Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sink or Swim

Martial Arts

Martial Arts (Photo credit: Tom Gill (lapstrake))

A week ago I wrote a post about discipline. I had just been to my first martial arts class, and I was fired up about the possibilities. I decided to commit myself to this course, to push myself and see how far I could go. After my second class, I am now even more excited.

 

Today I went on a few errands with Kate. One of them was to drop by the academy to pick up my uniform so I could try it on and wash it before class. The dress code: simple black martial arts pants with a black T-shirt with the Modern Academy of Martial Arts logo on the front and the words “strong and secure” on the back. I like those words, but I’ll come back to that.

 

When I walked into class today, I was excited, but a little nervous, similar to how I felt last week. I was a little more comfortable today than I was a week ago since I already knew all the other students and I knew more of what to expect. But there was still that twinge of self-consciousness there, under the surface, telling me “hey! Don’t do this; you’ll make a fool of yourself! You can’t possibly do something like this!” But that voice, although it is a part of me, and is really trying to help protect me, I chose not to listen to it. I chose to just hear it, acknowledge it, and let it go.

 

I made it through the warm-up exercises and although I was sweating hard (as usual) I wasn’t particularly tired. Then we did technique exercises while watching ourselves in the mirror. 25 punches with each hand, 25 of each of three different types of kick… and by the end of all that, I was starting to get tired. Next, the instructor brought out the giant, person-sized practice bags. We all paired up with a partner, and got on either side of the bag. We alternated practicing punches and kicks until we were all starting to get exhausted.

 

Then he had us punch the bag four times, then jump back, drop down and do a push-up, then jump up, move forward, and punch again, alternating with our partner on the other side of the bag. He told us that his goal was to push us until we were so tired we were about to vomit. I don’t know about the rest of the students, but with me, he certainly came close by the end. As we finished the second set of ten, I could barely raise myself off the floor after I went down to do each push-up. I could barely see, because sweat was streaming into my eyes. And we still weren’t done. After that, we had a couple more exercises before finishing up in a circle as we talked over the class briefly and each said something we had learned.

 

My answer was simple: “I learned that I like getting really, really, really sweaty and exhausted.”

 

I never thought I would say those words, and I really never thought I would say those words and truly mean them. And tonight, I truly did say it and meant it. I am truly exhausted and I could probably fall asleep where I sit, I had possibly the most difficult workout I have ever done in my life. And instead of just waiting for it to end, wishing I didn’t have to do it, and only putting in the bare minimum amount of effort….I loved every exhausting minute of it. It really felt good to push myself to the edge of my capabilities.

 

And in truth, it also felt good to be acknowledged for my effort. After class the instructor, Chris, took me aside and told me that he had intentionally thrown me “into the deep end of the pool” tonight. He also said that I had “held up pretty well and had pretty good technique considering it was only my second class.” That made me look forward to Thursday, when I get to go back and do it again.

 

I really never thought I would be capable of anything like this. So it still is a bit of a shock, not only finding myself capable, but seeing that, with practice, I may even be able to excel.

 

I am grateful to my aunt and uncle for transporting me and supporting with encouragement. I am also grateful to my parents for seeing the merit in this class and supporting me in my pursuit financially.

 

This is truly a new challenge I have added to my wellness quest. I look forward to exploring how far I can push both my body and my mind.

 

I think that tonight was the tipping point – where I found out that when thrown into the deep end of the pool, I will chose to swim, not sink.

 

I just want to say thank you to all of my family and friends who have continued to support me through the last five years. I know that I would never have been able to make the progress I am making. I know that I would not be where I am tonight if not for all of you. So thank you, so much, for lifting me up, and making it possible for me to explore this new reality of wellness.

 

Goodnight, and peace to you,

 

-Nathan

 

Of Earth and Stars

English: A blank map of the universe (Earth Lo...

Today we had out Monday morning meditation group. It’s been two weeks since we last met, so it was really nice to see everyone. It was a really powerful meditation session – the group resonance was something that is tough to explain if you’ve never done group meditation and chanting.

A side note here – I always sort of scoffed at chanting, thinking it was a relic of an older age, that it really didn’t have much use in modern meditative practice. But after doing it for just a couple months with this group, I have realized that it does something inside me that I don’t fully understand. It is the way the vibrations from my voice match the vibrations of the other voices in the circle. It is the way vibrations resonate inside my chest cavity. It is the ancient mantras that call on the divine forces in the universe to bring power, light, peace, harmony, and compassion. It’s a truly unique experience.

But what I really want to write about tonight is the conversation the group had during breakfast, after our meditation. We got to talking somehow about quantum physics and about what we as human beings, are made of. One of our group started to talk about how all the matter in the universe comes from the same source. It got me thinking about the implications of that fact.

All matter in the universe does indeed come from the same source, and it is recycled constantly. When we are aware of our connection to the rest of the universe, we may indeed be able to interact remotely with matter across the room, across the planet, even across the galaxy. The reality is that we don’t fully understand this scientifically, and I personally don’t claim to understand it spiritually. But I believe that the collective consciousness of humanity contains, somewhere within, the key to making use of our connection with the rest of the universe, and with the source of all life, no matter what we call it.

We are beings of earth and stars. We have within us the same stuff that was there when the universe was formed. We have latent capabilities that far exceed what the prevailing belief of our society would have us believe.

The biggest thing I am learning in my wellness quest is how much there is about this existence that I don’t understand. I am also learning that it isn’t always necessary to understand – I can just accept the possibility and keep my mind and spirit open to learning. Eventually, if I open myself to the universe I will absorb the energy I need to understand what I am meant to understand.

Goodnight, and peace to you,

-Nathan

Another World

I apologize in advance for using the Olympics as a kick-start for the last two posts, because I’m going to do it again right now. But I’m going to go a slightly different direction. Hopefully that makes these three “Olympic” posts different enough to keep you (and me) interested.

I was incredibly excited when I found out that the 2012 Olympics would be held in London. Not because I thought that they would do a particularly spectacular job (although I did), but because I lived in London for part of my junior year of college. I was fortunate to go to a university with a really fabulous study-abroad program. I was able to go on an amazing trip that included a little over a month in Spain, three weeks in Poland, four months in London, and two weeks in Northern Ireland during Christmas. And I had to pay tuition for my university at home, but they took care of the rest.

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to go abroad to study. My only regret is that I could not spend a second semester abroad because of the expense. At the time, the exchange rate was 2.2 dollars to the pound. Yeah. Crazy right? Buying a cup of coffee at a café cost $6.50. A pint at the local pub was around $8. It was draining me (and my parents) dry.

But the point I am trying to make, really, is that my time in London has had a lasting influence on me, and I am struck by a lot of nostalgia and memories as I watch the Olympics, hosted in the place outside the US that I know and love best. I see the cameras pan out over the city, showing the mix of medieval and modern, and showing familiar landmarks, and it takes me back to six years ago, which was exactly when I left home to fly overseas for the first time in my life, flying into Heathrow before getting on my connecting flight to Spain.

I still have almost a thousand pictures that I took. Here are a couple from Spain and a couple from London, just to give you a sample.

Near the Beach in Santander, Spain – I lived here for a little over a month.

 

View from the Top of a Doubledecker Bus riding through Piccadilly Circus in London

An English Style Garden at the Powerscourt Manor in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland

 

I’m sure you might be asking yourself, “ok, this is interesting, and those are cool pictures, but where is he going with this? Is this post just about his nostalgia provoked by seeing London on TV?”

Honestly, yeah, that’s how it started out. But as I wrote, I discovered the grain of truth that was hidden underneath the surface: I never imagined I would be able to have the experience of studying abroad until I actually did it. Even after I had signed up for the program and had the documents showing that I was going, it really didn’t register until I got off the airplane in Madrid and had to find my way through the city from the airport to Atocha station. I got horribly lost in the subway system. I had to stop and ask for directions from one of the transit police. The man was very kind, because my Spanish was pretty abominable at that point, but he didn’t criticize or pretend not to understand. He just kindly gave me directions and pointed out the way to go. And it was just a little while after that, after I had arrived at the train station and was sitting, waiting for my train to come in, I looked around me and thought, “wow, this is really happening, I am really here!”

