Just for Today

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I was thinking back to how hard it was in the beginning.  The whole “sobriety thing”. I had no clue how it was going to turn out, what I was going to do with my life, how to cope with the anxiety, how to deal with all of the feelings that I had suppressed for so long.
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I just knew I couldn’t continue using.  I knew I was going to die. My rock bottom was a state of mind, not born of consequences having to do with the law, losing a job, losing a child, etc.
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For me, rock bottom was a suicide attempt. I couldn’t see any light in my life.  I couldn’t see a glimpse of hope. I had nothing and no one.
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I can only say that by a power greater than myself, I survived.  Somehow, I survived. Something/someone’s plan for me was not done.  I was finished, but it wasn’t. It didn’t give up on me.
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I had so many “what ifs”, “how am I going to’s”, and “why’s” in the beginning of my recovery.  I had hidden my disease for so long, that my coping skills were nil.
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Luckily, I entered a treatment facility, and they gave me tremendous help. They hooked me up with counseling, therapists, psychologists, 12 step programs, and other resources.  My life today looks so much better.
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If you are still in active addiction today, just know that you don’t have to have it all figured out.  You don’t have to have anything figured out. All you need is the desire to stop the pain. Hope is there, even if you can’t see it or believe it.  Please seek treatment today.
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If nobody’s told you today… You are important.  You’re life does have meaning. You are a worthy person.  You are loved. You are important to me. You have meaning to me.  You are a worthy person to me. You are loved by me.
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The highest in me – recognizes the highest in you 🙏✊♥️

– Jay

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Butt Ass Naked

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So… Im going to be butt ass naked for a moment…I like to share the good… But especially the bad and even more so the ugly…
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That’s my ass failing down today!!  💯🤣😂🤣. I was trying to take a good picture of me doing crow pose today, but instead I fell on my ass.
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I’m o.k.  It was pretty funny.  But it got me to thinking….
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I definitely didn’t feel like doing yoga today.  But I freaking needed it today. As soon as I stepped on the mat, I knew that I had been off center for a few days. I could feel the chaos 😈 inside me wanting to get out.  What that chaos was or would have turned into or how it would have manifested itself…idk..
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I just know that I’ve felt out of whack the past few days.  I don’t know if it’s because I started adding in running and then started skipping yoga… But I just knew something didn’t feel right.  So, I turned to what I know. My happy place. My yoga mat…
My dog…
My friends…
My sponsor…
My family…
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Somehow I turned self care into a self obsession… But…I noticed it… That’s what counts right?
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Being able to notice a “distribance in the force…???”
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Did I really just quote Star Wars?? SMFH….🤷‍♂️
LMAO!!
😂🤣😂💯✊
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I digress…. My point is that I noticed that I started to feel “off”… So, I dove into something that I know helps me find clarity…
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Find your clarity!!!!  💯✊
I hope you all have a safe, sober, and peaceful day… Namaste my friends 🌞🌕🙏
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Certification, PTSD, Addiction, and Hope

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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

A lot has happened since my last blog entry.   I’ve been trying to consciously post as much as possible and consistently post a lot more.   I had a lot of things going on in the past three weeks and was unable to post. I’m going to share what has been happening over the past weeks…

The major thing that happened was I finally completed my Peer Recovery Support Certification in the state of Ohio. A lot of people may not understand exactly what that is, so I will explain.   A PRS certification allows me to help people who have mental illness and/or are struggling with drug/alcohol abuse as an equal because I have lived experience in recovering from both.

Here’s a generic job summary :

The Peer Recovery Supporter engages and encourages mental health/ AoD (Alcohol or Drug) clients in recovery. The Peer Recovery Supporter provides mental health/AoD clients with a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles and community.  The goal is to promote wellness, independent living, self direction, recovery focus, enhancing the skill and ability of mental health/AoD clients to meet their chosen goals. The Peer Recovery Supporter works with mental health/AoD clients as equals except in having more recovery experience and training, looking for and empowering signs of wellness and recovery, encouraging strength, perspective, and self direction.  Peer Recovery Supporters are examples of recovery, meaning previous first hand experience with some parts of what the mental health/AoD clients are experiencing at the time support services are needed. In some programs, the Peer Recovery Supporter must be supervised by a qualified mental health professional.

