Aaniin, today on Rezidivism I would like to talk about the Ton of Bricks that hit you in Recovery. With holding the stigma of being an addict/drug user/criminal. Our pasts/records/reputations combined create the stigma we all face. Although it really sucks, the stigma can be used to contrast your current life choices in order to demonstrate that change can occur and not only does it happen, one can change to the opposite end of the spectrum in society. How much "bad", negativity, harm a person is capable of doing is also how much good, positivity and healing they can do also. With that said, we all get hit by a Ton of Bricks in our recovery.
These can be in the many forms whether it be Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. They can be brought on by outside entities, your acquaintances, strangers, family, friends and your own self. These instances all require different tactics to overcome but I really do believe that these Ton of Bricks serve a much larger purpose in regards to recovering as a group. In other words, someone has to face the hardships and share their experiences whether they overcame or failed. Sometimes we overcome, find solutions, a way to persevere. Whichever part of the human being that is being directly affected will have an impact on the rest.
When I got out in 2012, I was just another felon on the street. Some untrustworthy addict that over the last 20 years has demonstrated a total disregard for human life, safety, values and the Ojibwe Traditions. But this time, I had motivation, I had determination, I had a vision for my life that was all or nothing. I knew that going back to the former me and that way of life was going to lead me straight back to prison or possibly dead. I got a job, check, I got my license back, check, I set boundaries (hardest thing I had to do), check. Ton of Bricks #2, Loneliness. I isolated myself, I couldn't trust nobody. I knew I was in a fragile state (I could not find any evidence, my treatment told me this) and being open to others was definitely not me. I was in a custody battle for my boys and raising my 2 daughters, the child support for my boys was not leaving me enough for to raise my girls and I felt I had nobody to turn to. I had been building some friendships with some elders that I was seeking the language from but I could not bring myself to put out there that I needed help. The court seen the felon and addict. Then Ton of Bricks #2, fired from my job. I like to blame the other person for me being fired when in reality, it was my ego. So there I was, 2014, a year and a half out, custody battle, lost my job when I was already broke to the fullest and ready to throw in the towel. What was the point? I am a loser. Who do I think I am to try? What am I trying to prove?
I had a discussion with my brother on whether or not I should sign away my rights to my boys in order. I was at wits end, full of self doubt already and then to have Life further proving what downright lowlife I was. I knew there was a crucial time coming. A time that was going to make or break me. I ran some treatment scenarios through my head. What tactics was I using? How am I manipulating my situation? What alternative thoughts can I have? What alternative actions can I use?
I wanted to quit. The addict in me said go use. The criminal said to prison aint bad. The rez boy said you aint nothin more than what you were. Ton of Bricks- Self Talk. I knew where the road I wanted take would lead me. I knew exactly what it would feel like. I knew exactly what I needed to do in order go that way and every thought in my mind said to go except 1. What decisions would you like your boys to make? I know my boys are better men than me. I knew I needed to help them believe that they are. What would I want my boys to do when they feel like quitting? Can I at least take a shot on something extraordinary?
I decided to find another job and continue working, I became a workaholic. The healthiest of choices? When at the bottom sometimes the last rung is what you need to cling to. I clung to work and then I went to college and clung to that. It felt like I was barely hanging on but work and college led to other opportunities that I otherwise would not have had a chance for should I have chosen to give up. I kept climbing. Every time I was hit by a Ton of Bricks, I ask myself, how am I demonstrating critical decision making? What am I to learn?
That road is always going to be there waiting for me and after over 10 years I still feel it. It definitely a choice I have to make everyday. It is reliably still one of the first options when facing hardships. With new decisions I am making, I have furthered my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual abilities to account for quicker more efficient critical decision making not only when Ton of Bricks hits you but also to sense when the bricks are coming.
We will further get into this topic and look forward to hearing your stories.
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