I am very aware of myself; for the most part. Like I’ve said in the past, I’ve gotten to a point where I know who I am, I know what I want, and I know what I have to do to get there. But it doesn’t seem to excuse the fact that I still have moments when I lose sight of all that I’ve accomplished. I lose sight of myself as a person, I lose sight of my confidence that got me this far. Although it’s only momentarily it can be shattering and controlling. Something kind of takes over you and you lose your sense of reason, you begin to second guess yourself within the fear of losing it all. This is a feeling that doesn’t fit into any category. This is a feeling that lingers. It will morph into different things. It will ebb and flow, rise and fall like tides. It will evaporate with the sun, then fall back down as rain. Sometimes its easy to forget and very hard to remember.
I can keep saying “I am who I am because of my past, and I like who I am” but saying it is one thing, believing it is another. That being said, I do believe it and I do believe in myself. Sometimes you just hope people will bare with you, help you, and try to understand you but it doesn’t work that way. It’s easy to handle someone at their best but much harder at their worst.
You could hear the desperation in her voice; she was hurt, scared, and beyond broken. This isn’t the first time she has called you in this state. She tells you this will be the last time, but you know better. This isn’t the first time she has said that. As much as you want to hang up and turn away; you can’t. You love her too much, and you know that you’re helping her kill herself. She has always been a good manipulator, a good talker even before the drugs. You know she will say and do anything she can to get her fix; she will bend and break you time and time again. You try to lie and tell her you can’t help her this time; this time you honestly don’t have the money. Even if that was true you know you will find a way. You simply cannot understand why she does this to you, why she makes you feel like a failure, why she turns everything upside down, why and how she ended up this way. You convince yourself that it’s your fault. You don’t know how to help her, so you give in to her and tell her ‘this is the last time’. You think back to when she was a child and you never thought thing’s would turn out the way they did, you reflect and try to figure out where thing’s went wrong but to no avail.
She tried everything before calling you again, not because she didn’t want to bother you but because she didn’t want to deal with the “nagging”. She knows you better than you know yourself. In this moment of desperation there is no emotion all she can think about is her next fix because she is dope sick. She knows you are in a fragile state thanks to her but the drugs are more important. After she gets the money off of you and gets high she is okay, she is able to function and hold a conversation. There is a moment of comfort between the two of you. She thinks about how much she has fucked up and she doesn’t know how to pick up the pieces. You both are on separate sides of the fence, you can’t understand each other and she is sick of trying to explain it to you. She tells you it is impossible for you to understand what she is going through. You ask her why can’t she just stop. She tells you if she could just stop, she wouldn’t have an addiction.
You go both go to your own corners and shut the door for the night. You worry about her constantly as she just tries to get through the night. She knows she has lost control and doesn’t know how to stop, she knows she needs help before it’s too late. The next morning she asks you to help her, she is shaking with nervousness, and crying with shame, you can see the fear in her eyes and feel the terror in her voice so you take her hand and you say to her ‘we will get through this’.
This wasn’t a feeling that fits into any category. This is a feeling that lingers. It will morph into different things. It will ebb and flow, rise and fall like tides. It will evaporate with the sun, then fall back down as rain.
“Ignorance is bliss,” or so they tell us. But that is not true. Ignorance is vulnerability. Ignorance is deprivation, despair and depression. It is the inability to recognize precisely what you need, even when it is staring you in the face. Ignorance allows you to be robbed of something precious without realizing. Ignorance is judging something before you understand it.
Sometimes wanting to start again with a clear slate isn’t enough. Sticking with how things used to be, you may miss out on a wonderful opportunity. Perhaps sometimes you think that you’re not hanging on. It’s the past that won’t let go of you, or maybe you won’t let go of the past. But for as long as you aren’t sure how far into the future you want to tread, irrelevant issues can continue to distract you from important things by disguising themselves as vital factors… Just a thought.