Essential Functions: Providing Support The Peer Recovery Supporter will:

Identify as a person in mental health or substance use disorder recovery.

Understand their role and fully participate as a party of the professional recovery team.

Be mindful of the ethics, boundary, power and control issues unique to Peer Recovery Supporters.

Establish rapport with the mental health/AoD clients.

Provide information as to the purpose of peer support and recovery models.

Provide mental health/AoD clients with very clear definitions of recovery and it’s  components.

Intentionally share their recovery story as appropriate to assist mental health/AoD clients, providing hope and help in changing patterns and behaviors.

Respect mental health/AoD clients.  For example: view what is traditionally labeled “resistance” as “self direction”.  Honor the person for taking charge of their own life.

Set mutually acceptable boundaries with the mental health/AoD client, especially about “help”and “safety”.  Continue to ask if these are the same or changing.

Be well informed about trauma and explore with mental health/AoD clients their experiences and support these individuals in getting appropriate resources to help.

Have his/her own Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), or another recovery plan done and in current use.

Assist mental health/AoD clients creating their own WRAP, or another recovery plan.

Help persons in crisis explore options to benefit their recovery and to maintain stability.

Provide culturally sensitive and age specific services.  Continue to increase knowledge.

Surround mental health/AoD clients in recovery, wellness, and hope.

Focus positively with mental health/AoD clients on emotional growth, strengths, and recovery goals.

Encourage mental health/AoD clients to become self directed, focused on their strengths, reliant on natural supports.

Use active listening skills.

Provide resources that are beneficial to recovery.

So that’s one huge thing that has been going on.  Unfortunately, it can take up to 90 days to get my certificate in the mail and start a job in the field.  So, I’m kind of stuck for the moment in starting this career. But, it’s ok… When God closes a door, he opens a window.

As the instructors and the rest of us were sitting in class on the last day; talking about how difficult it will be to find jobs in this field (it’s an entirely new field in the state of Ohio, so a lot of places aren’t sure of what exactly we do)… God showed up…

A woman from NAMI (National Association For Mental Illness) just happened to be renting space from the facility we were training at that day.  She was looking for volunteers to start public speaking and sharing their stories at various facilities such as hospitals, police academies, with first responders, doctors, treatment facilities, prisons, etc.  Then she offered a position as a group facilitator, voluntary at first.

I’m not shy.  I have gained a lot of experience with public speaking over the last 15 months. I also have a medical background.  So I jumped at the chance to start public speaking to nurses and first responders. I’ve seen addiction and mental illness from both sides; as a medical professional and as a patient/client.

It was actually from working in an emergency room that I developed PTSD.  I turned to pain pills to sleep because of the night terrors (different than nightmares) I was having, as well as the anxiety and the depression.  I wanted to be numb.

Then, the U.S. government started cracking down on “pill mills”.  So the supply ran out. I was able to get clean for a while, but I couldn’t deal with the night terrors anymore.  Not only could I not sleep, I didn’t want to.

Night terrors are real to a person.  You wake up in full blown panic attacks.  You think that whatever was going on in your night terror is actually happening right then and there; in that moment.  It causes flashbacks to the trauma, and it is real at the time. Nightmares are bad dreams that you know we’re just a dream.  You can wake up and go back to sleep after a few minutes. I always like to tell people the difference because I go to so many places and talk about this; and every time I do, half of the audience thinks they have PTSD.

For me my PTSD revolved around a few instances in the ER.  I couldn’t get one particular man’s face to get out of my mind.  He was an overdose victim, that died. He was my first. I had to put him in the body bag as well, after we were done working on him.

