How do I make a clean break?
March 23, 2012 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Trying to turn my life around, but there is a problem. What are the best ways to end an extremely unhealthy 'friendship' with minimal drama?(long, involves substance abuse, clinginess)

I will spare the nastiest details to prevent this from getting too long. I am just now getting out of a 10 year period of tremendous substance abuse. After watching all of my hardwork and effort go down the drain for so long, I am past the pity stage and now feel empowered and ready to take responsibility for myself. I know I am in charge here, and my success or failure depends on my own choices and not the choices of anyone else.

I have also noticed, most of the people who have called me 'friend' over the years have not really cared about me at all. They have been content to exchange hugs and pleasantries, all while watching and even encouraging my self destruction. I am making a clean break, and abandoning all of those relationships. Thankfully, most of the dead weight from my past is a thousand miles away...with one very unfortunate exception.

There is a guy who lives in my town, actually he lives two blocks away. He is the only drug user I know in the area. Before I met him, I had been sober for nearly a year, when I relapsed(work stress). Needing a fix, I ended up finding the seediest loneliest dealer in perhaps the whole world. Most of the people in his life have abandoned him so he is tremendously clingy. He does not realize most people do not want to hang out with such a shameless unrepentant manipulator. His self centered nature and toxic attitude drive most people away, but hey, I wanted some drugs, so I buddied up with him.

When he needed a favor, I was there ready to bend over backwards in exchange for product. In return, he started to grow close to me. Soon, he was dropping I-love-yous, and calling just to see how I was doing. I tolerated this, and even encouraged it because it meant steady unbroken access to whatever fix I needed. Finally, after 6 months of heavy drug abuse on my own part, and watching my life spiral out of control, I realized I needed a clean break.

I tried to treat him like a grown up, to let him know about my decision as an adult, person to person, but I found him unable or unwilling to respect my choice. Every time I came over he was showing me his latest score and talking about getting high. I made many attempts to hang out with him under healthy circumstances, going for walks, playing quoits, etc, but he just will not stop talking about drugs / his latest conspiracy theory / or the impending ron paul revolution(I am a bleeding heart liberal pacifist)

Finally sick of his neediness and narcissm, and realizing I could never be sober with such a terrible empty person around me I blocked him completely from my life, and was able to be sober for almost 6 months.

Well, I did send a few one way texts to let him know why I was cutting him out of my life. He did not take the hint, and was constantly bugging me via text / phone, even if I ignored him for weeks. Anyway, things were great for a while, then stress at work prompted me back towards relapse and into his waiting arms.

I have been using non stop, and seeing him non stop for almost a year. I was completely complacent, ready to tolerate him in exchange for a lifetime of fixing. After all, his boorishness and lack of concern or care for my well being were hard to care about when I was tipped over in a haze of drug induced euphoria. Finally, a friend who really does care about me gently pointed out how sad my situation was becoming. All of the abilities I have trained hard for were slipping away, and I was growing depressed.

I finally realized stress at work causes me to want to fix my emotions with substances. I have stuck around the same dead end job for the past two years simply because fixing with drugs is easier than actually changing. I can literally see my career prospects dwindling by the day.

I am ready to choose a solid happy future in my profession over substance abuse. Good, easy, I need to be sober as badly as I need to breathe.

I was hoping this time he would be supportive, especially given all the alleged 'pain' he went through when I cut him off previously. I asked him multiple times for support. I started preparing him weeks ago for my quit day, which was last Sunday. Two sober days later, he was calling me to wake and bake. Now, mind you, these were my first two consecutive sober days in a year, and the only time in the past year I have been sober for more than 24 hours by choice.

I made it past 72 hours, when work stress almost made me relapse. I walked by his house ready to go in and defile myself, when my resolve held and I was able to walk past. Thankful, but still stressed, I returned home. Lo and behold he calls me, asked how my sobriety was going, seemed all supportive. I mentioned my desire to relapse, and noticing the chink in my armor, between bouts of "I'm proud of you" he suddenly offered up his drugs "if I needed to deal with the stress". Unfortunately, I went over there and took him up on his devil's hospitality. This was last night. Needless to say, my relapse has upset me greatly. The only things keeping me together are sheer willpower and faith in myself.

I cannot deal with this. I need a clean break. How can I get away from this guy, given we live two blocks away and he will not take a subtle hint? Also, he is ex-mil, with severe ptsd. He has threatened his ex-girlfriend with 'murdering' any man she might end up dating and I have heard horror stories of the beatings he has inflected on people who have crossed him. Nobody can tolerate him, aside from me, so he is basically alone in life. How do I get away permanently with as little drama as possible? I am very afraid if I ignore him completely by phone / text / email, he will just show up at my door, possibly with drugs. Now, the jobs I am applying for are all hours and hours away by car, so if I can just stave him off for a while, I can be free.

Right now, my policy is going to be completely ignoring any attempts to contact me, up to and including not answering the door if he shows up. Will that just make him a ticking time bomb? Added complexity, we may very well cross paths accidentally because this is such a small town.
posted by satori_movement to Health & Fitness (50 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think you should move to a clean and sober house that is not in walking distance of his house.
posted by parmanparman at 9:53 AM on March 23, 2012 [9 favorites]

Therapy, narcotics anonymous meetings, get far away from this person and block all communication forms.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:57 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: There is no such thing as a "one-way text." Stop contacting the person you're trying to cut out of your life.
posted by rhizome at 9:58 AM on March 23, 2012 [14 favorites]

Meetings, meetings, meetings. Fill your life up with tons of meetings so you can spend less time worrying about him. Better yet, move now. Or take a vacation to...yr family or to sober friends.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:01 AM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]

I know I am in charge here, and my success or failure depends on my own choices and not the choices of anyone else.

I'm not sure you've fully realized what that means yet. It looks like you have not taken charge of the biggest decision that will influence your success. How badly do you want it? Badly enough to move far away from this person?
posted by spicynuts at 10:05 AM on March 23, 2012

Response by poster: Moving is not an option at this very second. I have 25k in debt, and no cash. I am moving in the next 60-90 days, out of this city, and as far away from this guy as I can get. My resume is already out there floating around, so it is just a matter of time before the interviews begin.

Also, I appreciate the suggestion with regards to meetings, but I have had more success with rational recovery than I have had with meetings, so I am going to try RR again this time.

