Addiction surrounds us. Food addiction. Pornography addiction. Substance abuse. Alcoholism. Workaholics. Compulsive hoarders. Sex addiction. Human beings are primed for addiction. And this month, in an effort to take down stigmas, to collect more stories, to help us feel less alone in our addictions, we are thrusting the spotlight squarely upon addiction.
We want your stories - are you an addict? Have you been an addict? Are you the adult child of addicts?
Please join us during our Spotlight On: Addiction Carnival on March 18th and share YOUR story as we tear down the stigmas of addiction.
I call myself an ACOA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), even though many others disagree. They disagree that I'm an ACOA because my father became sober three months before I was born. AA is right when they say the smallest part of staying sober is stopping the drugging. But many Al-Anon members and ACOA's have scoffed - I was once kicked out of an Al-Anon meeting because I didn't "belong."
Being scoffed at, having others ignore my problems hurt; it made me revert into my "bubble" - a place no one could hurt me. I created my bubble during my abusive childhood. The bubble keeps the outside world away; I can't hurt and I can't feel. I've recently learned this is a common dissociative method.
As I got older, the bubble helped me through two different abusive friendships and one bad relationship. The bubble tricked me into believing nothing could reach me; that all the shit outside wouldn't affect me.
But it didn't - I felt lonely and unwanted. I felt that I wasn't worth good people; it was no wonder everyone in my life hated me. I was an awful person who lied and deceived, right? Of course my friends used me and my only boyfriend hit me; if I met myself on the street I'd hate me on sight. Those awful, toxic feelings were the only stability I had for a long time.
Nothing I did was ever good enough for my parents. I never got good enough grades, my medications were always too expensive, I had too many mental problems, I didn't read enough. It just keeps going.
No one has ever believed me when I tried to speak up.
When I said the gash on the back of my head was from my dad throwing me into the wall, the ER nurse laughed.
When I told my 6th grade guidance counselor that I was feeling suicidal, nothing happened.
When, at the age of 22, I finally admitted to another person that I was physically and emotionally abused as a child, I was told it was not "real" abuse.
But it was.
Just because I never saw my father use doesn't mean he'd lost the anger, the hatred, the resentment that accompany addiction - instead of drugging, he became a workaholic. When I was three, I disagreed with him about what color we should paint the mailbox, so he threw a can of paint at me. At age 9, it became clear that I had pediatric bipolar disorder, so he began to physically abuse me. During a rage/manic episode, I scratched my brother's CD. As punishment, I was shaken into a wall, which gave me a concussion and a 4-inch gash on the back of my head.
Those feelings don't go away. I was lucky enough to find a good therapist who helped me see through the lies and defense mechanisms to the big ball of terror and rage inside. I found a friend who loves me for who I am.
I AM an ACOA.
Nothing will ever change that. If you're reading this and have ever been told, "Oh that doesn't count," or you feel as if you're not fucked up to qualify as _______, YOU ARE.
Realizing that I was crazy, damaged, and screwed up from my childhood was the second best thing that's EVER happened to me7 Comments