All of the differences Whitney Huston and I have could never break the one common similarity.
It's been a sad week for myself and I am sure millions of others.
I grew up with Whitney's music. "I will always love you" a song that at one time would make break down and cry. I had a partner named Charlie who was the love of my life. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 23. I dedicated that song to him and played it at his celebration of life party, shortly after he died.
EVERYTIME that song came on the radio I would break down. For about two years I avoided hearing it. Whitney put so much emotion and realness into her music it would literally take me out of my head, take my breath away and open my heart.... Flooding me with many emotions. She is one of my all time favorite singers.
With so many things that separate us like race, sex, financial status ( VERY DIFFERENT LOL). Singing ability(Dogs howl when I sing) upbringing, religious beliefs etc......
We share a common bond that could never be broken: We both have struggled with addictive behavior issues.
As a young man coming home from combat, I was quietly dealing with things I saw, heard and had to do to survive and protect my Country. I struggled with feelings I did not understand. I had anxiety that was so severe, I was forced to leave my career in law enforcement . I did not know what was wrong, I had trust issues, horrible night terrors, and feelings of just not fitting in. I did not understand where all of this was coming from.
I turned to things that would instantly take me out of myself. making the anxiety disappear...instant relief. They came in the form of prescriptions and the local liquor store.For many years I became lost in the cycle of addiction.I am not going to talk much about the time I spend in addiction. I am sure we all know the ugly of it. I feel necessary to share the path I took took overcome my issues as its the only process I have seen work.
Addiction must be dealt with head on , it must some first... For me this was the way out......
The disease of addiction pulls at every fiber of your being. It does not care who you are, about your mama, how much money you have, the fact you have kids, it doesn't care about anything but taking your life. This is how I viewed my addiction. And I asked myself what am I willing to do to have a normal life ..,my answer was ANYTHING...So I got to work..
I knew that drugs (Alcohol is a drug also) were not the problem. The problem was the need to change the way I feel. I had to get to the bottom of why I was feeling fear, anxiety, and all the feelings that made life unlivable. I started with accepting the facts I had suffered from PTSD. I sought long term treatment for it . I began to understand how it affected my life. I talked about my experience in combat, how I was still (many years after combat) convinced I would be shoot while driving down the road. I had to understand that this was normal for some who have experienced trauma. I was taught tools to distract myself when a panic attack was coming on. Basically I found a way to accept the fact I would have these flare up.. they would pass and I did not need to mask them with narcotics or alcohol.
I put my self in long term support groups, four times a week for over three years. During the entire time I started this treatment process I put it before anything. My family, my career, anything. I did so because I wanted to keep those things I had put on the back seat.. Not making sense?? Well this is how it works, Whatever it is you put before your recovery will be the first things you loose because of your addiction. Example.. You are a celebrity and put your career before the things you need to do to get better.. Like miss going to counseling appointment because you have a gig to do....or just too busy.. We'll when your issues surface (cause they will) you will find yourself in your addiction which will begin taking it all from you including your life. It absolutely will because it NEVER just goes away...So its simple give up those things that keep you from getting the real help you need for a short time and you get to keep every wonderful things in your life .....Don't take the time to face your issues head and and loose everything you love including your life.
Today I live an amzing life, many years free from addiction and giving back..
I am very blessed to have been freed from the grasp of addiction. I have an amazing real estate career, three wonderful dogs who I adore and a family life . Far from the days of isolating and being toally unemployable . I still drive over 250 miles two days a week to be involved with other Veterans struggling with combat issues and addiction issues. I understand what I need to do for myself and those around me support that. I learned early on to get rid of those in my life that do not support my dreams and goals. I am always clear headed, honest, and put my recovery first even still today. The difference is I dont fell the need to use at all.. I can do all the things I want without thinking about it..I get to be a good partner, son, uncle, brother etc.. None of those things are lost due to me addiction cause I took the time to face my fears...
IF YOU TAKE THE TIME NEEDED TO ADDRESS YOUR ISSUES BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE YOU HAVE A CHANCE.. IT HAS WORKED FOR ME..
I make no assumptions about how Whitney died... I am saddened when I see someone who has struggled so much with drug and alcohol use. When i see them drinking a glass of wine, popping pills , etc... Then hearing they have died way too early...I ask myself" did they face their issues head on or did they loose it all thinking who they were would be enough to save them"...
I offer my support to all those suffering with addiction.. you can call or write me anytime. you are not alone there is a way out.
jason l skerik