Let’s make a deal!

  
Anyone up for trading a free download of my book, A Walk in His Shoes in exchange for a review?  I can send it through Amazon to any email address and I will pay the $2.99 ebook cost. 

I am also looking for anyone willing to link my book to one of their blog posts in exchange for either my ebook download or I can link you (book, website, blog etc) in one of my posts. 

Hope you all had a great NewYears without the  regrettable hangover! My NewYears was fun filled with…..sleep. I had a hard time even staying up late enough. That’s how it should be, right? It was nice just watching movies with my wife, knowing I’d wake without any regrets or embarrassment. 

Here’s to a great 2016!!

If you are interested in any kind of collaboration, you can contact me different ways or comment below. ūüôā

Thanks all!

Twitter: @DustinLJohn

Facebook: Dustin John -Facebook

Book website: A Walk in His Shoes

My book is finally finished!

 


I wanted to write a quick post about what has been going on over the past few months. I haven’t been consistent in posting on my blog….consistent or non-existent? Either way I haven’t posted here in a long while. Here’s what has been going on in my life-

I have stayed sober. Sobriety, or rather, the urge to use drugs has not been a problem. Of course I think about it from time to time still but there hasn’t been an emotional or psychological mind or body reaction to my thoughts. They have all been more of a “look-back” at the past. No stomach-turning roller coaster drops of drug induced fantasies. Nothing like that.

My wife and I have grown a passion and love for reptiles. We have acquired a lot of beautiful ball pythons over the past 6 months and if someone had told me that snakes each have their own personality, I would have told them they are insane. Sure enough, snakes are pure awesomeness. Some are cuddlers while others like to pretend they are a rock. “You can’t see me! I am a rock!” Some people don’t consider “being a rock” as having a personality but I have met people with far less statuesque ability. I don’t want to make this a blog about our pets so I’ll end this with a picture of our snake named Wanda.


Shifting gears a bit, I found myself hesitating on completing my memoir. My father and I started the book almost 9 years ago. We had countless meetings together trying to flesh out each other’s work, coordinating his chapter with mine; which we wrote in separate homes at seperate times by discussing important talking points. It was a large amount of work but at least we were in it together. After my father passed away I felt extremely lost. I felt lost because I knew I would never be able to talk to my father but I also felt lost with the book project. It was so close to completion. I did have our editor’s help and my family members, but it still made me feel empty and alone. The project seemed to lose its meaning in a way. I felt we had built a special bond during his last years here. Maybe realizing that my dad did all that work to never get to see it completed made me feel that pain. I don’t know exactly why it became so difficult to finish. We had so many great discussions about what it would be like to have seen the book completely done, bound, and in our hand.

I finally finished the book. Despite what my false self was yelling in my ear. I knew it was mostly lies and fear. I can’t blame the fear. After all, My memoir don’t paint me as a shining moral hero. I titled the book – A Walk in His Shoes. ¬†It released on Amazon and Kindle on December 3.

I will write a more thorough post this weekend detailing more of what has been going on. If anyone is still interested in reading my memoir, you can get it as a hardcopy or as an ebook. If you are wanting to read it but don’t have the funds to purchase the book, let me know and we can work out a trade. Thanks everyone!

Hard copy—> ¬†CLICK HERE!

Ebook——-> CLICK HERE!

A Walk in His Shoes

Facebook page—> CLICK HERE!

On the Facebook page, I am giving a free signed copy of the book away on the most recent Facebook post. If you are interested in winning a signed copy of the book, click the Facebook link above. Thanks everyone!


			

I saw my heroin dealer this weekend

On Saturday¬†my wife and I went to the city to attend a reptile expo. The expo¬†was at the state park which is also the same area of the city I used to roam around¬†while I was homeless. My old heroin dealer would ride his pedal bike, meeting up with¬†us desperate and wayward users who had no access to a¬†vehicle. I didn’t think much about the correlation¬†between the location of the expo¬†and my past drug excursions, but I did think about it briefly, prior to going. I didn’t put a lot of concern on this because my employer is in the same city as where I was homeless and I have built new and sober memories at these areas now. Also, I didn’t want to ruin our day by navelgazing.

