Looking back today, I can understand and acknowledge my experiences during my active addiction. At the time, of course, I wasn’t an addict, I was fine, it was the world that was mixed up and confused. Whilst growing up, I w as led to believe that,
I wasn’t to talk about my fears or insecurities. We didn’t openly discuss our problems or issues. It wasn’t okay to hug each other. Life for my family was to work hard, and watch television.
When I was 8, I was sexually abused by my cousin. He told me not to tell anyone, so I didn’t. When I was 10 we moved from New Zealand to Australia. I was scared, sad and angry. Obviously, I didn’t tell anyone about those feelings either.
We arrived in Australia, I was classified as the small town kiwi kid, so I was automatically an outsider within the school yard.
I began to self harm when I was 11, in the hope that some authorities would assume that I was being physically abused by my parents and that I would be sent back to New Zealand to live.
That never happened, so I gave up in my quest to go back ‘home’ and reluctantly began my life in Australia. I became rebellious in the sense that I started to smoke Mum and Dad’s smokes when I turned 13. News went out to the ‘cooler’ kids that I was smoking cigarettes, and suddenly I wasn’t as square as they perceived me to be, and thus I found pot and alcohol. I was feeling great. I now was accepted and respected by a large group of friends.
I was sexually abused not long after by a group of my peers. As expected I didn’t tell anyone at first, instead, I self harmed, felt dirty, felt wrong and like I deserved it. That incident was brought out into the open within the school community and my beliefs surrounding the abuse were confirmed by the emotional abuse and threats given to me by my peers. I began to isolate, became suicidal and held huge resentments towards my teachers and peers.
The only escape I could find from my trauma was through drugs and alcohol. I didn’t discover this until after a year of trying to come to terms and trying to understand my experiences.
I was expelled from that school and entered my new school with a feared label. My rebellion from the past had filtered to my new school and was exaggerated 10 times over.
I smoked my first cone at 13, had my first line of speed, trip and shot of heroin by the time I was 16. School faded to nothing for me and most of my focus was directed to art, poetry and getting smashed.
By the time I was 18, I had prostituted myself, stolen from my family and friends, continued to self harm and abused whatever I could find, whether it was lighter fluid, petrol, heroin, pot, alcohol, speed or trips. As long as I didn’t feel real, it was okay by me.
Eventually I moved into the gay club scene and life was all about looking good, getting laid and getting smashed. It wasn’t long before I ended up in a long term relationship that was full of co-dependence, domestic violence and emotional abuse. My partner and I kept ourselves in this isolated predicament for 2 years. I then ended up leaving her a week before Christmas and I took almost everything with me. To this day, I still hold remorse for the way I treated her in my addiction. I was sick, angry, resentful, jealous, controlling and still two years away from seeking my recovery.
I re-entered the club scene with a small, but cocky group of friends. We worked together, lived together, drank together and abused others together. Finally, I thought I’d found some good friends that I could relate to.
This association lasted for 2 years. At the beginning of the second year, I decided I had had enough of the work force and began to line up for my dole cheque each fortnight. In my mind, I was arts next great thing. I didn’t have a heroin habit like some, but I drank enough alcohol and smoked enough pot on a daily basis to keep me away from reality. I was accepted by my peers for this, never criticised, only encouraged.
My days began to consist of painting, drinking, smoking and cyber sex. I rarely left the house in which I stayed, when I did go out, it was only ever at night, I couldn’t bear to be in direct sunlight, and on show for the world to see.
My friends and I went out one night, and I picked up a one night stand that lasted for 8 months. She had a nice car, dealt drugs and was willing to hand me money or drugs whenever I wanted it. She also helped to put me on the pedestal that I used to bring myself down. I was delusional with the fact that all 4 of my credit cards were maxed out and that I was in extreme financial hardship.
I couldn’t bear the thought of having to give up my drugs and alcohol to pay by bills, so I tried to pretend that they weren’t there. I let myself believe that I had had a hard life. The world owed it to me to allow me to live the rest of my years in the same way I had lived the previous year.
One night, whilst out clubbing, I decided to put my delusion to the test and I was arrested for drunken and disorderly in a public place, consuming alcohol in a public place, obstructing police and offensive behaviour. Reality hit me and it hit hard.
The next day I was in hospital being treated for a possible stroke or seizure due to the over consumption of alcohol. I stayed overnight in my psychosis and on sedatives. The next day I was referred to a detox centre and I was admitted by that evening. I only stayed one night before I released myself, but not before I called another treatment centre to book an assessment date. I left detox and immediately tried to re-enter. I was unable to, so I called the woman I was dating and she drove for an hour to the city to get me. I had burnt all of my bridges and didn’t want to return home. We stayed in a hotel for 3 nights until she ran out of money. I phoned my parents and asked for their help. They welcomed me with open arms. A few days later, the centre I’d called phoned me and offered its program to me. My life has never been the same since.
I have been in that centre now for 8 months. Finally, destiny gave me exactly what I needed, the opportunity to turn my life around and the support to help me do that. I’ve learnt all I need to know to live a successful life. Through Therapeutic Community groups of Anger Management, Communication, Goal Setting and Feelings, I have learnt how to relate to others in a more socially acceptable manner. I now have control of the roller coaster that was my life. I graduate next Friday. I am scared, happy, excited, sad and emotional all at once about moving to the next stage of the program. As long as I take it one day at a time, and remember where drugs and alcohol took me, I will be able to live a life that I truly am destined for … a life that is a life of reality.