Meet Recovery Rockstar, Eric
FROM STRUGGLE TO STRENGTH
Hello my name is Eric Ease and I am a grateful recovering addict.
In order for me to properly tell my story I have to start from the very beginning. I grew up the middle child of 3 boys in Brooklyn, NY. My parents were the best, they made sure all of us had food to eat, a roof over our head and that we were properly educated. There wasn't nothing that they would not do for us. Unfortunately the one thing that I needed for them to do, they could not. They could not help me to like myself. My addiction to drugs and alcohol had nothing to do with my childhood or maybe it did. I had no traumatic events, I was not abandon nor neglected. My parents had split up but I saw them both on a regular basis. I am sure if that was a trigger. I do know that I was already drinking by then but even before my drinking I was addicted to lying and stealing. My addiction was born out oflow self esteem, wanting to belong, to be liked. I always felt like I was different, like I did not fit in. I did not like myself much as a kid and couldn't understand why others didn't like me either. Now that I look back I realize that I started using at such an early age that I never gave myself a chance to get to know who I really was. I judged my inside off of other people's outsides. I always thought that I didn't have enough and wanted what everyone else had. I was shy and standoffish, a loner but very creative and really smart. I wasn't smart enough to see that I did not need to be around the people that I thought I wanted to be like, nor did I need the things that they had that I thought I wanted.
My journey into addiction started almost 40 years ago, I was a child of 10 or 11 when I took my first drink. Alcohol became my escape in the later years. It gave me courage but it also made me very sick. But even after being sick I liked it. I began drinking on a regular basis about a year later. Back in the 70's it was easy to obtain beer, no one gave a damn about ID's. I could purchase beer and cigarettes without a problem. Needless to say my addiction to alcohol was the first of many addictions that would rock my world. When I was drinking I was invincible, I was funny, I was charming, I was likeable. Or so it seemed at the time, because that lie died quickly. I became a monster and a blackout drunk. I drank everyday, all day. My life spiraled out of control and I was only a teenager. I got into fights, got arrested and alienated myself. My Mother took me to doctor's and tried her best to get me the help that I so desperately needed but that only caused me to have resentment and anger towards her and eventually she had no choice but to put me out of the house.
I went to live with my father when I was 13. He worked all the time so I had a lot of free time on my hands. I drank even more but then got introduced to smoking marijuana from there my drug use escalated and for years I used and abused drugs.Cocaine, Heroin, Dust, Acid etc. I could go on and on with the play by play but I am sure you get the picture. My life became a living hell and in the end I was smoking crack and thought I would just die a addict. It took me several years to accept the truth. That I was a addict and that I had a problem. I was in denial and out right defiant when anyone would even suggest that I needed help. Even with all the evidence, the loss of jobs, jail, homelessness, degradation, hopelessness, feeling worthtless and feeling downright useless, I still could not or would not admit to myself that I needed help. In the end I just wanted a way out. I wanted to stop the vicious cycle and I was lost. All hope was gone and I wanted to die.
I had several moments of clarity where I could picture a life without the use of drugs. I just didn't know how to do it for myself. It was only a dream. I truly believed that I could never stop using. Every time I tried I failed so after a while, I stopped trying.The jails and institutions that I had been in didn't work, nothing I have ever tried worked so I gave up completely. Thoughts of suicide invaded my everyday thinking. I thought that was my only way out.
I was wrong.
One day when I was at my lowest a voice inside me said that there is another way. The voice was clear and it began to play back in my mind the meetings that I had attended in the many institutions that I had been in over the years. Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The voice told me to find a meeting and try one more time. I was skeptical but I was also desperate so I located a meeting and after a few more months of using, I finally made a decision to go. When I got there I did not immediately go inside. Fear among other things can keep a person paralyzed if it is allowed to run unchecked. Eventually I went inside and was greeted with a hug. It was the best feeling in the world at that moment. Needless to say I stayed for a little while and then relapsed. I struggled back and forth for a couple more years until one day I finally got sick and tired of the nonsense, tired of the cycle, tired of losing everything, spending all my money and feeling lonely and lost. One day it finally clicked and I said enough is enough. I was ready and I was finally able to ask for help. I was finally ready to get honest and admit that I had a problem and I did not know how to live without using drugs.
I have no shame in saying that I am a recovering addict. I am proud of where I am today compared to where I was just a few short years ago. I attend meetings on a regular basis. They work for me. I have tried many things throughout the years, meetings and step work by far are the only things that have worked and shown proven results. I am in no way saying that it is the ONLY THING that works. I am saying IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT HAS WORKED FOR ME. Staying connected and doing the work necessary to maintain my recovery is a priority. It must and does come first. I plan my life around my recovery because without it. I know that I can just as easily return to the scene of the crime and have my misery refunded in full. My life has meaning today. I am a productive member of society. I maintain a home, job and friends. I go places and do things without the use of drugs. I have fun today. I no longer wish I were dead.I no longer associate with people who are doing the things that I used to do. I have learned quite a bit about myself through the process of recovery. I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to live two lives in one lifetime.
Today I have the opportunity to turn my dreams into reality. I have always loved taking pictures and today I am enrolled in a photography school and am learning the many different aspects of the camera and photography. I am excited about learning all I can and becoming a photographer. I never knew how much I did not know about cameras and photography until I started studying. It is really interesting. I am also the author of a blog called From Struggle To Strength. I share my experiences, the good, bad and the ugly. I like to believe that I encourage anyone struggling with addiction and share how I cope with my own at www.fromstruggletostrength.com
I am doing things that I only dreamed of, things that I thought I would never be able to accomplish. I am living and not just existing. I want to experience as much if not more of what life has to offer. I have a purpose today. I have an obligation to share my experience, strength and hope with others. I have to let everyone and anyone who will listen know, that there is a better way. Recovery is possible. You can get and stay clean. If you are reading this and you think that you cannot get or stay clean. I am here to tell you that you can. If you have a family member who is struggling with addiction. There is hope, don't give up you can have your son, daughter, father, mother, uncle, cousin, family member back. I am here to offer you hope after dope, to get you back on track after crack. We never have to pay the high price to live so low ever again.
If I can do it so can you. NEVER GIVE UP.
Thank you for reading my story and allowing me to share with you.
Peace and Blessings