us?

What has happened to human decency?  To realizing that we are all people created equal, that we are stewards and caretakers for the planet and each other?  That hate is taught and can be overcome?  That love is far more powerful?  That we are here for a short time, and to not only make the most of it, but to realize we are wasting so much energy allowing our hearts to be dark?  That by allowing this hate to fester, we are missing out on what life is all about?  That beauty comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes?  That it is possible to have a differing opinion, but still be civil and even friends?  That there is more than one way to live, love, pray, speak, and view the world?  And that just because someone doesn’t do these things just like you doesn’t mean they are wrong or any less of a person?

Instead of looking for fault, let’s focus on the positive.  Let’s hold the door for someone, no one is in such a hurry that they can’t do this simple task.  Let’s smile and greet the person walking past us.  Let’s refrain from posting inflammatory remarks to and about other people.  Rather than hating or disliking people who are different from us, let’s celebrate diversity – we all bring something wonderful to the table that enriches the lives of others.  Let’s all stand together against hate, intolerance, and ignorance; let’s take the high road and lead by example.  Maybe, just maybe, if we all try harder and work together, we can slowly change the world for the better.

My Hopes for my Daughter

Though she is just an infant, like most parents, I have hopes and dreams for my daughter.  While I am trying my best to make a good life for her and to expose her to culture, diversity, and the arts, I hope to help her reach her full potential and revel in the simple things.  I want the best for her and for her life to be full and happy.  I want her childhood to be magical, not filled with constant fear.  I want her to feel free to express herself and most importantly, to be herself.  I want her to not be afraid letting the world know who she is in love with, no matter their gender, color, or ethnicity.  I want her to have choices when it comes to her health and well-being.  I want her to know it’s ok if she is unsure about her gender.  I want her to grow up respecting the planet and the plants, animals, and people living on it.  I want her to know we are all one in the same and to not let hate fester in her heart.  I want her to have the freedom to follow her personal spiritual journey and to not feel coerced into a specific belief.  I want her to be strong and independent, and to stand up for what she believes in.

As a side note – I know where I personally stand on political, social, and religious issues, and my intent is not to shove my beliefs down someone else’s throat.  The U.S. is a free country, and with that, we have the freedom to have our own thoughts and feelings, ideas and choices.  However, I do find it deeply disturbing what is going on all over the world today.  I can’t sit back and pretend I am not bothered by reports of animal abuse, hate crimes and hate speech, different groups of people living in fear, being marginalized, profiled, and shunned because of their color, ethnicity, or identity, and people passing judgement because someone goes against what they deem as ‘normal’ and/or ‘right.’  At the end of the day, we all share this planet.  At the beginning of every day, we have an opportunity – an opportunity to do good, to care about others and not just ourselves, to learn and become educated about topics that make us uncomfortable, to remember history and work to not allow it to repeat itself, to realize we don’t know the struggles someone else is facing, and to simply be nice to one another.

~LadyDom13

My Story I

#EndTheStigma #stopthesilence #AA #sober #sobriety #recovery #rehab #alcoholism #12step #addiction

Hi, my name is Dom and I’m an alcoholic.  My sobriety date is July 13th, 2012.  That was the last day I had any alcohol; I checked into detox that night.  By the time I was actually checking in, it had been almost five hours since my last drink – the facility was almost two hours from my home and the check-in process took a while.  Although it had been almost five hours, I still blew a 0.2.  The nurse doing my intake mentioned their limit is 0.3, and if someone blows that high they are immediately sent to the ER via ambulance.  It makes me wonder about what my blood-alcohol level was earlier in the day (I don’t remember how I even got home earlier).  As I struggled through the check-in, I remember getting the shakes as the alcohol left my system, worrying so much about going into DTs, crying a lot, and being scared.  In the months leading up to my check-in to recovery, I was consuming at least a fifth of 100 proof, or higher, of alcohol per day.  I started my morning with a healthy swig or three from the bottle I kept hidden in my side table, and continuously visited said bottle throughout the day.  I would eventually pass out sometime in the afternoon, barely eating during the day because food would hinder the effect I was aiming for.  If I started getting low on my secret, hidden stash and was not able to head to the store, I would drink mouthwash and occasionally cough syrup.  I usually drank mouthwash a little each day anyways to help hide the smell of alcohol on my breath…never mind the fact it was coming out of my pores like there was no tomorrow.  I was definitely to a point that I was ready for help and was so tired of drinking, not remembering, missing out on life due to blacking out daily, not feeling well, and generally not giving a shit about myself.  What I was not ready for was facing life and reality; however, with time, healing, and a lot of work, I am still facing life and reality sober after more than four and a half years.  I realize I can do this, and it can be done.