The area of the expo is an area I haven’t been to since I was using and when we were driving through the area, I began talking with my wife about how I was feeling uneasy and had a sick feeling in my gut. It was raining quite hard and transients were walking up and down the rough and¬†graffiti littered streets. Right after we started talking about my emotional state, I seen a man on a bike pedaling towards our vehicle. We was not stopped- we were heading north on the¬†narrow neighborhood¬†street and the cycler was riding south on the sidewalk. As soon as I seen the man on the bicycle, I knew it was my heroin dealer.

I told my wife who it was. I didn’t feel like it was something I wanted to keep to myself. To someone who has never been addicted to heroin, maybe this situation seems kind of inconsequential but for me, it was a pretty scary situation. I am very glad my wife was with me. I am glad she is willing to listen to my issues and fears without much warning.

I know that if that would have happened earlier in my sobriety, I would have slammed on the brakes, bought heroin, and got high. The sickening feeling I had did pass, but it did shake me up for a few hours. Addiction continually baffles me in its unrelenting patience and power. It’s not something to play around with. I go months without so much as a thought about heroin then BOOM! there it is. This is a rushed post because I am at work. I wanted to get this down in writing before the raw¬†feelings of the situation disappeared. Thanks for reading.

Emotional Growth

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I often hear in the recovery community that some emotions are bad while others are good. I understand that point of view but I believe it is incorrect. It may not seem like a problem, but I think it is very important to be precise when talking about this topic so that we are not led astray. Emotions can be extremely powerful and if we perceive them incorrectly for a long period of time, it can be catastrophic for our recovery. It has always been an emotion that I acted on that caused a relapse.

Some people believe anger is an emotion that should be suppressed, ignored or outright avoided at all costs. Anger is healthy. Anger is the opposite of depression and is a valuable emotion that we should speak to, and evaluate in much more depth. If you begin to feel anger, that emotion is there for a very good reason. Suppressing it or ignoring it is only erasing your true self. Of course, it is possible to allow anger to get out of control. That means you are not listening to what it is saying to you. You are simply allowing it to operate you like a giant meat puppet. Figure out what it is telling you. Don’t confuse anger with rage. Rage can be destructive. If you are swinging a baseball bat through the flat-screen, it is safe to say that you are no longer angry. If you act as though your emotions are “against” you instead of there to help you, you are not going through optimal recovery and very little growth, if any, will occur. Your emotions are your friends. Your emotions are your true self. Don’t treat them with contempt or hatred. Each one of your emotions is a part of your personality eco-system. They are your Board of Directors. They are your Congress (a Congress that actually does something useful.)

When I was in early sobriety, I remember how powerful and overwhelming my emotions were. So I understand the early random flooding bombardment of uncontrolled guilt-cry-happy-joyous-disgust fits that hit without warning. I also know that I made it through that time and I am still alive. Emotions always fade away. That is why it is so important to understand what they are trying to tell us and why.

Relapsing because of a non-harmful emotion seems kind of silly in hindsight. When my father passed away, I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. The pain felt so powerful, so intense. I knew the pain wasn’t going to kill me and even though it felt similar to physical pain, I knew it was just a deep sadness and grieving in knowing I could never see him again. I allowed myself to wail over his death. I remember sobbing loudly and uncontrollably on my mother’s couch with my wife at my side. Right in the middle of my emotional deluge, a thought popped into my head. I realized at that moment that my father’s death was not a good enough reason for me to relapse. I knew I would be okay.

For so much of my life, I have misunderstood my emotions. I have let my emotions overrun my life by my misguided reactions and irrationality. I’ve mainly focused on anger and sadness in this post but all of our emotions are legitimate mind/body awareness that tell us everything we need to know. The hard part is figuring out what they are trying to say. As long as we don’t push them away and suppress them as unnecessary glitches in the system, we can grow and learn everything we need to know about who we are. Just remember there is always a thought before an emotion. You have that “magic quarter of a second” to beat your emotion to the punch. But don’t punch your emotion, violence is bad.

