Category Archives: Addiction

IS ALL ADDICTION RELATED TO CHILDHOOD TRAUMA?

Dr. Gabor Mate believes all addiction is related to childhood trauma. I find this disturbing but not surprising.

During the 20 plus years I spent drinking I was court ordered to see a Psychiatrist or Therapist several times. Each one asked if there had been any abuse in my childhood. Even when I insisted there hadn’t been they still kept asking. None of them asked any other questions.

Some questions that would’ve been helpful for them would be “Does anyone in your family have a mental illness?”, “Does anyone in your family have a problem with alcohol?”, “Does anyone in your family have issues with anxiety?”. These would’ve been good questions to ask.

My Grandfather on my father’s side loved animals but had no friends. He had trouble talking to people. He also had ulcers that would eventually lead to his death at an early age when they began bleed. He was afraid to go to the Hospital so when he finally did it was too late.

My Father loves animals and has never had any friends. He also found it difficult to talk to people or be in social situations. When he was 17 he joined the Navy and found that alcohol helped him fit in. He continued to drink after leaving the Navy and didn’t stop until I was around 7 years old. My Mother ordered for him in restaurants, made doctor appointments for him, and handled anything that might cause anxiety for him. No one ever spoke about it. He also has ulcers. I’ve seen dry heave so many times I’ve lost count. It’s always when he’s anxious. I’ve seen him swallow his own vomit because he refuses to show weakness in front of anyone.

I love animals and have only ever had one friend. I would dry heave every single day before school. Going to the mall or a crowded place was torture for me. I tried to hide behind my hair and always looked at the ground as I walked. I thought I would be laughed at or ridiculed. I was anyway because of my weight. This didn’t help so I stayed in my room a lot. At 16/17 I found that alcohol helped took away the butterflies in my stomach and I could talk to people. I went to concerts, met bands, hung out with a large group of people, got into fights, got arrested, laughed, cried, tried to commit suicide several times, was promiscuous, and ruined relationships with my family.

Alcohol took me on some great adventures but it also came close to killing me. I didn’t know I was Bipolar or that I had Social Anxiety Disorder (Phobia) I knew something was wrong but no one ever diagnosed me so I kept drinking.

My family has many alcoholics in it including my Mom and Dad. It also has Mental Illness that you can’t discount. It isn’t coincidence that my Mom, her Mother and 3 of her siblings have/had severe mental illnesses.

My parents loved me and did everything they could to make sure I was happy. Yes they saw signs early on that something wasn’t right but they were scared I would be taken away. It was the late 70’s early 80’s and not enough was known then. I don’t blame either one of them. If anything I’m alive right now because of them.68832fe107dfe5b52a7fff8651d19655

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WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS OF ADDICTION

No one wants to be an addict or an alcoholic. There’s always an underlying reason for the choice we make to keep using or drinking. I had several reasons. They are in no way excuses but explanations.

Lately there have been an overwhelming amount of people coming forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment, assault, rape, and physical abuse by people that are either famous or somewhat known. This is a good start.

There’s an element to one of these cases that isn’t discussed.

The fact that the two people involved were addicts in a relationship.

I’m not condoning anything or taking sides. I want that understood.

What I am saying is based on my own experience.

When I was drunk I was aggressive at times and I would start fights with men. Mostly because I knew they didn’t find me attractive. This wasn’t their fault it was my extremely low self esteem and possibly my undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder.

Your average woman doesn’t punch a guy in the face because he refuses her advances.

I also think I had sex with men that were too drunk to consent. This is hard to admit but I know I did this once. The person was someone I was close to and it ruined our friendship for awhile then worse things happened and we were close again.

I’ve been beaten badly while drunk. I’ve had sex during a blackout on several occasions so that would be I guess without my consent.

The person I have hated for years who did the most damage is an alcoholic/drug user who I drank with daily. I never wanted to forgive him.

