Written and contributed by Anonymous Author
Here is my story, its not my opinion and it is not to be taken as advice, it is merely what I was like, what happened and what I’m like now. I am going to share my experience, strength and hope with you.
I was an only child raised in an alcoholic home, I had a crappy childhood and it was the perfect excuse to use for getting wasted.
I always said I had a good 11 years of sobriety and then I turned 12.
The first time I drank I wound up in hospital with alcohol intoxication, and that is what my drinking and using was always like for me – chaotic. I drank and used not for fun, but for oblivion, I could not deal with life or myself or school or anything, if I was happy or sad, if something good happened or if something bad happened whatever happened I needed to get loaded and high. It did not happen slowly for me I charged full force into a life filled with fear, abandonment, regret, guilt and a serious need for attention. I craved attention from people so badly I would do anything to get it, sleep with them, lie to them, whatever it took, just to feel wanted even if it was just for an instant.
I completely rebelled against everything and everyone – it was like I was absent the day they handed out books on life – I had no clue and I had no one to teach me.
I was young and filled with fear and hatred for myself. I wanted to be anyone but me and using and drinking gave me that ability. I grew up way to fast – I had seen and done more degrading and despicable things by the time I was 16 years old than most people have done in a lifetime, not to say that I am any more special or my story is worse than yours. When I was 16 I was admitted to rehab for 3 months, I weighed 42kg and was so strung out on crack and heroine, that my first week of detox in rehab was one big blur of shivering, shaking and vomiting. I was fed methadone and valium so I didn’t die from cold turkey. I finished up my stint in rehab and as soon as I got out I was up to no good all over again, I always knew I had a problem, but I didn’t care. I never again touched heroine, but the drinking and using everything else that was available was a norm for me.
I had a part time job and I dropped out of school when I was 17, I partied and some of what I do remember was fun, it wasn’t all bad, but it was completely destructive, every time something was going well or my relationships with others were going well – I would mess it up, no matter how or what, I found a way to destroy anything good in my life.
When I was 18 I got involved in a relationship and it seemed to fill the empty void I always felt that I had, but that too could only last so long until I destroyed that too.
I was unable to be honest about anything to anyone, no matter how close they were to me and no matter how much they cared about me, no one could ever know my secrets, and all I wanted to do was forget and so I did.
More lies and destruction until one day after so many rock bottoms I woke up in my care and looked in the mirror and said to myself this is not a way to live, this is a way to die and in that very moment I knew I wanted to care, I wanted to be “normal” I needed help……
I joined a 12 step program and attended meetings regularly and they always kept telling me if you want what we have then you must be willing to go to any length to get it, but I wasn’t. I kept going to meetings, but I couldn’t stay clean, I lied because it was the only thing I knew how to do, I had no idea what honesty was or how to be honest, I couldn’t even admit to myself who I was or the things I had done, it was too despicable to bare, not that I even knew who I was in the first place.
I did however learn a lot in the fellowship, I learned that I was not actually a bad person; I was just a very sick person. I had an illness, I had a disease it was known as alcoholism / addiction which is a mental obsession coupled with a physical allergy, the obsession being that I could control it, that I could handle just one hit/drink and then once I had the first one, my allergy would kick in and I would be powerless to stop myself. This is known as insanity, doing the same thing and expecting a different result, my result was always the same, everyone else would have fun and say they had had enough and I would end up in Hillbrow (a not so nice area in Johannesburg), wake up in strange places with strange people not knowing what I had done and hating myself even more, the words “I’ve had enough” did not exist in my vocabulary.
I could not live with the drugs and booze anymore but I couldn’t live without them, I could do nothing without a fix, I couldn’t brush my teeth, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t have a conversation with another person, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I wanted it all to end; I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I managed to start learning how to be honest, but I could never do it completely, only about certain things and I would always have my secrets, sometimes I think I may die with all my secrets never being able to share them.
I have hurt and taken for granted every good person in my life.
I now have a beautiful wife who loves me so much and I her, yet I still manage to deceive her, I still cannot tell her things I have done, but not to deliberately hurt her, but because I thought just one, what could really happen that would be that bad……well one day I woke up after one of those and I had no idea what happened, but I knew that feeling, that horrible feeling in the pit of stomach that I had done something terrible again and I had, I don’t remember and still don’t, but I had too much GHB (sometimes known as the date rape drug) and that is exactly what happened, I probably wasn’t raped because it was more than likely me that provoked the situation and even though I know if I were sober it would never have happened, I violated myself, I allowed myself to get so out of it that something like that could happen to me.
I thought I could pretend that everything was ok, but I couldn’t and I ended up taking more and more and more and by the time my wife came home on the Sunday, I was completely out of it and she knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell her and the guilt and the regret was too much.
The next day I went to work, still completely out of it, I was sent home and the next day I was sent for blood tests, thank goodness they came back negative, but it was the start of me losing my job and a few months later I did.
I sat at home wallowing in my self pity, hating myself, feeling useless. I had so many things to pay off and no job, I was about to lose my house, my car, my relationship, my life and then what do I do? Well being the typical addict that I am, I think oh well it can’t get much worse, let me hit the crack pipe again, just a few hits and it will all go away and I can get my mind off things and then start looking for a job after I’ve had my release from reality. Well I managed to ruin my wife’s birthday, I smoked away her birthday present, I smoked away nearly everything I had of value that she wouldn’t notice and then thought right, enough is enough now – pull yourself towards yourself and do what you gotta do to come right.
I admitted what I had done to my wife and she understood and was angry and sad – I had hurt her and betrayed her so badly, but she stood by me. I cleaned myself up, got a great job and started working the program, but I couldn’t be honest, I had manipulated and lied to everyone for so long, what would they think if I came clean now?
So I still live with the shame and the guilt, but slowly I start revealing things to her and she sticks by me, she accepts me with my faults and me defects and my lies and she loves me and I am eternally grateful and blessed to have someone like that in my life.
One day I will be completely honest and I will tell her everything, but for now, baby steps for me, I need to learn how to walk before I can run, I need to learn about myself, who I am, what I want and I do it just for today, I can’t worry about tomorrow or I will use, I can’t regret yesterday or I will use, I am happy with who and what I am today and just for today I am clean and sober.
I hope this helps anyone who thinks that what they have done can never be forgiven, as long as you can forgive yourself and accept what has happened to you and take responsibility for your actions, then there is hope. I have also learned that I cannot do it alone, I may not need another person to help me, but I need a belief in a power greater than myself, I am not talking religion, I am talking about a spiritual belief (a higher self so to say) and it is the connection I have with this higher power of mine and the will and the want to live that I am alive and happy today.
It is not all roses and nothing is simple and sometimes there are days when I don’t think I can go on, but I do, even if it is just for another hour or minute, I put one foot in front of the other and I ask my higher power for help.
I say the serenity prayer over and over and I will leave you with these words:
Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference.