12 Inspirational Recovery QuotesEverybody needs some inspiration and motivation while working their recovery path over addictions. The path to recovery is often a long and painful journey. Recovery is different for everyone. What helps one addict certainly may not help the next person. Quotes have a tendency to strike a chord deeply with those looking for a change in their lifestyle. We hope you enjoy this beautiful and inspiring collection we have created on photographs we have taken over the years. “You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt U.S. FIRST LADY, DIPLOMAT, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” James N. Watkins AUTHOR The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but human connection. Johann Hari I don't need alcohol to see the world in its depths, I carry the sun in me. Lamine Pearlheart There are far better things ahead than the ones we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground. Theodore Roosevelt “Catch on fire if you must, sometimes everything needs to burn to the ground so that we may grow”. A.L. Lawless “Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.” Ralph Waldo Emerson The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior. M. Scott Peck It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it. Eleanor Roosevelt When you make peace with yourself, you make peace with the world. Maha Ghosananda What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. Albert Pine Not one child would ever say When I grow up I can't wait to be an addict!. Yet, unfortunately so many in our society have found themselves in this destructive cycle. The good news is recovery is certainly attainable. Everyone's path to recovery is different. Many struggle with relapse. Some don't and are fortunate to get it right the first time out the gate. If you do relapse you can start again. One day at a time. You can succeed!! We hope the above quotes have resonated with you like they have for us during our journey of Finding our Freedoms. Share them with any loved ones who are looking for a change. When you need some inspiration and peace we hope you can reflect back to these images. ✌️❤️ to you all. Love, Nick and Christina
BETRAYAL TRAUMA AND MY TRIGGERSI was never one of those uptight, prudish type of women. Porn didn't make me cringe. I never minded the little sexual talk in the break room at the job even though that's officially against the rules. I have a good sense of humor, sometimes not a very politically correct sense of humor, but a sense of humor none-the-less. I’ve even known myself to consume some pornography over the years. Reading the stories hidden inside the pages of their subscriptions of Playboys that conveniently lived in the restroom; hidden, buried deep inside of the magazine rack. Out of sight. Keeping the secret. Yes I have morals and standards, yet I never really had issues with the Playboy subscription in the bottom nightstand bureau drawer of my dad's, or with my ex, the girl's father. So truly it blew my mind how I reacted after I discovered Nick's habit. The emotional instability and true deception that I felt after the discovery of his pornography use totally caught me off guard. I mean the first time I caught him, I really did believe it must have been all my fault. I was closing in on my 9th month of pregnancy with our son. I know I didn't feel very attractive at that moment. My first glimpse into the addiction of pornography was getting ready to smack me straight in the face. Picture how stunned I found myself. I wake up after barely getting in bed for the evening. I walk upstairs and down the hall towards the restroom. It was late. Probably close to midnight. He wasn't in bed yet as that was the norm. Typical, exhausted, pregnant mom; working a full time job. I was notorious for going to bed before him while he stayed up supposedly playing video games on his phone. I heard the water in the shower running as I approached the bathroom door. Being a pregnant female and hearing the sound of the running water it hit me right in the bladder. I needed to get in that restroom and I needed to get in there quick. Without even knocking, as that is how open our relationship has always been, I open the door. Bam! What is this? Here he was, not even an hour after we finished making love, and I find him watching pornography on his phone while pleasuring himself. My jaw dropped and I instantly shut the door and went to the dining room, sitting and replaying in my mind what I just encountered. I was shook! I couldn't understand it. We had a very healthy sexual relationship. Even at this stage of my pregnancy we were intimate multiple times a week, never lacking a desire to take care of each other's needs. My mind was racing; I felt that I wasn't truly satisfying him the way I had in the past. I was so completely embarrassed and feeling like I wasn't good enough in my skin. I mean I looked in the mirror everyday and I realized how different my body looked so maybe, maybe it really was my fault... I was just overreacting. You can ask anyone and they will tell you that it is