The problem is I was just as bad as he was. The only difference is I stopped drinking over 9 years ago. I admitted the damage I had done to other people and myself. He still thinks he did nothing wrong. He thinks this way because he still drinks.

Drinking and drug abuse stunts you emotionally and your maturity. You don’t grow up when you’re using or drinking. You stay the same age you were when you started. If you started at 16 then you have a 16 year old boy’s mentality. I’m not making this up.

I never grew up. There were so many “adult” things I didn’t know how to do when I stopped drinking. I never had to do them.

When two addicts/alcoholics are in a relationship I can tell you from experience horrible things are going to be said and done. At the time you don’t think it’s that bad. It’s only years later when you’ve stopped using and have some clarity that you realize how wrong everything was.

I’m still working on forgiveness and I’m sure there are a few people who can’t forgive me. Not the people I drank with because they all still drink or they’re dead but my family.

I do understand the places alcohol took me. Physically and emotionally. These are places I never want to visit again. I have to accept my part in the things that went on then. I’ve made my amends to those I needed to but all of it still haunts me.

I know this because I have “drunk dreams” once in awhile to remind me. I hate those nights but they serve a purpose.

I hope I’m making sense and not offending people.6-addiction-emotions-3


ALCOHOLISM, MODERATION, ABSTINENCE, AND WHAT’S POSSIBLE

There are a number of people leaving AA and other programs meant to help with addiction to seek a “Holy Grail” of sorts. It’s the belief that if you follow a new and different way you will be able to drink in moderation successfully.

What is “Moderate Drinking”?

The scientific community has been doing extensive research concerning this subject and came up with the following definition.

Moderate drinking consists of no more than 3 to 4 “standard” drinks per drinking episode. No more than 9 drinks per week for women and 12-14 per week for men.

A “standard drink” is equal to the following:

  • a 12 oz. beer with 5% alcohol
  • a 5 oz. glass of wine with 12.5% alcohol
  • a 1.5 oz. of 80 proof liquor 40% alcohol

Moderate drinking also takes into account how FAST you drink and keeping your blood alcohol level below .055. (.08 is the DUI/DWI limit in the U.S.)

Supposedly Moderate Drinkers do not drink to get drunk. It states that some heavy drinkers who have had problems related to their drinking can learn how to “moderate” their drinking. Drinkers who have the most success believe that alcoholism is a bad habit and not a disease.

There is a “Chances of Success Test” you can take on the website for free. (moderatedrinking.com)

I did take the test but answered the questions as if I were NOT in remission/sober. They at least gave an honest answer. My results recommended that I abstain from all alcohol use. So much for moderation.

THE NATIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGIC SURVEY ON ALCOHOL AND RELATED CONDITIONS

They have been researching and analyzing data for years. Their recent conclusions? Most “alcoholism” looks less like Leaving Las Vegas and more like your average frat party attendee or work colleague. They also came up with “22” as the average age of onset for alcoholism.

43,000 people were questioned and studied based on the DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence. The DSM-IV uses preoccupation with drinking, impaired control over drinking, compulsive drinking, drinking despite physical or psychological harm, tolerance and/or withdrawal symptoms.

There have been some recent findings that are puzzling. I’m not sure how I feel about them. But I will give them anyway.

About 70% of affected persons have a single episode of less than 4 years. The remainder experience an average of 5 episodes. It seems there are two forms of alcohol dependence: time-limited and chronic.

They also found that 20 years after onset of alcohol dependency about 3/4 of individuals are in full recovery. More than half of those who have fully recovered drink at low-risk levels without any problems.

Around 75% of people who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help including any type of program.

MY VIEWPOINT AS AN ALCOHOLIC 

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc. I think you still have to go back to that number one question “Why did I start drinking?”. I think if you don’t you will most likely find yourself in the same situation. Is it possible to manage your drinking? Maybe. Is it worth it to try? I don’t know. I do know that I hurt many people with my drinking. I lost friends because of my drinking and lost friends because I stopped drinking.

