Pulling It All Together

Writing again from my spot of dirt on this big blue marble that we all inhabit.

I am venturing into pulling all of my web content together so that it’s all linked and easy to navigate.  This is no easy task.  Over the last 10 years I have spread myself out a bit across the web, in some good ways…and in some no-so-good ways I am finding.  So, I thought that with the new changes and updates to my two major go-to sites, YouTube and WordPress, that it’s high time for me to get my web presence shit together.

This will be the focus of my weekend.  I’ve been reading up and watching videos on all of the new things we can do on both sites, the costs associated with upgrading each of them, and I’m pulling all of my social media pages into the mix as well, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  I am seeing linking it all together as a way to have some consistency in my presence.

On YouTube my videos are all very old now.  Outdated, and not very reflective of who I now am.  I haven’t been posting much in the last 2 years, and so much has changed.  I have grown and changed in so many ways.  And I definitely like who I am now far better than who I was even 4 years ago.  Life is happier.  I am happier, healthier, and personally more enthusiastic about life and whatever lies in my future.  So, I am going to review all of my old video content and most likely remove most of them from public viewing.  I’ll keep some of the older, funny, or interesting ones but I am sure that most of the over 500 I did will end up on a private list.  Of course, I’ll personally keep them for the hell of it, and to look back on in years to come.

It’s kind of the same way with WordPress.  I need to review and archive many of the less relevant ones.  My blog has been a sort of diary on some days, and those are less interesting and kind of pointless to keep up in public viewing space.  When I upgrade my WordPress to the Premium package it will afford me the ability to do a LOT more with the page, too!  I will be able to share video and audio content, have a direct email address linked to the page and will have an actual web address.  It will be so much cleaner and nicer looking, so hopefully it will be more interesting and/or fun to read my posts.  I’ll depend on all of YOU to let me know; to give me some feedback and to help me tweak things to improve the whole experience for both of us.

…A Little Personal Life Update…

I know that I haven’t been very good getting posts up lately.  I seem to start one and get half way through it and a squirrel runs by….*poof*…it never gets finished or posted.  Story of my life is half-finished tasks….dealing with adult attention deficit disorder and a bit of OCD thrown in for good measure, makes completing things a challenge sometimes. Which is why I have designated this weekend to focus completely on over-hauling my web pages, social media and pulling it all together.

Everything else is going pretty damned good.  Work is going well, I still like my job and just celebrated 2 years there back on January 14th.  Feels like it’s been much longer, but many things can – and did – happen in those 2 years.  I moved into this house on Dec. 3, 2015 and started the job on Jan. 14, 2016.  There were different people in my life back then, and life was not going very smoothly.  I had too many demons in my world at that time.  I was involved in a toxic relationship of sorts, and wasn’t treating myself very good at all.  Not a healthy way to live I discovered.

It took me some time, and I had to go through rough terrain, but I managed to work my way back to a really super good place in life.  I’m far more healthy, and way more happy!  I don’t constantly question if I am doing the right thing anymore.  I don’t feel over-stressed about how other people are feeling or doing.  I’m not trying to please anyone, just worrying about myself and my own happiness.  And through that re-set of my mind, I have found a renewed energy and enthusiasm for living life to it’s potential.

I am very grateful for where I am today.  I have a pretty nice living space, two awesome little companion dogs, my best friend living just up the road, great family support, a good job, and the possibility of a new romantic relationship on the horizon.  What the hell more could I even wish for??

Sure, I still have the stupid things happen, like the thermostat for my heating system shorted out last weekend.  It got pretty freaking cold in here!  I had to go purchase a new thermostat unit from Lowe’s and replace the burnt out one.  I’m glad my Dad taught me to do things like that.  I got it done, but unfortunately found that the furnace burner was bad as well…so I had a repairman come out on Super Bowl Sunday to replace the burner motor.  Luckily it was around 1pm, and not later!  So, I got to go to a Super Bowl game party and watch my team lose…sadly.  But we don’t need to talk about that.  There’s always next season!

I also go pneumonia in January.  But I caught it really quickly and got right in to see my doctor.  Antibiotics, steroids, and an inhaler…and it was gone about 5 days later.  I lost a couple of days of work, but it’s all good.  I recovered and am back to smartass self.  🙂

I now have this kind of attitude that you cannot stop things from happening most of the time.  You can be as careful as you want, and wear your seatbelt, but there are times when things just happen in life and you just have to get through it; deal with it and keep on going.  I find very few things that I face that I cannot handle in some way.  Keeping a calm attitude is the key; not letting myself get unduly upset or stressed out when it’s something that I just can’t change, but have to deal with head-on.

