Second Act

Shawn O'Shea

Shawn O'Shea
San Francisco, California, United States
June 25
Producing Artistic Director
Writing Man Productions
I'm just a simple guy who spent many years harming myself by drinking too much alcohol and ingesting too many illegal (and legal) drugs...particularly crystal-meth. I found myself walking back into a 12-step meeting on August 26, 2005 after a two year relapse. I have been on a healthy path of recovery ever since. I share my life here in the hopes that others who are struggling with their own addictions can find just a little bit of hope in what I go through on a daily basis as a clean and sober man. If you would like to talk, you can always find me on Skype....I will also accept any and all friend requests on FaceBook. (any and all postings in LIFE IN RECOVERY FROM CRYSTAL METH, BOOZE & AIDS may be reproduced in part and or in whole in any form of media conditional on the proper citation of the blog and its author)


MAY 12, 2011 10:10PM


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                It has filled me with an indescribable level of pride and joy to have shared that I have had 100% compliance with my new HIV-med regimen which I began January 26.  However, due to that little pesky little term “blatant honesty” I am forced to admit that the best I can now aim for is 99.99%.

                Tuesday morning I had created such a need (in my head, of course) to rush to get ready to go where it was that I was going – for the life of me I cannot currently remember what it was that was so important; In my frantic preparation, I skipped over the part of my routine in which I take my morning meds and lay out my dosage for that respective evening.  It was late-afternoon when I remembered that I had forgotten.  And with the plans I had made including a rehearsal and meeting a prospective cast member for Superheroes Who Are Super! I was not going to get home until nearly midnight.

                My only hope was that I had taken them and just could not remember – something I have done more than once since January.  In those instances, I was always relieved when I returned home to find the nighttime doses waiting for me, and, since they were sitting alone, it meant that I had taken the morning dose as well.  Sadly that was not the case on Tuesday; I arrived home to see the empty space on the table where the meds should have been, which meant I definitely did not take the morning pills.  I should probably also admit at this point that even though it probably would have been wiser to take the nighttime dose, I decided to forego that one as well – it may seem odd to most people, but one of my quirks is having certain things in balance; since I began the new regimen with a morning dosage, I would have felt out of balance if I had taken two nighttime doses in a row.

                Despite my feelings of frustration surrounding my 24-hour lapse, I still am happy with the progress I have made in the area of my life; as I shared early on (see 86’d – AGAIN) my track-record regarding taking my meds was so far off track that I sometimes think that my care-providers just gave up hoping I would come close to even a semblance of compliance – though they never gave up on me.

                One day without my meds may not be the ideal, but the fact that I realized what I had done and immediately corrected the error by starting up the very next morning shows that I have reached a point where I am seriously willing to do what I can do to make improvements in my life – much different from when I simply said I was willing to take those actions.  And when I shared this mistake with my friend Sean, he pointed out the very fact that I was upset at having missed just one day is also progress; I had once shared with him  that in the past I was unhealthily non-chalant about my erratic attitude toward my suggested treatment plan.

                I don’t know how it is that I am having this experience with an equal mix of concern and calmness; it might have something to do with my increasing understanding of the phrase I hear in so many 12-step meetings, “Progress not perfection”.  As I have accumulated more 24-hour periods of I sobriety I have learned to be kinder and gentler with myself: On the rare occasion I think a glass of wine with dinner would taste good or smoking a joint would relax me or any similar thought involving mind-altering chemicals, I know that, as an addict and alcoholic, I am going to have those thoughts – it means nothing unless and until I follow through on those thoughts.  If I do the next right thing and share those thoughts either at a meeting or even with a single other sober fellow, than I have taken the step to correct my course, for if I do not share those thoughts, one thought will lead to a second thought which will lead to a third, fourth and fifth and, eventually, an unhealthy action.

                When it came to my meds, I would let one missed dose lead to a second to a third to a fourth to a point when six-months had passed and I was just simply unhealthy – so much so that I would inevitably end up in the Emergency Room if not admitted to the hospital with some type of opportunistic infection – if not two or three.

                Because my health is still in the process of climbing up from “poor” (I think now I can call it “fair to good”) I want to and will continue on the path of following the guidance of my current health care provider.  I’m not looking forward to telling him of this instance when I see him next in June, but if I can get through years of telling my past providers time and time again that sometimes I took my pills and sometimes I didn’t depending on if I felt like it or not, I certainly can handle telling my current doctor that my current level of compliance has been almost perfect!

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Like what you wrote. For myself, from the time I get up till I go to bed, I am taking my medications. My health provider keep asking me, "Did you miss any of your HIV medications", and most of the time I will say no. It's the other medication I may forget about, which are not in the medicine box (morning, mid day, evening, & night). Just try the best you can on taking your medication on time.