Addiction kills

Today marks a year since my brother died because of a heroin overdose.

Addiction is not a fun disease. It wants you dead. And if you play around with the disease of addiction long enough, it will eventually get you.

I’m reminded today of my own struggles with addiction and that I can never drink alcohol safely again during my lifetime. If I were to, I would probably end up dead myself.

Today serves as a reminder to me just how serious drug and alcohol addiction can be to those who have it and struggle with it daily.

Some changes…

So, in addition to the walking that I am doing… I decided to change some components of my diet.
Mainly to include more vegetables/salads and fish. I have been eating way too much processed food, which can be an easy trap to fall into being single and living by myself.
My mood has been incredibly good the past few weeks. Primarily, and probably, due to passing my qualifier/oral exam. Schizoaffective symptoms can develop when I am under too much stress and pressure… and I have been dealing with non-stop stress and pressure since I started working on my qualifier last September.
While I am in good spirits and have ‘down time’, I am going to continue to walk a few days a week as well as make changes to my diet. Hopefully, they will become lasting changes, even when I enter times of stress or get too busy.
All these changes should be for the better. I credit my continued success on not drinking alcohol, and taking my medication. While I am always, in some form, fighting this disorder… not drinking, taking medication, and remaining sober is a surefire winning strategy.

Walking for a cause…

I just came back from one of my 30 minute walks. I started them a couple of weeks ago to hopefully uplift my mood and fight back against some of the negative effects and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder.

Having this disorder is a major pain in the ass… or ‘PITA’ as the kids today would say. With this disorder you constantly feel drained, down, and tired. It is not just a disorder of seeing and hearing things… or even the bipolar aspect of it. You constantly feel drained and mentally down. Because of this, I am walking mainly to improve my mood, which has not been great lately. I am just getting very tired constantly struggling with this mental disorder.

Everything, everything I do concerning this disorder seems to be a chore and requires work and effort. Long gone are the times when I could do multiple things effortlessly, or have boundless pockets of energy. While some days are better then others, I struggle everyday to keep a positive mental attitude. This is a lifetime progressive mental illness with no cure… there are treatments for it, mainly medication and talk therapy, which I am involved in – along with medication that I take.

Another tool that I have to battle this disease is to not drink alcohol. It is my first, best option to fight against schizoaffective disorder’s effects. Day in, day out, it is a miracle that I am not drinking. For, if I were to start drinking, it would be to admit defeat against this disorder.

Even though this disorder is very draining on me emotionally and physically, I still have a lot of work that I have to do to ensure my continued wellness. I need to work on gaining more friendships and strengthening my relationships with people. I need to continue to be strong against a mental disease that wants me living in the street, homeless, or worse.

Going to keep moving forward…

It is amazing what I have been able to accomplish even though I have schizoaffective disorder, alcoholism, and anxiety disorders.

My formula is simple… just keep moving forward everyday, do not drink, and take my medication. As long as I continue that mix of what I feel are positive things, I should be alright. I have also added walking to my wellness regimen now, so that should hopefully help my mental and physical state.

I am still working on my research proposal. It has been very difficult to get through this process. I am first and foremost, an organic chemist. However, due to life’s unexpected circumstances, I am currently back in school learning pharmacology/biology. It has not been the best and easiest mix for me. I am learning, just probably not as fast as I should be, nor do I have a good time retaining material these days.

Hopefully, when my rewrite is submitted on February 23rd, I will finally pass this thing. Only time will tell. It feels, though, up until this point, that I have been ‘faking it until I make it’. And now with this 15+ page research proposal due, it is crunch time. Time to put up or shut-up.

There is a possibility that despite my efforts, I might fail this qualifier towards my second Ph.D. degree. If that does happen, I need to remind myself that I have been through worse. I have been homeless, jobless, and entirely desperate living on the street. I have come a long way in the past eight years. I choose not to lose any of what I have gained since I have gotten better.

No matter what happens, this time will be different. I will be sober, on medication, and have my mental faculties functioning. I do hope I pass, but this process has not been easy. I am not a biologist in the strictest sense of the word… and by no means would I characterize myself as being strong in pharmacology. I am an organic chemist traveling in, and through, a world having nothing to do with chemistry in the strictest sense. Only time will tell whether or not I will be able to pass this current hurdle in front of me.

Fighting a serious illness…

Recently, I have been battling a deteriorating mental state.

I am getting more and more tired and I feel my life is becoming more of a continually repeating routine.

So, effective this Saturday, and on Saturdays only for the moment, I will be going to the gym to walk the treadmill for at least a couple of miles. It is the only time during the course of the week when I have actual time, and energy to spare, to be able to do this.

The most dangerous thing someone in recovery can feel is a feeling of stagnation. And right now, at least for the past few months, I have felt that I have been stagnating. Everything concerning me, my job, and issues surrounding my life. Stagnation can lead to boredom, which can lead to an addicts relapse. And this addict is determined not to relapse.

I have been adamant concerning my recovery about breaking the cycle. And despite going back to school and getting my career back on track… I’ve fallen into a repetitive cycle that I have not been able to break. I feel going to the gym is my first best option to get out of my head and hopefully clear my thoughts. I am sure it will also boost my energy and overall sense of well-being.

So, that’s it. I have had enough. Schizoaffective disorder will not win this battle. The trap of falling back into active addiction will not win this battle. Not as long as I have the energy and mental conditioning to fight them.

Desiring more time…

I wish I was more of a force in the recovery community. It seems that I can either work and go to school OR do recovery activities. But not both.
I just don’t have the time that I would like, the energy I that I need, or even the mental stamina anymore. Plus the fact that I sleep 12+ hours a day, despite my best efforts to try and break that sleep cycle.
My personal recovery is a full time job. It’s just not a matter of abstaining from alcohol, but it is also a matter of maintaining my mental and spiritual health. Keeping my general health in check makes it easy to avoid alcohol, or craving it. The daily obsession surrounding alcohol has been lifted from me, thankfully. There are people who spend years upon years in Alcoholics Anonymous trying to achieve what I have – the release from the alcohol and the drug obsession.
I would like to try and find a balance somehow. Sure I can post about my experiences here and on my blog, but I want to be able to do more.
I have a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. I’ve been employed as a biochemist at Harvard. I’ve been long-term homeless. I’ve been sober, slipped up, and became sober again. Thankfully, God willing, I’ll have eight years of sobriety this September.
I’ve been diagnosed with a disabling mental illness, schizoaffective disorder. I was on medication… went off the medication, then finally accepted the schizoaffective diagnosis and went back on the medication.
I have a story to tell, strength to be shared, and recovery to spread. It is possible to recover from even the direst of financial, mental, medical, and societal obstacles. I’m living proof. People in and out of the recovery community should know there is hope. There is a future, no matter how bad your personal circumstances are, or have been.