I just kept seeing him in my mind, with his “death face” as I like to call it.  When I would try to sleep and start to drift off, I could see him with his “death face”; eyes closed, pale – stiff skin, life gone.  He would then open his eyes, jolt to life, and yell, “Why won’t you help me!!!??”

There’s some other instances that I won’t go into great detail about.  Let’s just say they had to do with rapes, molestations, neglect of elders, and the everyday blood and guts of an emergency room.  I could not get people’s faces out of my mind.

Beeping of trucks backing up were huge triggers for me.  They reminded me of the heart monitors. They reminded me of life, and constant death.  Loud noises – for example: people yelling at each other, groups of people talking, loud music, etc. – terrified me. They reminded me of the energy of the ER.  They reminded me of the doctor’s barking orders at me. I couldn’t cope with it.

Since the supply of pain pills ran out, I turned to heroin to sleep.  Then, I used it for anxiety and depression. Eventually, to feel nothing at all.  I developed a full blown addiction.

But the heroin wasn’t numbing me enough anymore.  I then turned to Fentanyl. I sought it out. It wasn’t an accident that I started using it.  Fentanyl is a completely different animal than heroin. It doesn’t last as long, so instead of needing heroin every 12 hours, I now needed fentanyl every 6-8 hours.

A suicide attempt eventually got me into treatment.  Well, not just that. A lot of things leading up to that day led me to treatment.  I will forever be grateful for this new opportunity at life. I can’t say it’s a second chance.  It wasn’t the first time I tried committing suicide. It wasn’t the second, third, fourth, or even the fifth.  I don’t know what number it was. I do know it is and forever will be the last.

I had trouble making sense of why I was alive after I got clean.  It was tough to deal with for the first six months of recovery. But people kept telling me that God wasn’t done with me.  I had overdosed at least four times that I can recall. I was never once resuscitated by any medical means. I was never revived by any means other than what I can say is a power greater than myself. I was always alone when I overdosed. It truly is a miracle that I am alive.

I’m not ever going to squander that miracle. I’m going to help so many people with my strength, my story, my honesty, my character, my courage, my fortitude, and my integrity.  I don’t say this in a cocky manner. I’m fact, I say it with humility. My mission in life is to help people who think there is nothing but darkness in their life. I know what it feels like to know nothing but darkness.

My mission is to educate the professionals in the medical field about how easily that addict you talk down to, or give up on – can very easily be you.  How it could be your brother, sister, father, mother, neighbor, doctor, senator, lawyer, etc.

Addiction does not discriminate.  It doesn’t care about your social status, your race, your economic situation, your ethnicity, your age, your marital status, your gender, your station in life, your sexual orientation… It does not care. You will eventually come across people in your life that are addicts.  And I will be here with arms wide open, and ask, “How can I help?”

Peace, love, light, wisdom –

Jay

Namaste🙏

The January Disorder

I’m working on making a long blog post to update what’s been going on in my life.  I assure everyone that it’s really good news.  It’s a little complicated to explain…  I’ll try to post it in the next few days.  Until then, here’s something that I’ve recently been struggling with….

I’ve been letting go of a lot of things recently, people in particular… I’m just noticing people’s energies lately… I’m being really conscience of what people say and more importantly what they do.  Do their words match up with their actions??

That’s really important to me.  I don’t want to allow people with negative energy into my life.  I feel like I’m a little guarded, especially towards women.  Women have always been the main abusers in my life.

This past woman I was seeing really hurt me.  It brought about some things from my past that I hadn’t dealt with.

I’ve had purging disorder since the age of 22.  I actually thought I had it under control because I’ve been “fine” for over 10 years, until the end of December/ beginning of January.

She said something very hurtful to me over the phone.  We haven’t spoken since the day before Christmas.  So, I started to dive into exercise and then into over exercising.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal does it?

With purging disorder, it’s different than not wanting to eat to get/stay thin like anorexia.  It’s also different than wanting to binge and purge like bulimia.

For me, it’s actually being aware of how many calories I eat and restricting how many calories I have.  If I feel like I don’t like my body or the weight that I’m at, I would purge to expel the extra calories.  I also would exercise to extremes.  I used to work out 3-5 times a day, only going on 600-800 calories.

