Addiction - Cancer of the mind
Addiction is like having cancer in your mind, it grows and eats away at everything it comes in contact with.
Before and after the drugs, I was an addict
How it started
Looking back over my life, I can see the path of the tornado which was me. I can see the carnage and destruction of people, relationships, dreams, and hopes. There was nothing my addiction didn't taint in some way.
We should begin at the beginning, as they say. I have discovered that I was an addict long before I ever used any mind or mood altering chemical (yes, this includes alcohol). I was addicted to perfection. If I wasn't perfect, I wasn't good enough. See as I am human and all, I obviously fell short of that. I needed something... different.
It was about this time, I began to look at the world around me. I saw many things which I didn't like, things that made me want to hide. I saw the adults around me go from bad moods to good moods by drinking from a bottle. I wanted to feel good too. I drank. I did not like the taste. I did not like the feeling it gave me. I did like how my new behaviors made the adults laugh. I was perfect!!! Then, I got sick. I was not so sure perfect was worth it...
I continued to drink on and off for a couple of years. Doing my best to be perfect, doing things I was too young to understand. I was making the adults in my life happy and that was all that mattered. As time went on, I found some people close to my age to hang around with. We were constantly getting into some kind of trouble, nothing serious. Suddenly, the adults were not so happy with my behavior, but I was doing the same kinds of things just in a different place.
My confusion caused me to hide within myself and become angry. I was angry at the adults, at my friends, but mostly at myself. I knew I was making the choices, but I had no idea what else to do. This is what I knew.
Around the age of nine, one of my friends introduced me to pot. I didn't like that either. It made me more sleepy than alcohol, made me stink, and made me hungry. I don't want to say I was pressured into it or that I was victim to peer pressure because if I had said no, they would have been fine with it. After all, it was more for them.
My addiction mounts a rocket!
What came next, blew my mind. That was what I was searching for! That was what I needed. I loved the feeling, I loved the taste, I loved everything about it. The best part was, I didn't care what others thought of me when I used it. It didn't matter if there was nothing to eat because the adults were passed out or too drunk to notice how late it was. It didn't matter that I had not gotten any sleep because someone passed out where I slept. It did't matter that the animals got more love and attention than I did. The only thing that mattered was doing something about running out.
There were two things in our house that were absolutely not allowed. One: no lying. Though, vague answers and distractions were fine. Just don't lie. Two: No stealing. If it's not yours, don't take it. It is okay to trick them out of things or convince them to give it to you.
This is where the tornado that was me began. I was in a love-hate relationship with drugs. I loved them, but they hated me. I could tell they hated me because of all the consequences I recived for using them. I could no longer make choices. There was only survival and that meant more drugs.
I did not have to lie about anything because I manipulated, was vague, avoided, distracted, and accused those that would question me about my activities or behavior. I was never at fault for anything. I watched the people around me get busted, but I never did.
I felt sorry for those people who seemed to be going downhill very quickly in their behaviors, but I never looked at myself to see what I was becoming. I was trapped inside myself looking out and judging the world and everyone in it, while not once looking at the things I was doing or saying.
I did not have any relationships with people who would not let me control them or that did not control me. I was either a hostage or a hostage taker. I had no idea there was any other way.
Some of you may be saying, a child knows right from wrong by the time they are eight years old, but you need to keep in mind, I was raised by an alcoholic. I was raised around people who were doing the same things I was doing. They didn't like it when I did it to them, but thought it was funny when they did it to me. That was a way of life since my first memory. No one would take responsibility for their own actions, though they would accuse and point the finger at everyone else.
I have met many good people since then that I have destroyed. I destroyed their trust, self-esteem, faith in love, and all the while I continued to believe that I was the victim. I was the one getting hurt. I was the one who was innocent in all of it.
I brought innocent children along with me through all of this, believing that I was the loving parent. I was the one who was always there for them. Their father was stable, had a job, a place to live, food, utilities, and money to buy them the things they needed. I still was under the impression that I was the better parent because I loved them and was always there for them.
My addiction was tearing my life apart
I took them from man to man, each exceedingly more abusive and unstable than the last. Until they finally decided they could not take any more and moved in with their father. We were homeless and living in a mini van when the oldest two left. I had decided to take us to texas where my current man was from. My mother was on the way, so we would stop and visit for a few days, then continue.