completely natural. ALL MEN do it! I mean it was just an image it's not like he was really with somebody. But my heart and my mind didn't care. Physically or virtually, it wounded me deeply. At that time I did nothing but try to move past this. I didn't have time to let this get me down so I stuffed it burying it deep inside of me. It was such a happy time in our lives. We were getting close to having our baby and would be bringing him home to our newly remodeled home after suffering a house fire. I was so looking forward to us bonding as parents together. This was his first child and it was such an exciting time. Seeing him with our son after he was born and the pure joy and pride radiating from his face is something no no one can ever take from me. And then there was my beautiful girls. They were completely in love with their new baby brother. I will always cherish that day. The fast, furious, and completely unmedicated delivery of our beautiful son. My daughters so scared yet immensely excited; pacing right outside of the door anxiously awaiting his arrival. I'll never forget the expression on the nurse's face when she realized she was going to have to deliver this baby as the doctor had yet to arrive. It was just a whirlwind of emotions that day. My oxytocin and dopamine were peaking at max capacity. I loved everyone! For awhile that was good enough. I blocked that devastating night of discovery from my mind. For a few weeks it appeared that maybe everything was going to be alright. Maybe it really wasn't that big of a deal— or maybe I was in denial and it was. Was the high of having a new baby in our home deceiving my inner thoughts? I'm sure my hormone fluctuations during the pregnancy hindered me really evaluating the depth of my feelings upon discovery. Feeling overly emotional over the unearthing of his pornography use. I mean we were soul mates. Surely it was just a one off and wouldn't happen again. Life progressed and it was getting close to being time for me to return to work from my maternity leave. One evening he'd handed me his phone to show me something on it and in the process of me backing out of the screen I was on, I touched a different button that showed all of the current apps running in the background. On one of the screens was a very tan, thin naked girl with long blond hair doing God only knows what because I instantly just lost it. I mean you can't get more opposite than what I am. Devastated once again, yet having to try to stifle my true emotions at that moment as his father was here from out of town. I'm really good at keeping blinders on if someone's doing something that I don't approve of and hurts me. I've never really been big on confrontation, but now here I was being confronted by pornography once again. I had learned to doubt and silence my intuition. My feelings, my intuition always dismissed; I was making a mountain out of a molehill feelings of that I stuffed deep down inside of me. I was building walls around myself that I wasn't even aware I was doing. One foot in front of the other. Keep going! Keep climbing! So many tasks on my list of things to do before I go back to work. I had to find, interview, and actually feel comfortable with a daycare provider for our sweet new baby. I must color my hair because, God forbid I return to work with any silver showing. Must convince my breastfed baby to take a bottle. Must figure out how I'm going to comfortably pump to sustain my infant while working a high-stress position at my company. Be strong. Be the best mom I can be. Be the best daughter I can be to my handicapped mother. Be the best employee I can be while trying to compensate for the fact that I had just been off for 7 weeks. The pressure of being a working mother is all too real. My mind was truly sucked into my newborn baby that I was away from. I got this. I am strong! Or do I? I was trying not to be emotionally and sexually devastated by this discovery of Nick's porn consumption. I must not let anybody know that my human in this world looks at pornography more than I'm willing to admit. I must not let anybody know that I have an issue with this. How had I turned into this prude? This angry, bitter woman who is losing her sexual desire completely. I was trying to pretend like I wasn't broken. I'm super mom— I can do it all. But my presence in this world proved otherwise. Negativity was getting the best of me, persistently showing its ugly head through my denial. Time went on and as it progressed we both pretended like everything was alright. And for some time it was working. Denial is an amazing force if you embrace it with open arms. What I didn't realize at that time is how much it was all changing me. My once happy go lucky everyday positive attitude that I carried with me at my job was gone. My brightness and my positivity was dimming. I was having a hard time concentrating. I was having a hard time producing enough milk for my baby boy that I was having to supplement with formula. That also caused me to be pretty down on myself. I was just going through the motions of daily life, never feeling like enough