This wellness quest has been a little like that experience. At first it seemed almost surreal. Like I was in a foreign country, or had temporarily stepped into an alternate universe. But a couple months into the process, I realize that yes, this is real. But I also realize that I actually did step into an alternate universe. In creating this wellness quest and choosing to completely change my lifestyle, I chose to live in a different reality – in an entirely different plane of existence – than the one where I have spent the last five years.

So I guess my nostalgia for the “foreignness” of London does relate to my wellness quest after all. It reminds me that I never know what is possible until I try. I didn’t know it would be possible for me to live in a foreign country and get around on my own. I hardly believed it was happening even once I had arrived there. I also had stopped believing that it was possible for me to make any kind of lasting change in my life. But now that I have truly embarked on this journey, I am really starting to believe that it may be possible. It might be possible for me to become a peaceful, compassionate person who lives in harmony and gratitude. It might be possible for me to contribute positively to the world.

I certainly hope so. And that is the difference – now, I have hope.

Thanks for reading, goodnight,

And Peace to you,

-Nathan

It Is My Time

I just watched Ryan Lochte win a gold medal, beating his rival Michael Phelps for the first time on the Olympic stage. The news commentator has quoted Lochte several times as saying, “This is my time”. Although I am competing with no one but myself, I feel some kinship with Lochte because I currently share his attitude.

For four years, Ryan Lochte has been overshadowed by Phelps. He has been considered the best swimmer in the world, but his rival just kept beating him, eclipsing him, making it seem like all his hard work would come to nothing. Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lochte has been working, training, putting all his effort into improving his game so that he could finally come out on top.

Although the character of my struggle has been very different, and I have been fighting with an internal rival rather than a flesh and blood nemesis, I have been working to overcome my addiction for as long as Lochte has been trying to beat Michael Phelps.

And I am of the same mind as Ryan when I say, “This is My time”.

I have been fighting for years. I have consistently allowed myself to be beaten down, thrown back, defeated by the despair of drug dependence. But no longer.

I was living with the mistake belief that I was doomed to live a short, painful, useless life enslaved to drugs and to my Cystic Fibrosis. I let myself become a perpetual victim of circumstance, and life became so unlivable that I lost hope that I could ever break free.

I think a lot of my friends and family may secretly have believed that too. Of course, we all would tell each other that we had hope that I could someday break out of my destructive cycle and begin to grow and realize my true potential. But deep down inside I think that we (or me, at least) had an ever increasing fear that I was truly incapable of digging my way out of the hole I had created for myself.

But since almost three months ago, when I embarked on this wellness quest, I have begun to gain a confidence in myself that I have not had for over four years. I am finally beginning to believe in the possibility that I will defeat my addiction and move on – stepping off this merry-go-round of pain, lies, shame, betrayal, fear, anger, and slavery – stepping into a new future where there is peace, harmony, balance, love, truth, trust, and freedom.

It is my time.

My time to take hold of my life, to choose health, wellness, renewal. To foster the growth of my mind, body and spirit. To relearn things I have forgotten and to learn new things as well. To embrace challenges, and take them on willingly. My time to become the person I believe I am meant to be.

I again am inspired by the Olympic spirit to take pride in myself and to relish the challenges ahead of me, rather than trying to escape from them.

Tomorrow I will cut my subutex dose from 4mg three times a day to 4mg two times a day. For once, although I have some fear, I have determination in great measure. I expect nothing, except that I will be able to meet whatever comes with a healthy body, a strong heart, an open mind, and a spirit of compassion and gratitude.

And that, friends, is why I say it is my time.

Goodnight, and peace to you,

-Nathan

The Olympic Spirit

Today felt more “right” than any day for about two weeks. I woke up at 8:45, after sleeping through both my 7:30 and 8:00 alarms. But instead of feeling irritated with myself the way I could have, I just thought, Ok, I guess I must have needed a bit more sleep. From that point on, I did what drew me. What felt…for lack of a better word…”right”.

I did my meds. I ate breakfast. I checked email and social media. I meditated, did my Tai Chi. Then, I decided to make myself a makeshift punching-bag so that I could practice my hand and foot strikes with a target. It is a little flimsy, but better than nothing. After that I did some light weight-lifting, then had lunch.

