An Addict's Road to Recovery
A Viking's Journey in Prose
So my first story starts out just like most. I was born into a good and loving family. My mother, being a preschool teacher, taught me not only how to learn but also how to love to learn. She made it fun through song and dance among the schoolwork that we did.
It was around this time also that I started developing an affinity for waffles strangely enough. To this day, my mother still tells the story of how I would climb over my crib railing on the side up against the wall so that I could scoot down somewhat safely to the floor. I would then crawl under the crib to be able to go into my mom's room and ask for waffles. It is also worth noting that this was generally about five in the morning. What can I say? My mom made the best Belgian waffles in the history of ever. And she still does.
I share this story along with a glimpse of the start of my educational upbringing to illustrate the kind of love and compassion that my mom instilled in me at such a young age. She bestowed upon me an unconditional support system that I strongly feel prepared me for the worst. I would think initially as a child that the worst would be when she started dating a very bad man. Even more so when he both physically and sexually abused me. As I grew into my teen years, I thought that experiencing that was the worst. Then I came to find that he also abused my beautiful mother. The hate that I had for him and my inability to find him and quite honestly end him, I then thought that was the worst. But ultimately, I came to find out that the many years after I became an adult and the trauma and PTSD set in hard. When, even though my mother is thankfully married to a very good man who did everything he could to counteract the abuse that took place, he could not abate the demons in my head. When I came to find out that these demons directly paralleled with my need to save my mom, even though she had been saved long ago, that collectively was the worst experience of my life.
When I say "save my mom," what I mean is that I evolved in my life to try and save women that didn't need to be or didn't want be. I became a nightclub bouncer to engage in saving the patrons. I worked as an educational recruiter after college and wanted to save those students. In psychology, we call this a hero/rescuer complex. In essence, putting so much focus into others helped me focus on the begrudgingly challenging affirmation that I didn't know how to save myself. I would lie to myself and come up with any excuse under the sun to not have to face the music. But deep down inside, there was still a scared little boy reaching out and pleading with anyone to save him from this monster that still haunted his dreams. After all these years, this evil fraction of a man still affected my well-being in monumental ways. And that's when vodka came into the picture. That was my drug of choice ironically for someone of Scandinavian descent.
I remember very vividly thinking, "If I can't beat this demon with the will power of my mind, at least I can numb myself to not care anymore." The hard truth though is that, for me personally, I'll never stop caring and loving others (in many ways much more than I have had the ability to love myself). And so I would do everything I could to check out. My tolerance of course went up and so did the intake. It wasn't long before the opioids came into play. I had gotten into an accident with a guy I was "escorting" out of the club (ironically for abusing drugs) and he...well...to be frank, he wound up falling over and somehow kicked me hard in the testicles. The damage was so bad that I almost lost my left testicle due to the hematoma.
The rest of that story is for another day. I only bring it up because that was my opioid catalyst. The doctors took one look at my coin purse and would immediately prescribe me pretty much whatever I wanted to numb the pain (that includes Percocet, Oxycontin, oxycodone, and morphine to name a few). That was the inevitable doorway that led me down a very dark road. I was able to milk that drug train far beyond any actual physical pain. When I came to the realization that I was self medicating because of the trauma and pain in my past, it was already too late. I was already hooked. Far more terrifying for me was when I realized that I couldn't stop, it took everything out of me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, etc. I secretly wanted to die.
Now, I can go more into detail about my journey in future story posts, but the original idea was to share my experience of addiction and recovery through a song I wrote when I was in rehab. Originally, I was just going to add a little preface before I shared my song but we all saw how that novel turned out. Regardless, without further ado, please enjoy my song about my journey through the gauntlet of addiction and the miracle of recovery in sobriety. It's called "The Process."
"The Process" written & arranged by Donovan Stole
My story. Same song, same rhythms, same dance,
And this time, I don’t know if I even have one more chance.
And it’s hard to start talk about something I haven’t finished,
to admit weakness let my higher power win it.
Because I’m a hero, and one with a complex,
And when I’m chasing dragons, I feel nothing, a vortex.
