Recovery Weeps

I traveled alone-empty from friends who could not relate

Nobody wanted to listen at 2 AM

Lostt in a new haze

A body revolting for just one more pill

Nothing to escape

No way back

Crying no one listening

Everyone pretending they cared but not really,

just as long as they had their own secret fix

“Stay strong” they said from their own messy lives

I know clean-it hurts; bleeds real blood

My tears don’t stop-how did I get here?

I changed my mind but nobody will listen

Please another refill day? Plentiful without a worry or a feeling..

LEFTT, too excruciating to go just one more night….

Deep Breaths

Today, almost 14 months into my recovery. I am no longer surviving, I am truly living. I still attend recovery meetings almost daily but now I want to, I no longer have to. My life is slowly returning to normal and I am more grateful with each passing day that I went through the living hell of medical detox and an extremely hard year of debilitating recovery.

I have now added another type of recovery to my weekly meetings-I attend a Refuge Recovery meeting which is Buddhist based and truly focuses on the breath which is so energizing and expansive. I have wanted to attend Refuge Recovery but in my first year I wasn’t quite there yet, as I wasn’t able to sit still with myself or my breath….

Now I augment my recovery with this delightful recovery practice and attend it on Saturday mornings as a new addition to my more traditional approach to recovery during the week. I am growing as a person, a parent, a friend, and a partner in ways I never imagined were possible. My limits are once again limitless; only restricted by my own expectations I impose on myself. I try to refrain from such restrictive behavior and live each day I am blessed to live to my fullest and to the best of my abilities.

I am once again filled with hope and inspired by many who already walk this path of recovery and live more completely than I am capable of doing so at this point in my short recovery. I try not to impose limits on my dreams because one year ago I couldn’t have dreamt that I would be where I am today. Life is still filled with lots of lessons I need to learn, but it no longer hurts like it did a year ago.

I know I have written that my early days in medical detox and recovery were simply inhumane, and that is true, however, with that being said I write today from a new place of understanding for the suffering I endured in those early days and months.

Suffering when one is experiencing it seems senseless and meaningless. I will never say it is okay but it is OKAY today as I have created a bit of distance from it in my daily life. Was it necessary, no. Was it avoidable, no it wasn’t either. How do I say and mean both? The answer as I understand is not simple or linear…

I certainly didn’t have to suffer in order to get to well and reap the multitude of benefits of recovery. However, is my lived experience richer for the suffering I endured and is my recovery THAT much more rewarding and lush due to the suffering? Absolutely YES. Yes I say as a person who could never tolerate such suffering ever again, no matter what the circumstances….simply-absolutely not at all!

I don’t equate suffering with a richer, more robust recovery but from where I started this journey I have traversed it not possible without the suffering my medical detox dictated. Do I believe the healthcare profession has a lot of growing to do to catch up the recovery experience with other facets of healthcare-a big YES, most definitely! I hope to be part of the many conversations going forward in the field of recovery, both physically and mentally.

The pain addicts are forced to endure to get to well is completely out of control and obviously not a priority of the healthcare profession at this point. I believe recovery reform is imperative to getting more and more addicts to well, as right now there is too much pain required for many addicts to get to well so they stay using and never getting a life worth living. This is the prohibitory truth we must face as people who care about the next addict’s chance at sobriety. This is also a truth much of healthcare is ill-prepared to face as they need to look inside themselves and realize that just abstinence from chemicals is not the only requirement for physical and mental wellness.

The all too important therapeutic alliance is gravely over-looked in the current recovery experience for my addicts. This must change in the fields of recovery and medical detox! There are too many addicts suffering from chronic addiction that can not fathom the only road to well that much of the healthcare profession currently offers.

Unit there are political voices for those suffering from addictions not much will change, countless lives will be senselessly lost, and countless more will continue to be sick and suffer from one day to the next.

I realize I am not the norm, as I had access to first-rate healthcare to get to well, and even my care was not without limitation and I experienced unthinkable suffering I can not even entertain a year plus out in my own recovery journey.