I will be honest and say that on my last vacation my Aunt bought me these little Pear/Green Apple wine spritzers. I didn’t look at the can and thought it was soda. I was halfway through when I felt full. I wasn’t eating at the time. I just felt an “ick” feeling. I couldn’t drink anymore of it. I wondered why because I can usually drink a lot of soda. That’s when I looked at the can. I didn’t say anything to her because I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. The only reason I could only drink a little bit of it is because I’m on Topamax. Topamax is one of my mood stabilizers but they also use it for people who drink. Would I have kept drinking if I hadn’t been on that medication? Most likely.

I am one those people who has tried several times in the 20 years I drank to stop drinking with a program or group. It never worked for me. Finding out why I drank and finally being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder is what worked for me. And I do not count my 6 sips of spritzer that I was too stupid to realize was wine spritzer. I still have over 8 years of remission. Hey, I never drank wine in my life. I only drank beer and hard liquor. I remember when we had 100 proof Firewater we would put in the freezer. When you did shots it came out like cold sludge. How did my stomach survive?

I’ve known people that have gone back to drinking after 15-20 years of sobriety. They were dead within a year. Does that mean it would be like that for everyone? I don’t know. I can only say how it would be for me. I have to keep going until I close every bar and drink every last drink in the building before I’m done. So I think I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.alcoholism-1

 


THIS IS WHO I REALLY AM AND I’M TIRED IT NEVER ENDS

tired


PURGE YOUR SOUL

I had my appointment with my Psychiatrist yesterday. He spent more time with me than usual because another patient had cancelled. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. He really thinks doing this blog helps and that my family does not help. He appeared genuinely shocked that my twin sister isn’t more involved. He thought she lived in another state these past few years. I laughed a little too loudly at that one.

I’m still in a memory purge zone so that’s what I’m going to do.

My bestfriend W who has been my only close friend now for 30 years never judged me, or said anything about my drinking. It may have been because she was usually drinking too. She could have 4 or 5 beers and stop where I wouldn’t. I had to have 15 to 20. I did everything in excess. Shopping, drinking, and eating. The Queen of Excess. It would blow her mind the amount of alcohol I would put away in a few hours. Sometimes it frightened her. I didn’t think anything of it until a guy Sean who was an alcoholic said “You know that you crack a beer, light a cigarette, crack a beer, light a cigarette, look down at the ashtray and your empties man.” I looked down. There were 7 empties and 7 smoked cigarettes. We had been there 50 minutes. I was guzzling like I was in a contest. I chose to place this thought in the back of my mind.

W started to date a guy Will. I wasn’t fond of Will. She had met him at J’s apartment. I personally thought she could do better. She was in a 4 year college, she was beautiful, smart and funny. But she thought he was cute and she loved a guy who could make her 1338828079261974laugh. He did have a good job. I wasn’t crazy about how controlling he was with her. We started to see less and less of them at J’s. I still talked to her on the phone all the time. I started to hear rumors at J’s that Will had hit W once or twice. I cut back on going to J’s and started going to Will’s apartment so I could see W.

At first things were ok. Will was actually funny. Half the time I was laughing at him. He reminded me of a shorter version of Jerry Seinfeld with a mullet. One night he drank too much and was smoking pot. He fell asleep on the couch while W and I watched a movie. He dropped the lit joint down the leg of his shorts so it went into the crotch. He started jumping up and down screaming. To me it was hysterical. I didn’t laugh in front of him. W and I waited until later. I also went out with them a few times. I noticed every time W left me alone with Will he started whining about her or saying stuff about her that I wasn’t going to listen to for long without punching him. She knew he did this when drinking and just wrote it off. I wasn’t as quick to let it go.

There were 2 incidences that played a hand in my decision to stay away from them until W decided to leave.

