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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

Name: RJ

Age: 42

Sober Since: 04 / 23 / 2013

Sober For: 6 Years & 29 Days

What it was like?

I never in my life thought that I would be the one saying that phrase. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent. I didn't know he was an "alcoholic", I just thought he loved to drink. I was only 9 years old when he went away to rehab. It was a chaotic swirl of confusion, sadness, shame, anger. I had no idea what was happening. All I knew was that I felt abandoned. I still had my Mother, as well as my 5 older siblings. But it was like a chunk of my heart was taken away in an instant. You need to understand that back in the 80's the internet did not exist, nor did I have people discussing addiction around me. I think it was Taboo. He was gone for about two years and I was pretty much left to my own devices. My mother would tell my siblings to watch me, but they were teenagers and didn't care much to babysit. At times, I would be up the block at my friends house, who's father was like my second Dad. Other times, I would be walking the neighborhood in search of things to do with my time. I later came to find out that my "Second Dad" was actually my Adoptive Father in a previous lifetime. A tale for another day! I never enjoyed the taste of alcohol, yet, if there was a wedding I would end up drunk. I ended up drunk at my sister N's wedding when I was 16. Then ended up drunk at my sister D's wedding when I was 18. My parent's kept telling me that I had the red flags as a child. They would find me passed out with a bottle of perfume or cologne next to me as a young child/ Toddler. I never understood why I would go "Sniffing around" for alcohol. I came to realize that the bottles I would find resembled my father's whiskey bottles and I was merely mimicking what I saw. I will be honest and state that I don't remember much of my childhood. I wish I could. The reason why I wish I could is so that it would help me to heal certain parts of myself. As a young adult, my best friend would try to get me to drink sometimes. I remember one time we made plans and she asked me, "You are going to drink though, right???" She wasn't peer pressuring me haha, she just didn't want to waste money and "party" alone. Most of the time, I'd end up taking 3 sips and quit. I just couldn't stand the taste!! But if we were out and about, especially at Ybor City, I was getting drunk! It was definitely party time then! I was a mother of three at this point. I became a Mother at 20 years old. This was a rare night out for me. Because I didn't get out much, the LION came out to play every single time! I was about 29 years old when I truly began my "drinking career". I say that it was a career since I'd spend as much time drinking as one would working. I would stop for a while, but when I would go back to drinking I would consume more than I would previously. That is what is called progression. Each time I would go back, it would just get worse. 2012 was the worse year yet for my drinking. During 2012, I felt I had a problem and I analyzed it from every angle, even as I poured myself more. I ended up feeling like a crazy philosopher, especially during the midnight hour. I thought that there wasn't much of an issue because I had been able to stop drinking while I was pregnant with my 4th child in 2010. I stayed away from alcohol up until he was about a year and a half old. Then, I once again, slowly progressed into full time drinking. I also analyzed the fact that even when I did drink he never got hurt, he was always fed, he was always in a clean diaper, he was well taken care of. I analyzed the fact that I didn't act like my father had. Most of the issues surrounded myself. I didn't hurt my kids, I didn't hurt their