My issue is with marijuana, not any other drug, so I am less worried about quitting, and more worried about keeping him away from me without having him flip out and break my arm in public.

Not responding to text / phone calls is easy. What do I do if he shows up at my door? What do I do if we cross paths on the street? I KNOW I need to get out of here, but I have to hold tight until I can start a new job in a new city.
posted by satori_movement at 10:10 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

How do you know you're moving in the next 60-90 days? Do you have a firm arrangement? Or are you just expecting this to pan out through interviewing?

It seems like other people have dealt with this guy's threatening nature by abandoning him, because you say you're the only one who hasn't. Did they all move away? Are none of them still living in the area? How did they escape?
posted by tel3path at 10:15 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you see him n the street, turn away. If he shows up at your door, tell him to leave thru the closed door. If he doesn't leave, call the police. Stop shitting around here and get serious. If you really feel that as of right now he is likely to break your arm the. Go directly to the police station and get a restraining order. This guy isn't your problem. You're your problem.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:16 AM on March 23, 2012 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I was hoping this time he would be supportive, especially given all the alleged 'pain' he went through when I cut him off previously.

I don't want to sound harsh, but this guy is not your friend and does not have your best interests in mind. He's not going to support you doing what's right for you.

In the mean time, you should feel proud of yourself for keeping on fighting. I've never been in your situation and I can only imagine how hard it is. It sounds like you need all the help you can get, and it also sounds like this guy is only making it harder. That's not being a friend. That's undermining you and amplifying your weakness.

You don't say why you're not willing to call the police if this guy comes over with drugs, but it doesn't sound like that has occurred to you. If it's because you're ashamed, please don't be. I sense a lot of shame in your writing, and my sense is that the shame could be part of your addiction process. Whether you're ashamed of your past or not, you don't deserve to live in fear of somebody. If you're clean, and this guy is at your door threatening you and is in possession with intent, I would think that a call to the police could make things very difficult for him.

Get to NA meetings and get some people in your life who will vouch for you trying to break your addiction. They may have some advice about dealing with this guy, too. And don't be ashamed of yourself. You're not your addiction.
posted by gauche at 10:18 AM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: You need to cut him out completely from your life. You don't need to explain anything to him - he already knows why.

He shows up at your door? You duck from windows and stay quiet until he leaves.

You cross paths in the street? If he doesn't see you, scramble out of there. If he sees you, get into a store as if that's where you going so any conversation happens in front of others so it can't get too personal. Say you're busy and have to run.

Do this until you're out of there. I'm not one to suggest this kind of avoidance, but if you feel your resolve is going to weaken if you talk to him, then go into stealth mode until you can leave the area.
posted by vivzan at 10:18 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: but I have had more success with rational recovery than I have had with meetings, so I am going to try RR again this time.

The point isn't that they're better than RR, the point is that they 1) take up your time & 2) give you a LOT of people who are dedicated to staying clean and sober, whom you can call instead of your dealer.

I don't know of another group that's as ready-made as the 12-step groups. Maybe a religious group or something? but SOMETHING like that is what you need.

You can go to meetings and not commit to any of their dogma, same as any other group.

Right now you just need a support network who shares your goals and you don't have that.

Being mad at your dealer for dealing to you is just... not useful.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [14 favorites]

You're expressing this as though you can't change until he does. If you avoid him, he'll break your arm. If you can't avoid him, you'll keep using. This will all be solved in the next three months or so, when you'll be out of the area.

I have to second the advice to go to a lot of meetings. If you can't get to RR, please go to NA meetings because if you're at an NA meeting, you won't be with your dealer.
posted by tel3path at 10:23 AM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

The point isn't that they're better than RR, the point is that they 1) take up your time & 2) give you a LOT of people who are dedicated to staying clean and sober, whom you can call instead of your dealer.

This exactly. You don't have to talk at the meetings (you probably know this). Sharing is not required. Just go and sit there. Drink the crappy coffee. Sit in the back and play angry birds, whatever. It's certainly a place where your dealer won't come looking for you.

Elsewise, what everyone else is saying: stop asking him for support, because that's not what he's there for; stop responding to texts or calls; if he comes to your house, don't answer the door. If his attempts to contact you escalate, restraining order.

Most of all, stop using "How do I avoid this person, I can't avoid this person!" as an excuse to not be sober. That may not feel to you like this is what you're doing. But it sure sounds like it.
posted by rtha at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

First of all you have to worry about yourself. Having said that, if you want to look at it from another view, cutting this guy off completely might be good for HIM. It might casuse him to take a good look at himself the same way you did. You shoudlnt do it for this reason but its just another way to see it.
posted by Busmick at 10:35 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

If there are no MA meetings handy go to NA or AA. Actually, I'd recommend AA because SOME of the NA meetings have some damned stupid hierarchy about what kinds of substances you abused- like the more fucked up your life was the cooler you are. They aren't all like that, but man, are they a turn off when they are, especially when someone's first getting clean.

Also, around here anyway, there are AA meetings that are as regular as clockwork. Like, every day at the same place at 7 am. And then at 10. And then at noon... You can hang out, drink coffee, and shoot the shit all day long and no one will bat an eye.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:43 AM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: First -- congratulations on your almost 24-hours of sobriety. It sounds like you've managed to fight this thing a lot better than some of us do. That's huge. You're in the right place and doing the right things.

The best way to end an extremely unhealthy 'friendship' with minimal drama is to rip it off like a band-aid. The good thing about your situation is that it sounds like you've done this before and you're ready to do it now. Just do it again, like last time. Remember, he's sick and suffering. Talking to him is talking to the disease.

If you want to get sober, you need to prioritize your sobriety over everything else. Cut off all contact with this guy, and then put the energy into staying clean.

I don't know what Rational Recovery is, but if it's a way to surround yourself with other sober people, then do as much of it as you can.

Not to hop on the meeting bandwagon, but there's a reason a lot of people are suggesting them. If NA hasn't been your thing, there are plenty of recovering marijuana addicts in AA. If you're even a little bit interested, try a bunch of different meetings. Some are weird and unhelpful, some are a good place to kill some time, some will be a place to meet people you relate to, who have figured out all of this stuff a thousand times over and are chomping at the bit to share their wisdom with you. (Also -- don't let the "god/higher power" stuff keep you from meetings -- you'll find people with widely varying thoughts on that stuff.)
posted by TurkishGolds at 10:46 AM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

You can't change his behaviour only yours. He really isn't your friend, he is hanging around you to justify his own use. You need to cut him from your life like you'd cut off say a gangrenous toe before it spreads and kills you.