THANK YOU!

And kiitos to my rakas <3

And kiitos to my rakas ‚̧

I started blogging about my addiction to heroin in May. Over the past 9 months I have met some wonderful online friends who have helped me in so many ways. Giving advise, hope, support, and love.

I plan on continuing this open journey with you all and I appreciate all of your support.

Thanks to all of you who have allowed your stories to be told in such a vulnerable and naked atmosphere. Being honest and open is what relationships are truly about.

I have enjoyed reading many of your wonderful posts. Whether funny, happy, helpful, angry, sad, depressing, joyful, engaging, silly, or thought provoking, I have enjoyed the growing journey with you all.

Here’s to 2015!

A Better Me

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There are some changes I will be making, as well as some personal goals I am setting for myself starting January 1, 2015. These are not empty resolutions that get thrown out after the second week of January. These are life changes that need to take place and continue on throughout the course of my time on earth.

Now that my life has settled into place and the unexpected tremors of early sobriety have long dissipated, I want to focus a bit more on my success and purpose as a human being. This does not mean I will stop doing what I need to do to stay sober. It just means that, on top of staying sober, I want to achieve other goals. There are also things about my life; as well as myself, that I am not okay with.

1- My weight. When my father died in October 2013, it affected my eating habits. I linked the death of my father to the foods he ate over the course of his life. Already having eating/food issues¬†from a very young age (me), as well as very similar eating habits as my father, I started to despise eating food. As far as I knew, food killed my father and I hated it. Now, whether or not food is to blame for the death of my father;¬†it doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is that I gain back my weight. I am not bulimic or anorexic. I just get pissed off at food and a lot of food textures gross me out. Some of my issue goes back to when I was a young child. I am still trying to figure it out and I plan to see a nutritional counselor. I guess it is also possible that I have Sensory Processing Disorder. I hate soggy, gritty, slimy, chunky textures and putting any of those in my mouth sounds about as fun as sliding naked down a huge razor-blade into a pool of rubbing alcohol. Any of my readers deal with this hyper-sensitive full-body-gagging experience? Same with folding a piece of 80-grit sandpaper in on itself but I’ll save the goose-bump hypersensitive touch stories for another time. Ugh!

GOAL- I will gain the¬†weight¬†back to my average size. This means I need to gain 15 pounds. That may seem like a small task but…I am a small man and will have to eat a massive amount of calories.

NUTRITION

2a- Drinks. I have been drinking waaaaay too much Mt. Dew, Pepsi, Red bull, Coffee, and other sugar loaded drinks. January 1st I am done. Well, one cup of coffee a day. No other soft drinks or sugary soda crap. Gotta have the coffee jump-start!¬†Creamer, no sugar. ūüôā

2b- Candy.¬†I eat too much damn candy. I eat candy every day. milk duds, reeces pieces, M&Ms, Red licorice… I devour that shit. Willy Wonka would be jealous of my candy cupboard. Where is all the slimy soggy candy?! I guess that would be too easy. January 1st, DONE.

3- Work-out.¬†I have started a work-out routine but they always stop. I always do it for the wrong reasons. This time, I am starting a workout because- well, I am getting older and I don’t want to die any time soon. I have been extremely rough with this body the last 20 years and I need to show it some love. I want to be healthy, strong, agile, headache-less and alert. January 1st, it’s on.

BUSINESS

4- My wife and I both work but we have opposite schedules. She works days and I work nights. We have worked this terrible schedule long enough so we are going to fix it. We have been talking about our plan to start our own business doing something we both enjoy. We know what direction we are going to go and have worked out the base decisions. Our business plan will start taking shape objectively on January 1, 2015.