The first incident was at a Fight concert. Fight was Rob Halford’s  band when he left Judas Priest. It was an extremely small venue. W and Will were going and I was to meet them there. When I saw W she looked horrible. She was pale and the thinnest I’ve ever seen her. She immediately pulled me into the ladies room. “Daner I have to leave him but I don’t know how. The other night I ran from the house in my nightgown and jumped in his brother’s car. He shot out the back window. I drove to the police station. I didn’t want him arrested, I was confused and we had been drinking. When I got home all of my stuff was on fire on the front lawn.”. I was more than angry. You can say and do what you want to me but NEVER TO MY FAMILY. W was closer to me than my sister. I asked her to tell me the truth if he had ever hit her. She was looking at the floor and said “Yes” quietly while she cried. W was normally someone who didn’t show emotion, who never let a guy get to her. I told her she wasn’t leaving with him that she was coming home with me. She looked frightened. I told her I would handle Will and to stay in the bathroom. Yes I was drunk. I found Will doing his usual holding up the wall eyes rolling to the back of his head drunkenness. I always found this level of inebriation revolting. I know it’s the pot calling the kettle black. I know for a fact that no matter how much I’ve ever drank in the past I have never been like that. Loud-definitely, Annoying- definitely, Repeater- definitely but not eyes rolling , falling down, spilling my drink on everyone, drunk.

When I stood in front of Will and he finally recognized who I was he immediately started to blame W. He said stuff about her that was so crude and out of line and in a public place that I was stunned. Other people could hear him because it was intermission. He was yelling that it was like “F*cking a dead fish with her, she doesn’t love me, she doesn’t love anyone, she’s a whore, she was f*cking everyone when I first met her at J’s” after 2 minutes of this I accidentally punched him in the face. He slid down the wall and was passed out either from alcohol or something.

The problem was when I went to get W and told her what had happened she was upset. She went to see how he was. You can probably guess what happened. She went back home with him.

I never understood why she stayed with him. A few months went by and everything had blown over. We had been invited to my sister’s house she shared with her college friends for a party. (Big shocker here!!!! It would be the first and last time) W was good friends with one of my sister’s roommates so she really wanted to go. We were both a little worried about Will.

Everyone was having fun. It actually lasted for half the night which was a lot longer than I had ever thought it would. Then I heard my sister yelling. You never want to make my sister angry. If people thought I was bad when I was drinking my sister was bad sober or drinking.

When I went to see what was going on she was yelling at Will and W was begging her to let “it” go. I yelled at my sister “What the hell is going on?” she said that Will had slapped W and bent her arm behind her back. She wanted him out of her house. He was refusing to leave. Will could be nasty when he was just the right amount of drunk. I told my sister I would handle it. She then turned her anger on me. “This is what happens when you bring your scumbag friends around” so then I started arguing with her. I then turned around to tell Will to shut the f*ck up. Will replied “I’m not going to listen to some fat baby killing whore” this may have been when the red veil came over my eyes. The next thing I know we’re both outside and I have him by the throat against a car. W wasn’t happy about any of it. I told her “This is it W. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t listen to him talk about you and now he brings up personal stuff about me in public? Until you leave him I can’t do this”.

It was a few more years before we spoke again. She was with Will for 7 years. The last 2 years she made him the victim and treated him almost as bad as he had treated her. None of it makes it right. As soon as I heard her voice I felt something inside me break open. We talked for 3 hours and promised ourselves that nothing like this would happen again.

Those 7 years with Will were really W’s first relationship. It left her a cold person when it came to men. She never was one for “feelings” to begin with. I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve seen her cry. Almost all of those times had to do with me. None had to do with a relationship. I’m not the only one who has some issues I’ve realized. She’s extremely moody, obsessive compulsive about odd things like her lawn and certain areas of her house, and the way she is with men. Her brother has Mental Health issues but refuses to see anyone and their parents refuse to acknowledge it. W does see it. It wouldn’t be so far fetched that she would have something going on.

I do realize that as an alcoholic in remission I see alcoholism in everyone. I do realize as a Bipolar person that I see Mental Health issues in everyone. This doesn’t necessarily make me wrong. Does it?


I’m Pissed and Don’t Care!