After lunch I counted out all my remaining subutex pills, and came up with a taper that will take 13 days starting today. In the past, that would have made me anxious, in fact, it would have probably ruined my day. But it actually felt like an enormous relief to work out exactly how much longer I have to take this medication. Knowing that in just a couple weeks I will be done with them, and at the same time, knowing that I had plenty to create a long, smooth taper.

After that I made a couple necessary phone calls, and then felt the need to just rest for a few minutes.

A bit later in the afternoon, I helped my aunt make the dough for tonight’s gluten-free, vegan pizza! It was surprisingly easy and tasted fantastic. We put tomato sauce, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, vegan sausage, spinach, and tomatoes. It turned out great, and we made two pizzas, enough to feed nine people (the Dharma Portland Association of which my aunt and uncle are very involved, had a meeting at our house this evening).

Later on I helped top the pizzas, set the table, and do a few other things to prepare for the meeting. Everyone showed up, and I stayed to chat and to eat dinner, but then left once the meeting began. I went downstairs and watched some of the Olympic opening ceremony (which is still going on).

And now I sit here writing this while I watch the UK delegation make its way around the stadium to the thunderous applause of thousands of people.

I won’t get into my thoughts about the opening ceremony. Instead I’ll just say a couple words about how I feel about the Olympics in general.

To me, the Olympics symbolize the peace and prosperity of our planet as a whole. As many nations as possible come together to compete, allowing the athletes a chance for personal achievement and all of us a chance for national pride. It could be divisive, and in fact it has been at times in history. But today, in London in 2012, much of the world arrives in Southern England with no animosity toward one another.

The Olympics brings together the nations of the world in harmony and peace but with a spirit of competition, hard work, and inspiration. It is, to me, the most compelling of all sporting events. I look forward to watching as many events as possible, and I know you will be seeing more posts of mine in the future, relating the events of the Olympics to my life and to life in general. Tonight, I am inspired by Olympic spirit – of challenging yourself to achieve more than anyone thought possible.

Perhaps just thinking about that will help inspire me to push through the experience of tapering myself off the subutex, and the discomfort that comes with that.

In the past, I have always told myself that I couldn’t do it. That the withdrawal process was too difficult. That “every time I try, I always fail.” But this time, I go into the process with the knowledge that I can succeed. That I am capable. And that despite any difficulty (or perhaps because of the difficulty), I will rise to the occasion and win through to freedom – to throw off the chains of dependence and truly become the person I am meant to be.

What challenges might you face in the coming weeks? Could you derive any inspiration from the Olympic spirit? What does it mean to you to overcome an obstacle and to obtain freedom, peace, and harmony?

Think about those questions as we watch them answered over and over again by men and women from around the world as they dazzle us with their athletic prowess, with their internal drive and incredible determination of spirit.

Goodnight, and peace to you,

-Nathan

Killing Shame

This evening around 5pm I had a conversation with my aunt and uncle about how things are going, and what needs to change. We all had some similar feelings, especially after the incident yesterday. We talked for the best part of two hours, although it actually went by quickly for me, and had a lot of great insights.

Most of it is too new for me to be able to write about. I haven’t had a chance to process it all yet. But there is once piece that I feel capable of writing about –

Over the past couple weeks, I have spent more and more time by myself, and I was sort of withdrawing into myself. My uncle likened it to a cocoon. I think that was a very accurate comparison. Because at first, the isolation and sameness of my routine was comforting, protective; it made me feel safe. But in the past couple of weeks, it started to feel confining and restrictive. In that semi-isolation, it became easier and easier for me to lose touch with reality. Now, I’m not saying I was losing my mind or anything. I’m just saying that my awareness level of my internal dialogue and its relevance to the world around me started to become less accurate.

The analogy I used in the conversation with Richard and Kate was that it was like I was a boat, coming into the harbor at night. I was used to being able to read my course by the lighted buoys. But after a while, with no contact with the outside world, the buoys all began to look alike, at it became harder and harder for me to see where I was going.

That detachment from the world around me made it easy for me to start feeling one of the most toxic of human emotions: shame. It started out as guilt, which has a purpose.

Guilt is the knowledge or awareness that something you have done is wrong. It might be something as little as forgetting to take out the trash. Or it might be something as big as cheating on your spouse. Either way, you have a nagging feeling that pushes you to make things right. Usually, once you do set things to right, the feeling of guilt goes away.

