Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

“Anything great will only be appreciated if I am given the opportunity to feel the absence of it, or experience the reversal of it. It is only then that I can even begin to understand its majesty and cherish it in the manner I should have all along.”

― Craig D. Lounsbrough

WOW, it has been almost a year since I have written in here.  Between this and my paper journal, I was so good for awhile.  Then, I stopped with both.  A lot has happened in the last year, and at the same time, not much has changed.

Kevin came home from rehab around December 22nd, 2015, and has been out ever since.  We are both still on methadone maintenance, and we are both clean, which a few caveats.  I stopped my every single day use over a year ago on November 3rd, 2015.  In the last year, I have used probably 4 or 5 times, and I have not used once since March 20th, 2016.  But even though March 21st is probably my “official” clean date, I have considered myself clean since November 2nd, 2015.  Before that day, I was using every single day, multiple times a day, for three years.  A couple random one-time uses in the last year is huge progress for me.  That said, I still consider March 21st my clean date because I have not used even once since then, and I have pride in the fact that I am at 7 and a half months completly clean.

Kevin’s clean time is a bit more complicated.  He has been largely clean since September 30th, 2015 (when he entered rehab).  However, he too has used maybe 6 or so times since then.  All the uses were one time uses, never a mini-binge or anything.  Most recently, he used this past Saturday and Sunday, but for a reason.  He missed his clinic on Saturday, and his clinic is closed on Sunday so they give bottles on Saturday for Sunday.  Since he missed Saturday, he did not get his Saturday dose, nor his Sunday bottle.  He had to work AND umpire this past weekend which he could not do sick, so he ended up buying a half bundle to sniff, just to get well.  He apparently bought another half bundle on Sunday because he had used four on Saturday and after using one Sunday he still felt sick.  So, yeah.  He used, but it wasn’t for the purpose of getting high, and he got back to his methadone on Monday.  It wasn’t something either of us were happy about his having to do, but I am happy that he didn’t shoot the bags like we did when we were in active addiction, he sniffed most of them and smoked one or two through his vape.  He doesn’t consider this a relapse or a use, and considers himself clean since March like me… I tend to disagree, but whatever.  The date and timeframe isn’t really important.  What is important is how his life is going, and how he is managing his life and his addiction.  His use didn’t lead to a slide back into active addiction and that is what is important.

As for me, I currently have 4 take home bottles which I love.  I also recently got another new counselor.  My first counselor, Sarah, that I had from July 2015 through the end of December 2015, was awesome.  She helped me a lot.  She was a big part of my support system that helped me to stop my everyday use back in November, and I just loved her and was devastated when she left.  I was lucky to get a great replacement counselor, Heather.  I had her from February 2016 until late August.  I loved her too and was devastated once again when she told me she was leaving the clinic.  Things were up in the air for awhile.  Counselors were leaving my clinic left and right, and they were in the process of hiring a bunch of new people, and I was without a counselor all September.  In October, I finally got a counselor named Kevin.  I met with her for the first time on October 13th and I was really happy to learn that, just like Sarah and Heather, Kevin is a young 20-something woman.  I feel much more comfortable with female counselors, and I like having a counselor who is near my age.  I have only met with Kevin 3 times so far, but I really like her.  She’s very nice and she’s funny, and we get along great, so I am very relieved about that.  Unlike Heather, she has been bringing up my lack of a general practioner at every meeting, and also has been bringing up my taking the Bar exam.  The doctor thing I get, and I do plan to get one in the coming months, but I really hope she lets up on bringing up the Bar EVERY time because I’m just not ready to take it yet.

As far as methadone maintenance goes, it has been a real life saver as far as getting Kevin and I clean.  However, it is not without its drawbacks.  I have been experiencing some serious side effects from the methadone of increased sweating, cravings for sweets, and weight gain.  The sweating is out of control, as is the weight gain, and the cravings for sweets definitly are not helping with the latter.  To combat some of these side effects, I recently acquired Vitadone.  For those who don’t know, Vitadone is a multi-vitamin that is specially made for people on methadone maintenance, and it is supposed to help with the excessive sweating, with the cravings for sweets, and with regularity, and it contains a ton of vitamins and minerals that are just good for you in general.  It is missing Iron though, so that people with Hep-C can use it, and the Calcium it contains is not very impressive, so I may buy and beging taking a Calcium and an Iron supplement because, as a woman, those are two vitamins I despeartely need.  Besides those two things, though, it is a very comprehensive multi-vitamin and I am hoping to see some results.  It is not cheap so I only bought a 1 month supply to start so I can test it out and see if it really works.  I am really hoping it does help because the sweating is out of control.