father. I didn't see that I was hurting myself. And even if I was, I felt that that was better than hurting someone else. It still didn't seem good enough! I even went as far as to ask my father if he thought I had a problem, to which he replied, "I don't know. Do you?" In the fall of 2012, I sought out a psychiatrist to help me with my accumulating anxieties. Not realizing then that it was because of my hard core drinking that I had come to experience all of these issues. One of the red flags should have been the fact that I would not drink before my appointments, nor did I divulge to him that I drank often. I was keeping that as my dirty little secret. He prescribed me Xanax and Nothing of substance was discussed during my visits. I stayed away from drinking for the first month knowing that combining Xanax with alcohol was a Huge NO NO. One visit before Thanksgiving, as we were saying goodbye in his office he asked me what I was doing for the holiday, then said to have a drink. I must have shown my confusion on my face. He then said it was OK to have one drink. Little did he know I was an alcoholic and one drink??? Not happening! No matter how hard I wished I could do that. The whole point of drinking was to escape reality for me. I wish I could drink one or two just to feel relaxed, but that's not how my brain chemistry works. That's not how addiction works. In my mind, because this is part of the disease, that since a psychiatrist told me it was ok, even knowing he didn't know of my addiction, then it must be ok. I was given the green light to indulge. My Wise mind knew differently, but the devil inside said "LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!" Cue in the Black outs…. I don't remember much from that Thanksgiving. Though I have pictures to look back on. It was after combining Xanax with Alcohol that I began experiencing continuous blackouts. Which should have been an obvious given the fact that we're always told not to drink on certain medications. I'm the type of person who wants the details… the reasons why before I decide my own fate. You can't tell me not to do something just because I shouldn't. You can't even tell me not to do something because it could kill me. I'm reckless. I need to understand the details, the deeper meanings, I need to figure it out myself. Growing up I was scared of drugs. Terrified!! I would become livid if my friends even smoked marijuana. I was like a parent to my friends. I would take whatever they had and flush it down the toilet instantly. They eventually would try to hide the fact that they did them from me. I was oblivious when it came to drugs and what would happen to someone on them. All I knew, was that the energy of them were negative to me. I have never to this day tried LSD, Cocaine, Heroin, Meth, Crack… but I have tried Marijuana and it was pretty damn relaxing. Marijuana is the only "drug" that doesn't scare me. The thing is… the deeper reason why I was scared. I would most likely be dead right now. I know and understand that today; but my Soul self understood that since birth. The irony of it all is that I learned in rehab that alcohol was a hard core drug and Xanax was a pill form of alcohol. Two mind fucks, right there. I actually felt stupid for not knowing this already. I despise feeling that way more than anything else, since I'm ridiculously over critical of myself. Intelligence means more to me than any other aspect a human could possibly have. That is what intrigues and amuses me. I spent half my life deep within the universe in intense study about Souls, Spirits, Lessons, Magic, the misunderstood, the unbelievable.. etc.. I'm now learning all of the things that most people pay attention to their whole lives. The external aspects of the human body and such. I'm hoping to reach pure mastery by the time I'm in my 60's.

