When I first came into treatment here at SOCD the only trust I had was for my drugs. I trusted that they would make me feel good when I had them and I trusted that I would feel horrible without them. This trust never changed. For people on the other hand they have let me down so many times that I’ve given up on any trust. I am still working on my trust with others, but I know that the rapport between me and SOCD is solid and I trust Salina with everything.
Trust is a funny word. Trust and respect go hand in hand for me. If I have a hard time trusting someone, then I don’t respect them. I feel that if someone can’t keep my trust that it shows the depth of their maturity. You either trust your word to be safe with someone, or you don't. The way I start to trust someone is by testing them; giving them information that seems vulnerable to me and see what they do with it. In my addiction, I played by the rules of "No Honor Amongst Thieves", that way I didn’t leave myself open to getting let down. Now in recovery, I try to be trustworthy and typically people trust me before I trust them. With that being said, when I feel the need to have someone be a "Man (Or, Women) of their Word" they already know their words has been safe with me. Trust is a tricky word that doesn’t come cheap with me.
Lack of trust has been a struggle for me since a very early age. With an alcoholic mother and absent father, I learned there was not much I could trust. I learned I couldn’t trust men to stick around so I wouldn’t even let them close to begin with and if I did, I clung on for dear life, praying they wouldn’t leave like my father. With all the chaos and inconsistency from my mother’s drinking, I began to realize I could only rely on myself. Others were not to be trusted. Carrying this unhealthy belief on through the years has hindered me in making real connection with others. I told myself people lie, people leave, and people hurt. In my long journey to getting sober I started to realize it is critical I learn to trust. I realized I have been trusting the wrong people. Trust is mutual and trust is earned. My first trusting relationship I built was with my higher power. I realized through God I could learn to trust in myself and eventually in other people. It is a process and I don’t trust myself some days but I do know if I am willing to trust, God has a plan for me and he can carry my burdens that I no longer have to worry and fear and that is more than I could ever hope for. Today, because of trust, I can finally be peaceful and free.
In our ongoing series, Word of the Week, we are going to highlight the importance of “trust” within the context of recovery. Although arguably one of the central foundations of any healthy relationship, the process of trust is harvested over time and only obtained when an individual can apply unwavering faith that the person in question is one who will prove this faith justifiable through actions. Often times, people who suffer from addiction also have histories that involve trauma or loss. These experiences can alter one’s perception of other people’s intentions, desires, and reliability. If this particular orientation to others continues into adulthood and is not addressed, it can become a barrier to intimacy and genuine connection. Surely we have all experienced the result of lost trust in the form of betrayal, but as the saying goes, we ought not throw the baby out with the bathwater. In other words, just because trust was broken in the past, it does not mean that it inevitably happens again in the future. This is also where faith comes into play because in order to trust someone wholeheartedly, we must learn to have faith that they will hold up their end of the bargain. Engaging in this leap of faith of trusting another individual can have amazing results as we begin to understand how beneficial connection with others can be in sobriety. While I am suggesting the engagement of trust in others as a means to deepen and further connection, I am not suggesting that we flippantly trust everyone we come in contact with. We must first see evidence that the person we are going to trusting is in fact trustworthy.
There is a second component of trust in recovery which is as important as forging relationships based n trust with another person which is trusting that the incremental steps we’re taking in our recovery program will eventually lead to the realization of our vision. Here at South Orange County Detox, the architect of our program, Salina Shuler, makes the creation of a vision an essential starting point for all clients who come through our doors. She believes that if one has a vision, they can then begin the necessary steps to procure that vision by starting at wherever that particular individual is at that time. When clients are able to trust the process of recovery as well as trust their guides along the way, the results are limitless and we no longer need to bound by the chains of our addiction.
My emotions unmanaged can be deadly to both others and myself. Especially when I am using. All the trauma and pain that I endured as a child was stuffed down with just about every negative emotion out there. Once I touched drugs those emotions unleashed themselves causing trauma and pain for others that for the most part did not deserve it. Looking back now I am very lucky that acting out on my emotions didn’t get me killed. Apart from using drugs, my emotions could also get me in loads of trouble. When I decided to get clean I realized that recovery is not only staying clean from drugs, but also clearing your head of negativity. Without clearing your head, you are just stuffing the pain and trauma down again until it blows up like a time bomb. I am grateful today.
