Monday, January 27, 2014

Destiny Awaits No Man

 Live Life on Your Terms

Destiny Awaits No Man

Empowering yourself with pride, determination, dedication and internal motivation allows every man or woman to achieve success in life. 

In the true and honest recovery community, these factors of empowerment exist beyond a level of being comfortable with where your at in life.

Ask Yourself the Following Question:

Personal happiness begins with-in the person and is exhibited through their character-traits.  People that are happy and have a joy beyond being content in with their life, have been taught or have taught themselves to always be moving forward. Alcohol and drug addiction relapse often occurs when the alcoholic or drug addict are sitting idle or slipping backwards into self-destructive thoughts and/or actions. 

Most alcohol and drug relapses are not spur of the moment, impulsive behavior. I know there may be professionals that may disagree with this statement. In my professional opinion and personal experience, most individuals that have relapsed have had some premeditated thoughts behind their actions. Whether it was one week before or five minutes before picking up the drug or drink and starting the chaos again.

My Personal Experience:
After inpatient rehab at Hazelden, I was sober for over 1 year (approx. 15 months). I was not in active recovery, but a 'dry-drunk'. Towards the end of my first stint of sobriety, I was planning out my relapse very methodically to the details of: When I was going to pickup a drink, Who I was going to tell first and How I was going to respond to other family members and friends that questioned my actions. I had my plan that came down to what I was going to do if my parents didn't except the fact that I was going to 'responsibly drink a few here and there'. I also had myself believing that I could take control of the Monster or Demon of addiction, which was pure INSANITY! This is like a patient with breast-cancer saying, "I'm going to beat the cancer without any medical treatment", it's not going to happen. A person with breast-cancer might continue to live for a few years, but at some point they will die from it as an alcoholic and/or drug addict will die from their addiction or actions related to being under the influence (I am also including their life expectancy to be shorter). It may the day they start using again or 5 years down the road. 
I decided to move my life from MN across the country to TX and continue my career as a teacher and a coach. I stayed with my parents in their beautiful home for a year and had it made. I wanted to learn the area and then buy my own house. 

 Rise and Shine Nike Commercial

After relapsing and continuing to drink for the next several years the following events took place because of my alcoholism:
  1.  I had fallen into a huge ditch at a construction site at 1:00am knocking myself out with a severe concussion which resulted in being hospitalized twice. I received treatment that early morning and later that day because I was vomiting and couldn't see straight. I have a daily reminder of that with a minor bulge on the side of my head with scar tissue between my brain and skull.
  2.  I blew up a propane grill and had 1st to 2nd degree burns on the complete right side of my face, eye lids, neck and hand.  The blast also burned on a lot of the hair on my head. I was taken to a nearby hospital and the burns were so severe that I had to be rushed by ambulance to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio (it would have taken longer for them to airlift me as that hospital does not have a helicopter landing pad). While there I was stripped naked, put on a gurney and taken into a scrub room with multiple shower heads, doctors and nurses that needed to remove all of the burnt skin that didn't bubble-up and slide off of my face. It was some of the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. The next day I was allowed to look at myself in the mirror and began to cry and get nauseous as I was completely disfigured. I had to remain out of work for over a month and go back to the Brooke Army Medical Center for appointments at least twice a week. I have a few scars left on my hand, but miraculously, none are noticeable on my face. I have daily reminders of it from my right hand, my face is sensitive to hot / cold and the fact of seeing soldiers severely injured from war. 
  3.  I broke my ankle moving stuff around in my garage one night after drinking heavily.
  4. I wound up splitting my head open on my coffee table and bleeding profusely all over the house and bathroom I crawled to. I have a scar on my right eyebrow to remember that night. 
  5.  I had to be hospitalized on New Years Day for a nose bleed that was gushing and shooting out of my nose each time my heart took a beat. When I arrived at the hospital, my blood pressure was in the range of 150 / 200 which is considered a hypertension emergency. 

The interesting point to the above major events is that not one of them slowed me down. I was able to come up with a rationalization for every single event or argument that happened in my life when I was under the influence of alcohol or in withdrawal from alcohol. I had withdrawal symptoms by 3:00 in the afternoon everyday and the most important part of my day was to get home and start drinking again. Some days I didn't want to have a drink, but that was the only way I could get rid of the shaking, trembling, obsessive thoughts and reality of I have an Alcohol Addiction and will have it for the rest of my life. 
One of the main factors that empowered me to stop the second time, was my beautiful wife and kids. I remember clear as day the pain in her eyes when she looked at me and said "you can have the drinking or us, but not both". She told me that the next drink I had, would be the end of our marriage and our family. At this time, my dad was already putting an intervention together and had already had spoken with one of his good friends, Michael, that had been in recovery for years. Within a day, I met with two other people in AA, one of which is a well known recovery author, and they told me I could not stop on my own and needed inpatient treatment. After a few phone calls and a few days of waiting, I was in LaHacienda for 32 days for inpatient intensive treatment. 
My wife, kids, parents, Michael S and the other two people I met with, gave me the Faith, Courage and Hope to go to treatment the second time. I will never forget the day driving to Kerrville and crying because I was going to be away from my family. I sobbed when my parents and wife pulled out of the parking lot, several nights and when they would come visit me once a week. This was the hardest experience of my life and knowing what I put my family through remains a piece of determination to remain in active recovery for the rest of my life. 
I can say that today I'm going to remain in active recovery and sober
No one on this earth can guarantee that I will see tomorrow, but for today, for the sake of myself, my wife, kids and my parents, I will see through the clear lens of sobriety.

 Invest in Yourself

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