 

 

When a celebrity dies from an overdose we see it looped on the news over and over until it loses it’s meaning. This pisses me off. These are human beings that often times have suffered a trauma or mental illness and used drugs or alcohol to self medicate. Their lives may look fun but in reality are actually lonely ones.

Scott Weiland suffered sexual abuse at the age of 12 from a high school senior bigger than him. In 2007 his brother overdosed. He had his problems. Heroin is one of hardest drugs to get off of. His weight changing as much as it did probably put a strain on his heart. He had many problems. I’m sure the people surrounding him had given up. That’s one of the problems.

With addiction you need at least ONE PERSON willing to stick by you no matter what. If you don’t, you fail. When you feel like no one is going to be there anyway you figure why bother? Who cares? Even if it’s in your head. You need to feel at least one person cares enough to be there no matter what you do. I hope he had that. I hope he didn’t die feeling alone in the world, feeling worthless. He wasn’t. None of us are.


Freedom of Speach Doesn’t Apply

I dislike having my blogs monitored and not posted on specific social media sites. I only write what I see as the truth. I try to be as respectful as I can without continuing my doormat behavior. What I WILL NOT DO is change myself in anyway because I happen to hit on home truths that make people uncomfortable. People have no problem making me uncomfortable without apology.

I’m barely keeping my head above water. I’m grieving, I’m extremely ill physically, and yesterday Catatonia was added to my diagnosis. I having trouble sleeping which was the only time everything shut off.  Yesterday I almost said “screw it” and got another dog. But it wouldn’t be fair to my dad or the dog. There is such emptiness I don’t know what to do with it anymore.


The “Amazing” Steven Tyler And Other Opinions

I try not to do this often because there always seams to be some sort of backlash when I do. But me being who I am, never learns.

There is a video that someone put on YouTube featuring Steven Tyler singing the song Amazing at a Recovery Center. He also spent time talking to the people there in recovery. He doesn’t make a big to do about it when he does these things, he just does them. As far as I know.

There is a time during the song where you see him get emotional and he covers his face with his hands briefly. I know he was going through an emotional time then. He then looks out at the room, continues singing, and looks joyful. Maybe to have them there for support, people who understand where he’s been and where he is. Yes, I know he has money and fame but it really doesn’t buy you happiness at the end of the day when your family no longer speaks to you and the only people who do are the ones who want something. I’m not saying this is him but this does happen often. They are just people who hurt and struggle like anyone else. Although some will get pissed if their fans thought that of them. It’s ridiculous. Man up. You want to admit you are an addict/alcoholic but not human like the rest of us. I call bullshit on that. It’s why I loved watching Mr. Tyler doing his thing and not caring. He also didn’t call a press conference about it. I think it’s called humility.

In the world of the famous there is an outbreak of mental illness and addiction. They make it look easy. It’s misleading to the public around me. “You’re Bipolar? But So and So is Bipolar and you don’t act like her. She’s fine.” See what I mean? I get it often.

Mental Illness and Addiction comes in many shapes and sizes. There is no one size fits all or one cure for everyone. But I will say that nothing makes me happier than watching Steven Tyler sing.


What I Thought And What It Is: Being A Twin

She came out 5 minutes after me. A beautiful blue eyed baby girl. Right away they said she was different than me. She demanded her bottle, pushed my hand away from her, and knew what she wanted. I was the quieter one, patiently waiting to be noticed or for my turn to come.

I had problems early on with things like nosebleeds in my crib. It was the kind on wheels and unfortunately one night I had stood up and smeared blood all over the walls while rocking the crib across the floor. My parents had gone out for the evening so when the babysitter came in she thought I had been stabbed and called the police. Not good. So I mistakenly received attention. I also had a habit of rocking or bouncing my head to get to sleep or in the car. Another oddity. As twins my mother liked to dress us the same. We’re fraternal but people still had trouble telling us apart. My sister loathed the idea. I didn’t mind.

Starting in kindergarten they separated us. Twins were not allowed to be in the same classes at all. This frightened me and excited/relieved my sister.