By changing up my attitude, and adding the right vitamins, I avoided the seasonal depression that I usually get.  This winter has actually been pretty good.  Right now I can’t even remember the last time I felt depressed – which is awesome!  I like the happy-go-lucky me WAY better!  I have more energy and physically feel stronger and healthier than I have in quite a few years.  I am eternally grateful to modern medicine for that.  By keeping my chronic health condition in check and staying true to my recovery program, I have improved my health immensely.  It’s just good to feel good.

I still have my share of worries.  I worry about the toxic political climate in my country.  I worry about my aging parents.  And I worry about friends who are struggling.  I try to do as much about those worries as I am able to do.  I stay well-informed about world happenings; politics and events.  I keep a close eye on my parents, calling them daily to check in and make sure they are well.  I call, text and email various friends, just to stay in touch and to let them know I am thinking of them.  While I wish I could be more of a help on all fronts, I realize I am doing all that I can possibly do as it is.  I try not to let worries take up too much space in my head.  Space in there is expensive and worries don’t pay rent!  I have many more important things to think about, to plan and to do than to fill my head with worrying about things that I cannot control.

That’s what’s been going on with me.  January and February are always fairly slow months.  My birthday was in January.  My family gave me an Amazon Echo (Alexa) and I really love the thing!  I use it to do lots of things, from listening to music to making lists for shopping, tasks, appointments and more.

Thus far February hasn’t been very eventful.  I’ve had to do repairs on my truck, and repairs on my heating system.  I’ve been watching the news about the chaos and calamity in Washington DC and getting angry over that sporadically.  It’s this gut-level sort of anger.  Anger at why those grown men and women cannot seem to ACT like adults, and have so much scandal and corruption going on constantly.  I admit that I am a new junkie; a political pundit of sorts.  I have some strong opinions and views on these topics – as you probably already know from some of my previous writings.

I’ll wrap this up here.  I am going to drop in a few photos of the snow, Nola, Lulu and myself all taken in the last couple of weeks.  Tell me, how has your winter been going?  Done anything fun or interesting so far in 2018?

Peace…~MB

 

 

 

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A Very Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas Eve….it’s been a truly beautiful day in my world.  Tonight I am winding down and feeling very lucky and happy about everything.  I have been trying to get a post up on this blog all week, but most are half written rants about politics or other topics.  Tonight I just wanted to stop in here and wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas, for all who celebrate, and a Happy Hanukka to my Jewish readers.  Whatever your holiday, I wish you the VERY best of peace and love!  It’s an amazing time of year where we all put love and family ahead of most everything else.  Too bad we don’t do it more often!

I made my Christmas very differently this year.  I decided back in October that I would celebrate and enjoy my holiday season this year.  I did not want any negativity – despite what is happening in America – and I refused to let it affect my Christmas festivities.

I decorated my house nicely; put up a sweet Christmas tree in front of the big bay window in my living room.  I put the little green fireplace next to it and sat a cute little Santa sculpture on top.  I placed a poinsettia in the kitchen.  Put up a card tree and strung it with a mini-string of lights.  Yes, I really did it up this year.  And it felt terrific!

I managed to do my shopping over the last several months, picking up a gift or two here and there when I had the money.  That way I wasn’t stretched too thin close to the actual holiday.  I got something for each person on my list, and even stuffed a stocking for my bestie.  I got the dogs both a few little “dog gifts” and everything looked wonderful all wrapped and under my tree.

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Today, Christmas Eve day, I got up and made some coffee and fed the dogs.  After they came back inside from their morning romp in the backyard, I got them all excited to open their presents.  They had a blast!  Two little wiggly dogs, all full of excitement and helping me rip the paper off their presents.  They got balls, a new bath towel, a new food mat, half a dozen new “stuffies” each and treats galore!  Spoiled rotten they are!

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This afternoon I took my bestie’s gifts over to her, she was home sick with a really bad cold.  We hung out for a little while, and I invited her over to supper.  She took a nap after I left, but did manage to make it over.  I got her settled on the other couch and took care of her for a couple of hours; making her dinner and setting her up with a new regimen of vitamins and supplements to try to help her feel better.  She’s been contending with some depression and is really having a difficult time lately.  We are both in recovery, and sometimes I think she struggles with that more than I do.

She told me she hasn’t been coming around because she’s been so down and out that she didn’t want ME to feel that way too!  Problem is that when she does that I think she’s blowing me off…and that’s not good.  I appreciate her trying to protect me, but I want our friendship to be one where she feels comfortable being around me no matter what’s going on with us.  We both have our struggles, and we should be able to talk about anything as friends.   We talked a lot about this today and I hope we have cleared it up and things will be better between us.  She really means a lot to me; it’s like we are sisters.

