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Spirituality = Reality

Discussion in 'Freedom from Hell ~ Staying Clean~' started by gettingbetter, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    Lose Yourself

    Welcome to my new thread, new beginning, and continued journey. I feel sexy and exciting here. Watch me shake it, baby. I posted a wrap-up at the end of my old thread in the Bupe forum.

    EDIT: It would probably be helpful to have a summary here in the first post. Sobriety date: August 30, 2008. Detoxed off a kratom and suboxone addiction. Prior to that, I was a pill popper. Prior to that, I was a speed freak. I am ending approximately ten years of drug abuse and rocketing into recovery using AA. It has been one of the best and most meaningful experiences of my life. I am a grateful and happy woman today, putting all the pieces back together.

    Old thread: http://www.heroin-detox.com/detoxin...074-recovery-journal-kratom-sub-then-off.html


    Ten Things I Am Grateful For Today:
    1. my computer at school has fast internet
    2. I am having breakfast with a new friend tomorrow
    3. I get to go to a solution-oriented meeting tonight
    4. we are making our own colonies in school today
    5. Monster Energy Drinks (o no I really can't get addicted to those)
    6. white-lined paper, so clean and full of possibility
    7. Hamturo (he is cute)
    8. the color purple (the actual color though the book is great)
    9. it is Friday
    10. my life.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  2. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Oooh... let me be the first to welcome you to the world called Freedom from Hell...

    Who is "Hamturo"? (my kid could prolly tell me)

    Grateful for u, Dani... xx --G
  3. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

  4. tubalkain

    tubalkain Well-Known Member

    I dunno Dani, there seem to be some subliminal messages on that site. Proceed with caution.
  5. Mariposa

    Mariposa Well-Known Member

    Congrats on achieving some 'Freedom from Hell'! Good idea to move over here. I'm looking forward to hearing lots more about your journey!
  6. teach07

    teach07 Well-Known Member

    Yeah Dani....now when I want to read your thread and post on mine I wont have to go back and forth from one forum to the other..

    It wouldnt be all about me now would it???????:D

    Your soul sista teacher.......

    Anything worth having is worth working for!
  7. BettyAnn

    BettyAnn Well-Known Member

    Great new beginning Dani.
    I Love the way you closed out your old thread, with a summery. I swear girl, you make me feel like I'm reading a novel at times. And I'm just waiting on the next chapter to be written. Then it hits me....you're living it. We are all living our own. There's been lots of enlightenment for me through your thread. I'm glad you started a fresh thread.

    So sweet what you said to me in Dani's old thread....

    Have a blessed day,

  8. lily3333

    lily3333 Well-Known Member

    just a little quickie...

    'the giver' has to be my absolute favorite 'kids' book.......and the one with 'blue' in the title is also amazing. the recorded book on tape is so great....ds and i used to listen to books on tape all the time on the way to school.......just hearing the title 'the giver' gives me goosebumps.

    now that i can concentrate somewhat i plan to read all of your suggested books...dani's book club...better than oprah!

    glad to see you over here......freedom from hell is so right on.

    all i know is my HP has my back so i can really just relax so much more.

    for some reason i cant explain, my obsession has been lifted almost entirely....somewhat miraculous considering ive not done much 'work'.........but i am appreciative nonetheless.

    recovery is a beautiful thing....i see it as a return to innocence..........and for sure freedom from hell.........and sexy too!

    love, lily

    The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Eleanor Roosevelt
  9. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Nice little roundup edit Dani... updated like a true journalist... :D

    For all the lurkers here, Danielle kicks a$$. (IMO, of course)

    Now "shake for me, girl"... --G
  10. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    "Nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal
    As specks of dust, we're universal"

    -- Indigo Girls, "Love's Recovery"
    * * * * * * * * * *

    Donuts and Discipline

    Maybe it was PMS. Maybe I was just in need of something to fill a void inside. Maybe I keep grasping for some kind of control, however small, when I really have none.

    I know this. I really do. And I continue to pray and do the work. So why would I buy a box of donuts last night, eat 'em, and throw up on the side of the road? I made the decision to do it. It was weird. And I made the same decision tonight at my mother's house.

