Addiction and an Eight Year Old

They say that addiction of one kind or another touches one in five people. Whether it be an alcoholic father or drug addicted brother. For myself, I was introduced to the life at a very young age. I took my first drink when I turned eight, you see having an addicted mother at the height of her addiction made it easily accessible.

From then on it would forever be a part of my life. I would take every opportunity to get high. It didn’t matter if I knew what the pills I took did, take some and find out. They say addiction starts out doing things for you and slowly or quickly depending does things to you. In the end it will cost you everything. I should know I have lost four people I cared about very much to drugs and alcohol addiction.

But while people where dying from their addictions directly or because of the result of it, I soldiered on. I had the reality of sober living in new jersey on my mind and I wanted to live by that example. The truth of the matter is I should have died. I had plenty of opportunities. Even after the loss of these people I continued to use.

One of the problems with an addictive personality is that it spills over into other areas of your life. If something can be abused, it will be. Sex addiction can become a big problem for addicts trying to recover. It’s simple if it makes you feel good, do more. With the introduction of the Internet, oh boy this can be dangerous ground. All the old behaviors and habits from drinking or using drugs carry over. With all the bad feelings of guilt and remorse that drive a person to due more to dull them. Addiction doesn’t happen in one day or even a week. Even after starting recovery or being clean for years the beast still lives with in us forever. It waits for the chance to be let out of the box.

Those of us left behind have a choice to make, try and get help or wait for the end however long it takes. A death by addiction is slow and painful and even almost more painful to watch.

The truth is I didn’t need an excuse to drink, because it was Friday would do. I drank because I wanted to. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t know. A person that fights any disease, are they bad people? I can think of plenty of people that never had an addiction that are less than nice.

Some “experts” conclude that we are addicted to drugs or alcohol because of a predisposition. That’s to say we weren’t getting out of it because of our gene make up. Others think being exposed to people using has an influence, a product of our environment. I can’t say which is right. I grew up with an addicted mother, but I was removed and went to live in an environment where no one used. Was it already too late? Was the seed of my addiction already planted as a coping mechanism?

I have come to accept the fact that I’m not like others; my make up is different. I can’t have one drink or one of anything that may trigger my addictive tendencies. It’s too dangerous; the voice of my addiction within me speaks when I’m at my weakest. Too many times I have succumbed to the pressures of an addictive personality.

This dark force will drive me to do things and say things I may never forgive myself for.

In the beginning of my recovery, I would count hours, then days. If your lucky weeks. Many times did I breakdown and drink over and over again. It got to the point where I hated being with people but didn’t want to be alone. Recovery can be a strange experience that changes every day. The longer I’m clean; the clearer things get. Facing those I hurt along the way has been let’s say a humbling experience. But the first person as I learned that I had to forgive was myself. I found it’s not so much letting myself off the hook for what I did, but being under the influence of a mind altering chemical changes who you are. The trick is finding yourself again. I didn’t think it was possible to feel like a whole person.

One thing that holds to sixteen years later is that I couldn’t do it alone then and I can’t do it alone now. I have no answers to how to free yourself from a destructive addiction. I only know what helped me and the support of the people that have gone down this road before me and lived to tell about it.


Nicole Hennig
Nicole Hennig is a freelance writer, content writer, blogger, and also a photographer. She graduated from the University of Caloocan in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015.

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