Author Topic: Are there any recovering addicts here?  (Read 1643 times)

Anydaynow

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Are there any recovering addicts here?
« on: April 07, 2017, 08:22:13 PM »
Is anyone here recovering from addiction issues?  Everyone around the forums sound like they either have always made the right financial decisions,  or else are reformed consumers who still have the benefit of good work histories and decent income.  Are there any people who, like me, blew up their entire lives and are now putting it back together?  I feel so behind the curve here, because it's not just my finances that had to start over from zero.  I have a 15 year gap in ANY forward progress - education, employment, social and relationships, financial, etc.  My recovery is strong at this point, but only a year old.  And the mountain ahead of me, that everyone else climbed 15 years ago, is daunting.  I'm also curious if anyone here belongs to a 12 step fellowship.  I'm looking for people who have already walked the path ahead of me to tell me their story, share some strength and hope.

tarheeldan

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 09:43:00 PM »
Yes. Coming up on seven years now. 7th Tradition FTW. I get to help tons of people in early (or not so early) recovery with their finances now, it's awesome!

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surfhb

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 10:14:01 PM »
Is anyone here recovering from addiction issues?  Everyone around the forums sound like they either have always made the right financial decisions, 


That's an interesting observation and I see it too.   

I figured this forum would be filled with mostly ex addicts, spendthrifts and financial idiots like myself.   Doesn't seem to be the case and I always wondered why?   

For me, I smoked for 20 years.    Wish I had that time and money back.   

Good luck to you!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 10:15:43 PM by surfhb »

Anydaynow

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 06:49:11 AM »
Thank you for the replies.  I'm coming from years of homelessness, street life, and emotional infancy.  I'm in my mid-30s now, and while I'm grateful that I at least finally found freedom now instead of 20 years from now, I still grieve the time wasted.  I now have regular adult goals, and am working toward them solidly (finally starting school next month, have cleaned up the financial mess and saved most of my money this past year, started investing, am working on rebuilding credit, and work several jobs in my field, as well as my NA committments and some personal goals).  But I lack confidence and adult experience in making my way in the world.  MMM has been a godsend in learning some skills to move forward, but to be doing now what most people did at age 20 kind of sucks.  I also struggle with wanting to do everything I missed out on in life, while also prioritizing financial health (ie: school, some health related stuff, and just some adventures... all cost money - big money, in some cases - and I don't know how to balance making up for years of financial ruin with years of missed living opportunities. 

tarheeldan - do you feel like sharing your story?  I would love to hear how it was, how it is now, and how you got from a to b.

surfhb - this is a current source of shame for me.  I smoke.  I've been working on it, switched to vaping and reduced the frequency and cost by 50%, but i'm struggling to cut the cord and it is making me feel pretty demoralized.  Everyone here basically says "facepunch, stop smoking", and i dont know why i can't just do it already.  I have tried NRT and books and support resources and the Steps, and yet I am still doing it.  How did you finally quit?  It is, by FAR, the most stupid expense in my budget, and even that hasn't stopped me.  I feel like admitting you are a smoker here is like admitting I like to skin puppies for sport or something.  I managed to get clean but can't break the nicotine habit.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 06:59:13 AM by Anydaynow »

tarheeldan

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2017, 08:56:34 AM »
tarheeldan - do you feel like sharing your story?  I would love to hear how it was, how it is now, and how you got from a to b.

surfhb - this is a current source of shame for me.  I smoke.  I've been working on it, switched to vaping and reduced the frequency and cost by 50%, but i'm struggling to cut the cord and it is making me feel pretty demoralized.  Everyone here basically says "facepunch, stop smoking", and i dont know why i can't just do it already.  I have tried NRT and books and support resources and the Steps, and yet I am still doing it.  How did you finally quit?  It is, by FAR, the most stupid expense in my budget, and even that hasn't stopped me.  I feel like admitting you are a smoker here is like admitting I like to skin puppies for sport or something.  I managed to get clean but can't break the nicotine habit.

Sure! We do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it - always happy to use it if it can be useful :-) I drank from the age of 13 until 26, and it got progressively worse. During that time, I also used a ton of drugs (MDMA, K, shrooms, pot, coke, meth, crack (I think? Once), opium, and various and sundry pills). For me, alcohol was the go-to though. It made me feel like I always thought I should feel all the time if something wasn't wrong with me. I could be who I really am supposed to be. And it was a lot of fun for years!