The weight gain is also a huge problem.  I have NEVER been as big as I am right now, and I hate it.  I finally decided recently to stop sitting around on my fat ass and to do something about it, and so I started Weight Watchers.  Now, I was not stupid enough to pay $20 per month for WW’s official app, when I could get a different app for a one time $4 purchase that could do pretty much everything the WW app can.  I downloaded iTrack Bites on October 30th and began tracking everything.  iTrack Bites lets you choose from any of the 3 WW programs:  the original program from before 2011; Points Plus which they had from 2011-2015; and SmartPoints which is their new plan. I chose Points Plus because a lot of people online expressed happiness with that program and said they had good results, and also because the SmartPoints program gives sugary foods much higher point values than Points Plus.

I love sugar as it is and the methadone makes those cravings even stronger. I know myself and I knew that if I tried to make too extreme a change by cutting out most or all of the sweet foods I love, I would eventually end up saying “fuck it” and quitting altogether.  I knew I would have a better time sticking to my diet if I was mainly eating fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, while also still being able to get my sugar fix each day so long as it fit within my daily points.  And it seems that I was right!  Now, it has only been about a week and a half, but I have been doing really well.  I have not gone over my daily points one time.  I get 31 points per day plus 49 points per week, but last week I did not use a single one of my weekly points, and I think I am going to try to keep that up.  The weekly points are really (I believe) supposed to be a safety net for if you go over.  They are also there so that you can still enjoy going out to restaurants and drinking alcohol without completely blowing your points goals.  Since I don’t go out to restaurants often and I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t have much of a reason to use them.  I am not even sure how any could lose weight if they ate all their dairly points and weekly points each week, so that’s why I don’t plan to use any of them if I can help it.  Like I said, the diet has been going well, and I feel like I might have lost some weight, but I won’t really know for a few weeks.  All I can do is keep it up and hope it is enough to combat the methadon weight gain effect.  If the eating is not enough on its own in a few weeks, I think that is when I will begin adding exercise.

Speaking of exercise, I am debating between PIIT28 (or just using Cassey’s Blogilates monthly calendars), BBG, and Goddess Training Program for my workout routine.  BBG is not really for beginners so I most likely will not start with that, but might take it up later.  Blogilates and Goddess, though, can be easily modified for beginners.  Blogilates is like fast paced Pilates/yoga exercise videos that exclusively use your own body weight to build lean muscle and burn fat.  Goddess Training Program, conversely, is all about going to the gym and lifting weights 3 days a week, while taking long walks on non-lift days.  Both seem like great programs.  I really want to do Goddess, but I hate going to the gym, and I don’t really know much about weight lifting so I feel like I would need someone to come and help me, and Kevin is not currently a member of my gym.  Maybe I can work on getting him a membership and we could go together.  That would be ideal.

I can’t believe we are already approaching Christmas AGAIN.  I spent so much money on gifts last year, I definitely need to reel that in this year.  I don’t have that much to spend.  I think Kevin and I will just have to each buy gifts for our own families and put both names on all the gifts.  I will buy for my mom, dad, brother, sister, and grandparents, and put both our names, and he can buy for his mom, sister, nephew, aunt, and dad, and put both our names.  That way we don’t both have to buy gifts for all those people.  I also need to spend less on each person than I did last year.  I have no idea what to get anyone besides my sister.  I already bought her a pair of Lularoe leggings in solid black, which are apparetnly really hard to find so I was so stoked to find them for her.  I’m going to get her a top to go with the leggings.  Other than her though, I have NO idea what anyone wants.  I will have to start sneakily asking or something.  Or I could just do gift cards.  I always love getting gift cards so maybe that would be the best option for my brother.  For my parents… I don’t know.  I’ll have to think on that.  I made my own Christmas list to give to my mom and grandma, and Kevin’s mom and aunt, because they all have been asking me for lists.  I pretty much just put long black and white shirts (to wear with my new Lularoe leggings that I LOVE), make up, and a couple books.  All things I really need and would love.

This entry is getting to be obscenely long so I will end it here.  Hopefully this is the beginning of me being better about writing in here, but who knows.  Only time will tell.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

― George Eliot


Deck the Halls

“Superman’s not brave. You can’t be brave if you’re indestructible. It’s every day people, like you and me, that are brave knowing we could easily be defeated but still continue forward.”

— Unknown

I just found this quote and I really like it.  It’s a simple idea, but one that I never really thought much about before, but it’s true.  Being brave doesn’t mean having no fear or being indestructible.  Rather, it means knowing how vulnerable you are, having that fear or trepidation, and still moving forward, still trying to do great things for yourself and change your life.  Maybe you won’t succeed every time, but being brave and being strong doesn’t mean never falling down — it means you get back up and keep right on going.

