A View From The Other Side (Fairly Long)

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by DarkwingPsyduck, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Another member suggested I tell my story in my own thread, to provide a different perspective on the problems that have brought most of you here.

    I am 25 years old, and a junkie. Just over a year sober, after 3-4 years in active addiction. Drug of choice being opiates. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, et al. I didn't have a very normal child hood. In and out of foster homes, shipped between family member to family member with my twin sister. There was only one home we ever had that was anything resembling healthy. And that was with my great aunt, and her husband. Kept us til we were 4. Mom died when I was 16, and I was on my own from then on. Surviving on the graces and generosity of friends and their families. Did that for a few years, partying a lot. No more than most kids in Reno do at that age, but still considerable. Always in good fun. Not to deal with any emotional issues. A few years back, I tried to enroll at the community college, and found out that I had 2 semesters paid for, and all they needed to do was get a hold of the person who paid for this. I didn't know who paid for it, but they ended tracking her down for me. That being my great aunt I was with as a toddler. I hadn't seen or spoken to her since being taken, and I didn't even initially recognize the name. Without knowing the first thing about me as a person, she offered me a home, paid tuition fees and books, bought new clothes. Pretty much everything I didn't have. I adore her. My uncle, too. First real positive male role model in my life. They are the two most incredible people I have ever met. Generous to a fault. There is NOTHING they didn't do for me. And I always made a point to not disrespect them. They are quite literally the ONLY older family that I have left. Meaning that I should take extra care not to burn that bridge.

    Recently, however, I have discovered that this bridge was fire proof. I got into the pills, initially for fun, then it got out of hand. It didn't take too long before I was every negative stereo type of drug addicts. When addiction starts to really set in, every addict I have ever known has done the same thing. Make a mental list of what we are and are not willing to do for a fix. Rarely does actually happen, however. And top of my list was stealing from my aunt and uncle. I couldn't imagine doing something like that to them. Well, I did... A lot. The theft wasn't of very valuable items, but I understood that it would hurt them, and that it did hurt them. That's not to mention all the fake emergency money I needed. Lying to their faces. They aren't dumb people. They knew what was going on. They just refused to stop. Numerous family members throughout my life had made the promise that I would always have support, and a place to live. Only these 2 people actually held to it. I started lurking this forum, and others, trying to gain some perspective. Seeing the threads of the many posters here was an eye opener. I am not stupid, I knew I was causing them pain, I just didn't know how much. For that, I am grateful. The day did come where I could no longer stand myself. I broke EVERY "rule" us addicts set up for ourselves. And I was going to keep doing it. When I finally reached out, they didn't hesitate. They spent THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of dollars on a Suboxone treatment for me. And I don't have insurance. This was done cash. It took a while, but I am clean now, and still working on repairing my mess of a life.

    That's a pretty basic origin story. I am telling it because I hope it will be of some benefit to somebody. As this board had been beneficial to me. I read threads, and I can see your pain and your confusion. I see people frantic for some kind of answers. There is only one way to TRULY understand a junkie, and that's by being a junkie. To everybody else, we appear to be mindless, heartless, selfish degenerates. Which is accurate, for the most part. At least while high. It resembles real insanity, but it is actually considerably worse. Most real crazy people don't know they are crazy. We do. We know that the results of being a junkie are negative, and always will be. We make the conscious decision to keep doing it regardless. But the high does wear off eventually. And we are forced to sober up eventually, usually due to lack of drugs, not choice. And when that happens, we are hit with everything. With the monster staring back from the mirror. The shame, regret, desperation... It is one of the reasons we go out and use. To hide from the horrible acts to get the drug. This resembles a circular way of thinking. Literal insanity. So it is no surprise that mentally and emotionally healthy people don't "get it". We are manipulators. ALWAYS working an angle, even if only subconsciously. We are single minded, and determined. I see how easily these kinds of behaviors can make it seem like your addicts don't care at all. Like they are entirely oblivious to the problem. They aren't. They are terrified of sobering up because they don't know if they can handle having to face all the people we walked all over. Like our parents. I can guarantee you that they love you, and that the person you love is still in there, just buried deep. Getting clean is very simple. Detox is uncomfortable, but it is nothing compared to what it does to our mental and emotional state. That is when we really need as much support as possible from loved ones. It is especially hard to fix if they don't ever get an opportunity to at least face the music, and express themselves. You don't need to trust them. In fact, that would be a bad idea. You don't need to enable. You don't have to forgive everything, or forgive anything right away. Trust and forgiveness are earned, and more difficult to earn each time it's betrayed. In fact, forgiving and forgetting will do them no good. They need to face it, to truly appreciate it. This is why 12 step programs have the making amends step. Not just for our loved ones' sake, but for our own. We can't heal by ignoring it. You should vocalize the very real effects their actions have caused. The pain you experienced. We need a real reason to get clean, and one of the biggest ones is making amends. We need the opportunity, at the least.