Now, I didn’t get to the point where I was purging this time.  But, I was over exercising and restricting my calorie intake for about a week.  I’m glad that somehow I was able to notice it this quickly.  I noticed that I started to think about purging. 

When I first got sober, I had to deal with the damage that I had done to my stomach.  I was throwing up stomach bile every morning, for the first three months of my sobriety.  Prior to my entering treatment, I was throwing up stomach bile on and off for over 10 years because of the damage I had done to my stomach.  Luckily, I didn’t have excessive damage to my stomach, esophagus, or mouth, and it was treatable with time.

So why am  I talking about this?  1- I’m a man.  Men don’t talk about this.  2- I want to hold myself accountable for the reasons that I did this in the past and why it started to resurface.

I used to feel unwanted, less than, easily discarded, and incapable of ever finding someone to love me, flaws and all.  So, when it ended with this last woman, even though it was brief; those feelings came back.  The feelings of unworthiness… loneliness…and pain…

Since I’m sober now and have admitted that I can’t control myself by drugs or alcohol; the only thing that I could control, was an old fall back position –  my self image.  I didn’t even consciously do this.  It’s still something from my past that I’ve never dealt with mentally.

So, I decided to seek treatment for my eating disorder.  I’ve been seeing a therapist for it, and I’m actually learning a lot.  I’ve learned how to eat even healthier than I have been for the past three months.  I’ve also been learning acceptable boundaries to place on myself when it comes to exercising.  It’s been a really good learning experience.

Back to negative people/energies…

I can’t afford to allow people with negative energy into my life.  My addiction, coupled with my eating disorder, make it life and death for me to allow negative energies into my life. 

I think I can allow myself some time to see what people are about… I’m not going anywhere anytime soon… I’ve actually never felt younger… I’m going to live a long, full life!!

Peace, love, light, wisdom, courage, and strength

– J

“Listen” and “Learn” Yoga

I‘ve been doing yoga for a while.  I’m still learning. I go to studios and classes to learn.  I’ve recently added an at home practice that I absolutely love.  It really enhances my recovery. This is the first post that I wanted to share about it.  If you are interested in doing the program, the link will be below. Keep in mind that this doesn’t cost any money. (Well, I spent $5 on my first mat) But the program is free and available on YouTube.  It’s called Dedicate. The woman who teaches it, Adriene Mishler (aka yoga with Adriene) has a wonderful spirit. It’s not that difficult. If you’re a beginner, this would be a great place to start.

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Today’s at home practice was “Listen” (day 19) and “Learn” (day 20)  What is your heart telling you?

The image above was my favorite pose for today. Not because it was perfect by any means. Rather, I was a little shaky and off balance in it. My left leg isn’t straight at all. But, I thought of the song “My heart will go on”, from the movie Titanic 😂🤣😂. I’ve never seen the movie, but I know the song.


I’ve been healing from some recent things; the dog attack, fractured hand, other physical ailments. But, it has allowed me to slow down. I wanted to accomplish so much this year, that I started the year off in so many different directions.  This time has allowed me to focus on a few key things that I wanted to accomplish this year.


I started my training to become a Peer Recovery Support Specialist in Ohio.  I’m currently working on the online classes. I’m going to have them done by the 27th of this month.  I’m going to Dayton for a week on the 28th, to get my official certification through the Ohio government body. This will allow me to work in hospitals, psychiatric facilities, rehabilitation centers, treatment centers, institutions, etc., with people who have mental health issues and/or substance abuse issues.  I’ve really decided to devote my life to servant leadership. This is just a small step in that direction.


As far as the “Learn” practice, it was actually frustrating in the beginning.  I’ve been working on all of these classes today for my certification. I have to get 11 courses done by the 27th.  I thought they were just one hour courses, but the first one took me four hours. I started the second course, but I needed a break.  So, I did day 20 today too. Like I said, I took some frustration from off the mat, onto the mat. Half way through, Adriene said to whisper, “I am strong”, then “I am brave”.  I needed that so much today!! I’m refocused. I’m going to finish this second course tonight.


