Life outside of plastic bags

I did not wake up one morning and have one year, two years, five years, a decade, or sixteen years clean. When I read literature, personal stories, and academic articles so much is left out of any description of the process of recovery. It is as if nothing after the first year exists. It is assumed if you can make it through the initial year, you are magically released of addictive thinking. This is simply not true.

Sometimes, whether you have four days or four years clean, you are going to feel like absolute shit. Addiction is like an abusive relationship. Despite the fact that you are clear this is no good for you, you still romanticize the memory of your time together. "Remember when me and you were cool, drugs? We could hang out all day and never get tired of each other? We did big things together ". But then those drugs beat your ass over and over and over. You FINALLY left but you can't forget them. 

When you get into recovery, everyone thinks you should be so motherfucking happy. Yay! Meetings! Yay! Pee in a Cup! Yay! Medication! Yay! The complete loss of freedom! It is 100% okay to admit you feel like shit. It is normal. In fact, when I got clean, I realized I was a person who experienced a lot of depression as part of my daily existence. 

In a life without drugs, things are not perfect. The reality is you will experience a broader spectrum of emotions. In the earlier months, the main emotion is pain. Anyone who does not acknowledge that is woefully misguided. It is as if you woke up from an extended nap only to realize you are broke, you have not spoken to your family in months, you have achieved very little of your potential, and you have little human interaction beyond people who support your dysfunction. But hey, that self awareness is a good start. Then, you start having appropriate boners again and pooping on a regular basis. You realize life is not as horrible as you imagined. 

Getting clean is hard and it is worth the struggle. I stick with feeling good with small things. I enjoy the ability to not degrade myself on a daily basis. I enjoy my work and feeling like I am accomplishing things. I enjoy not feeling sick every eight hours, eating food (some times with other people), having some one kiss my face. I get hugs from people and I realize they care about me. I feel it. I see changes working in my life. I cannot promise you a lifetime of happiness. But I can promise you something different. Maybe all you really need is a chance, a spark of life.  
I think of all my readers fondly. Whether you are clean or in the bag today, I love you. 


  1. 4 1/2 months- I don't think I'll ever forget emailing you, when i wanted to use. I read your blog often.

  2. This really spoke to me. After years of using on and off, trying to get clean and failing again, I'm proud to say I'm clean today. It took finding out I was pregnant to get my life together. As I sit here typing this with my sweet baby asleep in my lap, I cannot be more thankful for my sobriety. It is still a struggle, some days more than others, but since I've put the needle down I've gained so much I never thought I could ever have. For everyone still using, I know it isn't an easy life and it is so difficult to get clean even if you want to, but please believe you can do it and that there can be so much more to life.

  3. Your words are so true! In fact addiction is nothing more than circling around 24/7 around fucking brown powder and to manage how to get it...that's the only focus; being sober means so much more: besides you are FREE! Free to do whatever you want to and go where ever you like to! - Addiction is quite the same for everyone - no matter where you live on this planet. In our addiction we are like equal soldiers, just marching around and destroying ourselves and the ones we love...we are all grey in grey, no colours left... - but real sober live is full of colours! Go and get the colour you like! - Greetings & hugs from Germany