Tomorrow, Christmas Day, I will do the early morning shift at work.  It will probably be pretty slow as most people will be home with their families having Christmas morning.  I only have to work 4 hours, then I will change clothes and head up to spend Christmas Day with my family at my parents’ house.  I’m aiming for a political conversation free day; hopefully no one will mention politics.  My family is divided over these issues, so it can get a bit heated in that respect.  Most all of my family will be there, except my youngest brother and his wife and kids, who have gone snowmobiling and rented a cabin down Maine.  Nola and Lulu will unfortunately have to stay home tomorrow, and I am feeling a twinge of guilt because of that.  I will try to be home by 3pm-4pm for them.  By that time I will have had plenty of family time and Christmas festivity!
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Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Peace.   !MB

 

 

The Week Begins…

This past weekend was a pretty rough one for me.  I didn’t do much.  I had so much on my mind that I felt paralyzed and couldn’t focus on doing anything constructive.  So I spend much of it watching TV, listening to news, surfing the web and hibernating in my house.  I didn’t see a soul all weekend.  I had planned to spend Saturday with my best friend, but she never showed…she’s been avoiding me.  I suspect that she’s been using again and doesn’t want to hear any shit from me about it.  That’s the only reason she wouldn’t be around like normal.

This morning I got up to go to work, went out to start my truck and it was iced up.  So I started it and got the scraper out of the back and started scraping the windows.  When I reached to open the driver’s door it was LOCKED.  Fuck.  And I had locked the house door behind me when I went out.  So, I was locked out of the house AND the truck – which was running.  I also had forgotten my wallet inside the house.  But, I had my cell phone!  Thankfully.  I ended up calling my friend Linda and she came over.  She has spare keys to my house and truck.  In the end I got to work about 30 minutes late, but it was all good because I had called them to let them know.  Lesson learned.  I went to the hardware store after work and had a couple of spare keys made.  I now have one outside in the lock box on the porch, and an extra in my key cabinet.  I don’t anticipate pulling the same stupid stunt twice, but I’ll be prepared if I do!

I emailed with my attorney today.  She says I won’t be going back to jail on the 21st when I go for my hearing.  That came as a huge relief to me.  She just advised me to keep myself clean and do everything I’m supposed to be doing.  So that’s exactly what I am going to do.  I have to get letters from my boss, my counsellor and my group therapy leader, as well as a letter stating I’ve had all negative urine tests (I am tested weekly), a letter from my doctor and as much documentation as I can rustle up that makes me look good.  I’ll be working on all these things this week.  I go to court for the hearing next Tuesday.

I’m supposed to go to court on the restraining order that I have on that guy I had let stay here.  But I think I am going to drop the request for a longer order.  He hasn’t bothered me at all, and I don’t think that he will.  I think he’s pretty embarrassed about all that happened.   So I’m just going to drop the issue and not put either of us through going to court over it.  If he starts to bother me again I won’t hesitate to call the cops and push the restraining order issue to a full year.

I’ve been setting up my day-runner organizer book for 2018.  Transferring important numbers and information to it.  It’s going to help me stay far more on track with everything.  I also picked up a new 7 pocket expandable file today for 2018’s receipts.  I tend to keep impeccable track of most everything.  That way if I need to refer back to a receipt for any reason I can locate it easily.

I signed up on www.AdoptafamilyUSVI.com to adopt a family in need in the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico today.  I will be putting together care packages to send to them every couple of weeks.   I had been looking for a way I could help, and saw this program on the news here tonight.  I checked out the website, and encourage you to do the same!  It’s pretty straight forward, you sign up and they assign you a family.  The family gives you a “wish list” of small items they could use to make life easier for a few days.  Seems like the least I can do to help out and maybe make someone a little more comfortable in those storm ravaged areas.  They’re still mostly without power and drinkable water in both the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Sad that our Fucking Moron “president” just ignores them and is so busy sucking up to Putin and Duterte, killing trade for the US and sucking money out of us citizens.  I haven’t written much about him lately, but believe me I am watching his every move and can’t wait for him to be taken out.  I believe Mueller will get him and his pack eventually.

The weather here in southern Maine has finally turned cold.  It’s going down below 30 degrees tonight.  I’ve had the heat on now for about a week and a half.  I like it pretty chilly anyway, so I only set my thermostat at 65-68 during the day and drop it down to 62 at night.  I like to sleep in the cool air with heavy blankets.  The weight of the blankets seems to calm my anxiety and helps me fall asleep.  Also I’ve added 10mg of melatonin to my night time ritual as well.  That does seem to help.  Sleep is always a bit illusive, no matter what I do.  I’m pretty used to functioning well on about 4-5 hours of total sleep.

