On my 13th birthday, my mom gave me and my best friend a bottle of Captain Morgan as a present.
Growing up, it was completely normal to see my parent’s drinking until they would fight, vomit, and pass out.
Almost every night, I’d be trying to fall asleep to the sound of music blasting throughout the house, coupled with yells from my parents, brothers, and random friends of my brothers. Our recycling bins overflowed with beer and liquor bottles. I distinctly remember counting how many empty beer bottles were on the counter when I’d wake up each morning before going to school. Sometimes there would ‘only’ be 8. Sometimes, there would be over 20.
My parents and brothers would smoke weed together, as well. I’d be in my room, and the smell of marijuana would creep in through the vents into my room, causing everything that I owned to reek of smoke. Once, I went to use my bathroom, and I found a girl, half naked, completely wasted in my bathtub. I was forced to help clean her up, and she slept in my room that night.
As their escapades continued, I began to observe my family on a deeper level. I saw that whenever my father would come home from work and remark about how stressful his day was, he’d get a drink. My brother would always be smoking after being angered. My parents would often fight, but then while they were drinking, they would be civil with each other. They would kiss and sing music together. After they crossed some unknown threshold, they would begin to fight again, and the night would be ruined. But for a moment, they liked each other. For a moment while they were drinking, they were husband and wife.
Because of their actions, I thought that the best way to solve problems was to drink. That in order to blow off steam, you need to have a joint. Alcohol would make you more fun and likeable.
I began to drink and smoke sometime around when I was 12 years old. By the time I was 14, I was partying with 25 year olds and staying out until 3 in the morning with complete strangers. Most of the time, I didn’t have to go outside my own home to get alcohol, cigarettes or weed. On my 13th birthday, my mom gave me and my best friend a bottle of Captain Morgan as a present. I’d go anywhere to get my fix, even if it meant hooking up with a guy in order to get it. Through that, another addiction was birthed. I became addicted to men. I was obsessed with the attention they would give me, and I was constantly searching for my soul mate, for my true love. I was searching for happiness, acceptance and meaning. Bottle after bottle, guy after guy.
After years of partying, I came to a point where I was more depressed than I had ever been. I wanted to end my life, to end my suffering. I thought that I was a lost cause, that there was no hope for me.
The turning point came for me when I was at my lowest. I had decided to give up, and that is when I found what I was looking for.
I had been invited to check out a group with some lovely girls, and for awhile, I went and silently sat in the back, speaking to no one. But then, I started to hear stories of women who had gone through incredibly difficult trials. Who also had disappointing family lives. Who also had once run to the bottle for comfort. I heard real, true stories of victory and triumph – and that is when life changed for me.
I saw that change was possible. I didn’t have to be defined by my family any longer. Before then, I believed my family to be my ‘cap,’ and I had no reason to expect my life to go beyond anything that they had accomplished. I already had a reputation at that point, and I thought it was unsalvageable.
But these women had gone through things that were worse than my own. Most of them had spent a much longer time in their situations then I had. And once I realized that they had truly come out on the other side of those difficulties victorious, I knew that I could, too.
Before, I wouldn’t have been able to say that the root to the reason why I was drinking and partying so much was because of the poor example that was set at home. I didn’t realize that my lack of proper fathering and mothering caused my identity to be shattered and my heart to be weak. These wise women were able to help me connect the dots, and to see the reason behind my behavior. They helped me to forgive my family, to seek counsel, and to get up and out of the situation I was in.
Now, years later, I am addiction-free. My family is still living a similar lifestyle to the one they did all throughout my youth, but I am no longer held back by their choices. I am known as a confident woman, one who is constantly growing and moving forward in my abilities and in my dreams. I have found friends who support me and encourage me to continue fighting the good fight. I know what I love to do, and I’m constantly pushing forward to reach my goals and dreams.
I learned that I wasn’t alone. I learned that there was hope. I learned that, no matter how deep in you are, there is always a way out.
I used to be addicted.
Now, I am lovely.