Phased Out

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


My personal experience with addiction and depression and how I overcame both using a rather non traditional method. They, both, nearly killed me but I came out on top. You can too.

Submitted: September 20, 2018

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Submitted: September 20, 2018

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Having fought a long battle with addiction and depression, I wanted to show how I overcame them. Not with discipline and medicine, though I tried those methods, but by submitting to them. This required some faith, honest friends and a will exhausted with traditional concepts. I got involved with drugs in a subconscious attempt to counter a depression that started very young. My mother’s second husband beat her, but the third and final jerk abused me until I grew bigger than him. I never received the support that a young child needed to develop properly. Surviving many attempts by my step father to “make a man out of me”. Usually that entailed whooping his daily frustration into me until he felt better or thought that he was going to cross a line. He like to cut it close. By age ten or twelve, I could have seen a psychiatrist and have been prescribed medications for serious depression. But, I never saw any  kind of doctor.
Had I understood the concept of suicide, I might have entertained the idea. But at age 8 years old, I had a preoccupation with getting away from the step father and was sleep walking at the time. The obsession became an all encompassing fear when I contemplated doing the unthinkable, stabbing him to death while he slept. The contemplation overtook my young mind. I became hesitant to go to sleep and would stay awake in my moon lit room, sitting on the edge of my bed, pondering what no child should ever ponder, terrified that I would sleep walk into the kitchen, pick up a butcher’s knife, take it into the room where they slept and kill him, in his and my sleep. Though, that was not the frightening part for me. I was afraid that I would become frenzied and accidentally hurt my mother. Never having killed a man before and not knowing when the damage would be sufficient enough for him not to get up and abuse me.
Step dad would punish me for arbitrary offenses, in cruel and sick ways. I was socializing with friends in our apartment at the living room window, when my mother and he were out. They came home and caught me. Fearing being caught leaving me alone with my sister, I supposed, my step dad beat me with his Levi jacket so hard that the buttons left bruises on my face thus I could not go to school the next day. He was also fond of tying me up and making me swallow hot sauce packets to get untied. In addition, he made me sit Indian style with my eyes closed in the corner of the living room, all night, while he drank beer and watched TV. I stayed home from school again due to me being exhausted. Humiliation was his favorite tool of discipline. Caught spying on mom and step dad having sex, he pinned me to the ground with his hand around my neck and told me that I would tell my grandmother and my class at school what I did. He, wrongly, assumed I was getting a perverse pleasure out of it, when I was honestly praying for a sibling.  I was staying home so often that the school sent a letter  as we didn’t have a phone. Needless to say, this exacerbated my depression, greatly.
Besides being an alcoholic, I witnessed the step dad smoking weed often, as well as the four packs of cigarettes a day, all while having the windows closed. I also saw step dad coerce my mother to join him in eating psychedelic mushrooms at a friends house. Just to have a bad trip and only make it home after having to pull over on the street to gathered himself, three times. That night was not just rough for them, it was hard for me, as well. I was made to go up and get my neighbor for help. So, drug abuse was a natural step, for me.
My first relationship introduced me to snorting lines of amphetamine, the first day I met her. I didn’t associate drugs with problems, seeing it in my family from very young. I saw it as being manageable since my step dad did not miss a day of work, all that he thought a father was supposed to do. Methamphetamine was a natural progression from alcohol and marijuana. My mother asked me, coming home drunk one night, if I had a drinking problem. At that early point in my addiction, I knew that I had a problem and she did, as well. Alcohol was my gateway drug. Marijuana did not lubricate my path to Meth, as much as alcohol did. Since alcohol breaks down inhibitions.
At my first apartment, my girlfriend and I discovered how much fun sex was on amphetamine. We would have sex for hour upon hour. As, I watched my alarm clock count down the night and my time to go to work. Six or eight hour sessions were very real for us and I suffered at work being sore and all together worn out. She began using sex as a way to coerce me to buying dope. Then, I endured a massive earthquake and lost my apartment. At my next place, the magic was gone, she left me for a guy with a steady flow of cocaine and doom was around the corner. Being codependent, at this point, the loss of my girlfriend ruined me. However, when she came back I tried a doomed escape to Hawaii. When I returned to California, I moved into a dope house, left my girlfriend and dove headlong into drug addiction. I was completely aware of the metaphors and the substitution in which I was engaging. Three months later I witnessed the psychological pit falls of methamphetamine addiction,  first hand. My world changed when my mind turned to view drug induced paranoid schizophrenia. It was the most terrifying time of my life.