I had a pretty great weekend this past weekend.  On Saturday, I went to my cousin’s 30th birthday party.  All of my cousins were there with their boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives and children.  It was loud and crazy.  It’s funny how much my family has changed in the last 8 or so years.  8 years ago, all our parties were wild and drunken.  Now, ALL of my cousins have kids (me, my brother and sister are the youngest once, all unmarried and without kids for the time being) so now parties are much more focused on the kids running all over the place, which is fun in a different way.  It’s funny because I’m 27.  My cousin whose birthday this was was 23 years old when she got married and 27 when she had her first kid.  I can’t imagine having a kid or being married right now.  Maybe the difference is that me, my brother and sister went to school a lot longer than my cousins.  Hell, I only just graduated from law school THIS YEAR.  I still feel like a kid in most ways.  And I’m sure all the drug use stunted my emotional and mental maturity and growth as well.  I know it has sure stunted Kevin’s.  He’s basically a 30 year old man-child.  We can barely take care of ourselves let alone a child.  And marriage is not in our near future by any means.  But hopefully now that we are clean, we can start moving in that direction at least.

Anyway, this was the first family party I have been to since I got sober, and the first party I’ve been to sober in 5 years.  It was really awesome to enjoy the party without counting down the minutes until I could leave and go get high.  It was nice to actually be in the moment, not secretly cavorting with Kevin, trying to figure out how we would get money or drugs after the party (or sometimes he would leave during to pick up for us if we really needed it).  I had a lot of fun talking to and hanging out with my family, and my attention was fully on them, on the moment, on being there, not on drugs.  It was a really nice time, and I look forward to Christmas this year now.  First year in 4 or 5 years that I won’t have to be freaking out in the days leading up to the holiday, trying to save money and drugs so that I had enough to get me through Christmas morning with my family.  4 years ago, I did my last shot at 5pm and couldn’t get more until like noon the next day, after opening presents Christmas morning with my immediate family, and I was sooooo fucking sick that whole morning, just dying and waiting for us to finish opening presents so Kevin could come pick me up and shoot me up ASAP.  This year, I’ll either drive down to the clinic early and get my dose, or better yet I will hopefully have a take home bottle, so I can just wake up, dose, and enjoy Christmas morning like a normal person.  And I can actually be in the moment, with my family, enjoying Christmas.

On Sunday, I drove down to Kevin’s program since he had a day pass, and we went Christmas shopping.  Again, this is the first time in 4 or 5 years I have had money for Christmas shopping!  I spent nearly $300 on gifts for my mom, dad, brother, sister, grandpa, Kevin, and my 2 grab bag gifts for family parties.  I was freaking out about the money at first, but then rationalized it like this:  when I was using, I would easily blow $300 in 2 days on drugs, and have nothing to show for it.  At least this way, the money was spent on something useful and meaningful.  So I am happy with my purchases, happy that I actually have money this year to spend on my family to get them Christmas gifts, happy to spend sober time with Kevin, and very excited for the holiday season for the first time in years.  When using, this time of year is more of an obstacle than anything.  Spending so much time with family in such a rapid succession meant we had to try to prepare days in advance, save money and drugs so we had enough to get through the days, which is basically impossible to do as an addict.  It was always a struggle.  This year will be so much simpler and so much more fun because of it.  I’m very excited.

I’m still very worried about Kevin when he leaves his program.  He feels the methadone will help him stay off the dope, but he’s afraid he might start back up with the crack/cocaine.  I really don’t want him to, and I told him straight up yesterday that if that happened, I would have to break up with him.  I will do everything I can to help him stay sober, but I will not ruin my life for him if he decides he wants to keep getting high.  I love him, but they say recovery is selfish, and I need to be selfish right now and protect my recovery.  I hope he wants this as much as I want this for him.  I love him so much.  I really could see a future for us, but only if he decides he wants to stay sober.  I really hope he is ready.  He says he does, but I can sense and feel his apprehension and trepidation and it makes me very nervous and sad.  He’s too good for this life.  He’s so sweet and smart and funny and handsome and kind.  He deserves so much more than this life.  We both do.  He just needs to decide once and for all that he wants it enough to work for it.  It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

Today, I am 34 days clean.  This is the longest I have been clean in years.  I feel like I am finally ready to stay clean.  I just need to keep my focus.

This final quote I am posting, the last part about focusing on the moments I’ve dreamed about for so long… that is how I feel about this Christmas.  Christmas has been fucked up for me for the last few years, and finally, this year, it’s going to be like old times, and I am so happy and excited for it. Focusing on a clean Christmas is what will help me stay clean, just for today!

“The road to recovery will not always be easy, but I will take it one day at a time, focusing on the moments I’ve dreamed about for so long.”

— Amanda Lindhout

Goodbyes & Change

“You get use to someone—start to like them, even—and they leave. In the end, everyone leaves.”