in many ways. I'll never forget one day my favorite co-worker Mary looking at me straight in the face and asking What in the hell is going on with you? and me of course trying to play it off like I was just tired. The baby isn't letting me get enough sleep at night. I replied back with confidence. You know I had a perfect excuse. I certainly couldn't tell my truth. I was scarred. None of this was alright for me. I was trying to bury all of it deeply down inside of me. I couldn't handle the shame. The embarrassment. The shame of not being good enough; not pretty enough, thin enough, blonde enough, young enough, or even dirty enough. Deep into my core I was hoping to never endure this pain again. Hoping that he could surely feel and see the pain I felt from it. Praying that I could be good enough. I now questioned everything. I felt triggered by everything. I doubted so much more and looked over my shoulder constantly. What is he doing on his phone? Did he just back out of a screen? Why isn’t he in bed? Has he been in the bathroom a little too long? Does this dirty sock seem extra crusty? The questions in my mind did not stop. Triggers were everywhere. We couldn't sit together and watch a movie anymore as my anxiety wouldn't allow it. When we went out in public my mind raced with so many questions: was he looking at all these women? TVs programs, commercials, social media, guys at work showing off their newest image finds on their phones. I was in constant cringe mode thinking of all the ways that sexual content was on display for him twenty-four hours a day. It was always at his fingertips or sitting in his pocket on a device that can take him to any fantasy he wanted. I had to run every situation through my head completely before I could leave the house to be involved in anything socially. This isn't normal. I had become the problem. It was my fault he had thisproblem that was devastating our love story. It's all me. I'm the problem! This is my fault! I would like to say that he saw how it was affecting me and changed his ways, but really he just spiraled out of control. Days turned into weeks and weeks changed into months, which quickly progressed into years. Here we were years down the road and we were still in this living Hell. We were working opposite schedules to help save money on daycare. He had way too much free time on his hands. Working weekend shift he had the amazing privilege of not even working 6 months out of a year. Three 12-hour days and getting paid for 40 he had a pretty sweet deal going on. And it was supposed to be an even better deal for our son to not have someone else raising him. It was supposed to be the answer. The best thing for our son and family, but in hindsight saving money did nothing for us but help us lose our loving connection. Our family bond was falling apart. I'd have no time to heal before there would be another discovery. They became a constant in my daily existence. I don't want to go into all the dirty details. I'm sure many of you can truly use your imagination. I was so wounded from this betrayal. I fell into a depression I refused to see. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks. I mean it even affected my menstrual cycle and my thyroid. From my personal experience I know for certain there's so much shame involved with it, not just for me but for both partners. The betrayer and the betrayed. Anytime I thought I could try to get over it there would be another abrupt discovery into that dark side of his world. It felt like a hard slap to my face, the wound constantly stinging from the blow. Finally it got to the point I couldn't take it anymore. I freaking lost it! Demanding him to get the hell out of my home. Telling him how much he disgusted me. Screaming at him that he was sick. Yelling at him that he didn't deserve us. Shaming him for all the shame he had caused me. Blaming him for my isolation and my loneliness. I felt like I hadn't been able to catch my breath in months— or was it years? My mind kept screaming “I can't breathe!” I had truly been telling him any time I caught him in the past that he should just leave yet every time he stayed. But not this time. He packed up his overnight bag hopped in his car and drove away into the darkness. Devastated, heartbroken, and did I mention I couldn’t breathe? I've had to hold my head high. Keeping our son from knowing what's going on. Not wanting to disclose to my daughters the reason for Nick's absence. How could I let them know how blind I had been? How stupid I had been for allowing this for as long as I had? For not having enough self worth and value to tolerate this for the amount of time I had. How can I expect them to be strong women following my example? Nothing like kicking him out of the house so he would have all the time in the world to hang out with the never-ending resource of videos and images in his pocket. Oh the joy of this “smart” and overly sexualized world we are living in. Please share with us your stories. What triggers you? How do you rebuild trust that has been lost? What steps do you take to create health boundaries and knock down the walls of bitterness in your own lives?
THE ADDICTS IN MY LIFE: PART 1Research shows that nearly 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet unfortunately only 10% of them will receive treatment ¹ . In 2016 the Surgeon General stated that 1 in 7 will face substance addiction ². The economic impact of this epidemic is stifling. Sadly over 70,000 Americans lost their lives to an overdose in 2017 ³ . The numbers are increasing every year. I myself have had the unfortunate privilege of sitting in the front row to watch so many of my loved ones go through the ugliness of addiction. As a child it was alcohol that had taken up real estate in my life. Daily after work beers for my father. I would help him pull off his boots every night after work and I would grab him his Budweiser out of the fridge. Every weekend card parties with the heavier drinks flowing freely for all the adults in my life— the ones who should be showing us kids guidance, responsibilities, and values. Beers at all the softball games. And the skating rink. Pitchers of foamy beer at the Pizza Hut. Taking us into bars while they played darts or shot pool. They always ordered fancy Shirley Temple's for us kids. You name it, it was always there. Even many of my friends dad's were drinking while driving us kids to our weekend games or girl scout meetings. I remember one dad who had a cooler set up in his center console of his Blazer. This was the friend who’s house was our go to for raiding their cupboards or fridge for alcohol when we were in high school. Their parents had so much and were consuming so much of it that they never noticed if they were missing any. Here in this small Catholic community in Kansas I grew up in, drinking has always been the norm. Starting back in late elementary school and junior high it all began with the boys carrying around their cans of chew thinking they were cool. I can still vividly see and hear the sound of them tapping their cans of Skoal with their index fingers. Funny what the mind will hold on to after all these years. Soon in junior high we began our weekend dance parties in someone's barn or basement. I hosted several of these myself in our basement or back deck. My parents were divorced when I was 12 and I am not proud to say that I took advantage of my mom during this transitional period of her becoming a single mom. There would inevitably always be someone with an older sibling who provided some alcohol filled party favors for us children to consume. Our only saving grace back in the beginning was none of us were driving yet. That is until everyone started getting the farmers permits. Then the fun really began. In high school the weekend entertainment was a country road where the cool kids would meet up. Well, at least until the weather didn't permit that. On the cold nights there were several cool” and “edgy parents who would love to have the kids over to hang out. Drinking, dreaming, laughing, experimenting sexually, and of course playing music was the ritual. I attended one of these house parties and just didn't feel at home with all the jocks. Those of us that didn't fit into that vibe found our own ways to get in trouble. We started venturing into Wichita. The big city for us small town kids. The more we went to town the more we found our own ways to party. We wound up meeting different groups of people here and there whether it be at the mall or the movie theater. That may be a foreign concept for a lot of you as life was so different before technology. You actually had to get out there and talk to people. Our new acquaintances were doing way more than drinking (not that they weren't drinking plenty too). My small town crew was then introduced to marijuana as we developed friendships with this new group of friends. I was really scared to try the marijuana so out of our group of friends I was one of the last ones to truly partake. I was spending my time drinking, drinking way too much, letting my ambitions go. We were having the time of our lives, just starting to realize how much bigger the world was compared to our tiny little town with no street lights. It was during this time frame that my low self-esteem lead to me losing my virginity to a one night stand, which in turn lead me to just wanting to party more. We even found a small live music bar that we could get into on the weekends. It was dark, dank, reeking of old beer and vomit. It was so inviting to us kids. It made us feel like we were part of something. The live music scene was happening in the 90's with the influence of the Grunge genre. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Mother Love Bone, and Temple of the Dog are just a few I was obsessed with during that time. The door of this small bar was ran by the owners 14 year old son. He had a piece of paper on an oh so official clipboard where if you conveniently forgot your ID you could just write down your information. Well, we sure abused that along with half of Wichita. I had a different identity every weekend on that piece of paper. It was so much fun fighting through the adrenaline rush we would get as we were waiting in line to fill out that paper with our fake identity for the weekend. We felt so grown-up ordering and drinking our own pitchers of beer, Kamikazes, and of course Sex on the Beach’s. We had jumped into this new lifestyle with all we had. Eventually I even wound up with my older sister's ID when she turned 21. Of course I would take her ID and of course I would happily use it knowing I would never again have to fill out that piece of paper for Paul at the bar. Life was made. Nothing like a 17 year old with a fake ID. The next progression from hanging out at the bar every weekend or at people's houses drinking and smoking their weed was us wanting to score our own pot over the weekends. Us girls would all chip in and buy a $20 or $40 bag. We would then smoke it all up over the weekend so we wouldn't get caught by our parents. They would never expect that from us as we really were good kids. We didn't own any paraphernalia so we were making our own pipes out of aluminum foil or soda pop cans thinking we were cool. Sitting in cul-de-sacs of new and upcoming neighborhoods in west Wichita smoking pot all while drinking our bottles of Boone's Farm out of QuikTrip cups. We were definitely young and dumb, not making the best decisions but we still pretty much had our acts together. I believe that is because out of this group of friends of mine we didn't carry the addictive gene in our brains. We were doing what typical teenagers do. Soon one of the girls in our group introduced us to a lady where we could get pot. We would go over to her house to get our weekly weekend stash. During that time we wound up bonding with her handsome teenage sons who were also dealing. We were all so naive to the drug world. They didn't disclose they were dealing more than pot but over time it became more than obvious. It was at this house I first witnessed someone preparing to shoot up. My graduation night. After some struggle to actually get my diploma with a school change under my belt I finally had done it to then just be disappointed by really nobody showing up for the ceremony. I went to score a bag of weed to bury my sorrows after the ceremony. Walking into the house I go to the kitchen to make the transaction. All is good and I am ready to get out of there and go meet up with some buddies. I go to walk through the living room when I turn my head to see a gentleman with a belt wrapped tight around his arm with a lighter and spoon in his hand in a dark and dingy room. Heart racing. Sheer terror! Scariest thing I had ever seen in my 18 years. I hightailed it out if there at what felt like 100 miles an hour. What in the actual hell did I just witness? What path had I found myself on? I never dreamed I would see anything like this outside of the movies. To be continued.... Stay tuned for part two of this new compelling series. ¹ “Addiction Statistics - Facts on Drug and Alcohol Use - Addiction Center.” AddictionCenter, www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/. ² “General Facts and Recommendations.” Facing Addiction In America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, file:///C:/Users/13164/Downloads/fact-sheet-general.pdf. ³ National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Overdose Death Rates.” NIDA, 29 Jan. 2019, www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates.
THE ADDICTS IN MY LIFE- PART 2Please start here at the beginning if you missed part 1. https://findingourfreedoms.com/the-addicts-in-my-life-part-1/ I would like to say that the shock of watching this man getting ready to shoot up the mystery dope that was in his needle would have woke me up and kept me away from the scene for the rest of my life. Unfortunately that is not what happened. if anything I just dove in it even deeper. I thought it would be a great idea to start dating my dealer's oldest son Mike. He was super cute and I was young and oh so dumb thinking I was cool dating the pretty boy dealer. Now I would always have my own sack of weed— or at least knew where to get a bag when my friends were looking to score. During that summer we all went to Riverfest together one night. I had borrowed my step mom's little Geo tracker and we were heading back to their place; the drug house. We were only several blocks from their house when BAM— all of a sudden there is this jacked up Chevy Blazer partially sitting out of a parking lot driveway of a church without its headlights on. As soon as we pass it they start erratically following, flashing their lights at us, honking, and then proceeding to start ramming us. This was in the days before cell phones. Back then we all carried pagers and had to depend on payphones. We wildly maneuvered turning down into the neighborhood trying to escape them at all costs. Finally we arrived at the QuikTrip on Harry and Meridian (which is no longer there) and ran inside begging them to call the police. I was crying and I was so scared of the reaction I would get from my stepmom but especially from my dad when he heard what had transpired. We did not have a good relationship at that time because he