My downward spiral began in a place sadly familiar to many. As a child in my broken home, surrounded by alcoholism and drug abuse. Many of those years are a whirlwind of sexual abuse, loneliness and broken promises. I tried to be better, to do good and do right but none of my small successes in school and sports could break through the darkness that enveloped my mother and seeped into every corner of our lives.
When my father decided to step in, it was already too late. (Not that his repeated physical abuse would’ve saved me anyway). I was 15, withdrawn and depressed. I was also struggling silently with my sexuality at a time when coming out was not nearly as easy as it is today, and my father unwittingly gave me free access to alcohol. The beginning of the end.
I drank after school every day and to excess on the weekends with my friends. Suddenly the overwhelming internal pain I had been shoving down most of my life began to seem distant and dull. The nightmares of men forcing themselves into my 4 year old body, were replaced by late nights with minimal sleep and hangovers before class. Things were a mess, but I was at least still in school. Then came the change that pushed me over the edge. 3/4 of the way through my sophomore year my dad decided we should move 2400 miles away so we could be closer to mt half sister and her family. I was devastated, I was in my first real relationship, my grades were amazing considering my recreational activities, and I had the most incredible group of friends for the first time in my life. I just watched it all slip away as the mile markers fell behind us.
We ended up in Arizona where I was miserable. I made a couple friends that lived close to me they were quite a few years younger than me tho so I struggled for a deeper connection but at school I was a complete outcast. I was bullied for my clothing, my hair and pretty much anything else you could think of. My already fragile self-esteem took to much and I made a life altering decision. At 16 I ran away all the way to Washington state.
Upon reconnecting with my best friends I found that a new escape had made it’s way into our little group thanks to my mother’s ex boyfriend, (who also took my runaway self in). A new nightmare by the name of Meth. It didn’t take long for me to become a slave to the substance. Every strain, fear, insecurity and sense of inner sadness I had struggled with my whole life were replaced by a comfortable numbness that clouded every emotion and every interaction. Many people wouldn’t understand, but it seemed better to feel nothing than to struggle with a constant barrage of anguish and self-loathing. At first anyway. It wasn’t very long til overwhelming destruction that meth brings became apparent, but I was too detached from reality to make it stop.
Within a year I became a junkie. I was witness to mother’s trading their teenage daughters to dope cooks for an 8-ball. 40+ year old men manipulating little girls into sexual favors for their next fix. There was so much twisted and disturbed hedonism, and abuse that I’ve blocked a lot of it out. I found myself the victim of rape on more than one occasion. I find it sadly ironic now that the method I used to escape the damage of childhood sexual abuse only brought me full circle into the role of the victim again and again.
For 10 years the vicious cycle repeated. I racked up a felony and a whole lot more emotional damage. I watched people I cared for die around me and I felt my spirit dying as well.
Finally, in 2008 after one last hurrah my girlfriend and I were raided by the police in Oregon. They offered me write in probation, but I wanted to change my life so I opted for family drug court. After 26 years of life, most of it fighting my inner war, I found the path to peace. It hasn’t always been easy, I had been under the influence of substances so long that I wasn’t very functional at normal every day living. It was extremely frustrating not knowing how to balance a checkbook or engage in healthy relationships, but little by little I have taught myself how to live.
In meth, I lost everything including myself over and over again, but now that I’m free from the restriction of meth addiction my life has become more fulfilled! Bad things still happen, and I still suffer many losses but I have come to realize something I wish I could’ve told myself at 13 years old before I started to give up. Without the difficulties there is no contrast to make the good times memorable, and hiding from feelings, detaching or numbing is not worth missing out on the beauty and joy that surrounds us if we try hard to find it.
My hope is that family and friends of addicts will find compassion and understanding in their hearts. Not to enable the addict in their life, but to be there for them emotionally and always let them know you care. There is hope, and a way out! My heart goes out to anyone stuck in this cycle. Reach for happiness and may peace find you all.