Who’s this beach?

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Beach glassing in Ireland

10 minute read

I’m an alcoholic who loves her drugs, any drugs. The only reason I didn’t do more is because it wasn’t put in front of my face as often as I would’ve liked. They call this an addict. I like any kind of drug, I didn’t discriminate, this is known as garbage addic. Since I wasn’t a daily user I prefer ‘addict(ish)’-seems about right; I rationalize everything and anything, down to the label of my disease. It was pure luck I didn’t get hooked on heroin. I definitely indulged with opioids, snorting, smoking, taking as needed. Loved benzos, muscle relaxers, blow- you name it and I wanted it. Lots of times I snorted stuff or swallowed a pill after googling the marking on it and still had no clue what it was. If it took me this long to recognize my issues and call myself an alcoholic it’s going to be baby steps owning the addict(ish) stuff.

I’d fake my pain level at the doctor..“I don’t know it hurts pretty bad..maybe a 7 or 8, could even be a 9.” Complete bullshit and here is why. My oldest brother taught me to growl instead of cry when I felt physical pain, some caused by him. He would pad me up and shoot pucks at me in our parents basement. When I was 6 he hit a line drive straight to my mouth, knocked out 5 front teeth, blood everywhere. Luckily it was only baby teeth. He made me tough and I love him for it. I still growl when I get hurt. Last weekend I took a hockey puck to my thumb, broke it at the first knuck, got it wrapped, went back out and scored a goal.  In college a doctor told me I have an extremely high threshold for pain while looking at x-rays of all the ligaments torn of my thumb. Yeah, no shit. It happened snowboarding (I was high and drunk..shocker). Liquid courage is very dangerous on a mountain or pretty much anywhere I went. I didn’t get my hand looked at until over a month later. He couldn’t believe I let it go that long. I knew it was broke and eventually did let the surgeon reattach my ligaments just not right away. I waited for the season to be over, snowboarding with a cast would’ve sucked. So when I used to tell doctors 7, 8, or 9 for pain level it was most likely a 3 maybe 4, tops. I’ve been told I’m not a great liar, but the doctors bought it everytime. Crazy how easy it used to be to get painkiller scripts.

What’s a true addict without mental illness? Much like the chicken and the egg, I don’t know or really care anymore what came first, what I was or wasn’t born with or if one disease was a byproduct of the other. Here is what I do know: I have crazy amounts of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder- in case you live under a rock and don’t know what that stands for), like my addictions it did not subside with age. Throw in BP2 (bipolar 2) with underlying characteristics of BPD (borderline personality disorder). Don’t forget my PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) stemming from some fucked up shit in my past. The first diagnosis of them all, and most obvious was MDD (major depressive disorder). All of my disorders are co-morbid, one feeds off the other. With the exception of ADHD (diagnosed at 11) the rest were officially diagnosed over the past four years. It was super fun being a guinea pig with meds until they finally got it right. Basically I’m the poster child for the link between mental illness and addiction.

I’m 4 months into my virgin attempt at sobriety. I’ve tried before but never took it seriously and would always lie about how long I hadn’t used. My mental health was at serious risk, and was going to severely affect my physical health if I didn’t change shit. It’s been an ugly, isolating, scary, exciting, hopeful, confusing, boring, numb and devastatingly beautiful 4 months. Recovery has in a sense become my new addiction. The obsession with staying sober is slowly taking the place of the obsession of wanting to use. Not sure that’s too healthy but it is what it is. What has happened or what could become of all of this, I am certain is my path to walk alone. I own it. For the first time in my life I want to remember every emotion. EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. ONE. Not just the rainbows and butterflies feels, and so enters this blog. I have to write it down or I’ll forget it. I might be clean but certainly not clear…lots of fog has yet to lift. Fucking PAWS. Don’t you worry, I will get to that later, can’t wait (ha.).

The world’s most patient person, also known as my therapist has stressed for years that my diagnosis is not me. I tend to obsessively over-identify with my endless list of diagnoses. I compulsively hyper-focus on what makes me sick and what makes me tick. I love hard, I hurt hard. I’ve experienced life’s highest highs, like  “how am I still alive” highs, without fail those highs are followed by my lowest lows. I crash and burn. Neither mental or physical balance has ever been my forte. I once kicked my yoga instructor in the face while attempting a headstand (and she was holding me steady) Jesus Christ. Thankfully she is cool and calm and laughed, I almost cried. When I got home I did cry, alone.

Making people laugh, even at my own expense brings joy to my inner pain. I care more about hurting and failing others than myself. I am a WIP (work in progress). I get lost in my head for days, if daydreaming were a career, than I’ll show you my PhD. I procrastinate like no other, even right now I should be writing an IEP- (individualized education plan), not to be confused w IOP (Intensive Out Patient therapy). Trust me I fucked up and switched those two acronyms while talking to teachers. Thank God they are all ‘normies’ and have no clue what IOP is.  Heaven forbid the truth came out that I am crazy drunk addict. This fucking stigma that continues to silence voices that should be heard destroys me. I have to keep this blog as anonymous as I can in fear I could lose my job. So fucked up. We live in a world that the more honest you are the more fucked you are and the more you are judged. I convince myself I work best under pressure, really it is the only way I know how to work. I can’t sit still, it drove my teachers nuts. I was voted class clown 8th grade and senior year of high school. If college had mock elections I would’ve won in a landslide. If I wasn’t falling out of my chair sometimes on accident but most times on purpose just to get my classmates to laugh, then I was walking around the perimeter of the classroom. When asked to sit down I’d tell the teacher my tailbone was growing. God I was a smart-ass, sometimes I still am. No one was laughing with me, just at me and that took me decades to figure out. I’m still class clown in my IOP group and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) group. Holy fucking acronyms in this post. Making jokes is honestly the only way I know how to deal with my fucked up shit. Those who truly know me can see right through it. The rest hopefully think I’m more than ok with who I am, totally mentally stable and confident. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Doodling helps me pay attention, my teachers sure didn’t agree. It was my close-minded, mean teachers that made me think outside of the box from early on, “if I were the teacher I would do it this way”. No doubt my least liked teachers are a huge factor in why I teach special education. So thanks for all the detentions, letters, phone calls home, trips to the principals office, all the D’s and F’s. I understand those doodling, tailbone growing, lovable, asshole misfits more than anyone because I am one. From the worst comes the best. If those teachers could see me now, I’d like to believe some would be proud.

Music is my higher power, I relate lyrics to every part of my own experience. Writing poems brings me peace. When the pen hits the paper I never know what is going to happen, I actually love that part of my creatively unpredictable and impulsive brain. The doodles have turned to poems and vice versa. Traumas and tragedies I’ve lived remind me of the blessings I forgot. I sleep 20 hours straight or not for days. I ramble, my brain doesn’t stop, it runs on fumes. Perhaps you noticed? One of my favorite compliments is when someone says I need to write a book. Although this post is starting to turn into one, an actual book seems like a lot of work. Put that on my ‘when I win the lottery and can retire’ bucket list. So back to those baby steps by starting with this blog. Before all the bullshit this is who I was, and firmly believe it still holds true. Take it or leave it.