was on the road driving a truck and I never saw him. He still carried a lot of bitterness and resentment from his divorce towards my mother, making it difficult to develop a relationship with us kids. I've blocked a lot of this from my memory over the years. To this day I still don't know what it was all about. Did it have something to do with these boys I was hanging out with or was somebody looking for my stepmom who I later learned was intertwined in the drug world herself? It wasn't many days after that incident that I had learned that the drug house was officially busted and the mom along with her two oldest sons were officially in jail. I was so stupid and naive thinking I was in love with this boy. Convincing my mother to take me to small county jail cells around the state of Kansas to visit him in. Sedgwick Co. in Wichita was overflowing at the time so they were shipping inmates to different facilities all over the state. We would write long letters, he would call me collect, and I couldn't wait for him to get free. Back to the power of the mind (at least mine) blocking so much I can't tell you how long he was gone. I don't remember when he got free, but I do remember he had to go live in a halfway house/work-release kind of program. I only saw him one time after he was released as truly by the time he was free I had moved on with a different circle of friends. I have no idea what became of him or his family. I'm sure if I really wanted to I could find them via social media with us now living in the smart world that we are in but I have zero interest. That was the end of that era. While he'd been away in jail I had started hanging out with a different group of friends as the drug bust had totally busted up our crew. A lot of my band friends from back in the day had picked up skateboarding and that was the new hobby of our time. Several of us girls spent a lot of our days hanging out downtown under the Douglas Street Bridge watching all the hot guys skating while we all yelled YEAH when they finally pulled off a trick they had been working on for hours or even days. We were having so much fun jamming out to the Beastie boys, eating way too many $2 specials from Taco Shop, enjoying band practices and shows on the weekends, and smoking lots of weed. It was during this time period that I was introduced to hallucinogenics in the form of white blotter acid from a Grateful Dead show. Some of our friends had brought back a bunch after following them on tour for the summer back when Jerry Garcia was still alive. Billy (God rest his soul) and Jessie came back with dreadlocks, crystals they were using for deodorant (I know, right?), unbelievable stories of the VW breaking down leading to going to jail in Utah, and lots of sheets of acid. They had made a lot of new connections that long summer on the road being deadheads. I had tried acid a couple of times back in highschool with my group of girlfriends so it wasn't completely new but the amount we began consuming was. Soon their new deadhead connections we're sending packages in the mail of more acid for all of us deprived people stuck in the middle of this country. I may have been more involved in all of this than I should have been and I remember opening up the packages that had traveled all this way from California. The first one contained Ecstasy that was hidden inside of this little trolley pencil sharpener, some other little trinkets souvenirs, and then sheets of acid in the box that looked just like white construction paper. Several shipments down the road the paper sheets of acid had turned into a liquid form arriving in rinsed out bottles of visine and those little breath freshing minty liquid drops. Tripping on acid was all the rage back then with us. We were making a killing selling these sugar cubes dosed with the liquid acid for $10 a pop and people couldn't get enough, including us. Going to live shows, hanging out downtown, watching trippy movies, adventuring on the trails out at Pawnee Prairie Park, driving through the golf courses at night while the sprinklers were on, and thinking we were having the time of our lives. But also all the while making horrible decisions. I remember going to babysit my cousins one morning after an all night trip on acid. Not proud of it but I wasn't in good shape and my grandmother came over and called me out asking me if I was on drugs. I totally was, but there was no way I would admit it. During this period I had been offered cocaine on more than one occasion. I've had a couple friends who had really gone down a bad path from uppers and I already knew then that I had a possibility of becoming addicted to any substance that I put in my body. I mean I was completely addicted to my pack of Marlboros I was smoking everyday and I still am. I need to change that sooner rather than later! I had heard the stories at the Ala-teen meetings and I knew my father was an alcoholic so that upped my chance of being an addict too. It's probably not saying a lot but I am proud to say I never did any cocaine. Unless you count the few joints over the years that idiots would