So, anyway, it’s been a rather rough few days, but I am in a pretty good mood tonight.  I know things will get better; I’m going to MAKE them better.  I’ve got the right attitude and am really focusing on improving myself personally and living better.  I might have my down days, but overall I’m actually doing really well.  I do think that being consistent on my medications has helped with that too.

Hope you are all doing well.  Peace.  ~MB

Court Dates…Thoughts

2017-11-09 21.45.37I got home from an 8 hour shift at work this afternoon to be greeted by 3 – THREE ! – fat envelopes in my mail from my attorney.  Fuck.

One was the discovery from my last run in and lock up incident in Portland.  The second…was about a hearing on a motion to terminate deferral and impose sentence because of my being arrested was in violation of my bail conditions, or conditions of release (VCR).  Fuck.

I’m scared of course.  I don’t like the idea of going to jail.  I fully understand that I violated the conditions of my release from the charge from 2016, and by doing so I put myself in this position – where they can choose to impose my 1 year jail sentence and lock my ass up.  I am not sure if they will actually try to send me up for the full year, or if they will want me to do a 7 day “hold” – of which I have already done 3 days – or what will happen.  I have a terrific attorney, who is especially skilled in drug charge cases, and I am going to give her a call tomorrow and see what she thinks she can get them to agree to.

I’ve been going to Groups now – which qualifies as treatment as required by the conditions of release – since last March.  Prior to that I did individual therapy and got myself clean, kicking the habit back in October 2016.  I have been having regular urinalysis tests done every week, which prove that I am clean.  So, I have to gather documentation of those things, plus a letter from my employer, as well as from a couple of other people like my HIV case worker and probably someone else who knows me personally that will write me a letter of support.  I am hoping that by showing those things to the judge; showing him/her that I have been clean and sober and am doing what I am supposed to be doing that I can get a favorable decision to let me continue being out on bail conditions.

Then there’s the new charge.  Fuck.  I am so angry with myself for ever getting it; for ever even thinking that I could get high just once and it would be alright.  Those thoughts and my acting on them are what put me in this very dangerous position now.  I am really not sure what the punishment will be, seeing that this is a second offense 13 months after the 1st offense.  I can only show them what I am doing, and hope that they will give me probation for this charge.  Meaning that I will have to continue treatment (which I intend to do regardless of all of this) and that I will have to report to a probation officer on a regular basis.

None of this is fun.  I regret my mistake very much.  And I am aware of the “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” aspect of this.  Of course I do not want to go to jail, but I do know that there is a chance that that is what will happen.  I most likely wouldn’t do a whole year, but I could do 9 months with good behavior.  That would seriously suck.  It would literally ruin my life at this point.  I would lose everything I have worked so fucking hard to put into my life.  I would probably lose my home, my job, my vehicle, the trust of my family, friends, and more.  I would be separated from my dogs.  THAT would really, really get to me bad.

I’m not sure what else I can do to show the courts that I am seriously better off not being jailed.  That I am a productive and upstanding citizen who is contributing to my community.  Locking me up would only serve to punish me, cost the taxpayers, and cause losses to the local economy and community.  It would be senseless, but I KNOW it is the law and is a decided possibility.  No matter how good I am, I broke the law – twice.  And now I am in trouble and will have to pay for my fuck ups in some way that will satisfy the state.

I am currently free on $1000. bail.  That may work in my favor.  And I served 3 days; which also will work in my favor, so I can only hope the judge is in a mood to consider my position on the day of my court appearance.  If not, I will be spending Thanksgiving and most likely Christmas, my birthday and 8 months of 2018 in jail.  Fuck.

I feel a bit like a failure, but I am trying not to be overly hard on myself.  I know that recovery is a process, and that relapses do happen sometimes.  Nevertheless, I am very ashamed that I let myself get caught up in this again.  I have learned a pretty valuable lesson, and I won’t ever touch anything illegal again.  Nope, I’m too old for this bullshit and too old to be doing jail time with mostly kids half my age.  Those 3 days I was literally the oldest person in the group that was in there with me.  I don’t want my life to be like that; threatened by jail time and legal issues.  It’s not what I signed up for, and I will do everything in my power to repair this fuck up and move on with a good, clean living kind of life.

My bestie and I haven’t been hanging out much since the “incident”….I think she’s kind of fallen off her wagon and she’s staying away because of it.  That is really the only reason she wouldn’t come around more.  We have talked a bit on the phone, but not as much as usual and there have been days that have gone by with no word from her for a few in a row — very unlike her.  I can’t risk my own sobriety though.  So if she is using again I don’t want to be part of it; see it or be near it, so she’s best to stay away.

