I am one month into sharing my own process of overcoming depression and an opiate addiction with my partner's son. I am using the same steps that I took back between 1993 and 1997 to get out of my own addiction. There are a number of differences between what I applied back in the 90s and what I am doing today, but the core concept is the same: be stronger than the drugs.
One major difference between now and then: back then I didn't believe I was a junkie (I was); I was a drug dealer. I was dealing drugs on Grateful Dead Tour, and in between tours, I would get healthy and strong again -- through hiking and camping and being outdoors -- so that I could go back on tour and make more money. It just so happens I also used this same process to finally move beyond the scene in 1996 and 1997 (after Jerry Garcia died), rebooting my software engineering career which had started earlier in 1988 when I was working at an educational software company in Oregon.
My objective in all of this is pretty basic: be healthier, stronger, and more confident. If you are healthy, confident, and strong enough, you can say no. The healthier, more confident, and stronger you are, the more you want to live. The more you want to live, the more you do not want to do drugs. It really isn’t any sort of secret sauce or genius idea. It is just based upon my not wanting my life to suck anymore, and eventually my finding a way forward.
I grew up out in the woods, so my definition of being strong does not involve a gym. I didn’t have any money back then, and I used what was available to me: the mountains of Oregon. So I hiked. I hiked more. I hiked around until I felt better. I went swimming. I sat in meadows, under trees, and on rock bluffs out in the middle of nowhere until I got my head on straight. No gym membership required.
As I recreate this with the kid in 2016, I’m thinking through the details of why this worked for me. Talking through the process is helping me improve upon it for the kid, but it is also helping me better understand how I got to where I am at here and now. I am using this blog as my therapist, and I will continue to share my thoughts along the way, in hopes that someone else can find some value by applying it in their own world.