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[ Personal Narratives ]

Was Heroin Addiction My Fault? Speaking Up For Victims of Abuse

As I sit here listening to my drunken mother verbally, physically and emotionally abusing my “stepdad”. I can’t help but long for the high that so many times numbed my pain and fear. Some say it’s a choice, but to those people I dare you: put yourself in my shoes before you judge me, before you judge anyone with a substance abuse disorder.

I use the term stepdad very loosely here because my last “stepdad” began molesting, raping, beating and destroying my sisters and I in our youth. It started when we each turned eleven. I think… I don’t remember exactly, in fact I don’t remember much of my younger years. Perhaps I blocked it out. I wish I could block it all out. 

Anyway that’s what this all brings me back to. When my mother and he would fight. And I mean FIGHT! And I’d sit in my room terrified. Praying they were loud enough that a neighbor would hear and call the cops…. Before he got to me. 

That thing that abused me started this. He started the loathing of self for my mom, sister and I. He started addiction for each of us. He was cruel and dastardly. But somehow made it seem alright, almost normal. 

Was it normal for a 12 year old to drink E&J, Hennessy, and Old English 40’s every weekend? Was it normal to pop ecstasy and snort cocaine? Was it normal to be having sex with 16-18 year old boys at 12 years old? For me it was.

At 17 I found my true love, Heroin. A boyfriend at the time had introduced us and it didn’t take much for me to leave him for her. I was safe, happy, secure. The pain of past just a distant memory. The nightmares stopped, the flashbacks and memories grew faint. I was free. Free but in chains. I had wings but could not fly. I had hope but it was a lie. We would battle, I’d get tired of cheating, stealing, I’d get careless. Catch a case go to jail clean up for a few months and just when I thought I’d lost her. Heroin, she would always find me and I be relieved. 

Here I am 24 years old. Clean and sober. Close to 10 months now! I’m back at my mom’s, maybe not the safest environment, but I don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Unfortunately, my mom hasn’t changed. She won’t let go of the past, but I will. I can’t be a victim anymore. 

Even still though, as I sit here and listen to her angry voice and the poor man she’s turned her abuse on to plead with her to stop, I long for that numbing high to make it easier to deal with. I’m brought back to the little girl terrified for her life but would soon rather take it herself than be put through this hell. But today, I won’t get high, I will take it one day at a time, and I will use the tools that I’ve been able to gain over the term of my sobriety. 

As for my choices previous to that, sure I had choices and yes I chose the treacherous road. But I was just a child. A child made to think and act like an adult too soon. Again, was it really my fault? As a clean adult, I understand that either way, it is now my responsibility.

Back to the present, I find myself sitting here wanting to get high. But finally I don’t HAVE to. Finally I know I have a choice. And I choose life. It seems like the pain will never go away. It gets easier though. I have become more courageous. 

This night is just enough to remind me that I can’t go back. What will it solve? Nothing. It will only set me back further. So instead of rushing off to get high. I’ll try to call someone in my support group, I will try to leave, if not, I will just turn my tv up to muffle the noise. Because when morning comes I’ll still be free. Free from addiction. Free from my abuser. Free of everything that once made me want to curl up and die. The pain and fear may never end but It will get easier. 

With a lot of hard work, and without the complications of drugs it seems everything gets easier. Still, I know the stigma of addiction is still out there, and there are those that will still judge me. But I speak up to try and break that stigma, I speak up to ask for help and support, I speak up to make it easier for other victims of abuse and addiction to speak up. Only then, can the healing begin!

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