Decades later and after having to leave town, I eventually understood that the lifestyle of an addict was killing me and I wanted more out of life. I then made a reservation at a rehab for the inpatient detoxification program. It consisted of a couple weeks being introduced to the Alcoholics Anonymous program, meetings and readings. I moved into a “sober living house” afterward and within a couple weeks, I became ill with a nearly deadly bought of pneumonia.
I saw my first psychiatrist after the month long hospital stay. I was given psychotropic medication, which I took on the regular for months. I barely had any time outside of the rehab and the lure of getting high weighed heavily on me. I began displaying “addict behavior” and the house in which I was living recognized it and eventually kicked me out.
I could never stay in bed all day, even when feeling despondent. Sitting with suicidal thoughts was a good way to morph them into action. Attempting to kill one’s self is always seen as more of a cry for help, than an actual threat. And, as the statistics say, women attempt suicide more than men but men complete the job more than women. So, I submitted to a psychiatric hospital, more than a few times. At this point, I was newly clean from drugs.
I gave myself to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous for a solid year. Going to meetings everyday, having a sponsor and working the Twelve Step Program. I learned a lot about myself and my motivations through the steps, however, counting sobriety days seemed like a set up for failure and as I witnessed, was for many. On my year anniversary, a date celebrated widely in the program, I was using heroin with an acquaintance. Apparently, the program was just a respite and I would, in time, find another way.
Fighting one’s nature, I have always believed, was a losing battle. The end game, if one was to allow depression and addiction to run rampant, was death. My depression was wrapped around a diagnosis of AIDS, and was substantial. My addiction, was not simply too much of a good thing, was an escape from the depressive mindset, and also was substantial. They both needed to be dealt with as they were cause and effect of each other. The depression encouraged the substance abuse, and coming off the substance encouraged, or directly caused, my depressive state. It was a terribly reckless cycle.
Then my mother got cancer. I relapsed on drugs very soon after that. We maintained our weekend visits of coffee and conversation, while she began chemotherapy. A year later, and after a mastectomy she was getting better, but she was then told by her doctor that the cancer had metastasized and was now in her brain. Subsequently, she was given six months to live and she died in six weeks. I never imagined a life without my mother. And my siblings abandoned me shortly after her death, moving six hundred miles away to Northern California. To say that I was depressed was an understatement, I was crushed. My psychiatrist  prescribed medication but the job was more difficult than the pills were designed for.
So, I decided to run no longer. If the drugs were going to kill me, if the depression was going to kill me, I figured that it should get to it. I was trying to beat them to the punch. Walking around sad, all of sudden, seemed ridiculous. And, I was tip toeing on the line between life and death, with the drugs. I knew that would only go on for so long before the fate tempted would have it’s revenge. Upon waking, I started asking myself, Do you want to die today? If yes, then I knew how to go about that, but if the answer was ‘no’ I made myself get on with the business of living. Luckily, the answer was always Yes. I still respected life, even though if I wasn’t sure if I wanted any. That came with seeing my mother’s fade away and my crying for it not to go. I was giving in to these deadly problems. I was carried away by the river, finally releasing my grip on the boulder of indecision, in the middle of it. What followed was the trial of my life.
I was doing cocaine and methamphetamine with reckless abandon. Smoking cocaine all night and snorting amphetamine in the morning. Testing the resilience of my heart and mind. And, as luck would have it, in time, I would outlast the beast of addiction. I suppose timing had a profound effect on the outcome, and I was confronting all that made me sad, as well. Taking hard looks at my health, the death of my mother and my lack of direction, in life.
 After confronting my addiction and depression, they passed like juvenile phases. Just as did my fighter pilot dreams, my tennis racket, my football helmet and baseball glove did. I wasn’t even conscious of the depression passing. Fortunately, I wore down my depression and my predilection for deadly drugs. They petered out soon after, first depression, then my addiction.
I would never encourage someone to concede to a vice, as I did. I could have very well lost my life. My hope was to show that a vice or a mental health diagnosis need not become a life sentence. And, that it is possible to work through these impermanent afflictions and live a happy and healthy life. But, only after some work. My point is, it can be done. Psychotherapy is a wonderful tool for overcoming addiction and invaluable for working through depression. The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous has worked for many millions, possibly billions and is present in most developed nations around the world. Sharing my experience, in no way, is meant to minimize it’s healing power, and I would recommend that anyone with a problem, to at least try it.


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