Void spirituality, my clarity would barely flicker.
And I would pray to (all) the powers that be to be bigger.
Bigger, stronger than the shame, the pain, the addiction.
But I forgot about the humility, to give it up, the decision to listen.
Listen to and align with something bigger than myself.
my ego wasn’t giving up easily and it would see me in hell.
They told me that I needed something beyond me to believe in.
But I wore an organized faith chip on my shoulder, I’d be leavin.
So let it in, let it begin.
Let it go through me; let it consume me.
Let it go, let me go.
Let it blow through me, let it lose me.
Let it go, let me know.
Will it be over; When will it be over?
Please let it be done.
All my life, I’ve lived in fear of failing, falling, of being here.
I try to stay present but it’s so much easier said than done to stay clear.
And not retreat to my past and dwell on my transgressions.
Or slide down the spectrum and let anxiety fuel my session.
Depression, recession into what once was.
Not finding the power in the now, this hour, this minute, this moment because
I’m afraid, afraid of my raw potential.
I get consumed by past, hoping I’d somehow outlast my consequential
Decisions, my deeds, my deals done with the Devil.
How can a man like me ever find a level
Playing field? A balance, a belief in myself, my mind, and body.
How could I find meaning when the world is so against me?
Was I withdrawing from life or was I having life withdrawals?
Either way I cut it, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
When my sickness took priority precedence over everything.
Over family \ my friends, my goals, my music, every thing.
And I tried to validate, to vindicate myself for my abuse.
Lying to myself that this was what I needed to let go, let loose.
Telling my mind to rewind and play the tape.
You were victimized, you were brutalized.
You learned how to swim by being thrown in, just escape.
And don’t pay attention to warnings, the caution signs.
Just drink, take percs, and pray everything will wash in time.
Don’t think about your demons, your childhood trauma.
Just try to relax, memory turn off, avoid the drama
Of remembering my life, and of hating my soul.
These stories I’ve lived in for years get old, so old
And I know in the end the price to pay for the bottle would be more than I could bear.
It would take my life.
A socially accepted slow suicide, I swear
It would take my life.
It would finally be over, finally be over.
I had no hope, no prayer of getting sober.
At least I could end myself, end my pain.
Give up my body, and lose this game.
I was grateful for the booze, that’s why I used (that’s why I used).
I can’t really say for sure how it started.
But I will do what I can for the dearly departed.
For those that I’ve lost, for those that I’ve hurt.
And for those than can hear, learn, love, then share the burden.
Get a word in, Stand up for what you believe in.
If my words move you, move my words.
Make them your words, make them our words, our message, our music, our courage.
This is something about us turning into something beyond us.
Raw potential evolving into raw reality because
there is reason in the chaos, a method to the madness.
To overcome the urge to numb the pain, the sadness.
The process, to live a life fully and be proud to call it our own.
And realize true fulfillment while we ascend to that throne.
(And find God through the music… I found God in the music.
I got out of my own damned way, and this is how I use it.)
I found God in the music, and this is how I use it.
So I needed a spiritual shift, a swift change in attitude.
A paradigm recalibration and this is what I’m handin you.
To carry the torch of recovery to those reachin out.
To grab those hands and help the timid to shout now.
This is not just serious, this is life or death.
And we will fight these demons until our last dying breath.
Fight to the casket; love, live, learn and be of service.
Shine bright like a beacon to all cause we deserve this.
This is my creed, my passion, through music it’s my purpose.
And never forget your support, those who love you, they’re in your corner.
And will continue to fight in this “New World Order”.
I’ll remember my past so as not to repeat it.
I’ll remember my last relapse, (I’ll) not deplete it.
Or disrespect it’s weight, the lessons it taught me.
Or the opportunity, the chance my loss bought me.
I’ll remember what Bill said, “My friend, our secrets keep us sick.”
I’ll remember why I first opened those doors, sat down, and said, “My name is Donovan. And I’m an alcoholic-addict.”
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. I humbly and sincerely appreciate it. As I'm writing this, I am eternally grateful to say that this May I'll be celebrating two years clean from alcohol and opiates.