Go to 12 step (what ever works for you AA, NA or whatever) meetings on the way home and then walk home the long route so you don't pass his house. Go to meetings on weekends, go every chance you get, if there is even an empty second where you ponder even thinking about starting up again, go to a meeting. You don't have to talk, you don't have to do anything but be in a room with a bunch of people that are trying to stop to see that there are other ways to be. You might have to try a few different meetings until you find one that clicks for you. If you are lucky you'll find a nice supportive group and maybe even make some friends that aren't going to try and drag you down to their level to make themselves feel better. I watched my alcoholic father quit drinking and it really is one day at a time, and you he found it so much easier once he let go of his drinking buddies and found himself some other people that could relate to what he was going through.
posted by wwax at 10:51 AM on March 23, 2012

Also, I appreciate the suggestion with regards to meetings, but I have had more success with rational recovery than I have had with meetings, so I am going to try RR again this time.

Good for you -- follow your success. There are other alternatives to 12-step you can check out, too. Combining one or more of these should help keep you busy. I'd also suggest finding a new hobby, preferably something physical you can do away from the house... even if all you do is run for hours or go to the park and do bodyweight exercises, they'll be sober hours, and it'll be good for you to get moving.

Therapy, particularly CBT, might also be helpful. There are addiction therapists who will be happy to see you on a sliding scale, so don't give up before you investigate your options!
posted by vorfeed at 11:01 AM on March 23, 2012

Yes, if you can line up a couple hours a day of clean and sober geared meetings that aren't 12 step, go for it!

12 Step is just convenient because it's well established. I only fear you'll start using because you have 6 hours to kill til your next RR meeting and you refuse to do the AA meeting that starts in 15 minutes. Do all of them!
posted by small_ruminant at 11:07 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much for all the advice, especially hammering home the point about meetings. If I hang around users, I am going to use. If I hang around sober people, I will be sober.

I really needed to hear all of this. I am going to flat out ignore him completely. No texts, no answered phone calls, and if he shows up at my door, I will threaten to call the police from behind a closed door.

If I see him on the street, I will turn the other direction. If we cross paths in a store, I will leave without saying a word.

I can be a bit of a sucker for someone in pain, and my peaceful easy going nature usually means other people take advantage of me readily. I see now his pain is self induced. His own addiction and desire to remain stationary in life are all consuming.

If I am serious about changing my life, if I am serious about being sober, I have no other choice but to completely and absolutely cut him from my life, as I would a cancer. No exceptions.
posted by satori_movement at 11:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]

I can be a bit of a sucker for someone in pain,

That's not a bad trait, but you need to put you first. You'll be more use to other people when you're in good shape, which is going to take awhile.

He's an adult. If he was 9, we'd have different advice (and you'd have a different question.)

Put your own oxygen mask on first.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:26 AM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Please check in here regularly. It doesn't sound like you have much of a support network beyond this guy. Just come here and count the days of your sobriety, one after another. You will be surprised how many people care.
posted by Dragonness at 12:09 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I can be a bit of a sucker for someone in pain

well, remember that you are also in pain, and treat yourself with the same support, kindness and understanding that you would give to a friend if they were in your shoes.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:28 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]

As an addict I feel qualified to write: why are you trying to blame this person for your addiction? He has nothing to do with it and is merely distracting you from the real issue.

Forget about him. YOU and your addiction are yours alone to own. Just like my addiction is my problem, and no one else's . . .

God bless.
posted by eggman at 12:51 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I want to encourage you with love and respect to move away from the idea that other things "make you" use. Work stress can seem unbearably tough, I get it, but it doesn't "make you" use. This guy sounds like a scary and manipulative person who is a toxic influence in your life, but he doesn't "make you" use.

Only you make you use. Only you can make you stop using. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but I'm seeing excuse after excuse about external causes for your relapses in your post, and I think that if you want to get to lasting sobriety, you have to break that cycle.

All best to you. You will be in my thoughts tonight. I know you can do this.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:25 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ask your real friend for help. Ask him if you can call him when you're stressed out or need encouragement, to prevent yourself from calling the wrong person.

And erase the wrong guy's number from your phOne.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:00 AM on March 24, 2012

Response by poster: The kind words and support here and moved me. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to be a mefite right now. Thank you all so much for telling me the truth.

Day one was happily uneventful. Well, he called me four times over the course of the day, probably looking for a favor or something. Regardless, I ignored all of his attempts at contact and deleted all of his messages / texts without even checking them.

Anyway, I was exhausted the entire day from being up all night from the weed. I did not let anything touch me though. After work, I rushed home, ate a simple dinner, and locked myself in my apartment(a process I will repeat everyday into the foreseeable future). Thankfully, I am huge introvert, with a plethora of hobbies and interests to keep me busy when I am alone..

Many of you noted astutely my lack of a support network. Well, I have a few really good friends, and I love my family more than life itself, but none of them will understand what I am going through right now.

Thankfully, all of you seem to know what is going through my head.

Sidhedevil, you are NAIL ON THE HEAD with your assessment there. I am done with self pity. Nothing makes me use, I control my destiny fully.

Funny, the thing which drove me to use on Thursday started to bubble up again on Friday; I am sick of dealing with broken processes at work. Instead of dealing with the stress in an unhealthy way, by simply masking my pain with drug, I wrote a detailed letter of my grievances to my co-workers / manager. Immediately, I felt tremendous relief. Sure, my plea was met with "well, I am comfortable with this and do not want to change!" but I tried, and I am leaving this job soon anyways. I can put up with this madness for a few more months.

For those of you wondering how I know I will be out of here in the next month or two without even having any solid job leads at this point, well, I am an experienced software developer who graduated from a top 15 engineering school with honors, and I have multiple years of experience in the field working for fortune 100 companies. I am not bragging, actually, computer stuff never comes easy to me, but I have banged my head against math / computational theory for so many years(also, I spend the vast majority of my time in front of a computer). My love of computers predates my addiction by fifteen years.