    Sorry to rant, and ramble. Not very good with this kind of stuff. I hope somebody finds it helpful, or at least entertaining. Thank you.
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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I love this post, your honesty, your insight and your intellegence. You can probably give better advice to struggling parents than most here can. We could use your input.

    Congratulations on your recovery. Hug your aunt and uncle every day. We parents LOVE love.

    I hope you stick around.
  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Darkwing, Thank you for baring your soul. You are incredibly brave to share with such unvarnished truth. Thank you.
  4. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Thank you. Then I shall. I have lurked long enough.
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  5. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    It's never easy to look at. I would list everything I ever did during my addiction, but who has that kind of time? I have inventoried in my head, however. Counted each instance separately. Amazingly, aunt and uncle looked at it as ONE continuing instance. To this day, when those years come up in conversation, I get nervous. Uneasy. It is painful. Sickening at times. Worst part is the way in which they talk about it. Not in anger, hate, disappointment, or anything. It's treated as a single event in the past, and now it's over. Not for me. I despise the person I was. The things that I did. I have a very real, physical reaction. My twin sister is also a junkie. But nowhere near as lucky as me. The fact that I am not dead, or in prison is a miracle in and of itself. And it was due entirely to luck. Twin sister has had it even worse than me.

    When we were taken from aunt and uncle, we eventually wound of with Mom. Who was an active meth addict. I was a huge momma's boy, and she always saw me as a kind of redemption opportunity. I did well ins school, and even enjoyed in. I was in gifted programs, and skipped 4th grade. We went hungry at times. At the time, I was resentful. Angry. Thought I was too good for that. I was an arrogant little :censored2:. I ended up running away, while sister stayed. I wound up in Reno with Dad's family, and she remained in Texas. And Mom was doing drugs with her when she was 13. She is the one that discovered Mom's body. I can't imagine how bad it was for her. She is in Reno now, but in and out of jail. Motel rooms, prostituting, tweaking, and gambling. She lost both her sons, ages 3 and 4 now. We have the youngest one, Amelia. Just turned 2. Amanda has barely laid eyes on her. The things she continues to do to aunt and uncle blow everything I did out of the water. If I thought they were saints before, they are gods now. Still haven't given up on her....

    And keep in mind, these are not our parents. They are our GREAT aunt and uncle. They are not obligated in any way to put up with our :censored2:. They could kick us both to the curb and be reasonably justified. I sure wouldn't have blamed them. I expected that. When I realized they weren't going to do it, it made what I did to them that much worse. They CHOSE to be my parents. And they treat me like a son, in every sense. They really are generous to a fault.
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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  6. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and your perspective, Darkwing. :bpotd:
  7. kt4394

    kt4394 Member

    Thank you for sharing. You are very brave and very fortunate.
  8. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    Thank you for sharing your story. As a parent who feels hopeless some days your story of recovery makes me feel some hope.

    You are a brave soul and I wish you healing for the hurt parts of your heart. If your aunt and uncle can forgive you , I think it's time to start forgiving yourself too.
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  9. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Wow. Just, wow.

    Your 2nd post brought tears to my eyes.

    I'm so happy you have your aunt & uncle:).

    My almost 24yo son is in residential treatment in south FL...went in there on his own 4 wks ago. First time. I'm praying SO hard for him.

    So interesting to have your viewpoint.
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  10. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Thank you.

    That's a big step. Is he going to do any after care?
  11. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    That's the next step-sober living & IOP. He will be in residential treatment another 2-4wks, then on to SL. In the past though, he's been very resistant to having a (AA) sponsor. His current treating psychologist says that will have to change for success. Is this common (pushback regarding having a sponsor)? If so, from your perspective, why?
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  12. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Many peoples' aversion to 12 step programs is the religious aspect of it. I am an atheist, and I have done plenty of meetings. And it was always uncomfortable for me, especially if it got out that I was an atheist. They do have alternatives, but they are few and far between. You think it might be a problem with the "higher power" part? Having a sponsor is important. Somebody with some solid clean time, but not clean for so long as to have lost touch with what he is going through. He would certainly benefit from it, and it isn't like the church has the concept of sponsorship trade marked. Even most of the alternative programs do sponsors.