I hope my “story” which will be entitled the Illness of My Discontent will serve a purpose of hope and some inspiration that if this addict can get to well in this imperfect healthcare scenario then so can you if you truly want to change your life- for a life worth living.

Corey

BORN TH\IS WAY-2K18

Exhaling…….

In July 2K17 I began to turn the corner in my recovery. Slowly I started getting better both physically as well as mentally. I began to notice small improvements in my face for starters. My droopy mouth  as well as my crooked smile began to slightly improve in a way that I was so very grateful.

I was slowly beginning to regain a clear mind in modest proportions, Nothing happened significantly overnight by any means. Every improvement was ever so slight and one day built on another. I was still completely OFF and not right and my improvements back in July and in the rest of the summer were not noticable to anyone else besides myself. It was a truly lonely time where all I had was my budding Faith to get me from one day to the next.

Life was truly lonely as I had long since lost my signature confidence and isolated socially as a result of not feeling comfortable around other people. Besides a recovery meeting in the early morning for an hour, I spent the rest of my time alone with my puglet, Julie Bleu, or with Stephanie and my immediate family members. The always social Corey had long disappeared and well, still hasn’t fully returned even now.

Beginning in September something drastic changed, and I as well as the few people I allowed around me began to notice big gains in my physical as well as mental being. I started talking better, and had more mornings where I didn’t wake up hard with a disfigured look about my face that would take until late morning to resolve itself. With these gains, a tiny bit of confidence returned as did the beginning of hope and my Faith in a power greater than myself.

I know mentioning a power greater than myself will turn people off, but it isn’t to be judged -nor am I trying to push any sort of this idea on you. It is truly a personal experience that I couldn’t impose on anyone even if I wanted to…

So hope began to return to my life after a long and empty absence. I started stringing more and more good or better days together, and I stopped looking at everything that had changed with my looks forever, and started trying to get somewhat comfortable with what was now, going forward. At some point, I accepted that how I looked before was gone and now what was left, was still improving but would never return to how it was prior to recovery. I an not sure when that great realization took place but it did during the Fall and that was truly the beginning of my REAL recovery to well.

I continued to attend my weekday recovery meetings everyday and started planning for my annual Thanksgiving vacation on a barrier island off of Florida where my parents reside in the winter months. My entire family gets together so this was a big trip, and the most significant part was I had never gone on this trip without pills and alcohol. Of course I wasn’t bringing the pills, but what I found the most difficult was the idea of no alcohol….I had of course abstained from alcohol since before my first day in detox but the thought of being around my parents, at their house without alcohol seemed like something I wouldn’t be able to do.

In the middle of November I headed to Florida and I participated in the festivities, visiting with my sister and her family, yes staying at my parents and yes doing the entire four week vacation without a recovery meeting or any alcohol.

I can back home the first week in December, feeling so energized by my family’s love, or more specifically the love of my sister and her family. My walk and gait were still off ,but I was feeling so good by mid-December I dusted off my resume and began to apply for finance positions. I hadn’t  worked as I had been in school for years, but now I felt a strong internal urge to return to the real-world and get back to working.

By late December I had interviews lined up, put on my big brave, afraid of how I would present to employers, but went and interviewed anyway. I began to get offers and turned them down for awhile as I didn’t feel confident to go to work for an entire day and make it through successfully. With the start of the new year, I turned the last corner that was holding me back, as I realized I WAS walking correctly and my gait was no longer off. I accepted a position at a start-up company, and pushed my start date out until February 5th, 2K18-less than a year from my detox and spiral into a living hell.

I still am in disbelief that the body and mind regenerate like they did and continue to do in my instance. I began work on February 5th, and started out working 14 hour days which was not what I signed up for. I did it-I successfully returned to work, and I did the job, but I was just surviving. I proved to myself, to people in recovery, and my family that I was capable of returning to work after less than a year out of medical detox. After five weeks, and many long, self-questioning conversations with Stephanie and my family, I decided that leaving that position was not failure. but rather doing the right thing for myself and well-being. I left after the first week in March, and went immediately back to my weekday recovery meetings. There I concentrated on what was right in front of me: my impending one year recovery anniversary.

