Tag Archives: sobriety

About selling at markets, having a boyfriend and living a sober life

O is for owl - childrens art for bedroom by artist jessica doyle

It’s been a long time since I felt confident enough to say I love what I do. Selling at the City Market over the last few weeks has been a blessing. I worked hard to find full-time work outside of the home yet almost every door I knocked on stayed closed for the last seven years. So, I’ve always returned to creating my own work.

Not everyone is meant to work a 9 to 5 job and this time around I accept that. Just as I’m not supposed to drink or smoke. It’s been over five months since I had my last drink and while it’s occasionally hard, it’s getting easier to focus on life without donning the rosé coloured glasses.

And it’s very strange to begin seeing clearly the reasons you drank, used drugs or smoked.

I “used”, to dull emotions, senses and stimuli. I would then use to heighten them when I didn’t have enough energy.

I feel more high sober than I did high so to speak. I’m accepting the strong emotions and insane bursts of energy and focus as they come on and the people closest to me accept them too. I let those people know what’s going on and don’t bottle the sh!t up nor spend too much time alone except when working here in the studio or when resting after work.

And I’m working lots these days. The pictures in this post are scenes from the Saint John City Market, the monthly outdoor Queen Square Market, a new owl limited edition print and of the mantle in my living room. That piece sold and is on route to Indiana at the time of this writing. But, you can get your own limited edition Sassy Sea Urchin here to frame and hang on your wall form the shop.

And the boyfriend has been a positive influence on me for sticking to a routine especially when getting to bed and getting up in the morning. We drink tea and talk, go for long walks, cook meals, spend time with family, play games, explore, laugh and enjoy the present. We have much in common and enough self interests to keep things interesting and moving forward. Most of all our core values, beliefs and morals are in line with one and other.

I didn’t know that life could be this way. And I didn’t know that by saying “no” to things that didn’t feel right that eventually the right stuff would make it’s way into my life.

BTW… i’ll be at the Saint John City Market on June 30th and again on July 1st in my regular stall down by Pete’s Frootique. Drop in to say hi! I’ve got many new framed pieces to choose from, new prints and the locket sets too.

Detox – Day 1

fabriano quadrato artist journal sketch by jessica doyle - day one detox

Sometime in January I knew things were not right and that a climax was on it’s way.

I phoned the local drug and alcohol detox facility on January 22nd, 2012 and self admitted myself three days later for seven days. For an entire week, I went through the rather uncomfortable detoxification process, and survived.

I’ve been sober off over-the-counter medications and alcohol ever since.

I didn’t think a relapse would happen this way. I mean… this coming August I’ll be seven years clean off hard drugs and five months cigarette free later this month… and now on the 25th I’ll be 90 days clean and sober off of everything.

And that feels foreign and most naked to me.

Spring Cleaning Original Art Sale

Please note that this sale has ended.

It’s a lonely road we all must walk after coming clean with ourselves then our family and friends. And truly no one else really understands because they are each walking their own paths too.

And the plan is to ignore the banter and move forwards and not be so hard on myself. I can’t count how many people have said that to me lately… people who know me well and people who know me not so well. I must be wearing my emotions on my sleeve.

Where exactly is one to put their emotions? And yes, the sleeve is a metaphor. I always try to use a kleenex when necessary but will resort to using my sleeve when I’m running away from the zombies! Haha!

Look, I started a sale in the shop. All originals are 50% off. I really need to clear these wonderful original artworks out of the studio and make room for new creations both physically and emotionally. The prices are already marked down.

Happy Springtime Everyone!

Chasing the dragon for the last five years

Chasing the Dragon Illustration by artist Jessica Doyle yellow, blue, green

Today marks five years sobriety for me off of GHB.

I drew this dragon five months ago. I added the watercolour five days ago and the image just screamed chasing the dragon once the colours began popping it to life. It still needs more work mind you… Subconsciously, I still chase that illusive dragon when working, creating or even when alone thinking or researching. When what I’m working on, creating, thinking or researching climaxes, I certainly do, feel high and struggle to get to the end. I almost can’t contain myself at times and must run outside to smoke a cigarette and sadly, nicotine is the worst drug of all, as it doesn’t even make you high.