    Everything is exciting in the early stages of sobriety. You get a kind of high from finally beating something that has controlled and destroyed your life for so long. It is scary at first, and it is easy to become too complacent. Thinking you got it by the short and curlies, only to find that you don't have a proper support system set up. Then, the first emotional event you run into is that much more dangerous.

    A sponsor doesn't need to be a part of a program, though. A sponsor is simply somebody that has been there, and understands the need for support. Family and friends are not a good idea, for obvious reasons. He could attend a few meetings specifically to find a sponsor, and remain with that sponsor even without the meetings. They would usually advise against stopping the meetings, but some support is better than no support. As good as you feel the first few months, you will run into the same issues that contributed largely to the reason you used in the first place. And if you have the same set up as you did that time, you are likely going to fall. There must be positive change. It isn't an event, either. You aren't "just clean". You are working towards a sober life, and the more support you have towards that end, the better.
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  13. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    Oh gah, Darkwing, that was hard to read.

    You are my sister and I. Bio mom was, and still is an addict. We were removed from her for neglect when I was in 3rd and Sis in 2nd grade. I went to live with my father and stepmother (we have different fathers), Sis with maternal aunt, also an addict, who, essentially, just sent her back to bio mom.

    Parade of men in and out of the house, abuse, drugs, booze. Fast forward years later, Sis is an addict in prison, and I am raising her 3 kids. ...and I have survivor's guilt, because I was fortunate enough to have a father.

    I think a lot of the reason that we are so hurt by our loved one's behavior is that we know who they really are under the addiction. We know, and love, and mourn the loss of that person. I know my sister isn't a bad person, I know under the drugs that sweet, sensitive girl still exists.

    I know that she is ashamed of the things she has done in the name of addiction (heroin) I know that she does not want to live the way she is. I also know that I can't help her.

    Lord knows, I have tried. I am drained financially and emotionally. I am in protection mode now. I have to protect myself so I am emotionally strong and able to protect these children.

    What I hope, and maybe we all hope, is that the addicts that we love understand that we do love them, very much.
  14. worried sick mother

    worried sick mother Active Member

    Thank you so much for sharing, your story gives so much hope for our aching hearts. My son is in rehab right now for heroin addiction. I don't know how serious he takes his sobriety because he plans to leave after 30 days of treatment and return to his girlfriend who I'm certain is still using.
    You should be so proud of yourself, what an accomplishment!! Don't give up on your sister.
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for sharing your story DarkWing. It gives me hope. My son has been in rehab countless times but seems to be more serious now than in the past....it is good to remember that underneath it all he is still the boy I love.
  16. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Wow... You're probably capable of understanding me better than just about everybody. Living such a similarly cluster:censored2:ed life. It's rough. The biggest regrets I have are about my sister. I have 4 other older brothers and sisters, but we rarely ever occupied the same state at the same time. But I was always kept with my twin. She's an incredible person. She is barely literate, but so creative. The opposite of me. I couldn't draw, sing, dance, or anything. The last words I ever said to my mother was mean. I was resentful. I felt like she was judging me for having left. A lot of that was probably my own guilt and regret for having done it. As bad as she was when I was still with her, she always at least tried to keep it away from us. I wasn't stepping on used needles, or anything like that. I was clever enough to know that something was obviously very wrong, and that mom was very unhealthy. Just didn't know what it was. Seems like she gave up trying to hide it after that. Doing drugs with my sister... I left one dysfunctional life for another. My father is very intelligent. Speaks 4 languages fluently, has traveled the world in military service. Funny man, too. But a drunk. And a violent one. I think people don't really see the effects of lives that dysfunctional. It's something they see on the news, and something they are grateful to not experience, but very few really KNOW. But, everybody has their problems. If there is one single thing I have learned is that there is ALWAYS somebody who had/has it even worse than you. It's important to see that. It stopped me from blaming everything on everybody else. I personally know guys who had it worse, and are MUCH better off than I am right now. As easy as it would be to blame my parents, the child protective services, it doesn't get me anywhere. It's done. It is set in stone, and will not change. The pity party isn't in the least bit helpful, and it tends to annoy others. And offends ones who had it even worse. My sister is still doing it. Though, to be fair, I'd be amazed if she didn't. The fact is, I had no illusions about what I was doing. It's not like I thought being a drug addict and a thief was acceptable. I knew it wasn't. Yet, I made the decisions to keep doing it, and keep ratcheting it up. There may be some deep psychological and environmental issues that may help explain WHY I was doing it, but that isn't an excuse. It's barely an explanation.

