Another layer

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“People are like onions. Everytime you think you know something about them, you discover another layer underneath.”

I am fairly open, I am aware that the only way people are going to understand various things is to have people speak out about them; be the face of them.

I am fine being the face of things; I proudly wear my labels as an ACOA, rape/incest survivor, special needs parent, non-traditional student, and self-injurious.  But, I have spent years hiding, pretty well denying, a label that I should be wearing.  It’s a label that gives me butterflies as I sit here getting ready to type it.


I am, in no uncertain terms, an addict.  Yet, when asked what I am the face of or talking about me and my past I never use that term.  In fact, I often comment on how my family has history (a strong history of) addiction, I just fail to mention I am part of that history.

But, I can’t hide it any longer.  And I am not even sure why I hide it; I mean I know why, I am scared of what people will think and say.  But, why?  I am not ashamed or worried about anything else in my past (which a lot of the dumb things I chose to do occurred or were a result of not being sober).

I spent much of my youth from about 14-15 using pain meds and alcohol.  I mean pain meds were easy to get, I was an active kid who was prone to injury, I often went to the doc for an injury and they would write me a script.  While I took them “as prescribed” I would take them too long (when I actually no longer needed them), I would find away to get different meds so I could “alternate” and maintain the high longer.  I would toss in alcohol when I could (my parents were pretty open about/to it).  (DISCLAIMER (I told you I need to reread this): My parents were open about alcohol, that it wasn’t taboo, my parents didn’t know about a lot of the drinking that occurred nor the extent to which it happened).

It made me numb, I made dumb decisions on it.  I hurt myself and others, but I still doubt that many people of my youth realize what I was doing.  After all most addicts are good at manipulating the situation.

Yet, still this label has been one I denied and disowned which in the long run did as much harm to me and my psyche as if I had denied my own left arm.  Because this label, being an addict, is as much a part of me as my left arm.

What baffles me is when a friend slips or enters recovery I am the first to be there, but never saying a word about my issues, I offer to go to meetings and have a “safe space” at my home.  All the while biting my tongue and not finding the camaraderie I could have, should have.

So, what brought me to the point of revealing this layer? Well, I slipped and fell, HARD, this week.  We have been having lots of struggles, mostly financial, and this isn’t an excuse just a telling of the events.  I ran out of coping skills, ultimately that is what happened, I ran out of fucking coping skills.

I started popping again, finding a way to take either vicodin or oxy every hour.  Never letting my feet touch the ground, so to speak, for about a week.  I would pull into work and start calculating when I could leave and get home to take another pill.  I would take a pill and immediately look at the clock and figure out when I could take another.  This whole time rationalizing that I was “taking it as prescribed.” (technically I wasn’t taking any more pills than what the bottle said, never mind I wasn’t in pain).

I finally told hubby 2 nights ago, I snuck a pill in yesterday morning, then he made them disappear (honestly, I wasn’t here so I have no idea about the disappearance–other than I asked him to get them someplace I don’t know of) and bought me pomegranate juice (I love pomegranate juice).  I still have been holding close to my secret.

Ultimately I chose to peel open this layer because I can no longer be silent, because the silence is killing me it’s allowing my illness to fester and then allows it to be fed.  And I know that’s not ok. I need a support network more now then ever, one that I know “in person” doesn’t exist but one that I know I have here “online” and far away.

I know many of my friends will recoil, wondering how it could be, I don’t know how or why I just know it is.  I just know I can’t go on denying such a huge part of me.  I need to find the fellowship, I need to be able to reach out when I am falling down that black hole.  I need help figuring out what this means for me, my life, and how this slip is going to color my world from now on.

About illbeyourwater

A twenty-something mom of 2, wife of 1, candid (sometimes brutal), psych student.

8 responses »

  1. Do you think it’s just the financial stuff, or might some of your other old issues still have a need for work? As far as not wanting to touch the ground.

    Thanks for sharing, for taking the scary step into openness.
    Wishing you strength and coping skills!!!

    • My old stuff (except this) is a constant work in progress. I have a therapist for my trauma stuff, that I am in contact with as often as needed and use the skills in my toolbox she helped me develop.

      So, I am sure the combination of old stuff, finances, and the uncertainty of the future for us (I don’t do well without plans and lists) just overwhelmed the coping ability I have and thus went to what I “knew works.” :/

  2. You are so brave. So incredibly brave and strong to open up and share this way. You’re right, you DO need a support system. We all do, regardless of what our demons are, and so when you let yourself recognize the importance of being open and real in order to get the help and support you need, THAT is how you find it. A huge – tremendous – step here and I am proud of you for doing it. I know we don’t know each other very well but I am an ear, albeit a virtual one, if you need it. (huge hugs)

  3. You are very brave my dear child. You have been through so much…I only wish I could have prevented some of it…but we are here for you now. I am in a better place and CAN be supportive of your needs…Joel too. Just let us know what you want/need from us. Mom

  4. “I just know I can’t go on denying such a huge part of me.”

    It’s PART of you: it’s absolutely *N.O.T.* all of you. You are a kind, caring, whip-smart, brave, supportive, amazing woman, wife, and mother – this is just a facet of who you are, like the colour of your eyes or the size of your feet (not that I’m trying to downplay it: I just don’t want to see you envelope yourself in this shroud and lose the very best parts of you).

    I’m so very, very proud of you for sharing this. You know I’m here any time you need. <3

    • Chibi,
      You are so right. I understand you’re not trivializing because It would also be just as silly to deny how big my feet were, no matter others thoughts/comfort, because it would hurt ME, albeit it in a different way and possibly too a lesser extent, but it still harms me.

  5. Anyone who recoils from you because of this doesn’t need to be in your life. You can do this.

  6. I love you doll, you’ve always known that and this knowledge doesn’t change it. And I’m proud of you for accepting this layer. Being an addict does not mean it has to define you. You get to decide who you are, and who you want to be. Being an addict just means you have precautions to take. Know that if you ever need someone to talk to, vent to, laugh with, be distracted by, whatever the case may be, I’m always there for you. xoxo


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