Coronavirus- Covid-19- Corona- Rona- the vid
Getting clean during the Pandemic:
It was about August of 2008 that I really started to realize I was physically addicted to heroin. I had been using since April of 2008 and pretty much right away my family was notified by some friends about what I was doing but I lied my way out of it and made that go away but me, myself, wanted to stop pretty quickly after starting. I really did try to get clean myself, but those first few times going through withdrawal my body had no clue what was going on and literally I was a complete mess. I didn’t last long detoxing, and relapse was always easier than going through withdrawal, and detox, and facing our problems. Those first few times it was just so shocking how fucking sick it made me that I really was in disbelief and just used to deal with that. Moving forward I was raided in February of 09’ and had a little bit of heroin and again lied about why I had that. Still no one really knew that I was dealing with this heroin obsession everyday. I had to go to treatment in 09’ for my drug case but I lied my way through that program and it just became the norm. Anyway, this is not a story about using, this is my journey of recovery. I always wish I would have documented more of myself during active addiction, but maybe nobody wants to see that and there is no way I would have thought of that during all my years of being strung out. I did try to get clean about a thousand times on my own but I really have been to about 40 rehab or treatment programs and getting clean last year during CoronaVirus, Covid-19, seemed like it would have been impossible. Last Winter I had relapsed and going into 2020 I was already using everyday, this led to losing a job but I thought it was a new year, and I was ready to start new. I had some money, but I would just get clean and find a job I liked and start fresh. Well, using all of January, turned to February, and right as I thought maybe I will get clean from heroin, finally, Covid-19 was first reported and any hope of getting a job or starting over pretty much stopped. It’s not like I needed much more of a reason to use, or to keep using, but a worldwide pandemic that scares everyone fit right into my addictions hands because now I would have to isolate and distance and at first everyone was so afraid it was really easy to just do whatever I wanted without more people caring. It isn’t funny but I had a friend that would always ask me, doesn’t anyone care that you’re killing yourself. And it was like, kinda yea, no, I don’t know, I assume so, but what are they gonna do about it. It is not like Covid created my addiction but using during Covid just was easy and it went together because there were no expectations for me to do anything else. I could use and go home and go home and use and this was everyday because everyone was afraid r. I remember one day I was just leaving and my dad had stopped over so I had to turn around and just chill but I was so anxious to use, just an everyday obsession. It never gave up, not even one day off, everyday you think maybe you won’t have to deal with your addiction, boom it’s there needing to be handled. It really rips you away from every part of life in order for it to be filled. I had a car for a few months early on during Covid but I got my OWI on March 26th and literally by early April I basically drove the wheels off of my car. My addiction didn’t stop just because I didn’t have a car and so I began biking 25 miles one way in order to score my drugs, sometimes I had to bike dope sick, or in the freezing cold, or the pouring rain. I even did the bike trip twice in one day a few times and I think the most I tallied in one day for dope was 120 miles on a bicycle. Some people wouldn’t even do that just for fun and I was doing it just for dope. It was really nuts, I really did just keep pedaling and while becoming skinny and not eating, I saw the city for what it really was up close. All Spring and Summer I biked through the city streets of Milwaukee and I saw the protests, the inequality in the streets, the destruction and the sadness. It really was eye opening for what was going on in the world. Every morning I would bike through the city and just hope for change. A change in me. A change in society. A change in the City. A change in the world. I don’t know what we will change but starting with changing myself was a good start. I didn’t want to be hooked on heroin but once I was finding something to replace my love for heroin seemed nearly impossible. I wrote “The Obsession” explaining how our brains are so fixated on the drug and how the obsession rules all. Eliminating or lifting the obsession is that part that needs figuring out. For everyone lifting the obsession is different, and it is so different that it may take 13 years and 40 attempts and going all over the country trying everything before they get it. It is your journey, and however you get there is fine. Do not let anyone tell you that your sobriety isn’t enough or that you’re not clean because you’re on medication. If your life is semi normal, and by normal I mean, you don’t have to drug seek all day. Then just forget them. People always like to talk shit when we aren’t doing well. But as soon as we do good, they run out of shit to say. People rarely will tell you how good you are doing, slip up, then you’ll hear them, never let how others look at you control your motivation. I always let how others talked about me affect my recovery and just used it as reasons to relapse. Those days are over, and now there is no reason to relapse. I have so many coping skills, that I don’t even have to use most of them because the ones I use work, but I have back ups. I heard about having a crisis plan, just in case during recovery, let’s say in 6 months, something crazy happens. Well, it is good to have a crisis plan, no one could have accounted for MaryJane being killed but maybe if I had a crisis plan I may have been able to deal with it better. But it is important early on in recovery to always have a plan or people to turn to in case of moments of anxiety and depression. I never thought I would really get clean during a pandemic, let alone live during a time that we are forced to wear masks. My addiction doesn’t care that we have to social distance and wear a mask, I still had to get my drugs everyday. It really was awful having to deal with everything that was freaking society out and dealing with how people interacted, meanwhile, I am trying to use a public bathroom in the “hood” so I can shoot my drugs. What a scene, it is a predominantly black neighborhood, the white boy on the bicycle stops to use the bathroom for 20 minutes, because I have so many layers of clothes on, and I am so dehydrated that I have no veins to use. I have spent 45 minutes in a public bathroom covered in blood trying to get myself unsick. It really isn’t a nice seen. I hate that that was my life and I hate that it still is some people’s lives. I would always find other “rigs” and “kits” in the bathroom that showed me that someone else had been there that day to get high. Pretty crazy but I saw that all over every city I’ve been in, signs of drug use. It really is the pandemic behind the pandemic. Dealing with trying to live a lifestyle where biking 5 hours a day for heroin makes sense is really hard sometimes. I am a smart guy, not the show, but like most people who use, we have so much potential and thinking about how my life was is really sad to me. I just fight every day to never have to live that way and if sharing the bull shit and horror I dealt with and lived through helps keep the next person from living that life, then it is all worth it. Getting clean during Covid was never part of the plan because Covid was never part of the plan but getting clean was what had to be done and even though for most of the year I just used and knew I was using. I did try to go to detox, and I did detox myself a bunch of times, my mind just drove me crazy and at like day 4 or 5 the obsession would win and I “had” to use and then it was start over. I fight for my life everyday, but to get clean during Covid, and I quit smoking, it saves me 10 bucks a pack on my green menthol cigs every other day, which is nice, it seemed impossible that I was going to be able to do all of that and now all of this and still have more that I am doing and to look forward too. Getting clean during Covid, was especially hard because we are told to distance from family and friends and we are forced to stay home, bored, and alone, so they even have statistics that say, drug use, depression, and sadly suicide rates are all higher during the Pandemic because people feel so alone. For me it was more of a I am just so sick of this life I have lived, I know what I have to do, and I am going to do it to the fullest because if I don’t I am going to die. If I die then I am gone, but I am worthless and I really wanted to at least try to fulfill my potential. I wasted this much time fucking around, and I still work at this recovery stuff everyday. I am not perfect and I still have a long way to go. I do know that I do not put a needle in my arm to function normally anymore and that is always a plus. I do know that nothing short of amazing things have happened since I became Sober Steve and since I got clean I have really had some blessings happen in my life and it really is only the beginning. Getting clean during Covid seemed impossible and I really am still in shock that this is my life and that it really is only the beginning. So many great things have happened already and I still have so much I want to accomplish, learn, and do, so I will continue to share my current journey and my past as it all creates who I am today. If anyone needs anything don’t be afraid to reach out. Search for the SoberSteveRecovery Podcast anywhere you listen to your Podcasts.