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  • Shamus Flavin

Admitting that I'm Powerless.

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

The first step in AA is admitting that you are powerless over Alcohol and that your life is unmanageable. It sounds pathetic to say I’m powerless over a form of liquid yet here am I on the other side of the country because of it. I woke up in Florida in a hotel room and knew I needed change. I didn’t know what that change was going to be, but I didn’t want my Death Certificate to say died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My biggest fear was and still is dying alone in a hotel room, which I spent half of my twenties in. I was calling people I met from Cirque that were sober and happy and here I am taking an Ambien at 1130 in the morning, contemplating my life. It's sad to say at thirty years old it took me that long to make a change, but if you take it one day at a time like they say, it makes life easier than taking it a week or a month at a time.

The Gang, going on a hike.

June of 2020, I decided to get help for myself, eight months prior I AMA’D from my second trip to rehab. For those who don’t know what AMA’D means, it means left without medical consent. In other words, I booked it like Usan Bolt, never looking back. I hated that feeling every time going to rehab, felt like I failed in life. Yet you should be proud of yourself for realizing you need help. But I didn’t feel that way the first two times. I didn’t do it for myself, did it for my family, pretty much got an oil change. I talked myself into saying I found God since I neglected him for six years and didn’t need this sobriety shit. I didn’t want to admit that I was alcoholic since my brother went to treatment a decade prior. Even though I was still lying to family and friends saying I was sober. I was living a double life, going to dive bars where no one knew me or drinking by myself. With how fucked 2020 was it was easy to isolate, I’m sure every Introvert felt blessed, and I was one of them. I found myself cooking at an elementary school, heating up chicken nuggets for little fucks and came to the conclusion that my life is unmanageable. I took that job to make my mom happy, instead of doing something I would have loved. I spent 85 days in Utah. I loved it here and learned so much, but I still felt like I was missing something in South Florida. Maybe it was the FOMO, even though I never would show up anyway. I used the excuse I needed to get back to a job I didn’t have because I got fired from it twice for my alcoholism. It’s because I was afraid to grow, change and adapt. I was planning on staying in South Florida for six months then was going to move to Orlando. I had the ambition that I wanted to be Spiderman at Islands of Adventure. A very unrealistic job for the resume I had, but I thought it would work out since I was sober. If only I was able to get to that point. Fell short only getting to Step three with my sponsor. Where most people fall short anyway.

Being Powerless.

September of 2020, I moved into a Sober-living house 30 minutes north from my hometown. A month later I found myself moving back into my mom’s place. That was my first mistake. Maybe the mistake was being that close to home, that close to comfort. I was sober for a while, meeting with my sponsor once a week and going to IOP but that wasn’t enough. I wasn’t going to meetings and didn’t really care to meet new people since I was future tripping about moving to Orlando, I didn’t even want to get to know people down South in recovery, maybe because I was afraid, I would make new friends and like living there. To be honest, I was afraid that people wouldn’t accept me for me. I was more insecure then, then I was when I was drinking.

One afternoon I went to my local Bodega (Utahns make fun of me for calling it that) and got a pre rolled CBD joint to spark this relapse that would change me for the better. I tested positive for THC and had that talk with my counselor about how serious I was about my sobriety. At that time I thought alcohol was my only issue but whatever I take, it will always circle back to drinking and I knew that. I was just playing dumb, trying to get around the situation, trying to blame my father and brother’s deaths for the reason I can’t stay sober. They told me I had to come to IOP five days a week instead of three. The next week I only went twice, then I found out my cousin took his life on Thanksgiving. The same cousin who wanted to move to Orlando with me. The same cousin I trusted like a brother. I still haven’t grieved my cousin death. Not really sure when I will. I’m just upset I came here lost and confused and not sober for his funeral.

My cousin Danny and Myself.