Drugs can really fuck up life.  I wish I had never started dabbling in them as a teenager.  My brain wasn’t fully formed and I developed an addictive disorder.  So for the rest of my life I’ll deal with it.  I’ve been dealing with it for what feels like eternity already.  At least I can recognize it and understand that I have a problem.  And I know all the “right” things to do, I just have to stay completely on the defensive and very focused on staying clean.  I can do it; it may not always be fun, but I can do it.

I’ve always been very honest in my blog.  That’s why I am even writing about this hear.  Plus, it’s what is going on in my life right now and since I’ve written a couple of blogs about it previously I felt I should let you, my readers, know how this situation is progressing.

Everything else has been going very good.  I’ve been spending time with my mother, trying to assure her that I am going in the right direction with things.  I’ve been working steadily, 5 days a week now, and going in at the crack ass of dawn every morning.  I still have my weekends to myself, and have been getting alot done around the homestead.  Things are ready for winter, now it’s just got to get cold here – it’s still unreasonably warm temperature wise.

I put 2 new tires on the truck, fixed the shot headlight and got it all ready for the annual state inspection due this month.  I also got the 4 wheel drive fixed (I may have mentioned that previously) and it’s running great.  So it should get me through the winter much better this year.  All I have left to do on it is an alignment, which I have an appointment to get done next Wednesday afternoon – if things go as planned.

I’ve been checking out the thrift shops and cruising around the back roads of Maine and New Hampshire checking out the fall colors and that’s been a lot of fun and very relaxing.  I’ve done it mostly by myself, with my dogs of course, and the solitude of driving around on a beautiful sunny fall day is so quieting to my soul.

So, that’s my life this week folks.  I’m just hanging in there and trying to keep it all together.  I hope you all are doing well.

Peace.  ~MB

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Ten Months…

Today I had my Groups: Recover Together meeting.  It’s basically weekly group therapy for opioid addicts trying to get clean, and in recovery.  I have been going to Groups now for over 6 months, and today got my 6 month token.  Its’ just a little pocket coin to fiddle with and remind yourself that you are in recovery and yes, you can do this!

2017-09-13 19.46.10I’m pretty proud that I have managed to kick my opioid addiction and stay clean for almost 10 months now.  Oct. 28th will be my 1 year anniversary.  It hasn’t been easy, I’ve had some really tough days and brutal nights.  I am currently in the Suboxone program. Suboxone is a drug used to curb the cravings and block the effect of opioids.  Basically, as long as I take my daily sublingual strips, which are paper strip that I put under my tongue and let dissolve for 7 minutes without swallowing — yeah, TRY to go 7 whole minutes without swallowing, it’s a real trick!  Anyway, as long as I take those I don’t have the hellish cravings for the drug, and even if I did do any dope it would be “blocked” by the Naloxone in the Suboxone strip.  Rendering doing it absolutely useless…I wouldn’t get high, so why bother?  It’s a phychological thing as well as a physical thing I believe.

Going to the weekly group meeting, where I am in a room with 8-10 other addicts all in the same boat, and all doing the same basic thing – trying to eliminate addiction from their lives.  We have developed a pretty tightly knit group at this point.  We’ve come to hold one another’s feet to the fire.  When you arrive at the office for the meeting you have to take a piss test, and they test it on the spot for any drugs.  It’s a 6 way test.  As long as you don’t test for any drugs except for the Suboxone (buprenorphine) you are good to go.  You go into the group meeting and when you are finished you pick up your weekly prescription from the coordinator on the way out.  You can test positive for marijuana also, it’s legal here so they don’t dock you for having it in your system.  Plus, many of us use it for pain relief, which is why many of us started using the opioid drugs to begin with.  Marijuana isn’t considered to be a problem in this program, and I don’t believe it’s a problem drug if used smartly.  If you test positive for any other drug you are pulled aside and have to meet with the counsellor before you can pick up your script.  You have to explain why you are positive and generally they will give you a break and a chance to continue.  If you habitually test positive, or have a “dirty” or “hot” result you can be tossed out of the program.  And no one wants that!  Going to these meetings in order to get your prescription, being tested weekly, and bein accountable has become pretty damned important to me.  I need the Subs, so I follow the program and it’s kept me on track very well.

The opioid crisis is a nationwide crisis affecting all communities regardless of age, race, gender, religion, social status, or wealth.  It doesn’t discriminate.  I know many very prominent people in my community that hide secret addictions to these powerful drugs such as Percocet, oxycodone, Vicodin, Heroin and Fentanyl.  Once the drug gets you hooked you are in a fight for your life.  Too many times I have seen that fight end in death.  I didn’t want to be another one of those statistics.  Maine has an unusually high number of addicts, and a very high over-dose rate.  It’s a rural state, and for some reason has become a very big state for the trafficking of these potent drugs.