I was so happy to have proven to myself I could return to work given the right situation, but decided to put my work aspirations on hold and concentrate on my recovery that had taken a back seat the entire time I was working. I learnt I had had no balance in my life when I went to work and that was something I needed to definitely improve upon.

My sister and brother-n-law gave me the best gift of my first year recovery anniversary-they planned a trip to spend with me the weekend of my anniversary for March 18th,2K18. I was still noticing improvements in my physical and mental conditions. Of all the gifts of recovery, one of the most remarkable is how incredible the body and mind are in their healing abilities.

The weekend of my one year recovery anniversary, my sister and brother-n-law flew in from NC. We had an amazing weekend, and of course I celebrated with my beloved Stephanie. I didn’t pick up my year medallion on my anniversary-I waited until the Monday after my anniversary to get it with the people in recovery who had supported and passed no judgement on me while I struggled and flopped my way to well.

People who knew me in early recovery spoke of what a true miracle  I was given how very sick and physically twisted I was in the beginning. I celebrated my year and reflected on the fucking epic journey recovery really is-no, I couldn’t do it again if I had to, and no if I knew the amount of pain and suffering I would endure, I wouldn’t be able to do it either; but I don’t have to.

Now I bask in the Sacred of the Ordinary and work once again on applying to positions and preparing myself to start my own business at the top of the new year. So many gifts of recovery and yet I am reminded daily of the people who don’t make it back and don’t have the life I do today. I am completely humbled in my ultimate gratitude……..

Corey

BLOGS FROM THE ILLNESS OF MY DISCONTENT-2K18

The Hardest Breath….

Once I got home from the hospital real hell began to settle in, I was overcome with entire body withdrawals. I flopped, twitched, and tremored from every facial muscle to the tips of my toes. My face took on a new disfigured look I am still recovering from which will sadly never been entirely normal again. My symmetric face which I took for granted is long gone as are my bright blue eyes which have been replaced with sometimes faint  blue but mostly hazy gray eyes I do not recognize in the mirror.

The mirror which I once spent so much happy time in front of is no longer my friend and the same can be said for the camera which I usually avoid at all costs.

The first weeks or more exactly the first couple of long, never ending months were consumed with the full body withdrawals  I just mentioned along with daily deeper and more facial disfigurement that I thought would never stop.

I was initially under the care of visiting nurses, and the only thing I did every day was crawl out of bed for my early morning weekday recovery meeting less than a mile down the road from my house. Of course I was unable to walk to the meeting so I took a cab every day back and forth. Once the meeting was over I staggered outside and took a cab the mile back to my house,  Then I would get into bed for the rest of the day and night and writhe in pain and uncontrollable convulsions that began  each day around 10:30 am and continued until I found a few hours of sleep in the early evening.. The visiting nurses arrived daily around 3:00 pm and checked my blood pressure and managed my medication but did nothing else to help me and my excruciating discomfort,

This scenario continued for a good four months without an ounce of relief. The only aspect that changed were my physical disabilities, which just continued to escalate and worsen. Everyday I spent hours on my shaking legs in the mirror, stating in horror as I watched myself morph daily with age and disfigurement. I still have acute PTSD over this time in my life as I was lead to believe I was on the road to well as my body and mind hung on by mere thread that only gained reprieve  with my daily early morning  recovery meetings. If it wasn’t for  these meetings I NEVER would have made it to see this very day

At about my fourth month of recovery I was able, miraculously, to take my first real half-breath. I found myself as July marked the calendar, able to make a plan and a promise to myself, to give myself an entire year from July 1st, to continue to recover and work on my recovery. It was the first time I could feel progress in the right direction in my recovery and acknowledge both physically and mentally the slightest bit of improvement since I entered the hospital and embarked on my medical detox.