    After I made that decision at my mother's house, I made an amend to my stepbrother, who is possibly the coolest guy on earth. Through a strange turn of events, he ended up becoming my actual stepbrother in 1999 after spending his whole life being a brother by default to me. He RULES. He owns his own fly-fishing/guide expedition outfit in Alaska, spends six months there running it, and then heads to Florida to run a business there in the winter. He's one year younger than me and a wonderful, sweet, gentle person.

    We used to spend so much time together. He taught me how to fish. He taught me how to take apart a snowmobile and put it back together. I punched him in the mouth when we were teenagers and made him bleed, and I hit him so hard he cried.

    Now he is 6 foot 5 inches tall and I would get f'ing CREAMED if I tried that again. He likes to crunch my head with his hand because I am so much shorter than him.

    His wife just left him. She was having an affair for five months and never said a word. Then she left him, and then she said she was pregnant by this other guy.

    When I found that out last year it was all I could do to not fly up to Alaska and beat that bitch down. No one f**ks with my brothers, man. I have three, and I'm the only girl, and I was the oldest, and they used to do everything I said (many years ago mon), so I still feel responsible for them, to an extent. This brother in particular.

    Anyway. After the amend he opened up and talked about dealing with the loss of his wife, having to see her walk pregnant around the lodge where they work. He's not a talker, so it was obviously God talking. I listened for a long time ... I am his big sister and God help me, I hope he's all right.

    My amend: I have to go meet him either in Key West in a few weeks or Alaska this summer. Geez, what a horrible amend. Why me? Why is it always me that has to deal with these things? :)

    You know, earlier I felt like that amend was cheapened by my purging. But I don't think it was. I just need to move forward. Write inventory on my mother again. Go to Key West in a few weeks (I'm headed to Atlanta anyway to make more amends).

    Discover love love love love love for the world world world world.

    Oh, one more thing. Every time I start to think mean thoughts about someone (which I hardly ever do anymore), I think that they are one of God's children. And then I feel a lot better. Because I can be pretty mean and rude and judgemental when I want to be. So that's all.


    Ten Things I Am Grateful For Today:
    1. winter air that so sharply defines surrounding objects
    2. yogurt
    3. mini candy bars, particularly Nestle Crunch
    4. coffee
    5. I am having breakfast with a new friend tomorrow and she isn't even an addict
    6. my stepbrother in Alaska/Florida
    7. my other stepbrother in Seattle
    8. my regular brother in Boston
    9. I get to sleep in a bit and the house is the perfect temperature
    10. my life.
  11. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    "Precision of language, Jonas, please! You, of all people."
    -- Lois Lowry, The Giver
    * * * * * * * * * *

    Precision and Presence

    I am thinking about how much language kept me sick.

    Language/perception/active addiction = lies I told myself.

    For example.

    "I am not addicted to crystal meth; I take speed so I can work harder and be thin. Therefore, I am not a drug addict. I just take drugs to work harder and be better, and because I need to." The latter portion of that thought beats itself into your brain, etches a path so completely and thoroughly that you become convinced it's true. Then I got sicker, sicker, sicker, used more language and justifications. Pushed that nagging, annoying thought that there was a HUGE problem here back, and the INACCURATE LANGUAGE got LOUDER LOUDER LOUDER until I was completely deluded.

    Want more examples? I have hundreds of them.

    "I have a really bad knee injury. I am a chronic pain patient dependent on opiates, not addicted. It's just that my tolerance has gone up."

    "Some say the soma works better with hydrocodone for chronic pain, but it causes me anxiety, so I need valium too. I'm not addicted to these. I just need them. I'm tapering."

    This past run was the WORST in that realm. COMPLETELY inaccurate language and perception. Walking into the pharmacy to get my sub, I would get pissed when I (thought I) got a look or two. "How DARE they judge me for my medication? I need this sub! They're looking at me like I'm an addict!" Which they probably weren't, but anyway, guess what? I WAS AN ADDICT. A DRUG ADDICT. And the kratom and kratom extracts were even BETTER to delude myself with, language-wise. "Oh, this is a legal energy herb that isn't an opiate, technically. Even though I take it four to twelve times a day and went bankrupt buying it, it doesn't make me addicted."