Tonight on ABC television here in the US there is a show that’s going to be on that’s called “State of Addiction” which will talk all about the epidemic we are facing here.  I plan to watch it and have encouraged my family and loved ones to do the same.  I can tell them things, but I think that hearing them from people who combat this every day will be even better for them to understand.  I am very lucky to have a very good support network of family, friends and a very supportive and loving girlfriend.  Without them I don’t think I would have made it back to sobriety….I thank every single one of them, and especially my dear Mother who I put through hell and back with worry and angst.  I’m sorry for all of it, but an addict doesn’t see those things or the way they are affecting people around them when they are actively using.  It’s not til one gets clean that we can look back and realize the damage we have done, and just hope and try to fix it somehow.

Peace.  ~MB

 

Personal Stuff, Updates

Hello my fearless readers! I hope you are all in the very best of health and spirits – wherever you are on this big blue marble we call Earth.

The weather is turning here in southern Maine.  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Autumn, or Fall as we call it here.  Morning temperatures are pretty cool, down around 50F and it does warm up into the 70F range by mid day, but summer is now behind us as well as her very hot, humid weather.  Personally, I love this time of year. I love the smells, like fresh cut hay, newly fertilized fields, pumpkin and apple pies being baked, and that crisp clean smell of the ocean as the tides roll in and out.  Yes, this time of year just feels good.  I like being able to wear my sweatshirts and flannel shirts, and dressing in layers is key as you want to shed some as the days warm up.  I  like that I don’t have to run the air conditioners in the house – and have actually removed them and stored them for the winter – yet, I also don’t have to run the furnace for heat either.  Living with the ambient natural temperatures is perfect.  Sleeping is great, the cooler weather makes it so for me anyway.  And days are just comfortable.

I’ve been doing all the regular stuff.  Working, keeping up with the house and taking care of the dogs.  Everything is going pretty well.  I get to talk to my girlfriend every day, and we are doing really well.  Thank goodness for Skype!  And messenger of course.  what the hell did we do in days before cell phones and computers?  Dating was very different back then for sure, you were relegated to dating only those you could meet in your local circles.  I’m really glad that’s not still the way it is.  I never would have met this awesome woman had it not been for social media – this blog specifically.  And I’m really glad I met her and have gotten to know her.  She’s planning to come here in late November.  She’s got a lot of work between now and then, thus we are waiting.  I’m really looking forward to us spending a week just hanging out together.  It’s going to be great.

I decided not to bounce the friend of mine, who is staying here, out of the house just yet.  After giving it some careful consideration I decided to make a rule that politics are not to be discussed and told him to please be considerate of the fact I don’t want to hear it.  I felt bad cuz I know he doesn’t have much choice other than moving back to the motel.  Thus my choice to give it another try.  So far so good…although I am having some issues with his excessive alcohol consumption.  I don’t think that he will be here very long, too many things tell me this.  He’s planning to head to Florida the second week of December, and I think I can deal with him until then.  We shall see.  Regardless, he won’t be coming back to this house when he returns to the Maine coast, and returns to fishing, in the Spring. I’ve already decided that definitively.

I’ve been feeling really good.  Met with my doctors, each of them, in the last week.  Been having some issues with my c-spine, pain radiating down into my arms and hands.  So I am on a non-narcotic pain reliever called Celebrex and I have a brace on my left wrist.  We think I may also have carpal tunnel in that arm, thus the brace.  Both have seemed to help, I am in far less pain now.  Then I met with my HIV specialist yesterday.  My current tests just came back from the lab and I’m doing great.  T-cells up around 790 and my viral load is remaining undetectable.  This makes me really happy.  It means the cocktail of drugs that I am on is working and keeping my immune system healthy.  I’m feeling excellent, although I still battle a little weight gain, but I’m not real worried about it right now.  I know it’s a result of healthier living and being on the Suboxone…got to give a little to get a lot, so I’m just letting it ride.  I’ll work on losing the weight along the way.

My dogs are doing great.  Here’s a cute pic of them invading my spot in the bed…

2017-09-02 13.25.44

Well, I’m off to Groups…my weekly check in is on Wednesdays.  Things are going well with it and I’m continuing the program.  Staying clean is pretty important to me right now.

I hope you all have a great night!

Peace!  ~MB

An Addict in Your In-Box…

candleSo, you see a lot of articles and television stuff about the “opioid crisis” in America lately.  This is a real, serious epidemic here.  Let me rant on a bit here and give you some of the scoop from inside an opioid addict’s life and mind…bear with me, this may be a bit harsh to some, and I also offer up a trigger warning – some of this is very graphic.