  4. i read your blog religiously for inspiration, i am trying to clean up me and my husband both. it is hard this monkey is hanging on we spend all of our money time and time again recently we were robbed at gunpoint in our home. a result of a bad deal , fuckers thought we are rich junkies and ripped us off first for our cash we gave him trying to score then came back with guns the next night for more which we did not have any more for them to take they sure looked stupid and are now sitting in jail. it is hard for me i am really struggling after the robbery. my house is close to forclosure and i still cannot stop. i dont feel comfortable in my home anymore and all i want to do is get high and forget it all. last week i tried methadone and that worked all right for a few days 1 day without smoking anything and then we went back to smoking a half gram each for a few days then got some shitty news and went back to a 1andhalf to 3 gram a day each habit, we have been using together for a year and a half. i just dont know anything anymore i have been with my husband for a little more then 2 and a half years after breaking up with my ex of 8 yrs. we got married after a year of being together and during the time of making that decision i was very high. i have changed a lot of my ways ( vegan, not smoking watching t.v. not exersiszing ) all because i am high im 32 and never used to smoke but getting high gave me a tolerance to ciggs and i not only tolerate my husbands smoking but have begun myself . im afraid that quitting getting high will change the way i feel about my husband . i mean he is a beautiful person but extremly lazy and has habits that i dont appreciate if i dont get high i might not have the patience for the things i have overlooked by being high. he loves me and dosnt want to loose me he says he will change the things i dont like to be able to keep me but i feel it may be too much to ask, i should have stayed single after my breakup but in the foggy haze i allowed myself to get locked into a relationship. he says that he will wait for me if i need time alone but i dont think that is a fair thing to ask of him. that stuff is what i look forward to after i can get clean, which dosnt give me much motivation to get clean im sorry for the ramble but i just dont know anymore what to do or think it helps writing this down though maybe i will start a journal. i dont use needles and niether does my husband latley i want to cuz i barley even get high just smoking plus i would just like to overdose and make it all go away. since the robbery we sleep with guns and that just depresses the fuck out of me i look at the guns the same way i look at using the needle a way to end the bullshit. this all would be a lot easier to handle if i didnt have him to think about too we used to get high and have amazing sextatholons where i learned so much about myself through orgasams and since last year around this time maybe we have been sexual may 10 times everythings messed up and i just dont want to deal with it anymore . i kinda just want to walk away from it all and move to hawaii and start my trip all over again. ( i used to live there in my early 20s) unfourtuanatly i am a homeowner and have tons of debt, which i dont mind walking away from its just all thats involved with leaving is exhuasting ive made bad choices the last couple of years and now dont know how to change without hurting his feeling which i dont want to do. my friend who is also battling the monkey says i should just let go of my hubbie and responsibilites and take a handful of methadone and head to the islands and detox and start over again. that is honestly the best idea, my husband tells me that i am different and the islands wont serve me like they have in the past, i know he dosnt want to loose me but i cant help to think that may be true , again im sorry for the rant i dont know what you can do but it feels good to tell someone whats on my mind thankyou for your blog i guess i should start a journal : ) kristal

    1. Maybe you should see a doctor? I know it's not the choice for everybody and so many people look at it differently but Suboxone maintenance has saved my life and my marriage. I go to a dr once a month, get a script and take my sub every day just like I would a heart or diabetes pill. I really do believe we have a disease. No, it's not cheap to see a sub doc, but it costs much less than my old habits used to. I have 15 months and consider myself CLEAN. I go to meetings. I am 34 with 4 kids and I am going back to college. I have a laptop, a XBOX, My husband and I bought new wedding ring sets to replace the ones we sold for my habit, a nice home and I haven't pawned anything in over a year. I may get off the subs eventually but I feel so, NORMAL for the first time in 15 years. My boys are in Boy scouts and my daughter in Soccer. Hahaha, I am a Soccer mom, oh and we have a new SUV. If I can do it, trust me, anyone can. God bless ya and good luck. I'm not saying my way should be your way, I'm just saying there are options. If you're like me and tried and tried to get clean but could not, maybe it would work for you.

  5. I recently found your blog and wanted to thank you for the selfless sharing of your experiences. What I can personally relate to helps me feel connected and not alone.
    After many starts and stops, admissions of powerlessness - and, as you so perfectly put it, deciding that I DID in fact WANT to change - I am finally working on a lasting recovery plan. It took me a while to truly see addiction as a disease and not my own character defect, and even longer to see that using was not, in itself, the disease. Only after getting clean have I begun to see the true nature of the disease of addiction. It is in how I see, think, feel, react....all the emotions that are now turned up to eleven. Using was just what I did to dial it all down to a tolerable level. Relative to dealing with my sober self, getting clean was (sort of) easy. The real bitch is all that's coming after.
    Anyway, thank you so much for all you've shared, and for this post in particular. It is just what I needed today!
    Chicago, IL

    1. thank you so much for reading. I appreciate your candor.


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