― Rachel Ward, Numbers

My counselor told me on Wednesday that she is leaving the clinic for a new job.  I am really sad actually.  I like her a lot.  She’s only 30, just a few years older than me.  She used to be an addict herself so she understands me on a level that not all counselors necessarily can.  Plus, her and I get along really well.  If we had met at just an AA meeting or something, I could see us becoming friends.  It sucks that she’s leaving the clinic, but the new job sounds like a great opportunity for her so I don’t blame her for taking it. She has helped me a lot though and I am really sad that I won’t get to see her every week anymore.  I don’t want her to think I am a weirdo for being so sad that she’s leaving but it really does hurt.  I’ll miss her.  I hope we can stay in touch at least.

The clinic has too many patients and not enough counselors already, and now with Sara leaving, that means 60 displaces patients who need to find new counselors, so I have no idea when I may get assigned to someone else.  It could take a long time, which sucks because you need a counselor to put in paperwork to get increases, to get take home bottles, and to sign up for groups and stuff like that.  Sara was great because she was so enthusiastic and happy when I finally got clean.  She really cared about her job and about me and my progress.  I just don’t want to end up with someone who couldn’t give less of a shit about me or my life or sobriety.  And I know some of the counselors are like that.  I hope, whenever I do get someone new, I get someone good.  There are two other counselors I sort of know from taking groups they run, Sheila and Heather.  They both seem like really good counselors so if I ended up with one of them I would be happy.  I just don’t know at this point.  I hate this.  Sara and I had a really good rapport and relationship.  Now I’ll have to start over with someone else.  It just really sucks that I like her so much and she’s leaving.

I had my take home bottle group this morning and learned about the dos and don’ts and everything else.  Afterward, Sara put in my paperwork so hopefully I will get my first take home bottle in not too too long.  I know the paperwork and the bureaucratic bullshit it has to go through may take awhile but hopefully since it is the holidays they will be processing bottle requests for holiday bottles and everything anyway so maybe it won’t take months.  I may have to wait at least 30 days since I missed a group last week and you need 30 days of uninterrupted treatment, but I have never missed a dose, counseling appointment, any other group, and I am clean now, so Sara put in a good word for me.  Maybe they will give me a break, who knows.

I saw Kevin Wednesday because he had court so his program drove him out to a town not too far from the clinic, so I headed over there after I saw Sara and got my dose.  It was mostly just us sitting in a courtroom together but it was still nice to see him.  He has a pass this Sunday, so I will be making the trek down to his program to see him for a good 10 hours.  I would love to book a motel room again but I don’t think I can afford it.  They always cost $70-$80 which is expensive, especially this time of year when I still have so much Christmas shopping to get done.  All of it, actually.  I really need to save what money I have to spend on gifts.  I don’t know.  Plus I would need to book it in advance to even get that price.  I think it’s more expensive to book the day of, without a reservation, so I would have to do that, like, tomorrow if I decided to.  So we’ll see how I’m feeling about it tomorrow I guess.

Other than Sara leaving and visits with Kevin, not too much is going on in my life.  I am not happy at my current weight.  I really want to start working out 5-6 days a week and try to lose somewhere in the 15-25 lb range and get back to where I was a few months ago.  I think if I can get onto anti-depressants that will help, because I think I use food the same way I used drugs, to deal with negative emotions.  When I’m bored or sad, now that I don’t have drugs to do, I tend to eat.  I need to stop all that.  I want to get back down to a size I am comfortable at where my clothes actually fit nicely and I feel good. Kevin thinks I look sexy since my boobs and ass have gotten way bigger, which I won’t lie, I like too, but I want my really small waist and flat tummy back.  I have a little more belly and love handle fat on me than I want right now.  Time to get my ass in gear.  I truly think anti-depressants will help, because in the summer of 2012, right after going on them, I suddenly was motivated and started working out and lost like 20 lbs.  I am hoping they will motivate me again and I will start either getting my ass to the gym or doing home work outs. I just really don’t want to get any bigger, like I was in college, and ideally would like to lose some weight.  I need to get on top of this before I gain any more.  Time to start my new year’s resolution early.  Fuck waiting for January.  I’m starting this weekend.

I think I also need to get back on birth control because my chin keeps breaking out and I hear that can mean a hormone imbalance.  I need to call that nurse tomorrow, before the weekend comes, and make an appointment for early next week so I can get both those prescriptions, and get a pap because I haven’t had one in a couple years.  My doctor retired and then my insurance ran out so it’s been tough, but now I’m on state so time to get a new primary care physician, or in this case, nurse.

Time to make changes in my daily routine so that I can be happier with myself.

PS.  Today I have been clean for 30 days!

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”

― Jack Dixon

Heavy Heart

“Drugs suck more than anything else I have ever liked so much.”