That was my plan. That was what I had in mind. Everything was going to be fine once we got to texas. I could not understand why my children didn't believe this. I couldn't understand why, after years of moving from place to place and a bad situation into a worse one, they had no faith in me. Why were they hurting me like this? What had I done that was so bad? I could find nothing. I was their mother! What right did they have to hurt me like this? After everything I had done (or at least attempted to do) for them! Do they not know what I have protected them from? Did they not understand all the things I went through for them? How could they just leave me like this? Abandon me like this?
They were old enough to choose not to live with me, but they were not old enough to live with their adult friends. I called their father and told him where they were. He went and picked up the one that was not old enough to live on their own. I had to concede that the oldest one was able to care for themselves. They were after all seventeen.
I continued with my plan. I still had my youngest one with me. This is where things got complicated. This is where I learned that drugs were not my problem, they were my solution. I made the same choices, reacted to things the same way, and recieved the same consequences as when I was using. For years I fought and learned, raged and sulked, and nothing changed.
I could not understand why the whole world seemed to be against me. Not just the people, but things and places too!! I could not understand why I doing the same thing was not bringing me better results. I was in a new place, why wasn't anything getting better? I did not say things were not changing, because they were changing. That is the way of things, nothing is constant except change. Things were getting worse!!!
My youngest began having enough problems at school that we had to put him in counseling. I was grateful because to be honest, he was out of control. He needed someone to teach him to be respectful and go to school.
It was not long before I walked into that counceling center and annouced that I wanted to die, I was taken into a room and spoken with, they made an appointment for me, my boyfriend insisted on joining me for it and we found ourselves in family counseling. I was already jumping through hoops for the Department of Social Services to get money and food stamps. I was already wishing I could find a job and be done with all this welfare crap. Now I had to go to counseling. Well, maybe my youngest and my boyfriend would figure out how to behave themselves and I could get some things accomplished.
However, I found that I learned a whole lot about what I was doing wrong. I learned a whole lot about how my behavior was hurting others. I learned that I was at fault for quite a few things, including my oldest two choosing not to live with me.
I found a good job. I was clean. Things were beginning to look up, at least on the outside. The three of us were constantly exploding at each other, constantly bickering and biting at each other.
Counseling taught me that I needed to change. It did not tell me how to change. I am in an area where churches abound. I heard everywhere that God changes things. God can do anything. There is nothing God can't do. So, I went to church. I found a mind-bogging aray of rules to follow, judgments, criticism, and where the standard of perfection originated.
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His addiction was killing me
Forgive one, or lose two
I married my boyfriend in the hopes that following God's rules would give me relief. Instead, things got worse again. He could not stop using drugs. He would lie, cheat, steal, beg, and borrow. Then, he would disappear for days on end without notice and return with sad tales about what he had done.
I found a church sponsored 12 step program. I worked it to the best of my ability for a year. I managed to work through problems with the pastor, but never found the relief I was desparately seeking. When I talked to someone about it they would offer advice.
"Just pray about it."
"Give it to God and stop taking it back."
"It all happens in Gods time."
Meanwhile, I was dealing with a psychological warfare most people cannot even imagine. My husband was on drugs and could stay up for days on end. I was under attack constantly, because I was not willing to give him what he wanted when he wanted it and how he wanted it. I would work twelve hour shifts without sleep because we were fighting all day (I worked nights). I could not go to the restroom without him waiting outside the door. I could not talk on the phone without him listening and questioning me constantly. I could not go anywhere without him going as well. It went so far as he had to drop me off and work and pick me up and he didn't even have a license! There were several times when he was put in jail and the vehicle impounded because of his lack of license.
Somewhere in this mess, my daughter came for a visit and we all went to see my middle child at his fathers. That was when my oldes and my youngest, both, decided to live with their father. I WAS CLEAN, I WENT TO COUNSELING, I HAD A GOOD JOB, I HAD A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS, I WAS DOING EVERYTHING THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DOING, WHY ABANDON ME NOW?!?!? My world went into a tailspin, but only on the inside. I did not fight it. I did not try to stop them. I simply made arrangements to help them with their choices. I was defeated. I was broken.
Several months later, I ended up going out and using again. I have to admit, I didn't spend more than twelve hours using, but it was enough to scare the crap out of me. I came to realize that my need to use was the same as where I left, at the same level. My immunity to such a high dose was not at the same level. My body was healing while my mind was not. That is the only thing that clean time gets you, a healthier body. This is not a small feat for those of us who were in such bad shape. However, it was the war in my mind that continually sent me out to use. The war that raged in my mind constantly, even while I was sleeping.