    Again. Bears repeating.

    Inaccurate language/perception/active addiction = lies I told myself.

    Which is why I have learned to call myself a drug addict every day when it matters. No more justifications and rationalizations and dancing with language and utter bull$hit. Let's be real here. I took drugs every day and was obsessed with them. Therefore, I am a drug addict. Well, that's pretty simple, isn't it?

    This morning I was at breakfast with a new friend, and a few months ago I told her I was in AA. She made the assumption that I was an alcoholic, and I let her believe it. This morning, she asked about AA and something about booze. I came right out: "Hey, just so you know, I'm a drug addict." She was adorable and so accepting about it, the way that really nice people are that know nothing about drugs but genuinely like you and want to understand. You know what? She's a deacon at my church and a respected member of the community. She thinks it's great when people are meaningful, transparent, REAL. I could tell as she sat there with her bright pretty smile and her Santa pin.

    I worried so much what people would think, whisper, do. But the crazy thing is that I have earned so much more respect, IMO, for being up-front. REAL respect, not perception. Just simply stating what I am and how I do and what I'm doing to fix it, make it right.

    I sincerely doubt anyone looks down on a self-proclaimed drug addict who is making an honest and earnest effort to be real with themselves and everyone else.


    That is what's helped this drug addict walk with God over the past few weeks.

  12. tubalkain

    tubalkain Well-Known Member

    You missed an interesting discussion on linguistics yesterday, we were discussing Lacan and structuralism, right down your alley given what you're saying, only we reached a conclusion that we arbitrarily ascribe meaning to words. And meanings also change with time, just read today how "the best and the brightest" was originally meant with a heavy dose of irony, back from JFK's time, today it has only positive connotations.

    As for the word addict, let alone junkie, I still think it's too loaded, it's not about denial or delusion, it's just that the word paints a picture of needles and disease and death and this is not an accurate description of my condition.

    Similar problem with disease, is addiction really a disease or is it a condition? Depends on your own interpretation more than anything else, I choose to see it as a condition, if for no other reason I believe it allows a more positive outlook.
  13. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    I disagree completely that we arbitrarily ascribe meaning to words. Otherwise there would be no commonality to language. To me, there's a big difference between 'meaning' and 'connotation'. And words become words when a group of people reach a consensus on what a word means, and then use it in that context. Please read the children's book Frindle for an excellent example of this. :)

    For me, for my addiction, I need to make the language and meaning as real and as simple and as truthful as possible. This allows me to honestly look at it and no longer spend time pontificating what words best suit the malady. Then, my brain is free to logistically analyze other intellectual pursuits I enjoy as opposed to constantly picking apart the language surrounding my addiction.

    I also really like Jay's quote that he's posted before. It's been a big big help to me in this realm.

    "Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction." -- Albert Einstein

    The above quote is the truest damn thing I've ever found.
  14. tubalkain

    tubalkain Well-Known Member

    I beg to differ, meanings are arbitrarily assigned to words all the time. Some relevant ones:

    addiction: you define addiction as a trifold disease caused by moral defects, my definition: an OCD condition brought about by circumstances and choice, dictionary will provide yet another, NIDA the 4th one etc. and while there is no agreed upon definition the trifold concept is unique to one school of thought.

    recovery: your definition involves a complete mental makeover, getting clean is just a start, it's not even about drugs etc., other people's definition is more traditional, detox followed by physical and psychological stabilization

    spiritual awakening: you see it as a journey, a cognitive process, most people, me included, understand the term as a dramatic event of religious/spiritual content.

    Therefore, even with words of utmost relevance (to us), there is no consensus that you speak of when it comes to meaning. Your definitions, or understanding, is permeated by religious/spiritual undertones, mine is a more mechanical, pragmatic view.

    That is not to say one is righter or wronger, in fact, you may be more correct as Wikipedia claims that hyperreligiosity is a symptom of addiction: "In depression related to religious addiction "The religious addict seeks to avoid pain and overcome shame by becoming involved in a belief system which offers security through its rigidity and its absolute values."