What happened?

One night in early 2013, I vaguely remember texting my parents, " I need help." My memory goes in and out. When one is in a blackout their brain does not record what is happening or said. There are many bits and pieces missing that I will never get back. The next morning a woman from a rehab called me. I did NOT want to take the call. I almost hung up on her. That's the fear taking hold that happens to every person in addiction. You're afraid to stop, but you also know that if you continue you will surely die. I agreed and made the arrangements to go into rehab. I knew that I did not want to continue this cycle in my life no matter how scared I was. What I knew was that every morning I was confronted with what I had written to a person I cared about tremendously or had posted on social media. Both were either extremely embarrassing or hurtful. It was so bad that I would grab the bottle and begin drinking again to forget about what I had done. The next morning… same thing. The morning after that… same thing. This cycle continued for months and months. Eventually, I would have tears rolling down my face as I poured myself more. I wanted this insanity to STOP!!! Only I could stop it. I just didn't know how. When you're deep in addiction you feel as though someone else is controlling you. There is a reoccuring debate about whether or not addiction is a choice or a disease. Initially, it begins as a choice for everyone on this planet. You do not know what you will become addicted to. Not every single person has the same brain chemistry or physical makeup. We are humans, not robots. Basically, every single person has an addiction of some type. Some binge watch Netflix instead of cleaning or watching their children. Some become addicted to exercising. Others become addicted to Food. The ones who get ridiculed the most are the ones that become addicted to a substance. Where as the other addictions do not change the way in which an individual speaks, thinks, reacts, lives their daily lives, substance abuse is more prominent and can easily be seen by all. Like I stated prior, I hated the taste of alcohol. I never in my life expected for THAT of all things to take control of me. It eventually did and became something I turned to for every reason under the sun. The day before I entered into rehab I decided that I would not drink. Even though the woman on the phone had told me not to stop drinking until I got there. I didn't understand her. She was the first person ever to tell me NOT to stop. Later realizing that if one goes "cold turkey" they could end up having seizers or die. I felt So low and kind of numb. I felt it was very important that the last day before I went away my kids not see me drunk. It wasn't easy, I'll tell you that much. It was already extremely emotional and confusing enough and I wasn't going to take that away by drinking. I already felt bad that I was at this point and that my children had to witness and experience their own mother going away to rehab, like I had at 9 years old with my own father. How the hell did it get to this point?!? This was never supposed to happen. This was never supposed to be my life. I kissed the kids Goodbye before they went to school. One of my daughters, who was only 11 at the time, didn't want me to leave. She begged and pleaded. I told her I had to go and that she would understand later on. The car pulled up to take me. I took a deep breath and tried to hold back my tears. I had so much going through my head. I thought about changing my mind, then quickly told myself that wasn't an option. On my ride there, the man would speak with me periodically to try and make me feel more comfortable. He asked me halfway through the ride if I wanted to stop off somewhere at a store. I confusingly answered, "No… why?". He replied that sometimes patients want to get their last drink in upon arrival. I thought that was so strange!!! Why was that even an option when you're going away to get help? Apparently, many people do this on their way to rehab. I just wanted to be done with the drinking. That is what they refer to as being "Sick and tired." Looking back, I was most likely shaking tremendously and didn’t even notice. But he sure did! He was probably worried I would go into some type of failure before even getting there. I pulled up. He took out my bags. As I walked through the front doors I felt my whole existence relax. I actually felt myself let go and allow the universe to take over. I gave up the fight. This was it. This needed to be done. It felt as though an evil entity flew out of my body leaving me to myself; As though walking through those doors repelled whatever it was. I'm extremely sensitive and an Empath. I have all the gifts, so I can feel things that others cannot. I can see things and hear things that many cannot. Trying to explain my experiences hasn't been easy, since most of the ones that surround me don't understand. I'm not religious and I wasn't possessed. Just putting that out there. I would know if that was the case. Whatever this was loved to hang around me and realized that I was serious and would no longer allow anything to control me any longer. My 3rd night was the most life changing experience to date. I was obviously going through PAWS (Post-Acute withdrawal symptoms). Though no one in there told me that was what was happening to me. They would check me daily in the morning around 6:30 am. Making me stick out my tongue and hold out my hands. They were scoring my trembles that I couldn't even see I was having. I saw her mark me a 10. And I looked at