My passion for computation kept me safe, inside my parent's home, while all of my peers were out partying or tooling around.

One sad fact, since I was a child, my parents have raised me to believe in the power and goodness of sobriety. Neither of my parents drink or smoke or do any drugs. They have both been extremely content to work hard, to live good lives, and to devote themselves to their children.

By the time I hit highschool, I was vehemently anti-drug/drink. I prided myself on being happy without any support.

I dreamt of living my entire life soberly, and being an inspiration to others, as my parents were to me. Unfortunately, I am also extremely naive. I remember one time I was hanging out in toronto when someone on the street asked me for '5 bucks to get into an AA meeting' I felt so much compassion for him, but I only had a 20. I handed him the money, and as he ran off he yelled "I'll get you change, wait here a second." I waited on the corner for over 20 minutes before my friends dragged me away. They kindly informed me, "Dude, AA meetings are free..."

Of course, I am reminded of a story told of the Chofetz Chaim. One day, the Chofetz Chaim was in court, asked to stand as witness in a trial. The judge asked, how do we know this witness is credible? The Chofetz Chaim's lawyer responded with the following anecdote "One day, the Chofetz Chaim was walking down the street, carrying a handbag filled with money. A vagabond ran by, grabbed the handbag, pushed the Chofetz Chaim to the ground, and started running away. Whereupon the Chofetz Chaim jumped to his feet and started running after the thief shouting 'It's yours, it's yours, take it!' just so the thief would not have committed a sin in the eyes of God."

The Judge responded, "Is that story true?" The Chofetz Chaim's Lawyer added "Well...I was not there so I do not know if it is true or not, but people do not tell such stories about you or me"

I really try to take the above story to heart, to live my life with that level of compassion and kindness for my fellow human beings, regardless of how many times I have been burnt.

I digress....

The problem began in my senior year. I almost always kept to myself growing up, because so few people IRL shared my interests. I was much more comfortable online.

Then I met a group of, well, libertines, who also happened to like to play video games. They were not so much interested in computer theory, or programming, as I was, but they were the closest thing I had to people in my life who could understand me. Atleast, I thought they could understand me. We started having LAN parties, and my normally super vigilant mother, who never let me stay the night ANYWHERE growing up, started to let me hang out at these all night gaming marathons. Now, truth be told, there are medical reasons why my mother went from being a very caring dilligent parent who knew everything about me, to taking a more hands off approach with her parenting. Five years later she would be diagnosed with an operable non-cancerous brain tumor the size of a baseball, which had been affecting her judgement for potentially as long as ten years prior to her diagnosis.

Anyway, I started hanging out all night with these do-nothings. Older do-nothings started joining us, this should have been a massive redflag. Why is a Sophmore in college hanging out with a senior in highschool? Well, this college sophmore started bringing drugs to the LAN parties. The funny thing is, I can still remember the first time in my life I EVER interacted with somone on drugs, in this case marijuana. I was hosting a lan party in my parent's basement, when all of the sudden everyone else went outside for 'undisclosed reasons.' I just wanted to play videogames, so I ignored them. They came back, eyes red, with tons of junk food. The rest of the night, they sat around and ate food, and bullshitted. No one played anything. I was livid.

I was so angry with all of those guys. I never wanted to see them again, however, their online personas were soothing, and I let me guard down after a while. I was still determined to live above the influence of substances, but I wanted to play video games...maybe I could keep going to LANS, maybe they would realize drugs are a complete waste of time, and get back to the real business of playing starcraft and quake.

This was terrible logic. Week after week, the college sophmore would wear me down. "Marijuana is completely harmless" "Marijuana has no side effects" "Marijuana is not addictive" "marijuana cures cancer", sure, all of his links were to, or erowid...hmm...I watched as LANs became less and less about computers and videogames and more and more about a bunch of highschool kids getting away from their parents so they could drug themselves into a stupor. Finally, he found a way to convince me, "Why not just try it one time, then you can make an informed descsion?" I wish I had told my mom then and there, she would have put the kibosh on my highschool social life, but in the long term I would have agreed with her reasoning.

What really happened is, I started to brainstorm the worst plan in history. "These guys are your friends," my thinking went, "why not try marijauna once, so you can be informed, then you will 'quit' marijuana, and inpsire all of them to put this lame weed behind them. Then we can get back to playing videogames and talking about computers. Truth be told, even though I did read one or two negative things about marijuana, I was feeling invincible. I had just gotten into my top choice for university, all of my hard work in highschool had paid off. Surely, using marijuana one time would not derail my entire life...

Lol, ten years later, I can safely say, that was the worst decision I have made in my entire life. My first experience with marijauna was, well, not very good. We were in an abandoned subdivision taking bong rips. At first, I felt nothing, then I was disoriented and felt disembodied. I remember walking around my buddy's empty basement, feeling like I was in the third person, contemplating time and reality.

Of course, contemplation is a generous term for the kind of blast stream of conciousness which occurs in my mind when THC crosses the blood brain barrier. After the first time, I more or less forgot my plans to quit, mostly because I started dating a really wonderful sweet girl, and did not feel the need to continue using drugs. My life was perfect. I did not touch marijuana again for around two months.

Then, she broke up with me. I should have learned something about myself in the process, I should have internalized the pain, and taken the lesson. She broke up with me because I was not experienced in the ways of relationships, in a general sense, not just with females, and I did not fully understand the selflessness required to love somebody intimately. Rather then learn something, I decided to start hanging around the old crowd more and more. Sure, I had gone to a few lans in between, but my girl was always there with me, like a guardian angel. With her gone, and myself in a depressed state, the natural solution seemed to be to drug the pain away, deal with it later. This was when everything started to go south.

I spent the summer trying harder drugs, and staying high all of the time. I was only interested in hallucingens. I took a vicodin or two, and played around with adderal / xanax, but these things did not really interest me.

Allow me to think tangentially for a moment. I was raised as an Orthodox Jew. While some people speak of the existence of God as if 'existence' is definable to begin with, the truth is most people take physical reality for a given. Well, as a child, the objective nature of reality is NOT a given. The world, from a child's eyes, seems so uncertain. Even before my ego had fully developed, I knew God, and had a personal relationship with God. I am not talking about any kind of radical non-dualism here, I am talking about behdaabehda, different / non-different. Children can feel their souls, and through their souls they know God. I was born with an innate love of, and connection to, my fellow human beings. I have never needed more proof of a soul than my own inborn, pre-egoic sense of empathy.

