TRIGGER WARNING, Abuse, Addiction, Suicide ( Shit, that’s a lot of triggers ).
Recently I was accused my writing has become a replacement for my gambling addiction, and not challenged in a way that might seem positive or upbeat. Accused it consumes me in a dangerous way.
Let’s delve shall we,
I started this blog; almost a month after I came out of the addiction closet. My life was in turmoil. I just admitted to some of my friends and family I had hidden an addiction for a couple of years. Not only was I hiding it, but I also broke the law to feed it.
Rock bottom is different for everyone, or so I have learned. My Rock Bottom wasn’t the police officer standing on my front porch trying to coerce a confession, nor was it explaining to my children their Mother had done something morally questionable. Rock Bottom came out of nowhere for me. And as the words Rock Bottom can only be explained, it consumed my entirety and weighed on me with the burden of my very own shame. So heavy in fact, darkness was my only solace, the only place I felt safe.
After the rumours swirled around my circle of friends, my shame grew into a monster, one I couldn’t control anymore. I sunk deep inside myself, terrified, desolate, and uncertain if I was ever going to be able to show my face to the world without feeling so disgusted with who I had become.
Almost immediately after my secret was out, I began seeing a counsellor who specialised in gambling addictions. We spoke about the ebb and flow of recovery. That recovery is about feeling the pain, owning it, not covering it up with the addiction, as I once did. She went on to explain, my feelings of shame may indeed grow before getting better.
My shame became more than just shame and disgrace; it became me. It ate me whole.
The pain was overwhelming; I hadn’t let myself feel a real emotion in years, maybe ever. And this time, I couldn’t gamble it away.
Finding the remorse and shame unbearable, one night I found myself powerless against the tears pouring from my eyes. With a bottle of wine in one hand and a container of sleep aids in the other, I sat quietly in my dark bedroom, alone and terrified. Unable to discern anything but a disgusting human being, a liar and a thief, I started tearing away any good I had ever done until all that was left was darkness. The thick black cloud of humiliation and shame wrapped itself around any good intentions I’d ever had. A sip of red and a pill, another sip another pill.
I wanted to die.
So the suspense is gone, I am clearly not dead. That’s the deal with mixing sleeping pills and alcohol. Before I was brave enough to swallow all the pills I fell asleep. Lucky? Or maybe I didn’t truly want to die.
That was my Rock Bottom.
The next day I knew it was time to face my demons but with a hangover of monumental proportions, it was hard to find the motivation to do so. Where I did find motivation, was in the faces of my two teenagers, who no matter what, still looked at me with unconditional love and adornment. They didn’t see the vile human being I did; they only saw their Mom.
I scheduled an appointment with my counsellor that afternoon. Coupled now with the shame of my addiction was an attempted suicide. An embarrassing, selfish act no GOOD Mother would ever choose. Sorrow overcame me, lifting my feet off the ground physically hurt.
When I saw my counsellor that day, among other things she told me to write, she said, “Write until the tears stop, and when they stop, write some more.” Whether those were her words or someone else’s, they resonated with me.
When I got home, I wrote. I wrote as the tears soaked my face. I wrote this …
A letter to my four-year-old self.
If I could say anything at all to you right now, as you are living, what might feel like hell, it would be that I promise you, it will be OK. I know you can’t see that now, and you are scared, but you are going to get through this. You may be wondering how I know this. It’s because I am here right now, and I can write you this letter.
I want you to know; none of this is your fault. That man is not a good person, and he doesn’t deserve your silence. I do know that right now you are so confused. It’s hard for you to understand why everyone is acting normal around him when you hate him so much. Right now, you have no idea how to cope or comprehend this, but one day you will. I promise you, you will be able to get through this. You will be angry at everyone for, not seeing what you see. It will cause you to crawl deeper inside yourself. Right now, it is your only protection. I am sorry you feel this way. I know it makes you feel stronger that you can cope without any help, but you are wrong. You are allowed to be vulnerable! You are just a little girl; you are allowed to be a little girl!
I know you want to go outside and play now, but you are afraid. You are afraid he will be there, watching, waiting. He will be, and you will do what you always do. You will be strong, and you will get through it. I would like you to stop being strong. I want you to know; you aren’t able to be so strong, you are too little to be this strong.
You want to scream, yet you keep it inside, you keep everything inside. I want you to let it out. It’s ok to let it out. People love you, and you don’t need to do this alone. I wish you knew that you don’t have to do this alone. I am here, and I am sorry, that you are so scared. I am sorry that this man lives next door, and I am sorry that you don’t know what to do. I want you to feel the pain and not push it away. I want you to hear me so badly, I wish you did not have to go through this. It’s not your fault! I love you!
It will stop one day, and you won’t remember how or when. I think he moves away, and you will put it all behind you. You will forget everything. I want you to remember! I want you to say something, I promise, no one will think it is your fault, I promise! I love you, and you don’t have to protect yourself anymore. Let someone keep you safe, please open up and let someone in. You are going to have to see him again; you are going to spend holidays with him and his family. You need to know; it’s ok to hate him. You won’t understand why because you will have pushed it all away, deep inside. Remember, you have an inner voice, and it is not wrong. Remember, that you don’t have to hug him or sit on his lap. None of this is your fault, and I love you!
You are an amazing little girl, with so much to offer. He was wrong, not you! You are so much more than how he makes you feel. You deserve to be a little girl! For every moment, he took away, please remember there will be so much more in your life! Don’t feel despair sweet girl. I can’t promise you it won’t be hard; it will! When it gets hard, please open up. Not everybody is going to hurt you like he did.
I wrote those words to aid in the recovery of the addiction I nearly let claim my life. I kept writing and when the tears stopped, I wrote some more. I didn’t edit, I just wrote.
I write today because I am good at it, and I enjoy getting better. Let me explain, it wasn’t always easy to say I am a good writer, or good at anything for that matter. I’m not all braggy-braggy, but I am proud of how far I have come since sitting down and writing a letter to that little girl. Today I can say writing is a passion, I will even go as far as to declare it is a part of me.
Writing hasn’t replaced my addiction; it’s one of the reasons I can say that I am clean.
Writing may have even saved me.