Changing people, places & things in sobriety…

I am no stranger to drug rehab… I’ve “rehabbed” with the rich and famous and the hopelessly52749b827c495c9a39fa9bae10a08417 unemployed. I’ve  made pottery, watercolors and origami birds in drug treatment centers from Florida to California. In fact, one ashtray I “created” cost about $70,000. It’s a shame I don’t smoke. Going to drug or alcohol treatment is one of those things that you really only want to do once so it is very important that you find a treatment facility that will work for you and specialize in your needs. However, for some, even the rehab that seems to have everything, doesn’t work.

Statistically, for every 100 people who enter a drug and alcohol treatment center only 3 people will succeed and live a life free from the bondage of addiction. Think about that … 97 people will relapse and return to active addiction. When rehab doesn’t work there can be many different reasons and few options. One problem for many is that their stay in rehab was simply not long enough. They work well for detox but are not long enough to help some stay clean once they leave treatment. Sobriety requires a commitment to living a different type of life and that is too hard for some who return to their old and toxic environment.

As an addict, I shared my drug of choice with friends. Whether I was using alcohol, a prescription drug, or illegal drugs, I shared the experience. Misery really does love company. Some of my “friends” got me into using in the first place… others I found along the way. Regardless of how I came together with those friends, recovery depended on us going our separate ways.

Battling an addiction is one of the most difficult things you will do in your life, if not the6233e49004a06b4ad578cd8842a03dff most difficult. By keeping friends around who still use, I was setting myself up for failure. Even without them around, I am tempted to use again. With them still in my life, my temptations multiplied. Some of them actively tried to get me to use again because it helped to validate their addiction… even those using friends who were not actively antagonizing me still represented a temptation.

Leaving your friends will not be easy. Especially if you have using friends whom you have known for years, cutting them out of your life can rack you with guilt. Even if one of your friends has been with you since childhood, if they are using, you must leave them behind. You can try your best to get this friend to join you on your journey of recovery, but only they can make that decision. If they refuse to stop using, they will only hold you back.

If your recovery took a wrong turn, there’s only one way back: trying again. Relapse is disheartening but it doesn’t have to be tragic. What is tragic is that millions of people never seek help at all and endure a lifetime of suffering. Equally tragic are those who go to treatment, relapse and decide a life of sobriety must not be possible for them. Recovery is not a way of life reserved for the select few; it is possible for anyone who refuses to give up on themselves.

Rob

The mother of an addict tells it like it is …. (coming soon)

c285e7c6f06177db077ea2c10b0f5c08I’m excited that my mom is going to contribute to my blog in the upcoming days. No one has ever had to wonder what she thinks … believe me … the woman has no filters. She tells everything as she sees it and then a little more. After decades of dealing with me … she deserves to be heard. Hopefully, her words will benefit someone still suffering.

Her life was no magic carpet ride while I was in the depths of my addiction. If interested, I hope you’ll join the blog and ask her how she survived a dysfunctional family. If you or someone you know is living with an addict or alcoholic… there is hope.

Rob

No pill is gonna cure my ills…

IMG_20150302_160237077I knew with certainty that I was a teen alcoholic, not the kind that wrecked cars, slapped girls or wanted to fight.. I wanted to dance all night and pass out on your couch… after I spent hours hugging everyone and letting the world know “I love you, man” … I’m an irritating drunk.  Why did it take me 30 years to figure out no one likes “that guy”? Honestly, he’s a lonely guy to be …

At 16, my wisdom teeth were removed by a dentist that was also a friend of the family. I left his office that day with a prescription for 90 Fiorinal #3 (butalbital & codeine) with three refills. I believe somewhere between the first and second dose I realized I would never go a day again without painkillers… I loved them … I loved everything about them …. and I would do anything necessary to get them. For the next 30 years, every second of every day was devoted to getting and taking prescription drugs.

Anyone who is an addict or alcoholic will tell you maintaining a drug habit is the 5D3FF105-7A84-4115-9363-CE2F6029F001hardest job on earth. It does not take a day off … it does not care that you are physically and emotionally sick… it does not give a damn about your kids or family. You will do whatever is necessary to keep it under control. The nauseating part is watching your soul die a little more every day as you do things you never dreamed you’d be capable of doing. It is a nightmare that ends in one of two ways … recovery or death. Those are the only options. It is black or white. There is no grey.

I believe my first moment of clarity was when I learned addiction is a disease. It is not a sin or the devil controlling a person or a weakness of character. It is a sickness. Nothing more … nothing less. People that have the disease aren’t bad people needing to act “good”. We are sick people needing to get “better”.

I have to think of it this way…

If I’m a diabetic … I have a disease that if not controlled will kill me. I will always have the disease. If I am aware that I am a diabetic and I eat a box of Moon Pies and wash it down with 2 liters of Mountain Dew… I’ve screwed up. If I go into a sugar coma as a result of my action and die … I am responsible for my death. It’s not my responsibility that I was a diabetic. I didn’t ask for it.  It was my responsibility not to eat the Moon Pies and Mountain Dew. That’s all I have to do is realize there is a wonderful life if I’m willing to be a part of it … I want to dive head first into that life! I want to live without the “Moon Pies” that used to control me…

No one has to suffer from addiction alone. There is help available … you just have to reach out. I’d love to hear from you…

This is my journey… this is my life

Rob Cantrell

This is my life … This is my journey

IMG_20150309_183129319I’ve spent a lifetime self-destructing in very public ways. I’m hoping others will learn what it was like, what happened and what it is like now for me. It isn’t necessary to completely lose it all before saying … “this is where the madness ends”. Life is about more than breathing… it’s about feeling alive. Here starts the blog journey…

My “crash and burn” moment happened September 2013.  I was living in an oceanfront condo in Florida with a pug named Shmuli and not much else. I had destroyed my latest marriage and everything else that crossed my path…. no more wife, no more money, no more kids, no more friends…. just me, the pug, a Mercedes Benz and my best friend Anita! I thank God for Anita!

On September 29th, 2013 (my daughter’s birthday) I decided to do something I had not done in years. I picked up the phone and dialed my parents for help. My options were to get help or commit suicide. Something was going to happen and it was going to happen that day. I could not exist as I was for another 24 hours. Fortunately, my mother answered the phone and made arrangements for me to enter long term treatment. Anita packed a suitcase and my father and I flew off to Rancho Mirage, California where I began the process of recovery…

I’ve often said that “I’ve done everything except Micheal Jackson!” … early on I learned how to smoke, drink, drug and even steal ashtrays from hotel rooms where I committed adultery! My life is what it is and I make no apologies for it. My closets are empty by design… once I realized I had nothing to hide… I had nothing to fear…. I was free!

This blog is not about the past … I don’t live there any more …  it’s about living every moment that I’m given and hopefully contributing to others that struggle with addiction.

Feel free to ask me any question and I’ll answer it honestly as possible.

This is how my sober life began …

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