sprinkle cocaine on and call a primo. As far as I was concerned it would just ruin the taste of the marijuana. While watching all the hot boys skateboard and hanging out at the band boys house I met my first (and only official) husband. He was a half Korean boy, a good skateboarder, very intelligent, obsessed with the Beatles (which I always thought was the sweetest), didn't hardly drink (but smoked a lot of pot), and we just hit it off. It wasn't long into our relationship that I moved out of my mother's house for the first time and rented a home with him and two other male roommates, Mike ( RIP) and Jeff. I was the woman of the house. All was going well for quite a while and then I realized that my new boyfriend had small guy syndrome, meaning he liked to hit and push me around from time to time when he was angry. And what's crazy is I am a strong girl— I could have totally kicked his ass. But I am definitely a lover and not a fighter. What in the hell was I thinking? Every time he promised he'd never do it again. Every time I would believe him. And every single time he failed us both. I wish I would have had more self-worth and wouldn't have tolerated the situation for as long as I did. Strange things started occurring at the house. Flashlights in random rooms. A little mirror I had hanging on the wall in the bathroom disappeared. A week or so after the mirror disappeared I found the frame of it broken and stashed underneath the bathroom sink along with the mirror itself hidden under a stack of towels. I didn’t understand why they didn't tell me they had broken it. Who really had broken it? And why weren't they sleeping anymore? I knew they both had sold weed which I had no problem with but this was something else. It didn't take long until I figured out both of our other roommates were dabbling with the new crystal meth that everyone was talking about. Of course, they didn't share this information with us. If you don't do it you're not part of that circle and are kept completely in the dark. It was when a good friend confided in us that we realized the depth of the situation. We learned that our roommate who ran the indoor skate park downtown was convinced the government/city was pumping oil into the basement and he was taking apart TVs and other electronics constantly looking for surveillance devices. They were always watching him whoever they were. It was then that we realized we needed to move out of this circumstance we were involved in and get a house of our own. Life progressed. We got a cute rental. He asked me to marry him. Me being blinded by love, I of course said yes thinking he would never hurt me again. We let a couple who were our friends move in to our spare bedroom. Cheaper rent never hurt anyone. At least that was our thoughts in the beginning. They also ended up getting strung out on this crystal that was everywhere and we had to ask them to move out. I can still remember hearing the girl of the couple bragging about how she was wearing jeans from junior high because she had lost so much weight from the drugs. Being overweight pretty much my entire life it sounded so tempting but I just knew I couldn't go there. I already had enough vices I couldn't afford. September of 98 is when we planned to have our destination wedding which was quite difficult in the days before the internet. With a few friends and his mother we headed to Las Vegas to get married. We loved gambling and he was big into craps so it just made sense we would get married in Sin City. Back to the real world. It didn't take long for the true honeymoon to end and him to lay his hands on me again in a physical manner that hurt me. This time it actually landed me in the emergency room for a dislocated thumb. The neighbors called the cops and he went to jail and he had to go through anger management classes. In the past his abuse had necessitated me to seek treatment from a chiropractor for months after he literally threw me through a wall during a dispute. With the cops involved now this was so different. This the first time others heard the craziness I was surrounded in. I realized I had made a giant mistake. If I stayed he probably would have killed me eventually as every occurrence of abuse was more severe than the previous. I started planning my escape. We were married in September and the divorce was final by December. I left him and didn't tell him where I was going. Any of my belongings that I didn't get from the house on the first car load he destroyed in the driveway of the house that I had just left. I lost a ton of stuff. The most meaningful being my handmade baby quilt from my childhood. But I was free— I would take the loss. I had gotten a tiny little studio apartment that I later learned was located in crack alley not too far from where he was still living. This was the first time I'd lived on my own and it was awesome not having to deal with anybody else's BS. At least that's what I was thinking until I couldn't sleep at night because the people living above me were constantly pacing around in the tiny studio apartment as they were doing drugs and certainly