― Ashly Lorenzana

Last night, Kevin and I were texting a bit.  I told him I missed him, and he said we were in the home stretch, that he would be home in about a month.  I told him that half of me was so excited for him to get out and to be back home because I love him and miss him so much.  The other half of me, however, is terrified for him to leave his program, because I am afraid he will relapse.  He said he felt the same way, which did not give me much comfort.  Then he said he may try to stay longer, but he isn’t sure if he can.  Another week would be pointless, he said, but if he could stay a month, he would.  He is afraid that he may use on NYE.  Right now, he’s more afraid of the crack/cocaine use than the heroin because he is on methadone.  I wish he had never tried it in the first place.  I never tried it.  I have sniffed it before but never shot it.  I hear it’s different to shoot, but as I said, I had enough problems with the heroin and didn’t need to add on.  I have no idea why he ever decided to shoot cocaine, when he already had a heroin addiction.

He’s a happy person.  He isn’t like me.  He doesn’t use to be happy.  He is happy all the time anyway.  I’m not really sure why he uses.  He just does. And I’m afraid he won’t stop.  He wants to be clean, but I know him.  He doesn’t have will power.  When we were using, we would have maybe 2 shots left each at say, 4pm, and these had to get us through until the next morning.  Still, he would do both so quick!  I would want to wait as long as I could, have at least one to do at like 11pm so I wouldn’t be too sick in the morning, but he could never do that.  I don’t know if that was part of his addiction or his personality, but I’m afraid he will get out and one of his friends will text him for a ride and next thing I know, he’s shooting coke 4 times a day in place of heroin, and nothing has changed.  I love him so fucking much, I want to be with him.  But I can’t be with him if he doesn’t stay clean.

I will be honest.  These last 3 years, I never saw Kevin as husband material.  We were using together every day, and I just didn’t really think he would ever be able to stop, and I always, in the back of my mind, even at my worst, knew I had every intention of stopping at some point and going on with my life.  But Kevin, I don’t know.  Sometimes he seems like he wants to stop, and others it seems like he wants to do this forever.  I just never thought of him as “the one,” no matter how much I loved him.  I didn’t want this life forever, and I didn’t think Kevin could get away from it.  But these last couple of months, spending time together sober, it has been so fucking amazing.  And I do love him so much.  My thinking has started to change.  I’ve started to think that maybe we could have a future together.  Maybe we could get married someday.  Maybe he could be the one.  Maybe he is the one.  But no matter how much I love him, I can’t stay with him if he doesn’t stay sober.  I can’t.  I know I would fall right back into the hole with him if he started using and I didn’t leave.  I don’t want that to happen.  He’s so cute and sweet and smart and wonderful.  He deserves so much more than this shitty life he has been living these past 10 years.  I just hope he decides he wants more.  I think he could do it if he really decided to and really put his mind to it.  He’s a happy person.  He can be happy without drugs.  It’s his will power that is weak.  He needs to truly want it, and even though he says he does, I can’t tell if he really means it.

I will be completely heartbroken if I have to break up with Kevin.  I love him so much.  But I don’t want to throw my life away for him.  I will do everything in my power to help him stay clean, but I won’t destroy myself alongside him.

“This is what I think. Addiction is just a way of trying to get at something else. Something bigger. Call it transcendence if you want, but it’s a fucked-up way, like a rat in a maze. We all want the same thing. We all have this hole. The thing you want offers relief, but it’s a trap.”

― Tess Callahan, April & Oliver

Jumbled Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

— Robert Collier

Recovery is a life long journey, which can seem overwhelming, especially when you are at the very beginning of your recovery like I am.  The idea that you can never use again for the rest of your life, no matter what is going on, can seem impossible. That’s why recovery counselors, NA, and people in recovery focus so much on just getting through, one day at a time. “Just for today,” I won’t use.  My counselor at the methadone clinic says that “not today, maybe tomorrow” is her favorite recovery tool.  She says that when she was at the beginning of her recovery, if you got a craving or was in a bad mood and felt like using, she would always say to herself, “not today, maybe tomorrow,” and then when tomorrow would come, the craving or the feeling would have passed and she wouldn’t want to pick up.  Or, if she still wanted to, she would again say, “not today, maybe tomorrow.”  In her mind, this meant she wasn’t swearing off drugs forever, because that was too overwhelming, but she wasn’t going to use today.  And when you put enough “not today, maybe tomorrow” time together, you eventually rack up weeks, months, and maybe even years of clean time.

More than just that, though, this quote reminds me that, both for recovery and for life in general, success doesn’t come from one big huge monumental triumph, but rather many smaller triumphs put together over time.  “Just keep swimming,” as Dory said in Finding Nemo.  That’s how I got through college and law school.  One class at a time, one homework assignment at a time, one exam at a time, and that’s how I am getting through recovery as well, one day at a time.  This gives me hope both for my recovery and for my future.  Hopefully I will still be able to become a lawyer like I so desire.  And hopefully I will be able to live a “clean and serene” life.