    Thank you for sharing. I know there are people who had it worse than me, but I don't get the chance to be understood so well very often. I wish you the best of luck.
  17. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Thank you. The unfortunate truth is that your son's chance of success will be almost entirely reliant upon changing everything. The way he thinks, the way that he lives. It is never his girlfriend's fault that his life is the way it is. As it isn't his fault that hers is the way it is. They feed off each other, however. The compliment each other in such a way as to make both of their individual problems that much worse. It sounds like a very unhealthy relationship. Even if she were in rehab right now with him, they would strongly urge that they put their relationship on hold, at least until both are at a safer place in their recoveries. My girlfriend left me, which was probably for the best. It was right when I started my Suboxone treatment that she got started in drugs. It was really odd. She never did it while I was using.... I had to also cut out some very close, dear friends. Anything that could threaten recovery. After everything I put my aunt through, both financially and emotionally, I am terrified to fail. To piss it all down the drain. I had to make major change. Doing the same :censored2: was obviously not working out too well. Once I reached the point that I was willing to try just about anything, I did. When the desperation was too much. This is what they call rock bottom. Most addicts need to hit it, and hit it hard. Good for him on doing the rehab thing, but I sincerely hope he doesn't finish that and think that he is cured. Because he isn't. He is a drug addict, and will always be a drug addict. The craving and such slowly fade away, but just forgetting about it isn't healthy. Triggers need to be identified, support needs to be consistent.
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  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    How do you feel daily pot use or alcohol affect addiction? Or do they? Can a daily pot user live a nofmal life? Pot legalization? Do you use either, if I might ask. If its too intrusive a question, I apologize...no need to tell.
  19. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Darkwing!

    Thanks for taking the time to tell your side of the equation.

    I have five step-siblings that spent significant time in and out of foster care. All of them had either drug or alcohol addictions, and two were deceased by age forty.

    None of them ever beat their addictions.

    You are a very strong person, Darkwing. I applaud you for getting your life together at such a young age.

    Stay with us and keep posting. I hope that we can offer our friendship to you, as you continue on your path to a wonderful and drug-free life.

    Your input is valuable here.

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  20. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    How do I feel about booze and pot? At the moment, I think it's not the best idea. A lot of people view a drug addiction as a problem with a single substance that the addict just cannot do without. That is usually not the case. There is a saying that goes something like "I may not have the drugs I like, but I like the drugs that I have.". Basically, I would prefer strong opiates to ANYTHING else. Oxycontin, ideally. However, if I could not get that, or anything resembling that, I would turn to booze. Sometimes pot, though that was never really my thing. Used it a lot during some withdrawal period, but it never actually helped. I didn't do meth or coke. But if I was out of my drug, I would do those drugs. Nobody stops being a drug addict. That is a difficult concept for a lot of people. Addicts have proven that we have very poor impulse control and self control. It is a part of who we are. Early in a recovery, everybody would advise that you stay away from ALL mind altering substances. Forever, ideally, but at least until sobriety becomes the normal. This takes different amounts of time for different people. Drinking particularly lowers inhibition. And we don't have a lot of it to begin with. It is very risky early on.

    Whether I think pot or booze is "wrong" is something else entirely. As far as morality, I don't believe so. Not on it's own, at least. Many people do legitimately benefit from THC, and it has it's practical purposes. Drinking is generally a social behavior. I don't think it is impossible to control for the rest of life, but the more clean time we have, the less of a risk it poses. We really NEED to change what we consider normal. Sobriety must be the new normal. Simply replacing one drug with another is very common. It's a tight rope. I occasionally have a drink here or there, but I am not out raging like I was a few years back. For awhile, being sober was like a high in and of itself. Like truly experiencing things you spent so long not caring about at all. That only happens when sober is our normal, and that takes time.
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