not sleeping. I was waiting for them to wear holes through the floor walking above my head. Waiting for them to come crashing down into my unit. I started drinking more, enjoying my newly found single life. I was working at a tire shop and we would go to the bar every night after work, drinking and developing deeper friendships. As always me hanging out with all the guys. I've always bonded better with men over women. Women just have such a tendency to be entirely way too judgemental for my taste and love to stab other women in the back. That's not the kind of person I am so I have always tried to avoid that scenario completely. It was during this time in my life that I started developing a relationship with the father of my girls— the next addict/alcoholic I would have in my life. To be continued.... Stay tuned for part three of this compelling series.
MULTIPLE ADDICTIONSAfter fighting this battle with Nick there are some things I now know for sure. Those of us without the addictive gene have a hard time seeing the big picture of addiction. We have such a hard time not being angry and bitter. The more I have researched and walked through this battle I now know otherwise. Our loved ones don't choose to be addicted. It's not the alcohol, the sex, the prescription pills, the gambling, the opioids, or the meth. It's usually underlying trauma from childhood, mental issues, and overall lack of connection. Or in the case of the new drug pornography a lot of these kids are exposed at such a young age in this era of technology that they just think it is normal. Society has normalized this. A lot of times those struggling just don't feel comfortable. Comfortable in their environment, comfortable in their own skin, or comfort in their own thoughts. Given this, more often than not it is more than just one drug of choice. Multiple addictions takeover their lives. Addiction to me means an action or substance that negatively affects you or your loved ones. If you have to keep your actions a secret, making sure no one finds out, you probably shouldn't be doing whatever it is. If you feel like you have to watch over your shoulder constantly something might be wrong. If you’re backing out of screens on your computer or phone, hiding in the bathroom pooping for hours, and lying to your loved ones about what you are doing— something is definitely wrong. If you can't say it out loud you are probably living in the darkness with addiction. If you are feeling alone and isolated in a room full of loved ones you probably need help. The good news is there are so many options out there to find recovery. Online communities, online and in person AA/NA/SA/Nar-anon/Al-Anon groups, individual and family therapy, getting involved in church, accountability partners, and of course in/out patient treatment facilities. There is hope for all of us. For our journey we have found comfort in many of the above items. Most important for us was rebuilding our relationship with God and rebuilding our loving connection. Often when an addict releases the grip of their primary addiction another one is waiting to jump into the party. Quit drinking to then be obsessed with sex. Quit watching porn and then live at the casino. Addiction is really a disease, though us nonaddicts have such a hard time believing. They made the choice to take that first hit off the pipe or the first drink or to look up that inappropriate content online. They made the choice! But in all actuality those with an addict brain don't make the choice. Once it gets what it needs it, the brain will do anything to feel that utopia again. This is due to the release of dopamine. It plays such a vital role in those with multiple addictions. Impulsive behaviors such as sex, watching pornography, gambling, eating, playing video games, and developing online relationships all cause the brain to release dopamine. It produces a sense of euphoria and a lot of it doing nothing but reinforcing these behaviors. The newest impulsive behavior often becomes the new drug for individuals who develop cross addictions. These behaviors awaken the same brain paths creating such similar effects and causing a new downward spiral. The brain is such a powerful tool. The good news is it can be rewired. The old computer saying of “garbage in, garbage out” rings true with addiction. Start replacing the garbage in your life with positive influences. Be honest! With yourself, with your family, and especially with your higher power. Start making amends. Start taking accountability. Remove people, places, and things that trigger you. Replace them with healthy lifestyle changes. Take a walk. Go to the gym. Or our go to: go camping! Be one with nature. Go to church. Learn a new hobby. Pick up some golf clubs. Volunteer, tell your story, and most of all help others through their recovery. We can all make a difference by breaking through the silence. Let's not let recovery be anonymous any longer. Please share in the comments how addiction has negatively affected your lives. Or, if you would like privacy please shoot us an email. We are here to help anyway we can.