    On the other hand, as per wiki again: "While religion and spirituality may play a key role in psychotherapeutic support and recovery, it can also be a source of pain, guilt and exclusion, and religious themes may also play a negative role in psychopathology."

    At any rate, while with most words the meaning is obviously indisputable, one can make a case for phenomenology, everything is subjective, there are no absolutes or put simply, the world is not black and white.

  15. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    (frantically grabs dictionary to look up phenomenology)

    I can't believe English isn't your native language, man. Where did you learn it?

    EDIT: For me, Tubalkain, and for me only, the term 'drug addict' is black and white. Can we agree to disagree here? I seriously doubt I'm going to revolutionize your thinking on this issue, and I'm in a good mood and not up for a massive intellectual debate.

    SECOND EDIT: Wait a second, though. How could I have POSSIBLY understood anything you just wrote if there is no ascribed meaning to words? :D Perhaps there is no true understanding possible and we should all give up, mon. What thinkest thou?
  16. tubalkain

    tubalkain Well-Known Member

    Methinks you are correct your honor. As soon as we agree to disagree we can communicate.

    Had English in school. And picked some up from movies and books, it took me a while but once I could read a book in English without a dictionary it kinda snowballed, know what I mean.
  17. arlenewla

    arlenewla Well-Known Member

    Interesting discussion.

    I think that there will always be people who are judgemental and there will be many others who will admire an addict looking to reverse their condition. Its Rocky kind of stuff...and Americans always love someone who comes from behind.

    As to the former category....screw 'em if they don't get. As to the latter, G-d bless 'em.

    And in essence, what someone else may or may not think of me is just a non-starter. Its only important that I understand.

    Unvarnished words make people uncomfortable. If it makes a "normie" uncomfortable, thats their problem. If it makes an addict uncomfortable to be called an addict or junkie, that's a problem of a very different nature.

    Personally, I refer to myself as a junkie when in the company of other addicts. It speaks to my specific experience. In general, I'll identify as a grateful recovering addict. When in AA, I'll identify as a grateful recovering alcoholic.

    I am all these people. That's my truth. I don't seek to diminish the power of my disease by cleaning up and bastardizing the language. Why would I? Getting honest requires...drum roll...getting honest.

    The issue of "stigma" is very tricky. Personally, I think that addicts...in this instant case....opiate addicts...become very queasy at the word junkie if they haven't put a needle in their arm. It somehow makes them better than the heroin shooting joe or jane. Hell, I ain't no junkie...my sh**t comes from the pharmacy in a nice clean bottle. Hell, I ain't no junkie....my doctor perscribed it. Hell, I ain't no junkie...I'm a chronic patient....solely dependent. Hell, I ain't no addict....I'm on MMT...I'm only dependent. I've got an endorphin deficiency. Hell, I ain't no addict...its medication.

    In the world of treatment, the word junkie is used to describe the substance of no choice. The word addict is a catch-all. An alcoholic is an alcoholic. And we all suffer from the problem of handling life without substances.

    Is this language harsh? I don't think so. Harsh would be not to know who I am.

    When I was 1 week in treatment, a counselor addressed me as a junkie. I had no clue he was talking to me. He repeated it twice...and said, yeah YOU. I'm talking to you, junkie. If it walks like a duck...if it talks like a duck...it must be a.... And that was after 22 years of hard, daily use. What didn't I get?

    Going back to the stigma. Is the true concern what others think or what we think of ourselves? Is that where the real shame lies? Get over it.

    I do some public speaking about addiction and particularly as relates to my experience. Some of the crowds already know about addiction...kind'a home turf so to speak. Other crowds...the larger ones...know absolutely nothing. When they see on the program that a recovered addict will speak, I already know what they expect to see. They expect to see some guy in a hoodie all sucked up. They expect to see someone who cant get a sentence out straight. And then I step up...I'm used for shock value in great regard. I look like them. I sound like them. They are me...and I am they. (is that proper grammar? Oy)

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]In addressing these crowds...I will always refer to myself as a recovering junkie. I don't attempt to couch nor hide from the topic at hand. I speak of the humiliation, I speak to the losses, the shame of the past and segue into the strength and hope. The present...my life in recovery as a junkie. I'm totally transparent...and yes, some will squirm...but the most part, they just sit there with their eyes wide. In particular, self-made businessmen seem to be the most affected by the gut wrenching truth. I have never left the stage without receiving standing ovation. Hell, I'm a survivor.