As time went on though, the time between drinks got shorter and shorter, the highs got dulled, and it just stopped working as well. I became a pain in the ass when I was drinking too, selfish and inconsiderate, sometimes belligerent. I tried to commit suicide a couple of times, then got caught drinking and driving, and managed to put together maybe six months sober. But, I still had that reservation that if I could stay sober long enough that I would magically be able to drink like normal people again. Haha! I like to say that if I smash my TV with a hammer and wait six months, it won't magically start working again! Anyway, I started drinking again and life got smaller and smaller again until it was just guilt and shame, and the insanity of waking up with all the will in the world not to get messed up that day but experiencing that strange mental twist just hours later where I thought I was choosing to get messed up again. It was awful. I didn't even have it in me to try to commit suicide. So, I just drank for oblivion - trying to be unconscious as much as possible because I couldn't get drunk in my mind anymore (my body got drunk, but the squirrels wouldn't stop running). I asked for help - like a foxhole prayer but without any strings - and help came. Some friends showed up at my door and it broke me out of the mire enough to get to a 12-step meeting. Got a sponsor, did the steps, and life has been absolutely incredible since. Not because of any movie-like outside stuff, but the way I feel and am inside.

When I started the program, I was in a PhD program in Economics, wrapping up the coursework and about to select a thesis topic. But I hadn't shown up for class in weeks - I couldn't leave the apartment except to go get alcohol when I was at the end - and I dropped out. So, I had an MA but I was now unemployed. Luckily I had some savings and some gold that a relative had given me. This, along with a loan from my folks ($5k which I paid back, yaay financial amends!) helped me get through a tough job search in 2010. I'd always been frugal though - I saved half my income working at a non-profit when I first got out of undergrad, for instance. So, once I did finally get a job I was able to work on righting the ship relatively quickly compared to how most people live. Then, I discovered MMM and also was fortunate (and worked well towards) to get raises and promotions at work. Now, I hope to have enough invested by 40 to shift gears and focus more time on the things I love to do - working with other alcholics, helping people with their personal finances, teaching, and getting outside more (not that much, but more than now lol). Oh, and travelling!

I smoked cigarettes from 13 to 25. I, too, switched to vaping for the first couple of years of my sobriety. The way that I quit eventually, is I cut the juice bottle 50/50 with vegetable glycering (propylene glycol would work too) every time it got to half full. This way I titrated down from 6mg to 0mg over the course of a couple of days. I kept vaping at 0mg for a week or so, I think. I wanted to murder people, but exercise helped and after about a month I came out of the fog and felt normal again. It's awesome not to "need" to vape/smoke anymore. I can be much more present in situations. Totally worth it.

SpeedReader

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2017, 11:40:48 AM »
Not an addict, but I'm also not a person who always made the right financial decisions either.  I look back on myself in my 20s and 30s (even some choices in my 40s!) and wish I could do a lot of it differently.  I still spend money on some things that would get probably get me facepunched here, but less often and less of it now. 

One of my best friends kicked cocaine and I know it was the hardest thing to rebuild life afterwards.  It's a tough road you're on, but glad to see you here.

dca

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2017, 11:53:20 AM »
I smoke.  I've been working on it, switched to vaping and reduced the frequency and cost by 50%, but i'm struggling to cut the cord and it is making me feel pretty demoralized.  Everyone here basically says "facepunch, stop smoking", and i dont know why i can't just do it already.  I have tried NRT and books and support resources and the Steps, and yet I am still doing it.  How did you finally quit?  It is, by FAR, the most stupid expense in my budget, and even that hasn't stopped me.  I feel like admitting you are a smoker here is like admitting I like to skin puppies for sport or something.  I managed to get clean but can't break the nicotine habit.

I smoked from 23-29yo. You said you tried NRT already. What I found helpful was using higher doses than the standard (You can wear 21mg + 7mg patch if needed) and going down very slowly over, say, 1 year. You can also do nicotine gum on top of the patch for acute cravings. I did find that more than a certain dose of nicotine made me feel nauseous, and I also took the patches off before bed because they were giving me insomnia. (Never had to wake up in the middle of the night for a nicotine fix in my smoking years.) Not sure if this is medically advised, but I would trim the patches with a pair of scissors to go down in dose. Regular gum helped, too.

If it's the physical act of smoking rather than the nicotine, then the vaping might work. I think key is to reduce the nicotine slowly over time.

Chippewa

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2017, 12:34:38 PM »
[deleted]. Quit cold turkey due [deleted] and never went back. Still remained financially screwy until my 30s. Maybe age and my experiences finally made me a little wiser. I majorly miss and regret the time I cannot regain. But I can't focus on that (or it would make me bat shit crazy). I can only focus on the now.

Best on your journey. Stay focused. Btw, exercise might help you kick the nicotine. Exercise is usually a positive addiction for recovering addicts.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 09:51:45 PM by Chippewa »
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Anydaynow

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2017, 03:52:36 PM »
It's funny, I also run and cycle.  But still smoke.  I remember doing a race during a brief period of clean time years ago.  Crossed the finish line and reached for the smoke in my belt. I got a lot of dirty looks that day.

