The Cause Of My Addiction
If you had just met me now, you would never have guessed that at 14, I was an addict. In fact, today I don’t smoke, drink or abuse any substance of any kind. I live a very clean life, a very simple life, which is the flipside of my past.
When I was younger, I was struggling a lot with the thoughts in my head. I was alone and confused, I had no idea how to let off steam. I wanted to scream and cry but that never helped me, I found myself feeling so angry and bitter towards the world; though I wasn’t about to let anyone know that.
I was seen as a very responsible child, known for my sensible actions and well-behaved manners. I was so scared that if I let people know how I was really feeling, that I would be punished or rejected and I didn’t want that. I was a people pleaser and I only ever wanted to make people happy, which meant I never wanted to cause any problems. I would rather suffer than cause harm to another.
I had no understanding of mental health, I had no idea that I was suffering or that there was a cause for it. In fact, I just felt like I was made wrong, a bit like a broken biscuit discarded in the factory. I felt so alien and I knew no better than to just fester in these emotions. I only wish that I had the knowledge that I do now, that may have saved me sooner.
It got the better of me, I couldn’t manage my mind any longer. I was arguing constantly with my own consciousness, like a responsible adult telling off an irrational child. Nothing I did ever made me feel better, until the day I started to self-harm. I resented myself.
Self-harming became part of my every day, I couldn’t make it through to night without releasing the pain I felt. This harming made me feel like I was detoxing, letting out the bad blood that flowed through me. As time passed, self-harming was something I became addicted to but it alone became weak in tuning out the devil in my ear; I would do anything to shut it up.
I was introduced to alcohol, I never did like the taste but I found that if I could keep it in my stomach, the feeling it gave me was worth the toxic taste. I began to drink every night, alone, I did not want anyone to know. I was addicted to the feeling it gave me, I could be whoever I wanted, I was not shackled by my anxiety and I felt like I was floating. Besides, everyone seemed to like me better when I was tipsy, though they did not know it. My confidence was just a mirage for a deeper problem.
For the whole summer I was 14, I am not sure I made it through a day without binge drinking. I was hooked and I would do anything to satisfy my needs. I would steal my mother’s stash or manipulate older friends, I was clever but using my slyness for the wrong reasons. I let go of all my morals and values because I was in such a big war with myself, in a way, I had lost my humanity from all the pain.
When people think of an addict or an alcoholic, they seem to see a person who is worthless. A person who does not care for their own life or the ones of those they loved. What people forget is that there is usually a reason for the addiction. I did not choose to get addicted, I never wanted to get addicted.
I was an addict because I was lonely, I did not understand myself and I had no healthy outlet. I was drinking because I thought it was better if I self-medicated and suffered alone rather than cause problems for others. I never wanted to hurt anyone, I never intended to make myself ill, all I wanted was to feel better and not to feel like the whole world was against me. If only I had someone to talk to, if I had the support, maybe I would never have had a problem.
Addictions can happen to anyone at any age, it’s a mental health condition and mental health does not discriminate. Instead of judging addicts and belittling them, we need to support them and listen to them. A little bit of empathy may just save their life, save your friend or loved one.
About the Author
I’m Charlotte Underwood, a young 22 year old from Norfolk, UK. I am a growing mental health advocate and like to use writing to inform and support.
On this blog you can keep up to date with my written work, both self published and through other means. I post a lot about mental health, depression, anxiety and suicide. I want to raise awareness as well as end the stigma.
If you’d like to commission me, I am available on a freelance basis – get in touch – I’m very nice I promise! 🙂