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.