Now, God is a very loaded word in the english language. For me, I cannot speak anything of God. The mystics speak of God as you or I might speak of a friend. I have no such relationship with God. I could not tell you if God created the world, or continiously creates it in every given moment. I am inclined against this belief, simply because of the sometimes cruel and indifferent nature of our universe.

No, for me, God is pure conciousness. I do not know what pure conciousness is, except to say I know I am concious, and my own mental fluctuations prevent me from ever truly experiencing conciousness, except for brief fleeting moments when my years of meditation and yoga allow me to soothe out the ripples in my mind. Which is to say, I have had brief, intermittent, impermanant experiences of conciousness aware of consciousness, consciousness residing in consciousness, consciousness aware of nothing but itself. My suspicion is God is consciousness aware only of consciousness, eternally. God is a doer in our universe, fanning the flames of hope in people's hearts, but an indirect doer, a desireless doer, as light does not desire to illuminate, but simply does, for to illuminate is the nature of light.

The nature of God is also to illuminate, however, God's light illuminates the subtle higher nature inside of a human being, wisdom, love, hope, kindness, etc, and not the gross outward physical world.

Now, obviously, my ideas of God are in direct contrast with my upbringing. The story of how this happened is a bit sad, and explains why I was predisposed to addiction to hallucingens, and perhaps, if someone stumbles upon this years later, they may be able to spare themselves the grief I have experienced.

When I was young, and orthodox, my family lived in a small cloistered community, surrounded entirely by other observant Jews. As a child, this was such a wonderful life to experience. I have never, in my entire life, encountered such a strong beautiful sense of community. Every bar mitzvah was a massive joyous occasion, everyone invited. Every Saturday, we all gathered together and devoted ourselves to God, to love, to community, and to selflessness. The joy of observing a sabbath to the letter of the law, when everyone else in the community is also doing so, indescribable.

There were hard times too, I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, and 12 mile was changing. My parents, noticing the Jewish private school I attended was lacking in strong secular studies, decided to find us a good public school to attend. The effect of this change on my young mind is something I am still wrestling with to this day. I went from thinking everyone was an orthodox Jew, to reality. I felt alienated from all of my secular classmates, and my own family started to grow more secular by the week.

Finally, we were just like all of the other assimilated Jews in the area, eating at McDonalds, watching TV on Saturday, etc. I never really adjusted to all of the new social rules. Concepts like Lashon Hara(The evil tongue), just do not really exist in secular society. I looked inward for strength, but where I used to find a soul, I now found emptiness.

I kept searching for my lost soul, but by highschool I was pretty much an atheist. Really, for no other reason than it served my own interests, not because I really did not believe in God. Pretending I did not believe in God took a lot less work than actually trying to improve myself. Being an atheist was an excuse to pursue my own pleasure for my own pleasures sake. I was really a nasty selfish creature by this point in my life.

A soul cannot stay buried forever. All of the hallucingens I started consuming after my first experienced with marijuana, reaffirmed the truly subjective nature of our universe. Drugs never made me feel spiritual persay, but they wiped away the anti-spiritual tendencies I had been developing.

I kept using, mostly Marijuana, even when I wanted to stop. In college I struggled with school. The constant marijuana use had shortened my formidable attention span. Once an avid reader, I could barely finish a paragraph. My interests in computers and video games started to dwindle, and so too did my interest in going to college. I started pursuing a degree in Archaeology, for no other reason than it was easier to finish than a degree in Computer Science.

I moved in with a bunch of my old stoner pals from my LAN party days, and continued to smoke more and more pot. I was not really interested in other drugs, or sex. I just wanted to obliterate myself, and all of my memories.

Funny, even though the body can die, the soul cannot. Even though the body can be buried underneath piles of dirt, the soul is ever above ground, and ever present.

My inner nature started to buck against the constant drug use. "What about your potential?" I could hear myself say, "who cares," and I kept drugging.

Finally, I had a spiritual break down in a bathtub. I was taking a shower, and the universe split asunder, and I 'saw' a giant spiral, like a spiral galaxy. I got the sense my brain was trying to show me infinite potential, the bound together multiverses, the infinitely connected nature of reality.

I knew I had to start a period of honest introspection. I knew I needed a stronger connection to my inner world. I ended up at a Chabad house, and spent a year trying to live as close to the letter of talmudic law as I possibly could on a secular college campus.

I reasoned, even if I did not yet believe the Torah was word for word from God, atleast I had found a path to self-improvement, morals, virtue, and honor. I was able to be sober for a year, well, I definitely made a few L'Chaims, but I was free of weed. My memory started to return, as did happiness, and joy, and love for my fellow human beings. I started to feel childlike and whole again, not damaged and broken.

Things were going well for about a year, when I saw some Orthodox people doing some very not so virtuous things. I realized then and there, dogma is dogma. External rituals are not a shortcut for realizing the inner self, just as drugs are not a shortcut...well I did not really truly learn the latter fact. Instead, I threw off my yalmulka and tzitzis, and went right back to the bong.

Around this time, I started getting interested in Zen, and Buddhism. Depressed / stoner me really agreed with the concepts of emptiness, and the Buddha's emphasis on how dissatisfying the world is. Obviously, the Buddha stressed a need to be sober, so I would wrestle back and forth with my habit. This process continued until about a month ago.

I was able to be sober for brief periods of time, but I found the Buddha's words were super demotivational. Everytime I ended up sober, I also ended up casting aside my passions and interests, spending all of my time meditating and trying to disassociate from all desires.

The truth is though, the Buddha is half right and he is half wrong. There is a famous chinese parable, Lao Tzu, Confucius, and the Buddha are sitting around a jug of vinegar. Confucius takes a sip, and says objectively "This is sour," the Buddha takes a sip, and says subjectively "This is bitter," Lao Tzu takes a sip, and says with a smile "This is sweet."