When I was in a 30 day program earlier this year, I was surrounded by people who had been to program after program because they kept relapsing, which as we all know, can be a part of recovery.  But I specifically remember my roommate, a girl maybe 10 or so years older than me, telling me how beautiful and smart I was and how much potential I have, that I am too good for this life, and then she said she thought that I would be one of those who got it right on the first try, that I wouldn’t be one who kept ending back up in 30 day programs every few months.  At the time, I wasn’t so sure.  Back in March, I hadn’t yet had what the AA Big Books refers to as my “spiritual awakening” and I planned to leave rehab and start using again.  Which I did.  But a few months later, I started trying to get on the methadone program at my boyfriend’s clinic.  They had some weird rules so I couldn’t, but I transferred to a different clinic after a few months at the first place, where I finally did get onto maintenance so I could finally begin having my dose increased to something that would actually help me.  The cravings got better gradually, and the blocking effect got stronger and stronger until I finally couldn’t feel anything when I would use, but I did still have some cravings.  Then finally, with my last 5mg increase 3 weeks ago, it was like the cravings just stopped.  I have them once in awhile, but they are short and easily overcome.  I am not sure I would have been able to put together these last 24 days clean if I hadn’t gone up those last 5mg.  Now that I am at my correct dose, maybe she’s right, maybe I will be able to get recovery right the first time, and I won’t be stuck in a 5, 10, or 20 year cycle of programs and relapses.  I hope I can do it now, while I’m young and haven’t yet gotten past the point of no return as far as my life and career are concerned.  Now is the time.

I never got into crack or cocaine.  I know some heroin addicts, once they get onto methadone and can’t feel the opiates anymore, start shooting crack or cocaine to get high.  I never enjoyed cocaine when I sniffed it in the past, and never had the desire to try shooting it while I was using dope (I felt I had enough problems already with heroin and didn’t need to add another addiction).  I know a lot of people who managed to get off heroin with methadone, only to replace their old habit with crack, cocaine, or alcohol.  I don’t see myself doing that, but I’m not going to get cocky and start sniffing lines for fun or anything.  I am going to actively stay away from people who use and places where drugs will be.  My boyfriend, Kevin, started shooting crack with his heroin late last year.  I am afraid, when he gets out of his 90 day program, that even if he does go up on his methadone dose and stops using heroin, that he may start substituting shooting crack or cocaine for the heroin he will no longer be able to feel.  I really really hope that won’t happen.  He says he wants to get clean.  He is turning 30 in 2 weeks, it is about time he cleans up his act and starts his grown up life, which is impossible to do while addicted to heroin.  I really want to be with him, we have so much fun together when we’re sober.  I just want him to stay clean.  Please God help him stay clean when he gets out.

Speaking of Kevin, I drove down to his program last Saturday and this past Thursday, Thanksgiving.  It was so great to get to spend 10 hours with him, even though the hours seemed to pass by way faster than they usually do.  On Saturday, first his program had family visits from 12-3, and then he went on his pass from 3-10pm.  During family visits we just played pool and sat and talked.  Once we could leave, we went and checked into our motel room that I had rented.  We had some private fun together, haha, and then we watched a little TV.  Later on, we went to the mall and Target down there and did some shopping, both window and real.  It was fun walking around FYE and Barnes and Noble together just looking at things, and I liked buying him his new moccasin type slippers at Target that he loves.  I got myself some slipper boot things as well, we both got gloves, and I bought myself a razor because I really needed one.  Yesterday, I got there around noon.  Because it was Thanksgiving, most places were closed.  We found one open restaurant but when we went inside, we realized it was way above our pay grade.  Half the entrees cost $50-$100 so we slinked out of there in shame. Luckily we found a Chinese food place that was open.  We ordered take out and drove to our motel, checked in, and ate Chinese food in bed while watching TV.  We fooled around a bit and then watched a couple movies on my laptop and just enjoyed each others’ company.  We have never been sober together until now, and it’s so wonderful.  I was nervous at first that we wouldn’t know what to do with each other and that we would trigger each other to want to use.  We still could, potentially, when he comes home, but I hope not.  We have been having so much fun together without using.  I just want to keep it up.  We get along so much better.  Most of our fights before were always centered around using.  Without that, our relationship is so much more fun and light and carefree.  I love him.