her, "Seriously?!? Why can't I see that?" Early in the day I couldn’t help but to notice this one patient. I normally paid attention to no one as importance rested upon what I would learn and not on others there. He was twitching and his tongue wouldn’t stop sticking out. I instantly recalled my own father doing this as he napped. I had forgotten all about that. Throughout that day where ever I would go, there was this man. A constant but gentle reminder to trigger old memories. It was his triggering that began my own spiritual awakening to go back in time to my childhood that night. My thumbs began to twitch uncontrollably, and my eyes welled with tears because it truly validated I did indeed have a problem. I started to experience hallucinations. I had never hallucinated before. I was laying in my bed watching images being drawn on the wall before me. It was a kids drawing. First they created a stick figure girl, then a boy, a sun, a house, a tree… at this point one of my roommates walked in and glanced at me, as I was watching a dog forming along with the images. She asked me what I was doing just staring at the wall. I then asked her if she could see the images. She couldn't. I then looked at her and closed my eyes asking her if bright sunlight was streaming through the windows, since my eyelids were a gleaming color of gold. This specific roommate didn’t require detox as she had nothing in her system upon arrival. She just laughed and told me no. It happened every time I’d close my eyes. I couldn’t stop the images either. I am an individual that cannot sleep in silence. I need the sound of a fan running. A fan was not an option there. I wasn't allowed to bring one, nor did they have one. I had asked about it to a counselor and she told me that many ask for them but all she had were meditation tapes. Reluctantly, I took a recorder and headphone set from her. That night I placed the headphones over my ears. I kept attempting to fall asleep but I could not. I kept seeing images over and over again that would make me snap open my eyes because I didn't want to see them. By the third loop of the meditation I heard a woman's voice as though she was standing right next to me say, "I'm so proud of you, RJ." I snapped open my eyes to see who it was and threw off my headphones. Looking around quickly all I saw was darkness and my 3 roommates sleeping. I closed my eyes again. The image that appeared next was a lotus flower, floating every so slowly down a stream. It calmed me, it made me feel relaxed. I welcomed and "followed" it. I then felt as though I was pulled to my past, my childhood, back inside of that house in Crabtree. I turned around quickly and was greeted with a brick wall. I was stuck! I couldn't go back! I can't recall full details of what I witnessed, because apparently it was so traumatizing that after a couple days I blocked it all over again. What I do remember is that I went inside of each of my siblings, my mother and my father. I felt their feelings, I heard their thoughts. Every 10 to 20 minutes I was either silently begging God to let me out, to PLEASE not let me experience anymore or I had to hold my gasps, my cries, my shouts back so that I didn't wake up my roommates. It felt like pure torture. I felt like I was strapped to a chair and forced to watch everything going on. I could see myself as a little girl. I was a bystander that no one else saw in the house. Knowing one of my first gifts ever was to interact with spirits and energies, I do wonder that if time travel does exist if I actually saw my future self as a little girl. But I digress… One of the main images that will forever stick in my mind is my father's face when he would look at me. He always looked at me in a certain way. He always tried to protect me for his own reasons. I know the bigger picture as to why I was protected now. I used to joke about if I was abused I'd probably be a serial killer. (I have morbid humor and make jokes about my painful experiences.) Well, that was validated when I began learning Birth charting. I have a violent placement. When one has a violent placement and they are abused…. I don't even have to finish that sentence. Our birth placements are a snapshot of what we are born to experience, but just like when reading Tarot cards for the future, we can choose different paths or circumstance's can change for us. Close call, I say!!! ;) This state of being stuck lasted for 7 hours. I eventually had to give up once again and just allow whatever to come. The next morning I felt elated!! I was tired as hell, having not slept for 48 hours at that point. I was running around telling anyone I could about what I experienced the night prior. I then began feeling as though someone was taking blood from my arms. You know what it feels like when you have an IV inserted when you have your blood taken. The way the skin gets tugged at. This went on for several hours. I told the nurses about this. Then I started seeing snakes with their tongues in my veins. The Normies would freak out about this, but me understanding symbolism since I was a child knew that Snakes meant Transformation and that the tongues were taking the poison from my veins. I was still in detox after all. I always say that If I could redo that night once a year that would always "keep it green" for me! It would help everyone honestly! I know that certain doctors are now testing hallucinogens for quitting smoking and such. Based upon my experience I fully believe it would work! I'm not certain when it will become widely available yet. Smokers, Keep your eyes peeled.