My addiction (heroin and coke/crack) story took me from overachieving nice girl to homeless sex trade worker over the course of 15 years.  Bankruptcy, unemployability,  destroyed relationships, multiple serious hospital stays (as well as rehabs and treatment and the like).  When I finally found NA, I was at the end of the road, in total ruins in every way.  My family took me back in as a desperate move to save my life, and for that I am eternally in their debt.  And NA (and a killer sponsor!) has saved my life and made me richer than I ever thought possible.  I just don't have material wealth, and am looking at a future where it will be hard to build any thanks to a single low income (forever... social work), this upcoming lengthy and costly school process, etc.

I really appreciate all of these stories here and it's nice to know I am not alone.  I have learned that "alone" is a dangerous way for me to feel, and I try to seek connection now.  I also love seeing program lingo in this thread, I feel at home with that ;)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 04:48:44 PM by Anydaynow »

tarheeldan

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2017, 05:50:03 PM »


I really appreciate all of these stories here and it's nice to know I am not alone.  I have learned that "alone" is a dangerous way for me to feel, and I try to seek connection now.

You are never alone :-) Keep moving your feet doing the next right thing. If you asked me after my first year what life would look like in five more years I would have been waaay below the mark. Life is good. Rooting and praying for you! :-)


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Frankies Girl

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2017, 06:30:43 PM »
I just wanted to add that a member here has written a book for those that struggle with a variety of issues, from the point of view of getting your life back on track and becoming financial stable: https://www.amazon.com/Rising-Strategies-Broke-At-Risk-Those/dp/151874043X

I frequently have no idea what I'm talking about. Like now.

FIREd as of: March 6th, 2015!

Anydaynow

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2017, 07:09:34 PM »
Thank you for that book rec! It looks like it could be a valuable resource for me.  I might have to deactivate the forcefield around my wallet and buy it.

Tasty Pinecones

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2017, 04:33:49 PM »
I wouldn't beat yourself up about the timeline. Yes, lost years but you've got a plan and direction. That's what is important.

bwall

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2017, 05:03:50 PM »
Congrats on the distance you've come so far. Change is never easy, especially the distance you've come so far. In my book, that's 100x times more the accomplishment than the 'financial goody-two shoes' (my words) you compare yourself to.

Question to you and tarheeldan, if you don't mind a bit of a spotlight: what caused the slide/decline?

I have the understanding that people don't make these types of life choices without a reason. Something traumatic must have happened at some point, something that the person is trying to escape.

Can either of you provide a bit of color as what was driving these life choices? No judgement here. I'm just trying to understand and learn. Even if you choose not to reply, that's ok, too.

tarheeldan

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2017, 05:59:01 PM »
Bwall, people that are not addicts and alcoholics that I've talked to about it seem to have a really hard time wrapping their heads around it. I think they expect to find some logical reasoning, something to point the finger to. That's not always or, among the thousands of stories I've heard, even often the case. Tons of people go through rough shit and don't end up rock bottom boozers or dope fiends.

I don't know if it's nature or nurture or a mix of both. I know that from the first time I got drunk I loved it. And over the course of many years it progressed from what seemed like a desire to a necessity (well before I admitted it). So one might see a slide in the person, where I see a progression of the illness in that person.

Anydaynow

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2017, 07:02:24 PM »
Absolutely, I don't mind sharing.  My slide into addiction was not due to any one thing.  It was just a perfect storm of combined factors over a long period of time that eventually led to me taking that first drug.  Prior to my first dope experience,  I didn't even smoke and had zero understanding how anyone could possibly ever do something as stupid as drugs.

Stuff that contributed to the slide:
- my personality: shy, introverted, perfectionist
- went through a severe trauma at age 8 (abducted and assaulted - something like 90% of addicts have trauma histories).  This coloured my entire perception of myself and the world, and developed two deep-seated thought patterns: fear, and that i was stupid.  These alone were enough to lead me to self-destruct eventually.
- no self-esteem (a result of combining items 1 and 2)
- onset of mental health issues in my early teens (PTSD, depression, anxiety, anorexia). Again, a large percentage of addicts have histories of mental illness or mental health disorders.
- inability to face the big scary world past high school.  I was awesome at school, and it was safe because it was easy and no one would find out that I was actually a stupid fraud (this is no longer how I think, but just to give you the setting here).  Leaving school for adulthood paralyzed me because I had no faith in my abilities and no self-esteem to guide me in any one solid direction.  Dropping out of the race felt safer than continuing to compete.  Everyone had high expectations for me and I feared (or knew, rather), that I was nothing but a failure.  I guess I couldn't bear to have that proven true, so I opted not to even try.
- bad boyfriend, at the wrong time.  Right during the above, I fell in love (or rather, became addicted to the fact that someone actually loved me), and as I had no self-worth I let him call the shots.  I had no voice at all by this point.  One night he called "drugs", and I just let it happen.
- that first time was my undoing.  The drug I used, and the one that remained my drug of choice, solved everything that was wrong in my head and in the world.  I had never in my life felt so insulated, and so comfortable in my own skin.  They felt like the answer to the problem that was me. I was hooked inside of a week.  I cried the first time because I understood I was crossing a line but felt powerless to stop it.
- I also had a deep-seated self-hatred.  Couldn't stand myself, felt I was worthless.  In that mindset, there isn't any drive toward self-preservation.
Those are not exhaustive, but hopefully they tell some of that story.  There's stuff like genetics (alcoholism on one side of the family,  though nothing "untoward" in my immediate family), family dynamics (communication  issues and family belief systems), all of the smaller trials and tribulations of life that I just wasn't equipped to deal with because I was emotionally fragile, social isolation because of my insecurities and fears, etc etc.