I recall a young fuckface in IOP a week prior calling my CBD joint sesh a pussylaspe. I never heard of a pussylaspe before then, but it did stick with me. I thought about that for six days. I used my cousin’s suicide as the perfect loophole to getting blacked out. Then I found myself to a fifth of vodka and took three Ambien, then I got a call by a buddy (who is also sober now) asking to hangout. He had some Crack, and I was like why not?! Now I’m in a full-blown relapse. Later that night I slipped and broke my nose on a coffee table, and it was off to the races again. Trying to lie to my mom that I was sober, but clearly the bloody bedsheets were a dead giveaway. It’s like the perfect storm before every relapse, calm waters then all the sudden you have a cow flying over your head. It was a quick three-month trip home to realize my life is not manageable there. There were warning signs everywhere, but I didn’t pay attention. I was powerless once again.

Now I’m not going to shit on South Florida recovery, but at my first treatment center they just handed me a big book and said good luck, we will see you back. Since I didn’t do there IOP or Sober living. I hate to say it but most places in South Florida care more about your money than your well-being and at the time that is what I thought all rehabs were like. So maybe I did just shit on South Florida recovery. I have met people who have stayed sober down there but for someone like me who lost so much in that town in such a little time frame, I can’t help to say I was a goner from the get-go. There is one thing I have learned, and I’ll never forget it, a buddy told me after being in Rehab you don’t drink or drug the same way. I realized that quickly, I drank more to forget that I drank. I snorted more coke to forget I snorted anything. I found myself back three weeks later but to be honest I don’t think I was ready for sobriety. I wasn’t ready for “the party to be over.” I’m not going to lie, I tried to get sober in 2019. When my brother took his life in 2014 Cocaine and Alcohol became a necessity and not a luxury. I drank almost every day till 2019. How could my mind not crave alcohol after the damage I put it through? I knew I was an alcoholic, but I just had that mentally that I will die young, because I knew the lifestyle I was living wouldn’t last forever and I was too big of pussy to make a life change. I mean that is powerless at its finest. Maybe I needed a global pandemic to happen to realize how fucked I really was. Maybe I needed to burn every bridge with my friends and family to really realize how alone I was too.

I have looked back on my drinking career and tried to pinpoint the factor where I was powerless. I mean even at a young age I saw myself most alive with a drink in my hand. I had a pill phase that could have turned ugly if it wasn’t for my brother ending up in rehab for it. He was my idol. A 24-year-old who danced around with glow sticks in the dark. After I realized it was a problem for him, I just stuck with Ambien. Which is still a problem for me now. I never knew a drug dealer that sold it, so I would steal it from my mom or get it off the dark web. I considered myself a detective since I always found where my mother was hiding them. Even went through the desperation to check her panty draw for them. Oh, and they were in there. Then I would find myself in the intercoastal or pool. I always knew I had a problem with alcohol and drugs, but I never hit my bottom at that point. Maybe it was fucking a crackwhore or the eleven trips to the ER.

I moved here a year ago and have relapsed three times. Each time I have learned from the relapses, each relapse I pushed myself to get more out of my comfort zone but also have realized how powerless I am. My sponsor told me about the obsession of the mind and how we are always craving that first drink. When I’m not drinking, I’m thinking about it, even though I haven’t thought about drinking since December 26. I need to learn to reach out when I’m struggling. It took me three weeks to write this because two weeks ago my roommate died of an overdose. He died in our sober living house. He was acting strange earlier in the evening, but he also had Covid which made it easier for him to isolate. It was too late by the time we could have said something. He had plans to move home, had a girlfriend, yet he was powerless over the drug of his choice. I reached out to him multiple times because he lost a friend to an Overdose two weeks prior and I was worried about him. I mean he did get on my nerves when he asked me to take him to the gas station but that’s because I’m a thirty-one-year male living in a sober-living house with seven other guys. We all get on each other’s nerves from time to time. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. The three months I knew Phill, I told him my whole story, he knew about my whole life since 2013 and now he is gone. I would have done anything for him, he gained my trust quickly. Unfortunately, he is just a statistic in fentanyl overdoses in America now, but to me he will always be that guy that put a smile on my face when I was having a tough day. He will always be that guy that changed my recovery for the better. People move on with their lives, as they should. But that pain will always be with me. As it will be with my brothers at this house. I love this group of guys more than ever. I’m never going to forget that night just like the day my dad died, or when I found out JJ killed himself. As long as I know I'm powerless over the first sip, I think I'll be alright.

May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you, and Heaven accept you.. R.I.P Phill 3/2/90-1/22/21



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