What it is like now?

My first year sober I stopped reading Tarot. I needed to conserve my energy as much as I could. I went to a few meetings here and there. I liked going to meet the people and hear their stories. But, it used to bother me that every time I would go I would want to drink. I didn’t understand that. Plus, the only option I knew of and was given was to attend these meetings. I know that they have helped SO many people. My own father was heavily involved for 15 years. It was scary making the decision not to go anymore. But it felt like I was being mind fucked. I couldn't explain that to anyone. Even if I tried to they would just tell me that I HAD to go! Yes, I'm speaking about A.A.. I already am a very spiritual person and what I practice seems almost like A.A.. Only, I practice from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. It is my life. My entire existence. I remember at one meeting I really liked this woman who was telling her story and so I went to speak to her afterwards about possibly becoming my sponsor. She had way too many rules in order for me to be sponsored. Gave me a list of what I needed to do. I have always lived within energy, energy shifts, changes… feeling when I should and shouldn't do things. There was a huge red flag. My sponsor was and has always been God. Buddha. Allah. Doorknob. It doesn't matter. This miraculous and amazing energy is all the same thing. I call it, the Universe. Sometimes, I call it God, since most of the people I surround myself with refer to it as such. I became very productive in two things I hated with the passion… Cleaning and cooking. It's very funny what chooses you to become productive in when you allow it instead of forcing it. It just may be the things you don't like the most that save your LIFE. You could have shown up at my house at any time and ate off the floors. I vacuumed about 6 times a day, dusted constantly, if a utensil was placed in the sink it would be cleaned immediately. I barely ever sat down. One main thing is that you must remain physically productive as much as you were drinking or using. Well, mine was from the time I woke up until I went to bed. To tell you I was exhausted by 8pm is an understatement. I went right to sleep for the first time in my life. You also must redirect your focus. If I was watching a movie or a TV show that had partying or drinking in it and I felt my emotions change, I would instantly turn off the television and go clean. The Great Gatsby… Man, I loved that movie and I sure as hell wanted to join in! Click. Off you go!! I barely listened to music my first year sober. Music was my first DOC (Drug of choice). I knew it would trigger me BIG TIME. It wasn't easy not listening to music, but my sobriety was of great importance. Any time I felt sad or negative I would purposely seek out humor. Comedians are a life saver. I notice a lot of them also make fun of their pain. Kevin Hart even titled his latest show "Laugh at my pain." Robin Williams is another big name that chose being a comedian to deal with his own issues. I don't understand people who live in negativity. Especially those that aren't in recovery and choose to bitch and complain about a raindrop. Life isn't that hard. They better be grateful that they don't have my problems. ;) Around May of 2015 I began my Instagram. It was initially titled for my last child. I had forgotten about it and never utilized it to post pictures of him. Every day I would post a card and write about it to help my brain heal. Drinking excessively causes so much damage to your brain and organs. Luckily, My organs were still well functioning. At first, I was very frustrated because I had read intuitively for years and I couldn't even remember the technical meanings of the cards. I did well, but couldn't read like I used to. My guides saw me frustrated for 7 months. I finally asked my cards where my gifts went. I had pulled the Page of Wands. I heard "They are right here. We are holding onto them for you." Prior to getting sober I renounced my gifts wanting to be normal SO BADLY. All I had to do was ask for them back. Do you realize how annoyed I was that they saw me struggling for that long and all I had to do was ask for them back?? I guess in a drunken fury I had specifically stated that I had to ask for them back. Like I would remember that. The strange things that one does when they are drunk. I did even stranger things in a blackout. One month after coming out of rehab as I was going through my drawers I came across a sealed envelope that had "Will" written on it. I opened it to see a letter I had written in a blackout. Listing my prized possessions and who they would go to. I did not remember writing this. The crazy thing is that I obviously knew I was close to death. I was told that if I wouldn't have gone to rehab when I did I would have died that year. By the time I entered into rehab I was a 110 lb woman consuming about 750L of Captain Morgan's a day, plus a whole bottle of red wine. If I were to relapse I would automatically go to consume that much now, and since my body is no longer used to it…. Can we say death? I have no desire to drink. My obsession left me after my 2nd year sober. Many go their whole lives obsessing over their addiction. I'm not special. I did my sobriety differently. I just knew what to do. I allowed God and my guides to help me. Plus, that 3rd night… it really did a number on my Soul. I remember by the end of that night is when I heard "the 12th step is when you die sober." I had done all 12 steps energetically that night. I saw myself staring at my grave. And yet I was alive. I am still alive 6 years later. There are so many things I could have implemented into this story of recovery, but I was not trying to turn this into a book. It can be achieved. It's in the way you work it. It's in the way of importance that you put upon it. It's within your own discipline. Within your own Deeper understanding of yourself and what brought you to this place. Addiction Sucks!! It becomes a disease that you unknowingly choose in the beginning. But NO ONE chooses this entrapment. So many need to educate themselves on addiction and stop being so ignorant. Every one has an addiction, Some are harder to hide than others. Believe in yourself. DO what you need to do to get yourself out of that black hole. You know damn well that you don't want to be stuck there. It's time to beat the shit out of your addiction like it is a bully trying to keep you down in life. Because that's all it is. Something that doesn't deserve your time. Don't allow it to control you… You control IT. Blessed Be to You and Yours! Thank you for Reading my Story. RJ

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