But sometimes, there is a problem. If that guilt persists long enough, it can turn into shame.

Now you might think guilt and shame are the same. And in fact, the difference between them is quite subtle. Here is the way I was taught to distinguish them by one of my counselors:

“Guilt tells you that something you have done is wrong.

Shame tells you that something about who you are is wrong.”

Guilt may not be a pleasant feeling, but it does have its place. It is a bit like pain in that way. Many of us probably wish that our bodies couldn’t feel pain. But we have learned by studying those with a condition called “CIPA” – Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis – who can’t feel pain at all, that pain is actually a good thing. Pain develops when an area of our body is injured or ill. It helps us diagnose the problem, helps us know how to care for our bodies. Just like guilt helps us know when there is a problem with something we have done (or left undone).

But pain, if left untreated for too long, or in certain circumstances, can become chronic. And when that happens, even though the injury or illness was treated long ago, the nerves in the body continue to send pain signals to the brain, for no reason at all except that that is what they have been doing for so long they don’t know anything else to do. That is what happens with guilt if it becomes a pattern. Eventually it is subverted and turns into shame. Then it no longer has a purpose. It makes you feel miserable, even if you no longer have anything to feel miserable about.

Shame is toxic. It can lead us down the road to despair. It sabotages every good feeling in our life. It makes us feel like our accomplishments are worthless, while our failures are monumental. Shame occupies the space inside us that ought to be reserved for love and compassion. When I was full of shame, it was impossible for me to accept the love of others. In fact, I couldn’t ever believe that anyone truly loved me. Because that toxic shame made it impossible for me to love myself. I had no compassion for me. I was constantly telling myself what a stupid, incompetent, loathsome person I was. And if anyone tried to contradict me, I just brushed it off, saying “they don’t really know how awful I am, so what they say doesn’t mean anything”.

Over the past couple of weeks, I think that I began to over-identify with my guilt to the point that it began to form a complex of shame. And that led directly to the incident yesterday, when I actually felt guilt for something I hadn’t done, and in fact, for something I had not even consciously thought of doing. Yes, as I acknowledged in yesterday’s post, I am unsure what my true, underlying intentions were when I picked up those keys. But I did not really have anything for which to feel guilty when my aunt walked into the room, and yet the guilty impulse was so great that I thrust the keys into my pocket and tried to pretend like it hadn’t happened. That action is the mark of someone who thinks they have something to hide. And yet, I had nothing to hide except for my own shame.

Over the past two weeks I had begun feeling dissatisfied with my routine. Dissatisfied how I was going about things. Most of all, I had become dissatisfied with myself. I began to feel guilty that I wasn’t as gung-ho as I had been two months ago. Then I started to feel like there was something wrong with me because it seemed like I was losing momentum. That gave me the impulse to want to hide, to isolate myself even more. When you have shame inside of you, sharing yourself with other people seems completely impossible. You think, “how can I share myself with anyone, they would just see how awful I am and then they would not want to be around me”. And of course, that is a self-perpetuating cycle, because the more you stay away from others, the more your shame can grow. Shame cannot live in the light. It is a secret, and if it stays in the darkness it becomes a monster that can devour your very soul.

But when you shed the light of truth on shame it withers and dies. Perhaps not all at once, especially if it is rooted deep. But over time, when exposed, shame will diminish until it finally is gone for good. That, is how you truly kill shame.

I am so grateful for what happened yesterday. It helped us to have the conversation that I needed to have, to draw out what was happening, and to help us figure out how to move forward. We decided to make a few adjustments to help me combat those feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation. I decided that putting more focus on my self-awareness will benefit me greatly. But the most important thing of all will be starting to share myself again. To open myself back up to my family, my friends, and to all of you.

That isn’t to say I haven’t been honest with you on my blog. I have. But over the past couple weeks I have not been using my awareness to its full potential, and therefore I have often just written about what happened to be on my mind at the time rather than thinking through what I really needed to write about.

Thank you all for bearing with me.

I look forward to really opening up more in the days ahead. I’ll warn you, the things that go on beneath the surface inside my mind are not always pleasant. But hopefully we can all learn things from these experiences I am having as I try to sustain these positive changes I am making, and as I progress ever further toward my goal of optimum wellness.