I was not allowed to have the same friends as my sister. This was her rule not mine.

As we got older she would borrow money from me for rent or food. I never got it back but I thought she’s my twin sister it’s ok.

She never liked it when I introduced her as my twin sister. She would say ” Why do you have to do that? Why does everyone have to know we are twins? Why does it matter?”

It mattered because no one will ever know her or love her longer or stronger than I do.

I always thought twins shared a special bond. We don’t. I’ve tried so hard to get her to love and accept me, to just spend time with me, I have begged. It falls on deaf ears. When she says she can’t because she’s meeting friends I want to scream. She knows why I’m asking. She knows I’m at the end of my rope. She just doesn’t want to deal with it. But she expects me to deal with her issues or she’ll never talk to me again.

I’m having a biopsy on Friday and it’s risky. My poor dad has to drop me off before going to dialysis because she has to meet her friend. She might be there when I wake up. The Dr. called last night for me to get a prescription because when I went for my pre-op test the urine test was complete blood. It even shocked the lab tech. So this biopsy is now riskier. I do not do well with anesthesia. I usually wake up crying. I am better if I see a familiar face. Why did I always think we should be closer? That being twins gave us a special bond? Was it the movies, tv, books, or my own imagination? This is another feeling of grief I can’t let go of.


Addiction

I have a tendency to talk about my Bipolar Disorder more than my Alcoholism. I knew myself as an Alcoholic for much longer than I knew I was Bipolar. I was 16 going on 17 when I first got drunk. I had sips of my dad’s beer when I was little but didn’t truly know the feeling of being drunk until that night. I remember my best friend calling all excited. She told me to get ready we were going to a party. I was scared and knew I wouldn’t look as good as the other girls. When she told me who would be in the car with her I felt worse. The 2 most popular guys in our town and the surrounding towns. It was the late 80’s early 90’s. They both had long hair. One looked like Slash from Gun N Roses and was in a band, the other had black straight hair with bluest eyes you’ve ever seen. I did my best.

We were on the freeway for about 5 minutes when the Rumplemintz came out. I’m probably spelling it wrong but it was mint schnapps. I took the first big gulp. After that it didn’t matter if I was fat or ugly. The alcohol made that feeling disappear. Another plus was I could suddenly talk and crack jokes. I was a little bitchy and sarcastic but it came across as confident. This was attractive for a little while anyway.

Through my 20 years of drinking there were some good times. Concerts, meeting bands, parties, always going out somewhere. I really did love meeting bands, I can’t say they felt same about me but I wasn’t thrown off any buses. My best friend and I laughed a lot at times.

When there were bad times they were really bad. Fights, arrests, a DUI, suicide attempts, waking up in strange places with strange people, not remembering if I consented to things, getting beat up, making my mom cry and probably my dad too. Also the loss of trust, friends, money, self-esteem, jobs, and the will to live.

It was a continuing cycle of self abuse I thought I deserved. I belonged at the bottom of the barrel because I was nothing. I had thought this way since I was 12. At first the alcohol helped, it wasn’t a depressant for me. I could drink all night long and be somewhat hyper. But there were times it would turn on me and I couldn’t stop it. At these times I would look for something else to go with the alcohol. I wonder how I am still alive sometimes. My tolerance for alcohol and any stimulant was so high the amounts I could do scared the people around me.

The last straw was when my best friend had had enough. It took her 20 years of watching me try to destroy myself before she finally couldn’t do it anymore.

I quit drinking cold turkey and went to a psychiatrist. I had been on antidepressants for years. It was time to really deal with things and find out if more was going on. There was. I was diagnosed as Bipolar and with Conversion Disorder. Anxiety and Social Phobia was thrown in too. I got a second opinion. The second doctor didn’t know how I had made it as far as I did. I almost didn’t many times. My parents kept me alive. I’m only sorry my mom didn’t get to see me. Sober for over 6 years now, I do it for me, I do it for her. I love you.


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