Let me dispel some basic myths first.  No one “wants” to be an opioid addict.  It happens for various reasons.  I have seen the gamut of people addicted to heroin and prescription opiates.  From high-school aged kids – both from up-scale homes and street raised – to doctors, lawyers and pharmacists themselves.  I know addicts in every kind of job and walk of life. The addiction doe NOT discriminate at all.  YOU can easily fall victim to this powerful drug epidemic.  Break your leg, they will prescribe you oxycodone, probably 15mg tablets, 4-6 times a day…take those for 4-5 days and POOF you ARE addicted to them and when you stop taking them you WILL experience withdrawals, irritability, nausera, and depression – stay on them long enough and those things will all occur at once, sending you into a desperate need and search for something to stop that pain and agony you are going though.  You either get a new prescription, a refill, or you “borrow” some from your neighbor, sister, brother, other relatives, or kids.  Everyone seems to have them nowadays.

Not only do opioid drugs like oxycodone or heroin, morphince, methadone and Vicodin help to block pain in the body, they also induce a euphoric state; a feeling of well being and they boost your energy.  Doesn’t that sound like something we ALL would like to have?  Wouldn’t you like to simply pop a little blue pill and have your day go 100% better, have lots of energy, have a nice warm feeling in your body and feel at peace?  THAT is what opioids do, they enhance the sense of well-being, feeling good, and energy and those become feelings that you need every day.  I’m sure there is a chemical thing that happens in the brain that causes all of this, I am not a medical professional – I am an addict – and thus I can only give you a very personal view and personal first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to BE an addict; how I got here and how it entwines with my life.

As I was saying, anyone – YOU – can become an addict in a short few days.  Prescription opiates (pain killers) are the gateway to addiction.  It’s a double bladed sword, we need something to relieve pain when necessary.  Suffering with severe physical pain is never a good thing for anyone.  Some pain, such as that associated with cancers eating away at a body, must be combatted with prescription opiate pain killers.  I would never want someone who is going through that kind of intense pain to NOT have what they need just because a doctor is worried about addiction.  Addiction at that point is mute.

When one goes from a prescription pain killer addiction to street drug addiction it is always for one reason – they were cut off; denied further prescription medication.  THIS is the part that the medical community needs to really, seriously deal with .  When you develop this addiction by “accident” because you are put on prescription opiates they need to EDUCATE the patient – YOU – about several things.

  • #1.  The chance is VERY good that you will develop both a physical and mental addiction to the “feel good” pain killers.
  • #2 You cannot just STOP taking them without going through what can be severe withdrawals, like vomiting, the shits, shakes, yawns, sneezes, watery eyes, irritability, depressiona and yes, sometimes even suicidal thoughts.
  • #3 Over time you will require higher and higher doses (usually in milligrams, mgs) to achieve that same pain relieving, feel good feeling.
  • #4 Never mix opiates with benzos…cocktail for death…Google it.  This can also cause some weirdness and has frequently lead to suicide in many patients.  Same goes for mixing these powerful opiate drugs with alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamines.  Always consult your doctor – or google if you are a street user – for information.  Even better, don’t be stupid and mix ANYTHING with your prescription pain killers just to be on the super safe side.
  • #5 When it’s time to stop the pain killer you need to talk to your doctor AT LENGTH about HOW you are going to do that without going off the deep end, or seeking them (or substitute drugs) outside of medical care.  i.e. on the streets.  You should develop a “plan” to taper down your dose slowly over a couple of weeks until you can stop without going into withdrawals, without having the DTs and without having serious “cravings” for the drug.

Addiction is serious.  It’s easy as pie to become an addict too.  As I have explained above it can happen in a snap with the simple injury that requires opioid pain relief.

Not all addicts entered the world of addiction via this prescription route.  Some started directly with street drugs, heroin, fentanyl, dilaudids, morphine, or opium.  They (we) start this way for other reasons.  But generally there IS pain involved – it might just be emotional pain one is trying to mask with the use of the drugs, it might be the remnants of a traumatic incident or situation in their (our) lives.  There are many reasons, each addict of this kind has their own.

My story:  As a kid I started to “dabble” in illegal substance abuse at an early age – 14.  I was emotionally disturbed, hiding my sexuality and identity all the time and under stress from doing that.  Doing recreational drugs with people I saw as “friends” at the time was an escape for me.  It made me feel good about myself and took the “pain” away for a little while.  I messed with a wide range of substances, pot, LSD, mushrooms, PCP, cocaine and prescription (illegally gotten) stuff like Vicodin and Percocet.

