Chapter 8- Bad Habits

As I got older things got worse with my mother and me. I was thirteen when my mother took on a ‘friend’ role and she called herself the “cool mom.”

My mother was a cigarette smoker and an alcoholic. She thought she was cool because she showed me how to be cigarette smoker and let me drink alcohol. Virginia Slims, the first cigarette I smoked. My mother sat me down at our kitchen table and showed me how to inhale and exhale the smoke.

Drinking. It started with wine coolers and cheap liquor with Kool-Aid. It only took a few times of getting sick to seriously question why anyone enjoyed drinking at all. Luckily, I didn’t keep up both habits. I guess watching my mother and substitute father drunk all the time scared me. I hated who they were with alcohol and I feared that alcohol would do the same to me.

Cigarettes on the other hand, my mother bought me cartons of cigarettes and let me smoke in my own room. I became addicted quickly and I would smoke as often as I could. Every time I got into an argument with my mother or she was upset about something I watched her pick up a cigarette and I too learned to pick up those habits. For years, I could not associate anger or sadness without cigarettes. I relied on smoking to get me through everything, but it was my worst enemy.

I have nothing against smoking or drinking. Of course, smoking is bad for you and drinking a lot can be bad for you. But, what I am against is people abusing those substances. Cigarettes are not for children or teenagers who cannot understand the repercussions of smoking. My mother’s choice to encourage my smoking habit damaged me physically. After years of smoking I felt reliant on cigarettes and realized how much they were damaging my health and it was so very difficult to stop. Oh, mother.

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Thoughts 2: I Apologize

I apologize for the long lapse in writing. I have been told to share my story for a long time because others and myself know that it has the potential to help others. I have waited for years to share because I wanted to be emotionally and mentally prepared for writing and essentially re-living what I have gone through. I thought I was ready, but after some of my first chapters I felt myself feeling pretty overwhelmed.

I took a few weeks to process how it made me feel. I would just like to recognize the importance of self-care. For the first few days I just let myself cry mostly because I felt sad. Then, I took time to think about why it made me sad and prepare myself for how the rest of my chapters would potentially make me feel. Many of us have experienced trauma and it is so important to take time to process and address the feelings associated with that trauma. I do feel that I have overcome what I have gone through, but there is certainly something powerful about sharing.

I am ready to continue sharing my story. More than anything I want to be able to help and empower others. I would feel many days of sadness if I knew I could help at least one person. Mostly, that we have the ability to move past what we have gone through and live a wonderful and fulfilling life. For those who face adversity I want to provide resources a give them a better chance of succeeding. With my willingness to make a difference I will share my story. ❤

Chapter 2: That’s Not The Way To Manage Things

PART 1

This is one of the most difficult chapters I will write because it is the hardest to admit.

A few years ago I met my biological father. He’s not an important part of the chapter, but what I learned from him is – he helped me learn more about my mother.

Both my mother and father have some serious control issues. When my mother was pregnant my father wanted to move to another town a few hours away because of a job opportunity, but my mother wanted to stay in their current house because she liked the location. Did I mention they had control issues? My father decided to move to the other town despite how my mother felt. One night my mother called my father and said she was going to kill herself, which forced my father to drive back. My father said he never drove as fast as he did that night, and by the time he got there the police and his parents had arrived. My mother was fine and my father moved back.

When I was young it was common for me to hear “your mother tried to kill herself.” The first time I remember hearing those words was when I was about 5 or so, after I walked into the bathroom and saw my mother laying on the floor vomiting. My substitute father (read Chapter 1) pulled me away and shortly after the medics came and took her away.

Once when I was seven, I came home from school and a police officer was standing outside of my home. The police officer asked, “do you live here?” I nodded and he said, “your mom is not well, and…” the police officer was interrupted by my mother who was screaming out of the window: “SHOW ME THE MONEY,” “I WANT TO FUCKING DIE, YOU WANT ME TO FUCKING DIE,” “COME ON JUST GIVE ME THE MONEY, GIVE ME THE MONEY.”

The police officer looked at me and said, “Do you have somewhere you can go?”

As I got older my mother would occasionally drink too much and take too many pills. She would be in and out of the psychiatric hospital, and I became unaffected by the words, “your mother almost died.”

My mother taught me that trying to commit suicide was the only way to handle problems and cope. At a young age I internalized that dying was the only way to handle difficult feelings. Life truly felt meaningless.

 

PART 2

I was 10 the first time I tried to kill myself because I was being severely bullied (Full story in Chapter 4). Life was loosing meaning fast. I went into my hall closet and tried to drink bleach and other household cleaners. Before anything serious happened I got sick, but I never went to the hospital. After that I regularly tried to choke myself with a belt or a scarf hoping one day I wouldn’t wake up. As I got older and things got tough I tried it all; pills, hard drugs, strangulation, running in front of moving cars, driving recklessly, cutting myself, trying to overdoes on water, alcohol, sitting to close to the edge on rooftops, slamming my head against the wall until I would blackout, and thinking about all the possible ways I could die . I felt desperate, out of control, and numb because all I thought about was how I would die.

Eventually, when I got older I met someone that helped me realize death wasn’t a way to handle my issues. Most importantly this person gave me patience to work out those emotions. Hugged me when I felt like dying, never judged me when I felt like giving up, and loved me unconditionally. This person gave me what my mother should have. However, 18 years of thinking about dying made those habits hard to break, it took me years to stop wanting to die and to start wanting to live.

Without this person, I wouldn’t be alive today.

 

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