If you’re struggling today, please reach out.  

There are so many great people in the Instagram recovery community.  I really urge you to join it. Don’t invite your friends or family. Just make it an outlet for you to meet others in recovery. You can even make it a private account if you want to control who can and can’t see it. I’m comfortable enough now in my recovery, so I made mine public a while ago. I still don’t let personal friends and family follow me. My Instagram link is below.


https://www.instagram.com/jayicesober/


You may feel alone, but you’re not.  Please reach out. We are not here to judge.  Trust me, my life story isn’t great. I’ve never felt judged on Instagram.  It’s only been helpful. Remember:—“I” can’t… But “We” can.


Peace, love, light, wisdom, and courage…
-Jay


Yoga with Adriene – Dedicate



Freedom From Unhealthy Relationships

“Normal fear protects us; abnormal fear paralyzes us. Normal fear motivates us to improve our individual and collective welfare; abnormal fear constantly poisons and distorts our inner lives. Our problem is not to be rid of fear but rather to harness and master it.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

I absolutely love this man. He fought for a just cause, equality for all. His words will echo through time. I chose this quote today because it is about overcoming fear and today is his day.

Over the past few months, I’ve taken a little time to rest and get in touch with my inner self. I’ve come to realize that I had some fears that weren’t going away unless I faced them head on. The main fear that was overwhelming my life was the fear that “I’m not good enough”. That I’ll “Never be good enough”. Those thoughts ran rampant in my addiction. I allowed some people to treat me poorly, and yet, I still hung on to them.

It’s especially tough for me in romantic relationships. I have always allowed women in to my life, and regardless of how terribly they have treated me; I’ve held on for dear life. It’s not a testament to how bad of people they are. We are all flawed human beings. It’s more of a testament that I’ve been afraid to find someone who sees my worth. Someone who values me. Does that even exist? What would that even look like? I really don’t know.

But, I’m going to find out. I know my worth. I know what I value. I know my value. I know what brings me peace, and what doesn’t. I’m no longer sticking with people that have the capacity to hurt to extremes. The “scorekeepers”. That no longer serves me. So, I unleash that today. I release myself from destructive relationships. I reclaim the ability to be happy. I think I’m allowed that much.

-Jay

Peace From Addiction

For so long I lived in fear. I thought the only way to cope with emotions, be they negative or positive, was to numb myself.
The negative emotions completely overwhelmed any positive emotions that I was having.
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At first, it was shyness. I couldn’t talk to people comfortably, unless I had some liquid courage. Then, it was love. I never felt it. In walked Molly. Then, it was body image issues. I didn’t like the way I looked. In came steroids and cocaine. Then, it was mental illness, particularly PTSD, anxiety and depression. I was absolutely terrified to go to sleep, because of the night terrors. In walked pain pills, heroin, and fentanyl. Then, I hated myself so much. I didn’t recognize myself. I had no self worth. In walked suicide.
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There were so many other drugs, people, places, and things that walked into my life. I always tried to fix myself with something outside of myself. I allowed people to determine my self worth. I know that way will never work for me again.
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I can not fix myself with anything that is external. Relationships may bring me happiness, but not peace. Drugs may bring a temporary solution, but not peace. Alcohol may make me comfortable for a while, but it doesn’t bring me peace. Shopping may make me happy, briefly, but it doesn’t bring me peace. Sex may make me blissful, but with the wrong person, it does not bring me peace.
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I’ve always been told to find “happiness”. I’ve come to realize that what I’m pursuing is a higher goal. PEACE. Since I’ve been pursuing peace, everything else has fallen into place.

Happiness.
Joy.
Freedom.
Courage.
Fortitude.
Integrity.
Honor.
Loyalty.
Strength.
Honesty.
Calmness.
Accountability.
Love.

I choose to pursue peace everyday. I hope everyone finds their peace today. – J