Many of the Buddha's Metaphysical ideas do not hold up to reasoning. One of the big reasons, aside from muslim invaders, why Buddhism has died out in India is the concerted efforts of philosophers and sages in India to take Buddhist ideas seriously and refute them. The Buddha adopted many concepts from Hinduism, such as karma, reincarnation, and the emptiness of self-service, but he stripped away the complementary concepts which make those ideas logically sound. Of course, the Buddha would be the first to say "Do not make a metaphysics of my ideas," but then what does he really offer anybody except a license to run away from their problems by meditating their lives away.(Note I love to meditate, and do so daily)

In addition, I think he did the entire world a disservice with his example. Renouncing the world will only encourage others to renounce the world.

What is so wrong with this world? Why would we want to renounce our purer motivations, such as our desire to contribute meaningfully to society? Sure, selfishness is pointless, but as a civilization human beings have so much potential.

A month ago I realized all of this, along with growing conviction of my own eternal nature. Sure, the body dies, but higher ideals do not, not even when our universe experiences heat death.

Upon simply reaching inwardly towards my soul, towards my passions, towards my intrinisic love of life, I grabbed ahold of something more powerful than my beastly inner desire for self annihilation.

Anyway, I am going to keep posting updates, keep plumbing my history, keep remembering. I know long term sobriety depends on my desire to remember, to learn from past mistakes, and to change.

Many people feel marijuana is not an addictive drug, but the truth is a person can become addicted to anything. Recovery from marijuana addiction can actually be incredibly challenging. Sure, the physical withdrawal is pretty minimal, certainly non-lethal, but the truth is most people only casually use marijuana, if at all.

Most people have no idea about cannabis state dependence, or the mechanisms by which marijuana operates. I know I sure did not when I first started. Had I really internalized the truth; all of my feelings of bluntness, of creative stagnation, and my lack of interest in others / the world around me, all stemmed from my daily marijuana habit, I would have been able to do this a long time ago. By far, the most damaging element of Marijuana is the effect it has on memory. Most other drugs do not radically alter the brain's ability to form short term memories. Like the story of Ulysses and the Lotus Eaters, some people come to the island of mara marijuana seeking to forget. After a while, all they remember are the lotuses, and so they remain, prisoner to their own habits. I want off.

People who use marijuana daily are not sober, they are never sober. Even if they have not used yet during the day, their bodies are still processing long lasting THC metabolites. These metabolites can linger in the body for weeks and weeks. I know I have a long road ahead, but I am taking things one hour at a time, and I am committed to lifetime sobriety at this point. Not for myself, the body is made of dirt, and to dirt it will return, but because drugs / alcohol are a pointless dead end, even when used 'recreationally.' The best thing I can do for others is to be sober, and to lead by example. This is also, coincidentally, the best thing I can do for myself.

Also, if anyone stumbles upon this thread later, a fellow mefite recommended Shine by Rollins Band. I have also been listening to Saigon - Friends.

Any other song recommendations will be appreciated, as will further advice, anecdotes, etc.
posted by satori_movement at 10:29 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

You have a real need to talk things through with someone. Look at all the stuff that poured out of you. (As someone who thinks best while talking, I can relate.)
Is therapy an option?
posted by Omnomnom at 12:02 PM on March 24, 2012

Best answer: It occurs to me, as you're so comfortable in writing, that hanging out on some of the sober forums might be useful and entertaining, too. I'm only familiar with the craigslist "recovery" one, which I pop into now and then, and it's about 25% useful and 75% jerks, but I know there are others that are a little better moderated, which cuts down on the poo flinging.

Two unrelated thoughts:

When people come out of addiction through working on themselves, self examination, and helping others get clean, I think they end up better and more compassionate people. Some of the meanest people I know are ones who pride themselves on never having made such a mistake. They lack compassion and humility and therefore are not nearly as able to help others. It's a hard thing to get through, but I bet you're now more likely to be able to show love to people who have made mistakes than you were before all of this.

Also, I don't think intellectualizing your way out of this will work. My brain doesn't work that way, anyway. I have to get at these kinds of things sideways. My excellent discernment (hah!) can rationalize all sorts of BS and I am convinced that addiction is the trojan horse that hijacks the discernment centers in your brain, so that your choices to use feel like the right one at that moment, even when other little parts of your brain are saying "No, stupid! Don't do it!"

I have a collection of things that are completely illogical that I have to do to stay out of my addictions.
-One of them is exercise- even a quick walk will do.
-A very important one is to see friends, which doesn't come naturally to any of my circle any more, we're so busy. We actually have to have hang-out dates. Dumb for such an introvert as me, but I can FEEL my insanity creeping back in when I don't do it. I don't feel lonely or bored when I'm alone, (usually) and even so, I need to hang out with friends. Like I said, it isn't logical.
-The other things I have to do are eat well and
-do some sort of something that feeds the part of my brain that thinks bigger than myself- a walk in the woods, a guided meditation, or just watching the birds for 20 minutes. Again, cheesy and illogical but nonetheless it works. Maybe it'll work for you.

YMMV but try things out- I bet you end up with a formula for sanity while you're struggling with this.

Another thing that makes the online forums useful is that people have their own versions. For instance, a recovering meth addict will respond better to a different diet than a recovering marijuana addict. People will have suggestions about vitamins and all sorts of things.

We have such an awesome resource at our fingertips these days.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:47 PM on March 24, 2012

Best answer: thanks for your detailed reply. It's funny how we all go through life seeing other's actions, and hearing their words, but rarely getting a glimpse of the thoughts and feelings that motivate them. Reading what you have been struggling with, and what has brought you to the place you are now is interesting; and as Omnomnom says, you would probably get a lot out of therapy, you might actually really enjoy it.

Since a lot of the turmoil you've experienced seems to be morality based, I thought I would share my view of it, maybe it will help and shed some light, maybe I'll sound like a fool, but what the heck, eh?

I don't believe in god, or follow any particular shcool of thought, but I do have a basic premise that I let guide my actions, it's simple, but it seems to work. If you are hurting someone or something, it is wrong, and if you are helping, it is right. That's the basic idea, but it needs to be accompanied by a few guidelines - firstly, you have to make sure that you yourself carry equal importance to anyone or anything else when weighing how much your are helping/hurting. It would be easy to take the dichotomy too far, and deny yourself completely in order to do good for others. It seems like a noble idea, but you really can't be a good, kind and decent person to others if you are miserable yourself. A lot of what we do isn't motivated directly by our concious thoughts, so if you are acting from an unhappy place, a lot of your actions will be influenced by that unhapiness, and that feeling will spread, undermining your best efforts. The second thing is that you need to be accepting of imperfection, it's good to have something to believe in, but it's also important to be ok if for whatever reason you mess it up sometime. If you mess up, absolutely try to make it right, but it will do no-one any good to torture yourself about it, carry guilt and shame, or to be angry and dissapointed if other people aren't always as good as you want them to be.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:12 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the extremely valuable feedback. During this period of self reflection, nothing is off limits. The harsher the truth, the more I need to hear it.