It can really happen to anyone.  I was the last person anyone thought would ever get into trouble, and by the end there was no lower to go.  There were probably opportunities to stop the train wreck along the way, but it is what it is.  I hope I answered your question :)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 05:20:35 AM by Anydaynow »

surfhb

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2017, 08:02:38 PM »
At least you vape and that's not smoking.    You will hear people say that its not any better than smoking regular cigarettes...which is complete rubbish.   They are not even close....but DO NOT EVER GO BACK TO SMOKING!

Regardless, this is an early retirement forum and cutting a silly habit will greatly increase your FIRE date.    But, if it keeps you sane, continue to vape by all means. 
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 08:05:16 PM by surfhb »

MasterStache

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2017, 11:20:24 AM »
I wouldn't beat yourself up about the timeline. Yes, lost years but you've got a plan and direction. That's what is important.

^This!. I don't have any personal addictions but I come from a family of addicts (mostly gambling, drinking, smoking). Gambling is probably the worst as those family members have refused to get help despite decades of addiction and a multitude of ongoing personal/family/financial issues. They will never have a plan and direction.

Despite your perception that you are behind, you are still ahead of many out there.

craiglepaige

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2017, 04:55:24 PM »
I just want to say to everyone that has overcome addiction, "Fucking BADASS"!!!!!

I have known a few people(actually just went to the funeral of a 33yo HS friend last week) who didn't and they have paid tremendously. Not only them but also their family and friends. It's such a terrible situation.

I don't have the correct words I'm sure, I just want to say, keep moving forward and whatever happened in the past, don't let it get to you.

Sending positive vibes your ways guys ;)

-The conqueror will always become a slave to his conquest.
-Don't ever mistake wealth for worth.

Peony

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2017, 05:41:59 PM »
I'm a grateful Al-Anon member with multiple qualifiers. I'm so glad you are here, and wish you the best on your journey. I appreciate the stories shared.

FI4good

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2017, 02:52:44 PM »
6 and a bit years sober alcoholic here,

No particular program other than working with newcomers to recovery, dealing with issues & resentments, living as gloriously and compassionately as i can.

Part of sobriety is/was to become sober and responsible financially.

As with recovery comparing ourselves to others on the FIRE journey isn't always useful , living too far in the future projecting out and feeling disappointed with now or living too far in the past with it's regrets and resentments and feeling shortchanged today.

If i live by the principles of sober sound investment, a high savings rate, no grandiose spending, being humble in my wants, trying to leave a low impact tread on the earth i'm sure FI RE will come about at the right time.

Keep on ,

tyort1

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Re: Are there any recovering addicts here?
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2017, 12:00:48 AM »
Oh I developed a really bad problem with alcohol after my heart attack (at a very young age) and the resultant PTSD from it nearly killing me and then having to learn to live with the fact that I might drop dead at any moment.  And a new daughter on the way.  It was wonderfully effective at dialing down that stress/anxiety.  I only used it a bit at first, but you can guess how the rest went.  It's amazing how quickly and thoroughly addiction can smash up the things in your life. 

After going through recovery and meeting a lot of people, I'm more and more convinced that it's not really mental as much as its biology.  Some people are just more susceptible to becoming addicted than others.  But if you add in stress or trauma, that's a huge accelerant to the addiction process.  That's just me talking though.

I also have to give a shout out to Lifering - it's a recovery program that's more recent than AA and is secular/science based.  The god part of AA always rubbed me the wrong way.  SMART Recovery is another non-theistic group that seems to work well, too.

There was a silver lining to this whole thing though.  In the past, before SHTF for me, I used to be pretty unsympathetic towards people that struggled in life.  I mean, c'mon, how hard can it be to just get your sh!t together?  Well, now I understand how hard it can be, from direct personal experience.  I'm a much better parent/husband/person now, than I ever was before.
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