    I was at an event this morning in a very upscale hotel in BH. A man came up to me after brunch was over and said he remembered me from a speaking engagement almost a year ago. He said that when I stepped up to the podium, he double checked his program because he thought the wrong person was about to speak. Then he said he thought I just an older lady who had "tippled a little wine". He went on to say that when he heard my story, what he heard made him cry and then wrote a check. A check to provide more treatment.

    If we, as recovering junkies, don't speak our truth how will anyone ever know? This disease will remain hidden. Hidden means no treatment. Hidden means more shame. Vicious cycle. Are we going to be our own best advocates or our own ostriches?

    No shame to the game of being a recovered junkie. The only shame is pretending we're something else. That's old behavior...that's the facade. The chameleon-like persona of active addiction.

    If I were a diabetic, do I shrink and call it something else? No...because its critical for my survival that I fully understand the word diabetes. If I am an epileptic, does that make me damaged goods to the point where I find another polite, socially acceptable name for it?

    I believe that putting a spin on the language here is very much a part of the cunning part of the disease. Its the only disease that will tell you...wants you to tell yourself...that you aren't something that you actually are.

    I was an active junkie...now a grateful recovering junkie. Words count.

  18. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    I think back to when I first started reading and posting on internet boards, in 2005. First I was a member of a chronic pain board that condoned and encouraged the use of opiate medications, and it was valid for many people there ... but not me. I made myself fit in with my knee injury so I could be comfortable taking pills. And I looked for any possible posted words that would justify, validate, and rationalize my addiction.

    Then I came here and did the same thing. Anything at all so I wouldn't have to stop using drugs as the solution. Some kind of drug, any kind of drug.

    And I think there must be people now doing the same thing. Lurking and looking for some kind of language so the problem won't seem as severe as it really is. Because that's what I did for years. It was worse in a lot of ways than the actual substances, because I was so sick in the head about it all.

    Who knows who is reading now, after all? Maybe there's an engineer in Dallas who is minimizing their daily intake and feels relief when he sees the huge habits of some members here, and says his isn't nearly as bad, so it's okay. Or a soccer mom in Minnesota who feels that initial squirm of anxiety about her use, but comes here and reads just how bad it can get and says "that will NEVER be me".

    Or a smart and vulnerable teenager looking for excuses. A lot of teenaged drug addicts do that. And language, for me, was the biggest part of the lie and the biggest part of the excuse.

    I wish I could have saved myself all those mental machinations and gotten honest with myself a long-ass time ago. For me, that's what the whole language thing boils down to. That was the biggest part of my problem.
  19. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Danielle.

    For me, now, language is one of the biggest parts of the solution. Right use of the tool of language... I continue to love language... The language of the literature especially; my sponsor has a degree in folk tales (which rocks)

    Today for example she told me that there is an ancient tale that held that when a place of worship was destroyed, the divine presence (God) in that place broke into many little pieces that were dispersed throughout the land, and that the job of the people was to find all those places where God now resided and bring them back together. She said step 9 is like that: we go to the places in our lives where we failed to invite God in, and we now invite God in to do the work of healing what our ego made wrong. (Of course, she said, God is already there, present; but if we do not extend ourselves to God, we can't open ourselves to that presence)

    The language itself never turned on me. I turned on it. It was my perception (my rationalizing, my self-betrayal, my pride) that was the problem. That remains the problem, with my language and with my recovery (Just my own experience; I'm not arguing with yours)

    I have come back to language the way I've come back to my husband... Asking forgiveness for the misuse; enjoying the embrace

    And yeah, these are the folks I write to, as well...

    --G (a chronic pain patient & recovering drug addict/substance abuser & just one member of this forum)
  20. BettyAnn

    BettyAnn Well-Known Member

    Well, I think I figured it out for myself....I'm "medicinally challenged" yea, Uuuu Hu, that's it! LOL

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