Goodnight, and peace to you,

-Nathan

When the Universe Speaks

Tonight’s post is a bit of tough one.

My aunt and uncle keep one of my medications in their fireproof safe. The medication helps treat the cravings and helps a little with the pain. I think I have a section on it in my info – it is called “subutex”. I’ve been on it for a few months now, and it has really been helping me to not have any drug cravings and to keep my body from having any kind of withdrawl symptoms.

But even though it can’t really give me a “high”, I still asked Richard and Kate to keep it in their safe and to distribute it to me so that I didn’t have to worry about it.

Today, after my aunt grabbed my pill for me from the safe, she set her keys down on the kitchen counter and walked away. I went downstairs, and when I came back up I saw the keys lying there and picked them up, thinking I was going to walk over to her and hand them to her and say, “hey you left these on the counter”.

But somehow I just stood there with the keys in my hand. And when Kate came back into the kitchen, I quickly stuffed the keys into my pocket.

Yeah. I know, right? What the hell was that about?

Now I couldn’t hand them back to her, I had just stuffed them into my pocket as if I had something to hide. So I figured I would just wait until she got up and left the room again, put them back where I found them, and walk away.

So we stood there talking, and I clearly was feeling guilty, because after a little while, Kate said, “hey, when I came back into the room I had this distinct feeling that I had witnessed something you didn’t want me to see, and I saw you put something into your pocket, and I was just wondering what was up?”

Wow. I felt like she could read my mind or something.

At first, I just stood there with what I thought was a blank look on my face but what I am sure was an astonished expression. And unfortunately, the first thing to go through my head was “Deny it, deny it. Nothing happened. You wouldn’t be lying if you said nothing happened. Just give an excuse and walk away.”

Thankfully, that wasn’t what I did. I felt too guilty, and honestly, at that moment I wasn’t sure why I felt that way. After all, I hadn’t actually done anything. I had just idly picked up the keys and then instinctively put them into my pocket right?

Hmm…..

So I tell Kate all this. I was talking in a panicky tone of voice, I was almost shaking. My entire body tensed up, and my shoulders were hunched, my arms crossed in front of me. I almost wasn’t breathing.

As I am explaining what happened to Kate, I get to the part where I tell her, “After the keys were in my pocket I thought that I couldn’t just pull them out and hand them to you because that would make me look guilty, so I thought I would just wait till you went to go do something else and I would put the keys back at that point.” Then I said, “I didn’t really have any intention of actually using them to open the safe…”

And Kate stopped me as I mumbled, saying, “I’m not sure if I can believe that, Nathan.”

Boom. It was like a pile of rocks hit me in the stomach. All of a sudden I realized that she was right. It wasn’t a conscious thought, but a part of me had absolutely considered going to the safe and opening it the minute I had picked the keys up.

The worst part wasn’t actually that, though. Because it is no big surprise that sometimes I might have thoughts like that. The hardest part for me was that I wasn’t sure which part of me would have won that argument had Kate not walked into the room and then confronted me the way she did. I don’t know if the rational, “new Nathan” who was saying, “you should go hand the keys to Kate because you don’t want the temptation laying around” or the “old Nathan” who was saying, “No one would know if you just quickly opened the safe and grabbed a couple extra pills”.

It scared me, not just because I wasn’t sure how that would have turned out, and because that whole thought process was happening at such a low level in my mind that I wasn’t actually aware of it at all until I was confronted and had to think it through.

Of course, my first instinct was to feel bad. To feel like I had screwed up. Like even after all my hard work, I was still a failure. In short, the first thing I wanted to do was judge myself. As if I needed to make myself feel any worse than I did. But again, Kate was there to support me. She reminded me that everything happens for a reason, and that this incident had a purpose, and it was up to me to either listen to the universe as it spoke to me, or to ignore it and create my own story about what was happening.

I feel overwhelmingly grateful to Kate for her calm, non-judgmental response to me in this situation. Things could easily escalated and turned very, very negative. Instead, it prompted us to talk about a couple things that I had been almost avoiding because I wasn’t certain yet what I wanted to do.

