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Tony R.

As I move beyond the Me decade and into the future there are a few things I pay attention to.

  click to read Staying Off Crystal booklet

It's true; My Crystal use was all about me. Looking back I now see all of the energy I put into accessing that drug and everything that went with it. It allowed me to connect with men on a much more intimate level than I was used to. The reality was that the drug had taken over my life and I wanted my life back.

To refocus that energy towards something worthwhile has been a struggle. It hasn't been easy. But with fortitude I believe I can accomplish and excel in anything I choose to. It's understanding my limitations and not setting myself up for those high expectations and quick rewards. Tony R.For when I do that, I refer back to my old pattern of thought and behaviors. My key issues always and for the most part have been the way I see myself and the way I think others see me. The truth is I only have control over my own thoughts, not others. Moving beyond those old thought patterns has taken time and courage, but having the commitment to gain my self-respect and dignity back has come with many rewards.

Trusting in myself again to do the right thing in all interactions with people or situations, whenever they may arise, will help me to regain some of what I had lost. I have to remember to Stop and Think before I Speak and pay special attention to my feelings and emotions. My emotions were raw and volatile in the beginning, but with patience and support I continue to believe that I can see myself in new ways and be prepared to experience new things.

In early recovery I perceived myself as the victim of my own circumstances. It was everybody else's fault not my own. To admit that my friends, my employer, my family and my then partner were the actual victims was tough. It was me who had brought the pain into their lives. Letting go of that and reclaiming their trust and support was crucial.

To move beyond that and look at the reasons why I was using was the first step. I did this with the help of a chemical dependency counselor and others. For I believe to stay committed to my recovery it takes more than just trained professionals it takes friends, family, community and above all myself. Because if I didn't believe in myself I wouldn't be where I am today and I would not have the opportunities my recovery has given me.

Tony Radovich, of Seattle, is a peer facilitator for Strength Over Speed and community activist who advocates for those living with HIV/AIDS and Substance abuse issues.

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