I silently research drugs, their uses and legalities. I consider it a hobby and when I feel the need to use a substance that most certainly will cause me angst, I read back in my journals about the gruesome detox and agony I suffered through for months when sobering up from GHB.

It’s not a pleasant experience to break out in painful large blisters and pimples all over your back, arms and legs and to lose feeling in your extremities and watch your fingers and toes go blue from slowed blood circulation as you reduce your dose of GHB slowly and by half each day for one week at home. It’s not human to recoil into an infantile state regressing to points in one life while awake or asleep when bad things happened only to have to vividly relive them again and again until you aged and moved onwards to the next abuse or trauma.

Process of chasing the dragon illustration by artist Jessica Doyle winsor and Newton watercolour blue green

And I certainly don’t miss the need to dose every half hour at times and the need to overdose just to sleep for two hours at a time or the constant fear of knowing that I would die from sudden withdrawal without GHB running through my system if my drug dealer ran out of it or I forgot my bottle at home after leaving the house for that day. I would return home for the bottle. Always. You hit a certain point with GHB addiction where there is no turning back to just recreational use. Missing a dose can send you into convulsions. Missing a dose can stop your heart from beating. Missing a dose can take your breath away forever. While taking too much can make you fall asleep and go into a coma.

I do miss the first five months of the addiction; the time when everything was wonderful, my brain worked properly and life seemed easier even if it was only a charade.

And most of all, I DO NOT REGRET taking GHB or becoming addicted to it as there were times when it, was perfect.

Over the years people have said to me why not take a Xanax or a Valium to calm down. Are you kidding me? Really, offering a sedative to someone who was addicted to them for two full years (albeit the illegal kind) is like offering a recovered heroin addict a T1 or an alcoholic a just a small shot of whiskey.

Studio of artist Jessica Doyle showing chasing the dragon illustration paint watercolour acrylic

So, chasing the dragon is akin to being amongst the living.

Chasing the dragon is a work in progress. Thus far the mediums used are Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens and Winsor and Newton watercolour on Arches watercolour paper. It measures 8×10 inches (20,3cm by 25,4cm). And I do not ever smoke inside. My household is a strict non-smoking and scent free home.

The programs offered by addiction treatment centers are designed to help treat addiction to any kind of illicit drug.

Last night I went out and used copious amounts of illegal drugs

And today I am paying for it, needing to dose every half hour or so, so as to not go into remission and suffer through withdrawal.

It’s awful. I thought I’d be OK going to that party last night where I knew there would be GHB. Someone asked me if I wanted a shot and I said no then another person asked me again and I said no again. I should have just left that party. I should have just walked home. Then another person asked saying “Oh, Jessica, it’ll be OK” proceeding to explain that he was addicted to and now only takes it when he’s around other people. I caved, and said yes thinking it would be OK just this once.

And just like that…

…I’m completely addicted to GHB again.

I’d be a FOOL to even try that drug again with 1679 days sober off that stinking drug.

3 Years Today and Five Ways to Make it to 4

Yes, it is that day of the year again where I can honestly say that I am sober of GHB addiction.

Five Ways to Make it to 4

  1. Don’t hang out with people who use the drug you were addicted to no matter how much you like them steer clear because a moment of weakness could strike at any time.
  2. Do something else. Pick up a pen and write or call a friend and talk out what you are feeling.
  3. Exercise. Do anything! Walking. Gardening. Swimming. Renovating. Picking berries. You don’t need to have an expensive gym membership to get in shape. It’s a big world out there folks… get outside regardless of the weather. I walk an average 15K a week and splurged on expensive sneakers instead. I rarely drive.
  4. Eat super healthy food all day long. Cut out or significantly cut down on fast food and processed foods and give your digestive track and waistline a break. I was a monstrous Pepsi addict. Yes, I consume Pepsi and drink on average two cans a day down from the 10 to 14 cans a day of two years ago.
  5. Find the love and honesty within yourself first and you will attract those qualities in others afterwards.

Bonus!

Change your vocation if you need to. My career choice of 10 years was making me sick. The more I worked in an office the more I wanted to use and pull my hair out. And this is not easy. I went from earning thousands every month to meager hundreds per month and lived in the most expensive city in Canada at the time.