Emotions come and go... They always have and most likely always will. At times in my addiction I was fully convinced I didn’t have any emotions. I was wrong. They have always been there, I would just shove them down as fast as I could so I wouldn’t have to feel or deal with them. Now that I’m clean and sober I still experience many different emotions daily. Some of them I embrace, while others not so much. The beautiful thing is that I don’t have to run from them anymore or deny their existence. I can just let them be. I’ve gained the tools to be able to identify what is going on, and have healthy people around me to process them, with if need be. It’s still not easy and uncomfortable having some emotions such as hurt, sadness, fear, and the list can go on, but thanks to sobriety, I no longer have to run. That in itself is a huge blessing.
Emotions: The thing I used to stuff as far down as I could, run from. The thing I associated with weakness and something easily targeted. Getting sober is almost indescribable to imagine all the emotions or as I used to label them “bad feelings” that begin to bubble up and immerse me. It’s almost suffocating, and extremely terrifying and uncomfortable. As I was writing this it occurred to me that yes, this is what I’ve been running from all this time and it’s also what I’ve been so deeply craving. Every time I take that drink or drug the overwhelming “good emotion” it brings me maybe for even a brief time. The thing about taking drugs and alcohol out of the picture is you no longer only experience that “good emotion” you are suddenly sent on a roller coaster of the whole spectrum of emotion, good and new. What I’ve realized is in order to truly feel one emotion, you must eventually feel them all-sometimes all in one day and sometimes over time. I’ve learned now feeling these things so deeply is a gift not a curse.
For some time my emotions were not present with me. I avoided the truth behind things that I felt. I figured what's the point? Half the time I didn't want to feel anything anyways. I told myself that the drugs were doing it for me; managing the emotions that I thought I couldn’t handle at the time. I walked through life without a single concern on my mind, or a single feeling, whether good or bad. I went through scary situations with no fear. I became numb and desensitized to life. However, during that time, I forgot what mattered to me the most. It wasn’t until I had a couple months clean that I was able to look back on all the emotions I was missing out on while I was using drugs and in active addiction. Recovery at South Orange County Detox & Treatment has shown me how to manage my emotions and I'm grateful to feel again. Without the ones I don’t run from anymore, there wouldn’t be the one’s I don’t want to leave.
In our continuing series, “Word of the Week”, here at South Orange County Detox, we are focusing on a very broad and sometimes confusing word, especially during recovery- emotions. Fundamentally, emotions are the language our bodies use to express what it cannot say in words. Although people generally look at the evolution of human thought and associate that trait as the one particularly unique to human beings (as it is), it really is the interaction and symbiotic relationship between these thoughts and the emotions attached to them as being the distinguishing and divine quality separating human and non-human animals. Our emotional reactions can be, in essence, what provides us with the vitality of life. Conversely, negative emotions can be devastating, destabilizing, and even traumatic. As addicts, we are prone to seek out moments of ecstasy in order to feel as though we are alive. Not only is there nothing inherently wrong with this, but in fact, this desire is arguably one of the fundamental needs of mankind. This can become problematic, however, when we begin to seek out illegitimate forms of ecstasy such as is the case of addicts with unfettered drug use. Other examples of illegitimate ecstasy that can manifest in dangerous form are sex, gambling, work, power, and even relationships with other people. This is where step work becomes an invaluable tool in our development. In engaging the 12 step process, we learn to take personal responsibility, practice vigorous honesty, maintain integrity, and act out of selflessness and humility. In adopting these new methods as way to navigate the pitfalls of life, we learn to self-regulate our negative emotional states and we also learn to take full advantage of positive states so that we may achieve the experiences of ecstasy that are necessary to our vitality and engagement with the horrors as well as the magnificence of life. We, as recovering addicts, must decide whether or not we are going to face our inevitable suffering as means to find happiness on the other side, or if we are going to run from our fears and continue participating in the cycle that temporarily masks our pain only for it to return in an even more grotesque and insidious form the next time around. In addiction we chose death; we chose derision, isolation, misery, apathy, and depression as we recoiled in the face of our fears. In sobriety we choose life; we choose connection, service, wholeness, honesty, and purpose as we made the decision to ride the fabulous and sometimes terrifying wave that is life.
In my opinion, when I am feeling down or ungrateful, I count the blessings in my life. It’s easy to forget everything that is a privilege that comes for free in life. Even though I have lived a very rough life, looking back on it now, I’ve always had many blessings surrounding me. By using drugs I over looked all of them. Getting off drugs now is really important to humble myself and look at what I have. At the top of my list of Blessings I have the love and care of South Orange County Detox and Treatment (SOCD) and the real relationship I share here. Without them I would be lost. Count your Blessings.