I have thought about therapy, but the truth is I cannot think out loud. What I mean is, if I start to think out loud, everything I say becomes a question. The thought "I want to be sober." becomes the words "I want to be sober.....?" The reasoning for this is, I have programmed myself over the years to be perceptive of words, and to constantly play devil's advocate. I like to latch on to what other people say verbatim, and to mirror it back for them so they can see the problems in their thinking(if any).

Naturally, this makes me a bit unpopular. Learning to be more right brained, to interact with others on an emotional level rather than a strictly logical level, is going to be a big part of my healing process.

Of course, learning to tune into my emotions after a decade of marijuana use is a bit like coming out of a coma and finding oneself on a roller coaster.

Day two was an incredible whirlwind. I actually went into the office for no other reason than to be away from my place of residence, and as far away from bad influences as possible.

I spent eight hours, essentially pacing back and forth in the parking lot, in between bouts of listening to music. My awareness is still all over the place, so even sitting still for long periods of time is difficult.

Going forward, I have to see the value of my life, the value of a life well lived. The only way to be sober in the long term is to internalize the following truth "Time spent soberly is more valuable to me than time spent under the influence" This statement has to be true in all situations and at all times. I have to firmly believe in the value of being present, substance free, regardless of how I 'feel' in any given moment.

I am reminded of a particular hip hop artist, K'naan. K'naan is a Muslim from Somalia, and as a devout Muslim he has never touched alcohol nor drugs. In an interview for a hip hop podcast, he talked about being a sober rapper, even while on tour with the Marleys. He speaks at length about the perspectives of others in his scene, and then he talks more importantly about his own experience. For K'naan, his sobriety is something special, something measurable. Though other artists may try to pressure him into using, he has no desire whatsoever to risk his inner peace and 'special-ness.'

"People can't believe it of me when they see photos or interviews, they say 'Man he is on…he is flying,' I am, but on life. I have a certain appreciation for life that just keeps me feeling like there is a liquid measure of happiness that I have. I can't say that I'm not depressed sometimes; I just don't do anything outside of music that will make me feel better about my life. I just do music, and that makes me feel really good."
posted by satori_movement at 5:15 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

So why don't you take that need to pace back and forth and apply it in a different direction. Any good hikes where you live? Or...guided hikes led by the Sierra club, or some such? Or a mountain to walk up? Or, or, need to stick around an ugly parking lot all day when you've got anxious energy to burn. Or an urban walk, but one that's long.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:59 AM on March 25, 2012

Response by poster: Good suggestions Blah. Unfortunately, no good hiking in the area, not within a 30 minute drive anyways. I do not mind empty parking lots. I walk to think anyways, not to see stuff.

However, my ability to focus is returning, so I am cooking up some projects to apply my energy to.

Day three started with a healthy dose of nervous energy. I barely slept the night before, got up super early and just went into the office. I spent the whole Sunday working on a work project I had put on the back burner. At the end of the night, it felt great to know I accomplished something. I was also finally able to sleep, and I even remembered my dreams for the first time in a who knows how long.

Of course, there was drama. The dude who was the inspiration for this post really lit up my phone. Like a good ZCPer I deleted every text, and every voicemail, without even reading / listening to them. This includes a text I saw from his ex, which I assumed was him without even looking at it.

However, after I got home for the day, I was relaxing in my bedroom, getting ready to wind things down, when suddenly I hear a loud knock on my door. Followed by silence, then the knocking continued. Then he starts pressing the door bell. I knew it was him without even looking through the window.

He starts screaming through the walls "I really need a friend right now." "I'm bleeding"

I was completely silent. Part of me was curious, part of me wanted to comfort him, but thankfully I got a hold of myself. If he was hurt, he should have called for an ambulance. If he was looking for emotional support, well, I am in no shape to offer any assistance.

If he wanted me as a friend, he should have supported and respected my decision to be substance free. He did not, so therefore, he is no friend of mine.

Finally, he left, and I was able to sleep.
posted by satori_movement at 5:32 AM on March 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Wow... I first saw "Finally, he left" and thought "Oh no, you gave in!" then read the rest of your message. I don't know you but I'm proud of your fortitude. Keep it up.
posted by Dragonness at 7:35 AM on March 26, 2012

Good for you!
posted by small_ruminant at 8:07 AM on March 26, 2012

Response by poster: :-)

Day four started off a bit rainy. I rose super early because the power was off, so my room was frigid. Unable to go back to sleep, I got in my car and went to work.

The day passed quite pleasantly, and I am thankful to say he did not make even one attempt to contact me.

Hopefully he has taken the not so subtle hint, and I can get on with my life.

I am still going to post updates, at least until I move out of this city. Sure, I keep a handwritten journal, where I endlessly reiterate and remember, but posting online requires a different type of reflection. I find value in both approaches.

We are not born damaged, we are born whole. In fact, we are always whole, without defect, and utterly complete. At some point in my life, I forgot my own perfection. Now is a perfect time to remember. With humility, I can be patient. With patience and humility, I can watch, and more importantly, I can learn.

If retrace my steps enough times, I can note the landmarks, and prevent myself from ever getting lost again.
posted by satori_movement at 8:39 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

You might want to add blogging (on your own blog, not here) to your list of hobbies to keep you busy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:13 PM on March 27, 2012

Response by poster: Not a bad idea Corpse. I have a tumblr, might as well put it to good use.

Day five, a real sober friend of mine showed up in town. We had a real nice time walking around.

I am beginning to feel like a person again. Afterwards, I swallowed my fear, and decided to step out of my comfort zone. Staying in my comfort zone lead to a lost a decade, and realizing this, I have been eager to do things which scare me a bit.