You see, this medication, the subutex, typically has to be prescribed by a doctor with a special license if it is prescribed for someone for “chemical dependency” (aka addiction). Now these doctors are often very expensive, have no appointments, and don’t take insurance. After leaving the hospital I spent two weeks calling every clinic in town and got no results. Because of that, my lung doctor filled in the gap for me and wrote me the prescription for the last month and a half. But after the last one he wrote, the insurance company told him that they wouldn’t cover it if he kept prescribing it because he doesn’t have this special DEA license.

And I have been searching since he told me that, and still have not found anything.

So I have been considering just going off of it when my current prescription ends. I will have to wean myself off of it for a few days, and I will probably feel pretty crappy for a week or so.

But better to have that experience in this supportive environment with my aunt and uncle here to help me than to try and do it months from now when I might potentially be on my own and by myself with no support. I know what happens when I try to go through even the most mild withdrawl symptoms when I am alone. I stress about how I feel, I make myself feel worse and worse until I am convinced that I would rather die than keep feeling the way I feel. And then in the past I have always gone right back on the drugs rather than deal with the pain and anxiety of withdrawl.

So going through it here, in this place, now that I have a routine that I have established which I can use to support me when I feel crappy….well, it seems like probably the right thing to do.

A big part of me is fighting this idea. That is the part of me that thinks it would be easier for me to just be on the subutex forever so that I don’t have to deal with how things feel without it.

Because to be honest, although it isn’t something I can get high off of, it still is something I am dependent on. And that means it is easier for me to stay on it that to try and get off of it.

But last night I wrote a post about challenging myself and about finding even deeper discipline.

I think that I am capable of handling this.

I am choosing to see this incident as the universe speaking to me, showing me the opportunity to really get all the unhealthy, unnecessary chemicals out of my system forever. To really set my sights on true optimum wellness. Because let’s face it – staying on a drug that is just there to prop you up a bit and alter your brain chemistry just enough to minimize pain and cravings – it has its place, but it was never supposed to continue indefinitely. I knew at some point I would have to deal with this, and I am just glad it happened now so that I can worth through it while I still have the added support that living with my aunt and uncle is providing.

Sometimes things happen, and events all collide, coming down to a single point, and everything hangs in the balance. I think the incident with the keys today was one of those points. There were two really clear choices in the moment when I was being confronted. I could have lied, and if I had, all of my hard work the last couple months could have come crashing down around me. Or I could tell the truth and face what that produced.

I am so grateful that I chose to be honest in this situation. It felt horrible, having to reveal all of this to my aunt. To lay myself out in front of her, not knowing what would happen. But once I had done it, and once she had responded with so much love, support and gentleness, I actually felt like a huge weight was lifted from me. It was like there had been a huge lake of anxiety surrounding my brain because of this issue with my medication, and suddenly it just all drained out.

 

Don’t get me wrong, my energy was absolutely closed off and blocked when I left that conversation with my aunt. I felt short of breath and shaking and I was trying desperately not to judge myself. But after a bit of deep breathing and after I had focused my attention someplace else, it did indeed feel as if much of that tension melted away and as if my energy began to flow again.

Well, that was tough to write. I wasn’t honestly sure if I could do it, and I am sure that no-one would have blamed me for not writing it. But it would have felt wrong to not address this here with you. I would have felt as if I were hiding it, like I was ashamed. And I refuse to hide and lie and live in shame. That was the “old Nathan”. And if I continue that pattern, just like I talked about the other day, I will soon slip right back into that old reality. And I don’t want to go back there.

My new reality is much better.

I just want to say again how grateful I am to Kate for how she handled this situation. It was really a testament to her love for me, and demonstrated to me once again that she truly desires to be loving and compassionate toward everyone she encounters. I am blessed to have her as my aunt.

I also want to say how grateful I am to Richard. Because he walked in partway through this immensely difficult conversation between Kate and I, and he really didn’t hardly say a word. He didn’t interrupt. He didn’t try to analyze things. He just stood and listened, and at one point asked if he should be getting more involved, and when we said no, he went right back to just being there and listening. Again, a testament to his patience and the peace within him. I am blessed to have him as my uncle.

And I am blessed by you, as you read this. You are supporting me as well. And I thank you.

Goodnight, and Peace to you,

-Nathan