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  1. #1

    Default Six years and counting!

    Sunday marked 6 years since I started my road to recovery. Even though I consider myself 'recovered' with no desire to drink, this last year was probably one of the more difficult ones. Anxiety being the dominant emotion due to a number of internal and external sources.

    One of the great sources of my anxiety and stress is the very thing that I find myself using to provide support to others. It is also one of the greatest accepted addictions on the planet. Social media. So I've cut the cord. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all deleted.

    Addictive behaviour is defined as something that dominates one's thoughts, is the first and last thing that you do, or think about, each day, and causes emotional upset to yourself and those around you. When this happens, it's time to reevaluate the cost and benefit of continuing such behaviour.

    It's not that social media is entirely a negative space. There are some great groups and pages and it is nice to see what people are up to or stay current with interests. For the most part though it's become a place of vitriol, anger, rudeness, narcissism, entitlement, and misinformation.

    When people can't see the emotional reaction of the person they've insulted it somehow makes it acceptable for a friend of 40 years to call you to a Nazi for speaking an opinion. With no consequences to negative behaviour, that behaviour becomes accepted and is normalized.

    When people get their dopamine spikes from likes and subscribes, the lack of them can cause anxiety and depression if they don't get their validation from strangers. Narcissism dominates and is impacting children that believe that likes are a necessity of life.

    When people blindly share articles and opinions not based on facts or evidence, we get a pandemic that causes millions of preventable deaths. The lack of critical thinking skills and acceptance of biased, uninformed opinion as fact is, literally, killing people. Misinformation is getting worse with platforms like Tiktok where virtually anyone can express a 30 second misinformed, or disinformed, opinion to thousands or millions of people and they believe it.

    When people confuse rights with privileges we get a schism in society where many believe that their rights (privileges) should be valued more than everyone else, even if it puts people's safety at risk. Or voice a negative opinion on something that others enjoy just to rile people up, That's sociopathic narcissism.

    When people use social media as a means to escape their thoughts and emotions, or ignore the world immediately around them, and it is their first action to regulate emotion, positive or negative, that behaviour is now an addictive behaviour.

    It's time to focus more on me, my family, my business, and my home. It's time to get more acquainted with my books, maybe pick up the bass again. Do something that matters to my life. Nothing on social media really matters, yet it has such a huge impact on all of us.

    I've also started a blog where I'm delving into my past with new eyes to understand my trauma and substance use.
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    I can't believe it's been 6 years I've been sober. To be honest, I thought it was 7. Six years ago I realized that I was Sisyphus, trying to push a barrel of alcohol over a hill of depression, and decided enough was enough. I was spiraling out of control and knew those around me were suffering, especially my wife and daughter.

    Losing track of the time is an important part of recovery. Counting days, or even years, is detrimental to the process as the self-stigma of who you were will still dominate who you are. Letting the past be and just being present in the moment is what is important. Moving forward without guilt or shame of the past allows us to continue, free of those chains of who we were.

    It is also important to realize that Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is not a disease, it is not the main cause of suffering; it is but a symptom of something deeper. It is a series of learned behaviours that we use to treat all kinds of trauma; that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We use substances to not feel bad, (scientifically that's what drugs and alcohol do - manipulate our brain chemistry to feel good) but then we feel worse when we aren't using, so we use again, this time needing more, to not feel that way.

    There's been discussion, and a recent misunderstanding, of co-morbidity and what that means. With SUD, co-morbidity is related to what is causing it, usually something related to mental health. Studies show that individuals suffering from SUD have a high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience ) score, up to 90% of individuals in some demographic groups. https://www.npr.org/.../take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what... This is why many recovery programs do not work for everyone, relapse is common, and treatment facilities become a revolving door and big business. It is important that people suffering from SUD not only get treatment for it but continue to get support after treatment. If you put someone through a program then put them back onto the street with no place to live, no job, no social supports, no follow up therapy or counseling, of course, they are going to relapse to the only thing that made them not feel bad.

    If the root cause of WHY someone uses substances isn't treated, i.e. depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, anxiety, etc., the potential for relapse is always there. Recovery becomes a double-edged sword, 1. you are struggling to change your behaviour and not use; 2. you now have to deal with an exacerbated mental health issue without the substances you used to treat it. Anger, sadness, anxiety, regret, guilt, and shame, are piled one on top of another until it is a mountain that must be climbed. It is work, hard work, and I couldn't have done it without my supports, the same wife and daughter that suffered in the first place. Many look at that mountain and give up because it is too high.

    This is my soundtrack today. It becomes more and more relevant as I get older: loss, hardship, doom; but also happiness and a bright future. Thanks for reading. Keep your chin up, focus on the present and future, and lay to rest the past.

    King Buffalo - Burning {WITH LYRICS} - YouTube

    You got this. There may be some falls, but we fall down to learn to pick ourselves up. SMART was an incredible part of my journey and if you put in the work, it works!
    Last edited by Gordon1; October 3, 2021 at 9:47 PM. Reason: Removed references to substance

  2. #2

    Default

    Congrats on your 6years, thank you for your great share.
    I used to have an addictive behavior,
    but I choose not to act that way anymore”


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    64

    Default

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story LunaCrist! What an incredible amount of strength and resilience you've shown these past 6 years. Congratulations.

    Ashley99

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