I don’t have any words of wisdom or advice on how to quit what you are currently addicted to. I still smoke cigarettes as of today and someday will quit those to. What I do do is this; ONLY smoke outside! That choice in itself has cut my smoking in half. I never smoke inside ever! I am diligent with washing my hands and never smoke when creating art, packaging or printing. My studio is bright, south facing, smoke-free and clean. And to test whether or not your art smells of art or smoke simply ask a few non-smokers to smell it. It only takes a few moments of their time and will give you the piece of mind that when your customers buy your stuff it will smell of what it was created of and not of smoke. My art, reproductions and supplies smell of paper, ink and art supplies. Those non-smokers told me so!

Oddly enough, I am more worried about my art smelling of smoke than I am of myself being addicted to smoking. 😉

967 days later…

Memories accumulate over time interlacing overlapping each other causing fog to form at the base of one’s understanding. We see people in passing who at one time understood us; perhaps even loved us and whom we used to love to. They dwell between the nether regions of our souls; a place dark perhaps distraught from years of neglect and solitude.

When you see what it really is
that is what you’ll “get”
Got it?

I don’t know why I saw her tonight. I don’t know why she was there dancing. I couldn’t understand the memories that surged yet understood why and how they became.

We ingested copious amounts of drugs together. We partied days at a time. Not hours. Nor evenings. Days. 72 hours? 3 days turned into weeks for me. Months. Years. Passed.

It broke tonight. The craving for intoxication. Annihilation. Emptiness. I saw her and all that was is. All that will be was forgotten.

Nine hundred and sixty seven days later I remain sober of GHB.

Fuck, the last two weeks became stupendously hard for me and I don’t know why. It was all I could do but work, draw, write, sleep, not sleep, be, not be, freak silently while the cravings raced over me, through me and around me. How can this be? How!!! Talking to someone here in this freaking city is irrelevant. People here in this small town have no clue. NONE.

So, I will talk to you. You who will not judge, nor react. You who will accept. You the unknown, the present tense of life.

It melted away tonight. As quickly as it hit, two weeks later it melted, evaporated. It’s been a long long time since I’ve craved like this. Maybe the longest it has ever lasted since I quit. The whole of the month of April, 2008 has nearly strangled me with… the words just don’t exist to continue writing right now.

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14 months is a long time to wait for camera parts

I had purchased this Panasonic 3CCD mini DV / camera 250 as a sobriety gift to myself about 24 months ago. I had saved all the money I would normally have spent on drugs to buy this camera. It cost about a grand at the time of purchase. Fourteen months ago after my mom visited in Vancouver I either misplaced or lost three very important parts; the adapter/charger, the usb chord and a cable that attached the charger to battery to camera.

I had returned to London Drugs to see if I could buy replacement parts (whether they be Panasonic or not) and they said no, not for this particular model. I was floored.

Time went on and my battery ran out.

I eventually began calling local Panasonic dealers and none of them could help.

I moved to Saint John bringing the useless piece of metal and plastic with me.

in the park

In September of this year I began searching online for parts. I first checked Panasonic Canada. USELESS! This site pointed me to other distributor sites scattered around Canada. Some serviced only Panasonic appliances and others who carried my camera did not sell the replacement parts at all or only sold the parts I needed in bundles which would have cost much more than buying them individually.

I typed in http://panasonic.com. I navigated to their support section. I located the model and was flabbergasted that they supplied and sold every screw, adapter, plug, transistor, circuit, bolt, chord and lens cap cover available to any camera they produce. I found everything I needed for a grand total of $49.09 plus shipping. BUT I live in Canada and they only sold to United States residents. I picked up the phone and dialed the 1 800 number hoping Pansonic and not “We’re sorry the number you have dialed does not exist”, would be on the other end.

“Hello, Pansonic, Bob speaking, how can I help you?”
“I live in Canada. Can you sell to me over the phone?”
“Yes, we can.”

I almost shit myself. I read the lengthy part numbers off to the man.

$66.67 and 14 months later I am able to use my camera again. It is the one I am holding in the picture.

This is best Christmas gift ever!
Thank you Mom

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