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Increase Your Chances of Remaining Sober By Setting Boundaries And Then Enforcing Those Boundaries

Written by DeShawn McQueen on Monday, 10 September 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery, Breaking News

addiction sober boundaries

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady, Philanthropist, U.S. Diplomat and Reformer

All my life, I have been a sensitive person, compassionate, and often so empathetic, I frequently found myself taken advantage of.

I could not quite understand why bullies, manipulators, aggressors, abusers, predators, pedophiles and excessively harsh people were in my life.

My earliest memories are in the context of abuse….….physical, sexual and verbal.

Despite being somewhat of a savant, I was often described as naïve, impressionable, innocent-minded, gullible, and lacking common sense.

To be honest, I learned at a very early age to ignore the unpleasant, to dissociate from the pain.

If it went away, that was splendid, and if it remained, I had to learn to take it and deal with it, with a smile on my face.

I had no voice, and certainly no boundaries! If I reacted to pain, circumstance got worse.

I learned, after a while, to just be well-behaved, well-dressed, demure, soft-spoken and clever, but not too clever as to intimidate or step on anyone’s toes.

I was like a castrated lion, despite the fact that I was still in the wilderness. Perhaps that is why I learned to be a chameleon….it was my only way to survive. I learned to be whoever people wanted me to be, everyone else but myself.

I avoided confrontation, acquiesced to everything, was so agreeable that eventually I lost my personality, not to mention my identity.

Pain was so pervasive in my life. I experienced pain after pain after pain. Eventually, I got tired of the pain, so I started to self-medicate.

Although not my preference, I would drink alcohol to assuage the pain. Suddenly, I found prescription pills and compliant doctors.

I was entitled to these pills because I had ailments – anxiety, nervousness, excessive worry, thought rumination, and eventually depression due to feelings of regret and resentments turned inward.

So, they [the doctors] gave me Xanax, and they gave me Ativan, and they gave me Klonopin and so on. And there was certainly a “so on”.

I was too much of a “good boy” to ever take illicit drugs. Thank God, because I may never have turned back!

Yes, the pain was kept at bay. Meanwhile, my life just became more chaotic, so I took more, without realizing that although I was muting the pain, I was muting the joy.

In the meantime, I did nothing to get to the root of the pain. I wanted nothing to do with therapy and I was not setting boundaries; I was not standing up for myself.

Rather than deal with the world, I closed off. I preferred my solitude.

The career that I worked so hard to achieve was spiraling downward; actually, it just became stagnate.

My creativity and brilliance, that was always my solace, suddenly began to leave me. I became so frightened. The fire was out… was no longer being fueled by the source. I was disconnected from my source; my God; my Consciousness.

I was frightened, but all I wanted to do was ignore the fear, evade the pain, and mitigate any inconvenience or unnecessary people in my life. I saw the insanity growing inside myself, as if I were a third party outside of myself, except that I was not. I was me, and it was happening. I was unraveling!

I often found myself in any of my condo, in a fetal position, drapes drawn, with a bottle of wine, ingesting pills, sobbing, listening to Emo [Bright Eyes; Sia; Postal Service], then Anna Nalick, Mahalia Jackson, Chet Baker….. night after night. For the first time in my life, I wanted to die.

My life became so small, so so small, in contrast to who I was before. I lived off the trust fund that my deceased father left me, so I did not have to work.

A paranoid recluse, I eventually heard a voice inside that said stop the pills and get help.

I did, and the rest is history!

I was living in Colorado at the time and although I was scared, I made the commitment to myself, to become myself again.

Trembling, I made a call to Spencer Recover Centers. It must have been an act of providence, even a God shot, because Chris Spencer himself answered.

Chris, firm but compassionate, with plenty of experience, walked me through the process, he even made me laugh.

Chris arranged to fly me out to LA. When I arrived at the airport, he had a limo waiting for me that shuttled me off to his Laguna Beach facility.

Chris, and his daughter, Cindy, an Intervention Specialist, greeted me.

Cindy had a ready smile on her face, and she was so welcoming, I could not help but to embrace her. She embraced me back and I wept in her arms for at least 5 minutes. I knew I was at the right place.

That was six years ago, and I am still sober.

I was a special case. In fact, I was at SRC for 45 days…..”some are worse than others”.

I arrived a wreck, and left a man, with tools for living.

I came out, as a homosexual there, during group therapy.

And, I addressed all the abuse I encountered throughout my life in individual therapy.

I ate healthy and exercised, and I walked on the beach. I got better, exponentially, each day.

I learned that I did not deserve what happened to me as a child.

However, I realized that I had an opportunity to make it right as an adult, by taking responsibility for how people see me and treat me. This is my life and my destiny and I can write it anyway I decide to. I chose to be Empowered, a Victor, no longer a victim.

To be honest, I learned to say no for the first time in my life. I learned to breathe through frustration without being overwhelmed by it.

Today, I am no longer co-dependent, and I no longer look to save other people, nor do I make excuses for other peoples bad behavior, and I certainly do not live in the past…..”they do things differently there”.

I am living life on life terms without the aid of alcohol or prescription pills.

What is even more amazing is that my fortitude has returned, and I am stronger, yet gentler than ever, compassionate, yet firm, just like Chris S.

Brian M.

If you or someone that you know is struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism, please call us now. We can help you.

Photo Courtesy of: shutterstock

About the Author

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen is a staff writer at Recovery Now Newspaper and, an informative newspaper that serves as a resource for persons of all stages of drug and alcohol treatment, by giving them access to relevant and necessary information so that they may live balanced and substance-free lifestyles. DeShawn graduated from Wayne State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology and premedical sciences. He holds a Juris Doctors degree in law from Valparaiso University School of Law. DeShawn’s writing and research has been published in such academic journals as Behavioral Pharmacology and Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior among others. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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