It was a LONG stretch of time from the muddle of March to the  first of July to suffer as badly as I did. I read my words in front of me and they do not do justice to the pain and suffering I endured. I pray the more I write about this time in my life the more the words will began to match my lived experience.

With the beginning of July I started my slow ascent back to what has become my new normal. No, my new normal isn’t very close to my old normal I so took for granted, even disrespected with my inability to embrace “gifts” that now just live in memories and in pictures. What has been the  greatest gift in my recovery is my spiritual condition and my clear mindedness, which allows me a life worth living I never realized was possible or that I wanted to actively participate in prior to all this mayhem of my epic recovery “speedsplatt” MOMENT. .

Corey

BLOGS FROM THE ILLNESS OF MY DISCONTENT-2K18

Trying To Catch A Breath…….

My road to well is marred with lots of pits of pain and maladies to which I can not truly speak to now that I am thirteen months into my recovery, but I will do my best to recall the acute pain I endured and  suffered on my road to someplace I know chose to call WELL.

I left the hospital on Match 18th, 2K17 on day after I swallowed my last phenobarbital dose to relieve me of fatal seizures I would have died from coming off of 10 mg of Xanax a day. That last pill I swallowed was extremely monumental in my short stint into my recovery from severe pharmaceutical use over the past twelve years of my life. I remember not swallowing the last “pheno\” pill and instead putting it on my tray table and staring at it intently, knowing full well once I ingested it, it would be the last of the mind-altering pills I had so gleefully consumed for the last twelve years with knowledge my gig was up as I chose this unknowing path of a new life that would no longer include refill days of the likes I don’t think most hardcore users were used to seeing: at the height of refill days just weeks before  my decision to get clean, I was picking up upwards of 510 mini-mental mndfuckers at the pharmacy.  This was a combination of 150 2 mg Xanax, 120 30 mg Adderall, 120 10 mg Hydrocodone, 60 10 mg Valium, and 30 10 mg Ambien-how I was allowed to legally walk out of the pharmacy with such a stockpile is still a mystery I should probably dial back and figure out when I am a bit more well than I am now.

So you can imagine why I lingered and did not hastily swallow that last “pheno” pill. The nurse was so happy to be done with me she remarked, “Here is your last pill!” Not exactly the thing you say to an addict just embarking on the path of recovery…..but hey it was just another faux pas to be added to the long list of lunacies I experienced in my stay in the hospital…….

I finally swallowed that last pill which is captured on my phone as a lonely image of a tiny white pill against a stainless steel background, No, I don’t have any pictures of the pile of 510 pills I received on refill day. Boy, what I wouldn’t do to have a picture of that heap of irresponsible healthcare I experienced as an end user…

So back to March 18th, 2K17, I finally had reached the end of the medical detox line and was deemed medically fit to leave the hospital and embark on the harrowing next stage of my life that would forever alter me in all ways possible; mentally, physically and spiritually.

Before I left I met with a psychiatrist who spoke to me at length about my detox and how serious my recovery would be. He put it best by telling me my detox was a brain injury like one experiences when they get hit in the head with a baseball bat. He told me I was seriously sick and the next year would be long and hard. I was already dazed and confused so it would be a long time before his words would mean anything to me.

I left the hospital and  went  with Stephanie right to the pharmacy to get four blood pressure medications filled and a couple other medications including a pile of 800 mg Neurontin-yes the medication addict’s are now turning to for a new high, yes that medication… seriously Neurontin is not even a controlled substance yet but if you Google it the first thing that bops up is “Neurontin high.” Whatever healthcare profession, you still can’t get anything right! So I left with another new bag of pills on my first day in recovery.

I finally got home and had all I could do to get right into bed and start flopping around from the withdrawals that were just settling in. Hell I had no fucking idea what I was about to go through for the next year of my life…….

Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2K18