My Experience With Addiction

Posted: 07/25/2012 by erichblayde in Acceptance, Coming Out, Self Help, Strength
Tags: ,

I’m one of the lucky ones.

By the age of thirteen I was addicted to alcohol and experimenting with drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and PCP. I was an out lesbian, a budding activist and already completely out of control. Having recently suffered the loss of my only parent I was angry at the world and harboring a deep seated hatred of myself. I was nothing more than a ship without a rudder, sailing headlong into a storm I could see coming from a mile away but did not particularly feel the need or desire to avoid.

Over the next 7 years I devolved slowly into the mire of addiction. I became more and more isolated, more and more angry. I began to self harm in numerous ways for no reason other than to punish myself for a secret I sought to hide from ever seeing the light of day. I sought to bury my emotions within a thick cocoon of alcohol induced numbness while at the same time seeking emotional release through sexual promiscuity. I was a study in contradictions, on one hand an addict and drug dealer, on the other an activist and fighter for gay rights ruled on that area of my life by an iron clad moral compass. I fought mightily to bury the traits within me that were my greatest strengths, to fall head first into destruction and never look back. I destroyed relationships, family attachments and my own body in a vain attempt to rid myself of a curse I couldn’t understand and didn’t want to accept.

For 7 long years I tried and failed to just give up.

On February 22nd 2004 I awoke in the hallway of what appeared to be a hotel. I had no idea where I was and was forced to look in my own wallet to discover my name. Alongside my ID card was a phone card and a card for a member of a 12 step recovery program with the inscription “When you want to stop running call me” Terrified at the path of destruction I had carved, I picked up the telephone and finally admitted the truth.

I wasn’t anything I thought I was.

The path to sobriety was immediately made easier by that stranger on the other end of the phone. “Get your things” she ordered “Get to Vancouver and get willing to get honest” Utterly defeated I obeyed without question, and several hours later I walked through what proved to be the door to a whole new life.

Early recovery was hard. Over the years I had built around myself a wall of numbness, and had hidden myself from everyone around me including myself. Recovery effectively ended that charade. No longer could I pretend I was happy with who I was, and no longer could I avoid one startling fact.

I couldn’t ever have been happy as a lesbian because I hadn’t ever truly been happy as a woman.

Following this shocking revalelation things immediately seemed to get simple again. Yes coming out the second time around was hard as hell. Yes suddenly finding out that that little nudge you paid no mind to all those years was actually a veritable torrent of things that you needed to change was definitely hard. But the process of unhiding all the dirty little secrets about my gender and my sexuality made things simple as hell.

Sobriety was suddenly made more simple than I could have dreamed as well. Devoid of the terrifying secret of my transgenderism I found myself not needing to escape so much. Staying honest and true to me made it possible to stay sober for longer than I dreamed I could.

It’s well into my eighth continuous year clean and sober now, and while life is still life in all its chaotic glory, life is made fun by the fact that I just don’t hide who I am anymore. Most especially I don’t hide from myself.

Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could. And even with all the messes somewhere I obviously learned how to do something good 🙂

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Comments
  1. Congrats on being sober for so long! I never believed I could do it, I sure did surprize myself! I’ll never go back to that way of life. It’s great to hear another success story.

  2. alpowerful says:

    Wow, good for you! That is an honestly inspirational story. Thank you for sharing it…

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