Feeling emotionally defenceless is probably one of the worst feelings I have personally ever experienced. Sometimes it happens out of no where like a slap in the face. ‘Here, now you’re defenceless; let’s see how much you can take before you crack.’ Maybe its part of being vulnerable, you feel mentally and emotionally naked; exposed. Vulnerability doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Yes, it can be exceedingly uncomfortable at times; it can make you feel weak, alone, anxious…just to name a few. I think it becomes scary because you have to be okay with all of you, revealing not only the good but what you deny or keep hidden from other people. We all do this to some extent, I’m sure no one has ever said “I love that I’m so insecure.”
I would think most of the time we experience vulnerability it’s by default, not by choice. It becomes difficult to consciously choose to be vulnerable and rightfully so. It’s frightening to show people our genuine selves, there is always the possibility of being rejected or misunderstood, and there is a chance you will find out things about yourself that you didn’t know existed; good or bad.
Most people who experience addiction keep using for many, many reasons but one main reason is because they aren’t happy with anything including themselves. They hide behind a substance because it’s easier, because they don’t have a choice anymore. They become vulnerable by default and it never ends well.
I am consciously choosing to be open and honest, day by day; consciously choosing to be vulnerable. I am no longer afraid of rejection, I am not afraid to fail. I have come to realize that I don’t have to love all of me to be happy, although it helps. But all those things I don’t love are changeable, manageable. This blog has become my vulnerable me and I love it. I love knowing that I am hiding nothing and telling all for everyone to see. Every time I write, I learn something new about myself; I realize that I am making progress in more ways than one. It helps in my day to day too, I am not afraid to be me. Whether or not people like it, it doesn’t matter. I am happy with who and what I am, I know what I want and I’m pretty sure I know how to achieve it. That is something I have never been able to say and it feels great.
I got good at playing the victim. I wanted people to feel sorry for me, to pity me. It’s common for addicts to consistently play the victim even in situations that are clearly the opposite. I got so comfortable with the attention it attracted. The sad truth is I started to pity myself. I started to believe that I was the victim. My clouded judgment and insufficient emotions disabled me to realize that I am not the only person on the face of the planet. I wanted to feel justified in complaining endlessly about my unfortunate circumstances while passively registering my dissatisfaction than actively changing my situation. Sound familiar?
Feelings don’t require justification. They are automatic responses to events; good or bad, and people’s feelings cannot be judged as right or wrong. However, actions, unlike feelings, have consequences and must be considered in relation to moral issues and rational issues. Am I making sense?
As someone who played the victim role for many years, I dealt in judgements and “shoulds”. I had a sense of entitlement, I was selfish, and I was child-like. I assumed that the world should be fair. This kind of victim role led to resentment, anger, righteousness, and vengeful feelings. Worse yet, feeling victimized were bottled up inside contributing to feeling helpless and depressed.
I think it’s obvious to say playing the victim does more harm than good for everyone involved. Although this habit has been difficult to break, it is achievable. I think it comes with maturity and understanding. When I started to learn more about emotions and feelings I found learning compassion and empathy were helpful in breaking the victim role.
“Ok. So what was it? Why did you hate being sober? Your childhood was good; you were never abused…maybe emotionally and mentally, but only a little. You had everything you wanted; you never went without. So please tell me, tell me what went wrong?”
I was looking for reasons, or excuses as to why I was the way I was. I wanted to believe there was a significant reason I fell off course. I wanted to blame something or someone for my actions. Even now that I am sober, I still look back trying to find something to hold on to, something that pushed me over the edge. But I was just a child when I started using; it is hard to trace those steps. The more I think about it, the more I try to make sense of the past, the more I realize that it’s me; it has always been me. I am the reason. I hated who I was, and I hated how I felt. Even if my parents said I love you or hugged me more, it wouldn’t have changed how I felt inside, even if there was no emotional abuse. It wouldn’t have taken away the anxiety, the depression, the depersonalization and derealization. It would not have mattered. I didn’t know how to control those feelings and emotions; I didn’t know how to make it stop. When I figured out drugs took all of it away, I felt comforted. I found a way to turn off my mind; I found a way not to care. There is generation after generation of addiction and mental health issues within my family. Whether or not that has impacted me; who knows? The point is I am the only one to blame. I have stopped trying to unlock memories, I have stopped trying to make sense of the past because I don’t think I will ever understand why things were the way they were. I am lucky to still have both of my parents in my life, I am lucky to have a great relationship with them. We are putting the puzzle back together a day at a time. It isn’t always easy, but we have been through hell and back and we’re still together. That has to count for something.