I have still only been to one AA meeting.  I need to get to 2 more meetings (NA or AA), that was the deal I made with my counselor.  I just am not sure how helpful I find them.  I usually feel okay.  The methadone has helped me with cravings right now, but when I go to meetings and hear people talking in detail about when they were off and running, it makes me start thinking in more detail about when I was, and I almost start to feel nostalgic.  I know a lot of being an addict was horrible, but obviously not all of it or else I wouldn’t have put up with the bad shit for so long.  I don’t want to focus on the good stuff, or any of it for that matter.  I do better focusing on today, on now, and on the future.  If I think to much about what Kevin and I were up to this time last year or two years ago… it’s easy to forget the times we were both sick as fuck, speeding the 20 minutes to the city to meet our dealing, waiting for him while he took his sweet ass time while we were dying, struggling to find a vein, all that bad shit.  That shit is easy to forget for some reason.  But I need to keep reminding myself.  Even on the best day, there is still a lot of terrible shit about being an addict.  Even when everything is going great, I hate stabbing myself.  I hate how fucked up my arms always looked and felt.  Hell, I don’t think I could go back now even if I wanted to because I’m fairly certain all my veins are collapsed.  Ugh.  Whatever.  I told my counselor I would go to 2 more, and so I must.

I also really need to get a new primary care physician.  I think I need to get back on my anti-depressants.  I felt good on them the 2 times I have been on them.  Plus, I think I use food to deal with negative emotions the way I use drugs.  When I got on them in the summer of 2012, I managed to drop 20 pounds.  I have been putting on weight like crazy since starting methadone.  Some of it maybe I needed, but not all of it.  I would like to drop at least 10-15 pounds maybe.  And I think anti-depressants could help.  I should also probably get on birth control.  Now that I’ve stopped using, my period is back in full force.  I’ve barely gotten it in the last 2 years.  Now my skin is breaking out and I have cramps and it shows up unexpectedly.  All the bad shit that happens when you’re not on any kind of birth control.  I need to call a doctor this week, get an appointment, and get on those medications ASAP.

Since Thanksgiving was yesterday, here are some things I am grateful for:

  1. My boyfriend, Kevin, and our love
  2. My family
  3. My friends
  4. My health
  5. My arms
  6. My legs
  7. My ability to walk
  8. My sight
  9. My hearing
  10. My home
  11. My country
  12. My education
  13. My intellect
  14. Methadone
  15. My car
  16. Fuzzy socks
  17. My bed
  18. Christmas coming up in less than a month
  19. Kevin coming home in less than a month!
  20. Having 24 days clean
  21. Having money in my wallet
  22. Sleep
  23. Music
  24. Photography
  25. Castle (new favorite TV show, haha)

Goals for the near future:

  1. Start hitting the gym regularly
  2. Attend at least 2 more NA or AA meetings
  3. Do the homework my counselor gave me
  4. Get a primary care physician
  5. Get back on anti-depressants
  6. Get back on birth control
  7. Start getting take home bottles at the clinic
  8. Go Christmas shopping
  9. Write in my private journal more often
  10. Stay clean!

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world… as in being able to remake ourselves.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

Old Baggage, Bad Habits, & New Beginnings

My name is Ellie, and I am an addict, currently in the beginning stages of recovery.  I found it therapeutic in the past to keep a journal, and therefore thought it could be therapeutic for me once again while I navigate through my recovery, attempt to fix all that is broken inside me, and try to learn how to live and be happy without using drugs to numb my pain.

I suppose I should begin with some background on me.  I am 27 year old, currently living at home with my parents while trying to get my life back on track.  I am a high school, college, and law school graduate, hoping to start my law career in the (hopefully not too distant) future.  I have realized over the last 8 months that I have absolutely no coping skills and no ability to deal with negative emotions.  Since the age of 12, I have been using very unhealthy methods to deal with depression, anxiety, self-hatred, stress, and any and every other negative emotion I feel.  At 12, I began cutting myself.  I did this until about the age of 15 when I began smoking marijuana.  I found opiates. which were to become my drug of choice, at around 16 or 17.  I fell in love with them then, but only used the recreationally and sparingly through the end of high school.  I went away to college a few hours from home which helped me stay away from an awful opiate addiction for a few years, but I was still drinking every single weekend.

When I came home from college to attend law school, I fell into a deep dark isolating depression.  The stress of law school, the isolation from being cooped up in my room without any friends nearby (unlike in college when friends were constantly a few doors down — this was a major change and a shock to my system) and no new friends at law school, on top of mountains of homework every night, all left me wishing and hoping to die every day.  A few months into my first year, I start sniffing heroin again.  And instead of doing it recreationally like I always had before, I began doing it almost every day.  My grades suffered (meaning they were not as good as they could have been had I been truly focusing and putting effort in at school, but were not nearly bad enough for me to be kicked out or anything), I missed classes, did no extra curricular activities, and just generally did not take school as seriously or try as hard as I should have.