To keep it brief here, I stopped for a number of years.  But I was still an addict in my mind.  I still had the cravings, still had the inclination to “slip” although I did not for many years – 18 all told.

Then I fell into the prescription drug rats nest. I had degenerative disc disease in my back, herniated discs in my cervical spine and lower back as well.  I have neuropathy (a pain and tingling feeling in arms and legs) and I was miserable.

A doctor in Boston one day handed me a prescription for Oxycodone, 30mg tables (magic blue pills) and said, I quote, “They make these for a reason, you are the reason…you shouldn ‘t be in pain, these will help.  Let me know when you need more.”  unquote.  On that day I became a prescription opiate addict.  Those little blue pills helped me a LOT.  But not only did they mask all of the pain, they gave me a feeling of elation, lots of energy and took away my depression.  I thought they were gold.  And for the next several years – about 7 in all I guess – I got refill after refill, legally.  AND he added Morphine 30mg, 3x a day tablets (long acting contin) to my regimen.  My pain was under control.  But what I did not realize at the time was that I was becoming a serious prescription drug addict.

In my mind I was a recovered addict.  I quit the “drugs” I had been doing recreationally years prior, so I didn’t have a problem anymore — or at least so I thought.  And I was living a pretty “vanilla” lifestyle with my wife on the farm during those years, so I  definitely wasn’t an “addict” again.    Hell, I had a legal doctor’s prescription for the magic pills.  AND I had NO idea that I was actually part of the beginning of a huge epidemic in this country.  Yes, it was a rather naïve time in my life.

The story is one I know many can relate to.  As time went on I required more and more of the pills, higher doses.  My doctor happily obliged and upped my dosage so I wouldn’t run out of  pills.  Everything was going along swimmingly.  I was working, living and having a good life.

My life changed one day.  My marriage ended.  My friends were gone (with the ex). And I found myself alone.  I struggled a bit.  I ran into “old friends” from my younger days.  Some were not so good of influences on me.  One showed me that the magic pills (oxycodone 30’s) were great to “get high” on.  You could crush them and shoot them intravenously.  Somehow, at the time, my mind thought this was just a novel idea!  And thus began my “abuse” of my prescription drugs.

This lasted to the end of the 7th year on them.  Then, I changed doctors.  The new doctor wrote me for a while…then she got suspicious that I was abusing them and started to cut me back, told me I needed to wean off of them and find new ways to deal with the pain.  I worked on this, I did inter-skeletal injections, in my back, in my neck, and in my shoulders.  I continued to get the oxy’s for quite a while, just fewer of them, and by this time my “friends” were always around begging to buy them off of me, too.

I ended up at he Pine Care clinic.  Another name for legal prescription drug abuse in my opinion now.  They continued with the morphine 30’s and Oxy 15’s (yup down to 15s!) and I did that tight-rope walk for a while.  They would only give a 1 week supply at a time.  My “habit” – the amount I NEEDED to not be sick with withdrawals – was MORE than they were prescribing.  So I began also buying the thru other channels.  You can get anything you want if you know the right people and have the money.  I did that for a while…then the Pain Care clinic cut me off – COLD.  NO taper, NO weaning off, NO help whatsoever.  It was sheer, utter HELL for me.

That is when I took my addiction back to the illegal substance market.  I swapped out the oxycodone and morphine for heroin and fentanyl.

I tell you all of this to give you a personal chronology into the making of an opiate addict.  I just want people to be aware that ANYONE can be an addict.  This shit doesn’t care WHO you are, how much money you make, what kind of high powered job you have, who your parents are, or what your “social standing ” is in the world.  It will sneak up on you and bury your ass.

Today I am in recovery once again.  I no longer use any of the prescription or illegal substances.  No oxys, no herion, no fentanyl – and no other recreational or illegal drugs.   I am in group therapy weekly and on Suboxone strips daily.  Suboxone is a maintenance medicine that blocks the effects of opiate drugs in my system and helps control my cravings / urges.  Its’ working very well for me.  How long I will have to take it I do not know.  Could be 2 years, could be longer.

One day I will be free of all of it.  THAT I know.  In the meantime, I am here, I am fighting the good fight and I am winning.  I made it this far for a reason, as to what that reason is  remains to be seen.

I hope you got something from this.  Even if it was just a little better understanding that addiction is a disease that some of us have to battle for whatever reason.  We’re not “bad” people.  We’re not “criminals” just because we use.  We are your family, your neighbors, your grocer, the guy at the gas station, your lawyer…maybe even you.

Be kind to one another, because you never know what another person is dealing with behind the scenes.

Peace & Love.  ~MainelyButch   aka Ang