They started out as babysitters, and we built an amazing friendship. They eventually became my godparents. For a long time we didn’t understand why my godmother was so paranoid, she would tell me to watch out, not to answer the phone, to hide knives all over the house, and not to listen to my parents. She told me my parents didn’t care about me and they were planning on giving me away. Being a child; perception was reality. My father struggled with alcoholism and would have violent outbursts, I would react and start to cry, terrified that it was my fault and they were finally going to get rid of me. My dad used it against me when I would misbehave, he would threaten to put me up for adoption.
I caught my godmother yelling at thin air, screaming and crying to leave her alone. I was terrified. I told my godfather and he sat me down to tell me she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. As a child I had no idea what that meant.
It was like good cops, bad cops. My parents couldn’t afford to get me anything and everything I wanted and I didn’t understand why. But my godparents could. They took me on vacations and they did things for me my parents couldn’t. From my perspective as a child I just thought it was because my parents didn’t care about me. I know it was never my godparent’s intention to confuse me. They loved me the only way they knew how.
I knew I had to see them as soon as possible because my time was running out; I needed drugs, and I needed them now. They didn’t see through my bullshit, they thought I was the angel they knew as a child, the girl who played sports on the weekends and liked to draw at night. They never doubted my lies, they trusted me and they only wanted what was best for me. I called them that day like I promised. I know they counted on me to brighten their day; they were never able to have kids of their own so I was all they had. I loved them, I still love them, and they are a part of me. They watched over me from the time I was 6 months. They were always there for me, especially when my parents were not. They needed me more than I needed them and I knew it. The addict in me used that to my advantage. After I left their place I went straight to my dealer to pick up, and I drove home and went to bed.
That was the last time I saw them, it has been 3 years and I don’t know where they are. I selfishly cut them out of my life. I tell myself it was for them; to protect them. But I am lying. I did it for me, like everything else. I did it so I wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt and shame; I did it so I could pretend I wasn’t that person. I think about them every single day. I miss them so much and I want to apologize. Their number is no longer in service, I have tried emailing them and I haven’t heard back yet. If I ever get the opportunity to have them in my life again, I will do my best to make them know how important they are.
In that moment I was never sorry. I didn’t give a fuck about you. My priorities; what I wanted, was so much more than you. It was never about you. Don’t you see? You could have given me the world, you could have given me your blood, and it wouldn’t have mattered. There was a force within me that you couldn’t bend, break, or steal. Not even I had control over it. Powerless is what we were, that was the one and only thing we had in common; feeling powerless, feeling defeated, feeling as if the world owed us something. We resented each other for the same reasons in different situations; we lived in different worlds with the same worries and fears. Imagine that; a sense of common ground in unfamiliar territory. I couldn’t begin to understand you and what you were going through, and you couldn’t begin to understand me and what I was going through. We were too consumed within our minds to realize the depth of our similarities; emotionally blind to say the least; fragile. Trying to explain, trying to understand was delusional at the time. It was beyond us. Compromising was a word that offered us no explanation. You kept asking who I was and what was I thinking. I kept thinking how could you do this to me and since when did you even care. Sometimes emotions don’t have filters. We wanted the same things all along but we didn’t even know it.
Things are better now but I am not 13 years old anymore. It has been 10 years and it is not easy to make up for lost time but we are trying. We are making an effort everyday and that has to count for something. We are learning about each other, forgiving each other, and making amends. At the end of the day, we want what is best; not only for ourselves but for each other.