5- Aside from our personal business goal, I am also setting a completion/publish goal for my book. I haven’t had any luck with agencies and I can’t just sit on it forever. My book will be getting published in 2015. If that means self-pub, so be it.

I’m sure there are many ways I can become a better person but I know the topics I listed above are the most important to me currently. Maybe when I wipe all these out I can work on some others. I am glad I have a precise starting point. Its time to walk the walk.

Thanks for your continued support my friends! For more great reading, stop by a fellow bloggers site at http://afterthepop.me/2014/12/26/hope-for-2015/

-Dustin

Remember the eve of Christmas

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Remember the eve of Christmas,

I spent shivering, in a cell.

Detoxing off of heroin,

A cold and bitter hell.

Remember the eve of Christmas, ice-crystal-222274_1280

I spent homeless, on the street.

Poison flowing through my veins,

But my heart still beat.

Remember the eve of Christmas,

ice-crystal-222274_1280When I was all alone.

The wind blew, through my soul,

It sliced right through the bone.

Remember the eve of Christmas,

When I finally, faced my fears.

ice-crystal-222274_1280The battle came, to a bloody end,

After so many painful years.

Remember the eve of Christmas,

Dark years, have long passed by.

I’m staring at our Christmas tree,

ice-crystal-222274_1280As water fills my eye.

Remember the eve of Christmas,

When life was good, indeed.

I need not open, a single gift,

I have all I’ll ever need.

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The Fork in the Road

Admitting defeat against an opponent isn’t a simple thing to do. After-all, competition seems built in to humans on some level. The moment we stop sucking on our toes, the sibling rivalries begin. Early youngsters being taught to compete on the soccer/football fields before they learn how to read.

American football is where high paid, steroid and triple bacon cheezeburger infused men are allowed to beat their wives and children, abuse animals, commit other immoral crimes and still continue their over-paid, brain damaging profession. Because here in America, competitive sports are more lucrative and entertaining than protecting abused woman, children, and animals. Being on a winning team is the outstanding moral excellence we strive for and hold as the highest of values. So what happens to me if I admit defeat or if I lose to my opponent?

School is set up on a grade scale where there is also competition. War is competition for power and dominance. Everywhere you look, there is competition.

I don’t think all competition is bad. Competition in the free market is what grows economies and infrastructures. Competition also yields better products and more efficient ways of living. It also pushes human limits to phenomenal places. My point is that from a very young age, we learn that being defeated against a competitor is not valiant or accepted with pride. Maybe there is a small amount of it directly, but the indirect message is clear.

Is this part of the reason I couldn’t admit defeat from my opponent? Did I have to get so badly beaten before tapping out?

Me VS My Opponent

All my bones had been completely fractured, like a botched skydiver splatting against earth.

My 130lb frame, in the ring with the athletic prowess of Mike Tyson. my eyes swollen shut, ear dangling by a small piece of skin.

It was like having a guitar solo against Eric Clapton. I can’t play a guitar. It was over before it started. My fingers bled for weeks.

I was fighting a hungry lion with my arms tied behind my back. I gave it all I had.

When I first started using drugs, there was no way possible for me to admit I had been defeated. In my eyes, I hadn’t. In the beginning, drugs made my life seem so much better, and far less painful. Admitting defeat before the drugs had made a significant visible impact would have left me empty, depressed, and horribly miserable. If I was powerless, I sure didn’t feel it.

As time went on, so did my justifications for any visible impact of my drug use. Within a couple years I was homeless. I went from a $150,000 house to a half a million dollar overpass bridge. Not a bad swap, right?

This is a much nicer set-up than I had.

This is a much nicer set-up than I had.

It wasn’t until I stood at the fork in the road that I knew I had been completely defeated. If I go left, I go to prison. If I go right, I die. This is when I finally admitted I was powerless over drugs, and that my life had become unmanageable. This fork in the road was where I began to build a foundation for sobriety. It wouldn’t have happened had I not admitted defeat.

Left or Right?

Left or Right? Have you reached this fork in the road?