I went on sniffing dope daily from the beginning of 2011 until the Fall of 2012.  That is when I started dating my boyfriend (whom I will refer to as Devin for the sake of this blog but that is not his real name).  A few months into our relationship, I began shooting up.  I missed so many days of school what was supposed to be my third year (Fall 2012-Spring 2013) that I ended up having to take a leave of absence to avoid failing grades and having to take an extra semester because I was being dropped from classes for missing too many class hours.  I went back in the Fall of 2013 and managed to graduate after one last year, but I was still shooting dope every day, and doing many despicable and illegal things with Devin in order to obtain money for dope.

Devin was arrested in 2014 and put on probation that September.  After many failed drug tests, his probation officer finally made him go into in patient in March 2015.  Knowing I would not be able to get enough money to support my habit without him, I decided to check myself into a different rehab as well.  We were both there for 3 weeks or so but went back to using when we came out.  However, we both made strides to get on the methadone maintenance program.  Methadone is a drug prescribed to opiate addicts that deals with the chemical dependence and physical cravings from opiate addiction so an addict can stop using the drug, and can also block the high opiates gives a person at a high enough dose.  I had trouble getting onto maintenance and Devin stayed at a low dose and continued to use.  We both continued to fail drug tests (him with probation and me at the methadone clinics) and finally his probation officer sent him to a 90 day treatment facility an hour and a half away from our town at the very end of September.  He is still in there now.

I recently got up to a good dose on my methadone and finally stopped having the physical cravings for heroin.  I have, at this point, not used any opiates in 18 days, and I plan to continue.  However, methadone is not the only part of the recovery program.  Clearly I started using for a reason.  Many reasons, in fact.  Now that I have taken care of the physical addiction, I need to work on myself.  There are many things I want to do to better myself and my life.  I think I want to make a list of them.  Some are things to work on myself as a person, some are just things I want to do to feel better or to take up my time.  All of them are things I think are part of recovery because they are bringing me back into real life.  For the last 3 years, my life has truly been on hold.  Every single day, I woke up, sick, and the only thing on my mind was, “how are we going to get drugs today?”  It was an awful life, and I don’t want to go back.  Devin says he doesn’t either, but I’m afraid he may fall back into it when he leaves treatment.  I am trying to think of fun things he and I can do together, clean and sober, to keep us happy, busy, and away from drugs.  Since we have never had any clean time together, I have been nervous we won’t know how to be clean together, but we have had some visits while he has been in his program, not just at the house but he has also had passes that have allowed him to leave, and we have spent time getting dinner, in motel rooms, and walking around the mall.  We have had great times together, so I really think we can do it if we both try.  So, here is my list of things I want to start incorporating into my life.

  1. First and foremost, I want to keep this recovery blog
  2. I want to get back into photography like I was in high school
  3. I want to keep writing in my personal journal to help myself grow
  4. I want to go out places and do fun things with Devin like:
    1. Play pool
    2. Go bowling
    3. Go to museums
    4. Play mini-golf
    5. Go to restaurants
    6. Concerts
    7. Sports games
    8. Comedy shows
    9. Go shopping
    10. Go to bars
    11. Karaoke
    12. Travel
    13. Play games
    14. Video games
    15. Bike rides
    16. Roller blade
    17. Ice skate
    18. Go to plays
    19. Play cards
    20. HAVE SEX!
  5. I want Devin and I to move in together
  6. I want to volunteer somewhere
  7. I want to start going to the gym and lose some weight
  8. I would like to work on my creative writing a bit
  9. My counselor wants me to go to NA and AA meetings, though personally I’m not sure how I feel about them
  10. I want to spend more time with my family
  11. Eventually I want to take the bar and start my law career
  12. I want Devin and I to be a normal happy healthy sober couple, to get married and maybe have a family some day (even if we just have fur-babies instead of real babies!)

I’ve been looking into volunteering at a retirement home in my town, and I have asked my parents for a Canon Rebel for Christmas.  I have a membership to the YMCA and want to start going there to lose some weight and tone up.  I want to keep writing in here, in my journal, and maybe work on my poetry and short story writing.  I miss doing all the fun things I listed, and want me and Devin to do all those things together since we never really have before.  We haven’t been like a real couple the last few years, we have just been drug-buddies, running and hustling together.  I want to be a real couple now.  I really hope he is serious about his recovery and that when he gets out, he will continue doing as good as he has been while inside.  I’ve been happier since I stopped, and he was never as miserable as I was so I know he can be happy sober, too.  I’m not even sure why he uses at all, but whatever.  I just love him and want us to be clean together, finally.

Today, I am grateful for:

  1. My health
  2. Air in my lungs
  3. My family
  4. My friends
  5. Devin
  6. My dog
  7. My legs
  8. My arms
  9. My ability to walk
  10. My sight
  11. My hearing
  12. My sense of smell
  13. My sense of taste
  14. My education
  15. Where I live (country, state, town)
  16. My house
  17. My car
  18. Late fall/early winter weather (pre-snow!)
  19. My sobriety