I am sitting here on a beautiful Friday night, and decompressing while looking through photos, and picking one to process. Some of what helps me to decompress, is the processing of the photos. Earlier today, around 4:30, I walked out of my downstairs bathroom and had a quick flashback of how I used ot be walking out of there high already after that first hit after work, on a Friday at that time. Sometimes these thoughts just randomly come, for who knows what reason, but maybe it happened for me today, to share it with you. Anyway, when it crossed my mind, I just entertained the thought for maybe a minute, and reflected on how I used to live, and thought about how much my dog, Gerri, hated it when we got high, and went over to her bed so sadly and dejected,sand just laid there. I used to even try to help her feel better. I saw it at the time, but the desire to use was greater than the desire to be there for her. I thought about how darn happy I am to not be living that way, anymore. I thought about Bella, and how much I can care for her, and care about her, and not be so wrapped up in that selfish way of living. These were split-second thoughts in a short time, but I was paying attention to them, and can now relay them. I wish more people could experience the side of sobriety. To be free from the bonds of addiction. To be wrapped up in others, and not wrapped up the sickness. As of late, I have really realized so much, and some is painful, but is also freeing. I have realized how much I have let people have control over me and my emotions, and even my way of living- still! This includes family. I was also reminded to not keep the focus on the things and people of the world, and their actions, but keep the focus on Christ. Stay out of the tangled web of certain things, and not to worry about what others think of me. What other people think or say about me, is none of my business. It's not meant out of arrogance. None of this is. It's meant as a different way of thinking to be free from the "addictive way of thinking", but it really goes beyond that. It's seeing and thinking about life, differently. Addiction is just a symptom of things that are going on inside of us, and in our brain. It's almost like a reaction. I used drugs and alcohol to help ease ADHD, some fear and anxiety, depression, guilt, among other things, not to mention it eased my brain and altered it, too (not a word, people- lol!). When we stop using, we are left with the things that caused us to use in the first place. It takes time. A lifetime. But when you've been on that side of hell, it can be worth living with these things, and it doesn't hurt to seek outside help/couseling. We all have things going on, and to keep these things bottled up or hidden, including denial to ourselves, is just hurting ourselves. I needed to face some things, become aware, and give it to God, and start to renew my mind and think differently. That's how the change and transformation took, and takes, place. If we keep seeking, we will keep growing and learning, and gaining different perspectives on things, and on life. I reflect on a lot of these things to share, because I do know that so many are ashamed of what they are doing, or things that were done to them, that were beyond any control. I hope to help reduce the stigma that comes with addiction and mental illness. It's not dwelling on it, or anything like that. It's to share a bit of my old story, and my new- to help someone, somehow. I hope that someone gains just a little hope where they didn't have it, before. Bella is out. It was warmer today, and hard on her. BUT, we had a great day. This photo was from the sunrise at Old Orchard beach back on 5.7.18. The exposure was 1/25th of a second. Please contact me for prints or for use of the photo. Feel free to share. Enjoy!