Years ago, I lived in Norcal, and took Aikido lessons from a truly amazing person. Those lessons made a huge impact on me. Unfortunately, after a few months of sobriety, the habit took over again, and I just could not maintain any kind of discipline while trying to be stoned as a door 24/7, so I dropped out.

My Sensei was very kind about the whole thing, and took a moment to reach out and let me know "the dojo will be here when you are ready to return."

Sure enough, last night, around three years after walking out, I walked back in.

I really could not be happier about the whole thing. Life is amazing when we open up the infinite possibilities around us. We always have unlimited options. Cycles can only trap us if we let them.
posted by satori_movement at 8:34 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Day six, ghosts of the past have started to creep up. Yesterday was excellent and quiet, save for a 'friend' from long ago who contacted me to say hello. I did not answer, nor have I returned the call.

Now, truthfully, this person is not a huge impediment to being sober. They live thousands of miles away. Part of me entertained the idea of returning the phone call, or at the very least perhaps sending an email to say I am alive and doing alright.

However, what is the point? Back in the day, this person watched as I slid into a very dark place. They watched and did nothing. We are only responsible for ourselves, yes, but being a true friend means telling someone when they are off the rails.

My life is better without this random person from my past as part of it. Just because we called each other friend for so many years does not mean either of us was being truthful.

Letting go is such a big part of recovery, letting go of the past, letting go of self judgement and self hatred. I am done with hypotheticals, and I am done with trying to keep people in my life just because. I am also done being polite just to be polite. Being quiet is a noble virtue. I know my silence may cause them some pain in the short term, but in the long term we will both be better off.
posted by satori_movement at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Day 7, :D Coming up!

One week down, truly, life is so amazing. Are there ups and downs? Yes, sure, but even my worst moments this week are infinitely better than my best moments permabaked.

Yesterday I read a technical manual for the first time in ages, and found myself fascinated with the content. I can focus, and concentrate, and it feels wonderful.

I am feeling less and less like an outsider to my own mind, and more and more in the driver's seat.

The adventure continues.
posted by satori_movement at 10:49 AM on March 30, 2012

So wonderful to read that you're regaining your faculties.
posted by Dragonness at 12:02 PM on March 30, 2012

Response by poster: thanks dragonness! I thought they would be gone forever.

Day 8, thankfully quiet, settling into a nice sober routine. Once upon a time the thought of spending even 24 hours sober terrified me, now I am reveling in my recovery.

Reframing my inner voice is becoming key. I am learning to change the dialogue inside, so I can be supportive of myself. Being sober is not hard persay, but it definitely takes skill.

Anyway, more later.
posted by satori_movement at 10:50 AM on March 31, 2012

Response by poster: Day 9, been ramping up my personal projects. Next week I am going to resume the job hunt.

It was easy to focus on sobriety first and foremost during the first week, but now the urgent need to get out of this city is bubbling up again.

However, patience has always been a troublesome virtue for me. Take a deep breath, lets get through this.
posted by satori_movement at 8:52 AM on April 1, 2012

Response by poster: Day 10, another person from my past is being persistent. I keep getting these texts / emails / phone calls from him. We called each other friend for over a decade, so I am sure he is probably not happy right now.

I cannot control that though. I have ignored all of his attempts at contact. I do not even know if he is using drugs or what, but I am finally ready to put myself first.

I keep repeating to myself - I cannot control how other people feel.

Its not all roses and rhubarb pie though, I had some challenges this past weekend with my emotions. HOLY SNAP I am out of touch with myself. Emotions bubble up to the surface, seemingly for no reason, and suddenly I am in the center of a maelstrom.

I meditate though, and this helps so much. I just have to learn how to be better about interrupting the eruption before any collateral damage. I keep apologizing to those I may offend, but one day an apology may not be good enough. Proud words cannot be taken back.

Anyway, this week is starting off excellently. I am going to be loving and patient with myself, and I will be a good shepherd.
posted by satori_movement at 7:33 AM on April 2, 2012

Response by poster: Day 11, seriously, it gets better. "This too will pass" and it always does. Sometimes, in the moment, emotions are like bullies, but seriously, they pass, they move on, the brain gets tired and focuses on something else.

After a bit of a down slope heading into the weekend, I am charging ahead now. K'naan spoke above about a 'liquid measure of happiness' and he is not lieing. Being sober just gets better and better. IT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF DRUGGING ALL THE TIME.

Of course, there are little bumps, little things, and I have to learn techniques for staying focused on the big picture, we all do, but seriously, it gets better.

I cannot say it enough, if we do not give up, if we persevere, we gain strength, we gain courage, we gain real skills for dealing with our emotions, and not just placebos.

I feel really good today. I know I will not always feel this good, somedays I will feel better, and somedays I will have challenges. But all of those things, the good and the bad, are temporary, they pass, and when they go, I am still here, sober, in this present moment. Complete.
posted by satori_movement at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2012

Mod note: Hey OP? Glad things are going better, but you need to be posting this stuff elsewhere and not using your AskMe question as your own personal blog. Feel fre eto leave a link in your profile for people who want to follow along.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:26 PM on April 3, 2012

Response by poster: Jessamyn, are my updates bothering someone or affecting the site in some subtle way? I understand askmefi is not my personal blog, but it is not like I am spamming the front page or forcing someone to read this question.

I will stop posting updates here, but it makes me a bit sad to see I am being asked to curtail behavior which is harmless.
posted by satori_movement at 7:36 AM on April 4, 2012

People often read the site in their recent activity. Which means for people who are following this question or have commented in it, it will continue to show back up in recent activity each time you update. Generally speaking we remove comments that aren't answers to the question or updates to the questions from the OP. Your status updates aren't really answers to the question or updates to the question itself and aren't using this part of the site for its intended purpose. We've been seeing flags and getting email, yes.

You can take this up with the mod team via the contact form if you want or go to MetaTalk, but it's a big site with a lot of people many of whom want differing things from the site and it's just not designed for those purposes.
posted by jessamyn at 7:56 AM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: Fair, this makes sense. I was not aware of how my behavior might be affecting others. Thank you for the clarification.
posted by satori_movement at 7:59 AM on April 4, 2012

It's not the OP's fault, I encouraged him to check in here. I hope the tough beginning was easier to bear in company.
posted by Dragonness at 12:23 PM on April 4, 2012

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