These 5 Things Keep Me Clean

In the 4-plus years of this blog, I’ve published only 3 guest posts, including this one. I don’t edit… raw… real… and some great advice.

By Peter Lang

I’ve been addicted to nearly every substance imaginable including heroin, cocaine, and every prescription medication you can think of. I’ve been homeless—living on the street of Philadelphia and the beaches of Maui for the better part of a decade. I’ve been in a wheelchair after drinking both my hips necrotic. And none of that was as destructive to me as crystal meth.

I’ve used meth at various times in my life, but it never got as bad as it did the last time. Four years ago, I was put on methadone. I had legitimate pain issues that were a result of having double hip replacements and a femur replacement following a car accident, but I also had a history of heroin use and prescription painkiller abuse so they put me on methadone.

The last time I started using meth, initially it was to combat the intense fatigue I was dealing with. But it didn’t take long for my meth use to become a serious problem. I became absurdly skinny, and my blood pressure steadily increased. But the worst part was the paranoia. I would stay up for three or four days at a time, I would hallucinate, and I would get so paranoid that I was legitimately terrified that one of my “drug buddies” was coming to kill me.

When I nearly destroyed the most important relationship in my life, it caused me to see that I had hit my bottom. Sick of myself, I flushed my whole stash, determined to quit.

Fast forward to four years later. I have a job in internet marketing, and I’m constantly reading blogs, listening to podcasts, watching videos, and learning more about my field. I’m about to celebrate my one-year wedding anniversary, and my wife and I are ridiculously in love. We just moved into a really nice home, and for the first time in my life, I’m doing really well.

I would not have gotten here if I wasn’t able to quit using meth. As a chronic relapser, though, I know that I wouldn’t have been successful if not for these things:

  1. Getting away from my drug buddies

 I deleted phone numbers from my phone, blocked people on social media, didn’t go to any of the places where my “friends” used to hang out. I had to go to the methadone clinic three times a week, which is where I met a great deal of them, but I started getting up earlier so we wouldn’t be there at the same time. I just went straight in, went straight out, and didn’t hang around. When I finally got off methadone, I didn’t even have to go to the clinic, which made it so much easier to not use. Being in an environment where you’re labeled a “junkie” just by being there doesn’t make it easy to stay clean.

  1. Finding a new perspective on recovery and the 12 steps

 A long-time member of Alcoholics Anonymous (and sometimes Narcotics Anonymous) off and on, I was really sick of many of the condescending and dogmatic individuals in these groups. But then I came across a Buddhist-based 12-step meeting. That meeting also led me to read One Breath at a Time by Kevin Griffin, which is all about looking at the 12 steps through the lens of Buddhism. By exploring the program through a new perspective, I was able to find my own approach to the 12 steps that worked for me.

  1. Finding a relationship with God through music and meditation

I started attending a Christian church that has turned out several Grammy-winning Christian musicians, and the power of the music really transformed the way I saw God and the way I thought of my higher power. I also began a regular meditation practice that really allowed me the spiritual strength to stay clean.

  1. Developing a passion for a new job

Two years ago, I started working in internet marketing. But as I began to work, I discovered I truly loved what I was doing. I found myself constantly consuming content to try to get better at what I was doing. The job gave me an entirely new sense of self-worth. In my experience, it’s not enough to rid your life of destructive habits and people; you have to fill that hole with something productive. You have to find something you’re passionate about.

  1. Eating healthy, exercising, and taking supplements

 When I first stopped using meth, I felt even more fatigued than when I started. Doing these sorts of healthy activities was actually essential for me to get my energy levels up to where they should be. I also had to adjust my attitude and perspective on energy; I had to learn that I didn’t actually need to be able to stay up for three nights in a row.

When you’re deep in—when you’ve been using meth every day for weeks, even months—it can feel impossible to stop. But I’m telling you, if I can quit meth once and for all, anyone can. So don’t give up. A life without this destructive substance is not only possible, but it’s so much better than you ever could have imagined.

 

Peter Lang occasionally writes for The Recovery Village, and he is dedicated to helping those who are struggling with substance abuse.