After my last blog post I was asked to explain how I managed to quit using controlled substances. I was going to save this story for later, but I believe now is a good time for it as well.
At the end of my unillustrious career in NA, which was plagued by mental anguish of hellish proportions and frequent relapses into drug use, I came to the conclusion that something was horribly wrong. I wasn't quite certain what it was, but I almost knew it had something to do with NA.
So I just quit and severed all my ties to to the 12 step movement. After this, I fell into what one doctor later described as a 'major depression'. There was quite a bit of drug use, and too much drinking. Alcohol doesn't really help depression get better, to say the least.
To cut a long story short; I realized that what was happening to me just wasn't normal. I went to two different doctors, and it was the second one who really helped me.
I'm not 100% certain why I decided not to tell this guy about the fact that I had a drug problem. What he did however, was to switch my medication to another kind of anti-depressant, and to take away the benzos the first doctor had prescribed. (What? This is medicine? I f*cking love medicine!)
Benzos are basically what neurotic upper middle class housewives mix with box wine to find relief, in case you were wondering.
This fine doctor also sent me to a dietist and a therapist. Also, he wrote me a prescription for physical exercise. This may sound odd to some foreigners, but in Sweden this is covered by what I suppose Americans would call medicare.
The dietist took some tests and gave me a lot of very sound advice on what to eat.
What a wonderful opportunity to make a list. I love lists!
An unexpected result of eating like this was that I started loosing unwanted weight, even before I started working out in earnest. I suppose that is because this diet is quite similar to so-called LCHF food. The dietist told me a lot of things about blood-sugar levels, insulin levels, omega 3, brain fat (not sure how well that translates to English) noradrenaline...
I didn't really care that much about why this worked. All I knew was that it made me feel a lot better.
Next I saw the therapist. The amazing thing about her is that I only saw her five times, but it changed my life in a lot of ways. She taught me a lot of methods that has helped me to deal with life without drugs, and to not become depressed again. I suppose the most imporant thing I learned was that I need to have realistic, obtainable goals. The word 'obtainable' is critical. It has to be something I know I can do or get, if I put my mind and strength to it. Once I have reached a goal, I set a new one. My goal right now, for example, is to go on a long vacation in Prague this summer. I've already booked the plane tickets and the hotel.
Now these goals should not be things like 'I want to meet the perfect dream woman of my life' or 'I want to have a house with a white picket fence, the ideal husband and perfect children who adore me'. Those are dreams, not goals. Even worse is obscure dream goals like 'I want to find love' or 'I want to find the meaning of life'. A lot of people, especially druggies and people who have emotional problems, have a tendency to build what Swedes call 'air castles' in their heads, and live a kind of fantasy life there. Life will never really live up to dreams and wishes. Having those kinds of goals is setting oneself up for failure, disappointment and relapse.
There is also a difference between goals and projects. My project right now is writing a novel, but that takes too long. I sometimes make it a goal to finish part of a project, however. Having deadlines also helps a lot in life, I've noticed.
So the goals I have are quite simple and fun things that I know make worth living, basically. Rinse and repeat!
I also worked out a lot. I've always liked to work out, and I used to be a real muscle boy when I was younger. But nowadays I focus more on cardio and maintaining my weight, even if I still qualify as a light heavyweight. I weigh almost ninety kilos, after all. Again -- I don't really know why this helps so much. All I know is that I've been told it should be strenous exersise; not tai chi, yoga and things like that -- though there is apparently something called 'exersise yoga' or something similar that seems to be a real bitch. I've also trained Krav Maga and MMA from time to time, but I have a tendency to loose my temper when someone hits me and it hurts, and those who are familiar with combat sports have perhaps witnessed or experienced the adrenalin dump and emotional breakdown that often follows this. You don't feel very manly when your gym mates have to comfort you like a six year old who's just been robbed of his x-box. Also, I'm getting a little too old for some of the world's toughest sports.
What all this led to, in time, was that I lost my desire to do drugs. I Stopped thinking about it almost entirely. I also got rid of my depression, and since then I've never become depressed again. I also found, somewhat to my surprise, that I was able to have a drink now and then without that becoming a problem. This was contrary to everything I've been told in NA about things that make you inubriated.
That's about it, I suppose.
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN:
AND THIS... IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS: