Truth About Use

I don’t talk much about just how things truly were in my drug use. When I first got clean and was in the rooms of AA and NA, I talked a lot about the depths of my addiction. Over the past 6 or so years, I have not talked a lot about just how bad things were.

I was about 15 years old when I tried alcohol. 16 was when my life started spiraling. My eating disorder was already full blown, I had been self injuring for a year, I lost my identity as an athlete….. I felt so lost and alone. As soon as I got high off the drugs I enjoyed, it seemed there was no turning back.

Various forms of prescriptions were my first vice. Opioids, stimulants, and sedatives. Amphetamines and the like, Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta, were my first pills to try. I loved those as they helped me not eat (or binge and purge) and I could get all my stuff done! I attempted the barbiturates and benzos around that time too, Xanax and Valium were often on my list. I settled into opioids, codeine, hydrocodone, and OxyContin, as I could forget my life and get lost into the black abyss.

After getting bored with the prescriptions, I ventured off to testing the waters with ecstasy, over the counter cough meds (triple C’s), methamphetamines, and cocaine. My first true addiction was ecstasy. I fell hard and fast for those pretty stamped pills. Once every week or so habit turned into a daily habit. Many assume ecstasy is a party drug. People use X to just have sex or rave. I primarily used alone. You see, ecstasy alters the brain and the way that serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine fires. AKA this means that I was happy. I hadn’t been happy in years, but I got to be happy when I got that high! But damn, the come down off X was horrific. Not only did I crash hard and want more drugs, I was severely depressed and suicidal. I scared even myself when I was coming down from X. This is where I found myself taking pills multiple times a day.

After about 9 months or so of almost daily use of ecstasy, it no longer was working for me. There were some days I would substitute some other drug for the X, but man I loved that roll. “Luckily” about 9 months after finding X, cocaine made it’s way into my life. That first line pulled me into the clouds. This was it. I found it. The answer to everything. I found my way to fully escape. Not only was I getting high, I had energy, I didn’t get hungry, I was in love.

Cocaine stole my soul. I went down hard and fast. Within just a few short months, I did almost everything I could to make sure I could stay high. Within 5 months, I was overdosing at least once a week on it. I did a lot of things I am not proud of. I hurt a lot of people. I did things I said I never would do but that helped bring me to the point of breaking.

Drugs were never fun for me. I was never one for just experimenting. I had 2 basic purposes of my drug use: feel happy or to die. All of my addictions served a purpose of destroying self. I found artificial happiness while I was high. I believed I was worthless. Damaged goods. Unfixable. I had been hiding behind a mask for so long, I didn’t know how to be my true self. I was beyond repair……

By Christmas time 2006, I had given up. I was so exhausted seeking my drug, getting high, losing my high too quickly, and feeling like the pain would never end. I truly felt that I was going to live the rest of my life living the cycle I was living or I was going to die as it would be better than what I was living.

Christmas time I overdosed only a couple more times and had one more alcohol poisoning for me to admit defeat. I needed help. It was time to try to get clean and see if it was even possible to have freedom. Otherwise, I knew where I would end up.

101_1910 (2) I was in so much pain.

101_1633 (2) I tried so hard to look normal.

101_1531 (2) I would constantly pick at my face, not to mention chemicals from the drugs escape through the pores.

nose bleed I completely destroyed my nose

 

I was one of the lucky ones who did get out. I will have 11 years sober from all mind altering substances on February 1st. I know the darkness of that side and I pray I never see it again.

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We all have a story

Sometimes one of the hardest things for me to remember is where I’ve come from. I know I have a past. I know I have a story. Sometimes I forget it’s mine. 

I started a new therapist last Friday. It’s always strange working with someone new as I have tol tell them how I’ve gotten to where I’m at. So as I sit there and go down my list:

Eating disorder- check

Drugs and alcohol- check

Domestic violence- check

Sports identity- check

Cutting-check

Rehabs- check

Diagnosis and meds- check

Feelings- are you nuts?

Damnit I did it again. Towards the end, I say “so here’s the thing about me, as you’ve stated that yes I’ve been through a lot. I’ve done a lot of work, so the hard grit has been done already thank God. But you see…. I tell my story just as that. A story. I cannot connect feelings and emotions to what has happened to me. I know the damage. I can’t allow myself to feel the damage.” She responds simply with, “good information to know.” I instantly think “well damn why did I give my ammo away?” 15 years into this mess and I still innately try to hide behind my mask. Why am I so scared to have those feelings? What could possibly happen?

As we were finishing up, she states that she would live to do EMDR work on me. That’s when it hits me. I can’t hide anymore. I’ve seriously hid from my traumas for 8 and 12 years now. If I do EMDR I have to speak. In detail. With feeling. With my thoughts. It scares me as even though I know they are real, I don’t feel the realness as I won’t connect the emotions. If I do that, it’s basiccally as if it isn’t me. Now that means I’m admitting it was me.

18

Most 18 year olds are focused on college, papers, parties, boys/girls, dorm room drama, and best friends. At 18, I was battling the demons of addiction. I was in full throes of cocaine dependence almost immediately after trying it. I had spent the past few years working my way around pot, alcohol, various levels of pain killers, benzodiazepines, MDMA,  meth, but found my true love with cocaine.

About 10 weeks before turning 19, I voluntarily admitted myself into a 90 day treatment facility that treated medically stable adolescents from 14-18 females who struggled with substance abuse/dependence and other co-occurring mental disorders. To be honest, many of the girls did not actually fall into the addiction/addict category. Many parents find their child using a substance, get scared, and immediately send them to a residential unit. That isn’t to say there wasn’t a problem with the fact they might be using illegal substances as a coping mechanism, but they weren’t true addicts or alcoholics. Of course once I realized that, years later, that allowed the green light in my head “maybe that means the same for me too!!!”

Detoxing off cocaine is not lethal. The only substances that can truly be of danger are alcohol and heroin to detox off of. That being said, detoxing off cocaine and the various things I was using at the end was utterly brutal. Primarily because I hadn’t truly slept in…. years? So when I get admitted late afternoon on 2/1/07, get sent to bed at 9 pm, struggle for 3 or more hours to even fall asleep, then get woken at 6 am by an unknown person, I was livid. I logically understood that I was not there to be at a spa getaway but my body was hurting from not being taken care of.

It took two weeks for much of my body to feel like it was actually all attached together. Memories were starting to form back together, many of which were extremely unpleasant. You see, someone who is addicted often does things that they would not normally do if they were not constantly under the influence. Drugs changed me. They allowed me to do things I never thought I would do. I did things I became embarrassed to admit. I had shame over those years of my life. There are things I wish I couldn’t remember.

Unfortunately, those things will always be true.

Those things will always be a part of my story.

Those things will never be able to escape me.

Those things will never define me.

I lost trust and belief from family and friends. It took years to gain that back from people. Many people, I will never get it back from as they made the choice to walk away. Most importantly, I lost trust and stopped believing in myself. I believed I was a horrible person for the things I had done. I was never beaten as a child, I always had food, clothing, shelter, everything I needed and a lot of what I wanted. Why would someone like me turn to drugs?

It took a long time for me to understand and grasp the answer. I hated me. I thought I was unworthy of everything, including life. I was in so much pain and never knew how to express it. For most of my life at that point, I had numbed myself to all feelings and emotions. I was incapable of feeling the way that others felt. Substances also severely aided my eating disorder and bulimia had been kicking my ass, so cocaine helped tremendously so that I only had to binge and purge when I desired to.

Since I had become so used to being emotionally and physically numb, having my substances taken away so abruptly completely shook me. You see, drugs and alcohol were not my first addiction. Technically, my eating disorder was. Self-injury was my next unhealthy coping mechanism to come into play. Cutting and burning was not an everyday thing and was only “useful” for certain things. Drugs and alcohol allowed me to fall hard and fast.

I tried for 6 months to quit using the hard stuff. I couldn’t do it. I hated admitting defeat. I hated admitting I was weak. Most of all, I hated giving it up completely. Drugs were one of the hardest things for me to put down. Words could never express just how difficult those days were. Just how difficult the first 3 years of sobriety were. Words can now never express how grateful I am to no longer be someone’s first thought of being just a junkie or a coke head.

There are days that I have to go back to taking it, just one day at a time….

 It’s not over

“At least you don’t have to live in fear anymore”

“At least it’s all over”

“At least you’re safe now”

On October 15, 2010 the son of my father took a plea bargain for a 7 year sentence. He had been arrested June 1st. For 4.5 months he prolonged his trial. Between June and mid September he enjoyed playing games of intimidation with me. This was his usual tactic with his victims. Finally by mid September, I couldn’t take it anymore. I left the small town in Oklahoma where we both lived, quit my job, and moved in with my parents in DFW.

Between the assault and moving, I went to work and the grocery store when needed. Otherwise I stayed home. When I came back to Oklahoma for the trial, he finally got a deal that worked heavily in his favor. You see, this was his 3rd violent felony. He was on probation for his other 2. Since he violated the other 2, he got to combine sentences to just serve 7 years with possible parole after 4 years.

When the news broke that he took the deal and I didn’t have to continue with trial, those phrases started. It’s over now. You’re safe. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.

What people fail to understand, it had only just begun…. it wasn’t over. I lived in torment daily. I wasn’t safe. I still was afraid. The damage that was done could not be simply erased.

I can still feel his hand grasped tightly around my throat. Clenching tightly as he watched the life drain from my eyes. My heels digging into the carpet. My arms flailing towards his face to stop him.

Go ahead. Fight back. See what happens.

I still can feel him lift my dead weight to the upright position as I am crying uncontrollably.

 

 

Why the fuck are you crying?? Stop crying!!

 

I can still feel the punch that hits my left eye after he yells at me to stop crying.

I still feel my hands grip the carpet to flip back on my stomach and crawl under the coffee table. I still feel the wind brush my hair as he flips the coffee table over when I’m under it.

I can still feel him gripping my shoulders as he slams my head repeatedly against the floor.

I can still feel my tight belly as I tightly clutch my stomach as his knees are locked on the outside of my hips. As my fingers slowly get pried from my soft skin, I feel a barrier leave that was protecting my unborn son.

I can still feel my screams releasing from the depths of my gut. Traveling up my throat. Escaping my mouth. His hand immediately covering my entire mouth and nose.

Once again I watch him under my droopy eyes as he enjoys seeing me fade.

I wake in the middle of the night unable to breath. I get touched a certain way. I hear a certain phrase. I see certain things.

It only takes one thing to be brought back to that moment. The exact moment of laying limp and helpless on the floor. Broken. Done. Given up. Destroyed.

So please tell me. Is it over?

The answer is no.

Domestic Violence doesn’t end when you leave an abuser. It doesn’t end when he gets arrested. It doesn’t end if they die.

My abuser served 25 months out of a 7 year sentence. Year 6 he had a warrant out for his arrest again. He was arrested last month. Slap on the wrist. $2500.

The story is never over. But I get a choice in how it is written now.

Lonely

Lonely. A word I hate admitting.

Alone and lonely are two different words with two different meanings. I rarely am alone. But lately I’ve been lonely.

I spend my weekdays mostly without my son. I work with kids 4-18 on a daily basis talking about what’s wrong with them. Their insecurities and fears. Their shitty lives.

I don’t usually realize reality until I stop compartmentalizing and turn off my work brain while I’m on my way home. A wave of lonliness hits. I just spent 12 hours talking with boys and girls, writing notes, or thinking about others and their needs. Where did my cup get filled? How was i caring for self?

I don’t have many in my corner, that’s okay as I know that those who are, choose to be there. Yet when my people ask how I’m doing, I still find myself smiling and stating “fine” or “okay” “no, I’ve got it”. I still can’t seem to honestly say, “I’m lonely, I need a hug, be held, something…..”

You see, my eating disorder was always my constant “friend”. It held me. It comforted me. It made me feel secure. I never had to reach out as it always knew when I needed it. It was there immediately when I was having those feelings. So recently this week, while I’m utterly losing it on my way home in the car….. my old best friend whispers in my ear. I immediately get reminded how much of a bond I had.

It’s easy to get sucked back into the thinking of “one time will be okay” “I’ll feel better after”. Truth is, I will feel better after but unfortunately after that better feeling is over…. guilt, regret, and reality set in. One time may not hurt. Or it could.

Towards the “end” before going to Remuda, I was vomiting blood each time. That became scary and realistic to me. After an endoscopy, it was found that I had tearing in my esophagus. (Big shock right?) I went to treatment less than a week later and was on medication for months to heal the tissue on my esophagus. The thought of my esophagus rupturing at any point during purging still didn’t stop me. 

The thing with self induced vomiting, one time can hurt. Your esophagus can rupture after one time. You can go into cardiac arrest. You can choke.

The past 2 weeks I have been struggling hard with the automatic urge to slip into that old comfort. I’ve had too many feelings creep up from the hurts, pains, and chaos that I listen to.

I haven’t listened to that small voice. But I haven’t spoken out to anyone around me on just how alone and lonely I have been feeling. This is just asking for it…..

Childhood Abuse

Three times in 6 days I have had to file CPS reports.
The one yesterday happens to be a little 8 year old girl who I adore. There has been suspected sexual abuse but no confirmation. It took 7 weeks to build a soild therapeutic relationship with her and building trust trust with her to finally speak about her biological father. There is no way to truly prepare yourself to look a mother in her eyes to tell her, “I’m sorry to have to say this…. but “Susie” has been sexually abused for years”. To call the mother the following day with an update that a report has been filed. That her child will get questioned yet again. That even though I am the only person she has told this to, she will be interrogated by another CPS case worker.

The good news is, I can advocate for my girl and be there for her during the process. She trusts me and I know she will not open up to get another new stranger asking about her father. I can help her continue to find her voice. I can be there for her when she’s scared through this process. I have yet to help a child through CPS actions, but I will do whatever I can to help her get through it with the least amount of trauma.

I hope I can continue to help be her voice and she stays open with our therapeutic process. I hate seeing kids hurt. 😢