I’m sat on my bed, just six days after I returned home from University, only this time, it’s for good. My bedroom fills me with many emotions. Perhaps the most prominent is that of anxiety. An uneasy ‘vibe’ that puts me in an undesirable position uncontrollably reminiscing about all of the things that have happened in this one room. The door doesn’t close, there’s stains on the carpet, the curtains hang jagged, the floor creaks as soon as a hair falls onto it; but all these characteristics complete the bedroom… My bedroom.
Most peoples’ bedrooms are their safe havens. Their sanctuaries. But since coming home, I have come to realise that this bedroom will never – and can never – be my safe haven. For safe haven implies it’s a place of security and of safety.
My whole life I have had to warn off my friends, new and old, to what may be housed below, unbeknown to me. It’s a roll of the dice. One day could be good, another bad. But not every bad day leads to a half full glass on the side-table or a hidden stash of empty bottles. It’s a guessing game; except one cannot take any risks.
Better to be safe than sorry, as they say.
I wrote something for my university on this subject. ‘When home is the most dangerous place,’ it’s titled. Normally I write things to help other people (if possible) but that specific post was to assist me; mentally.
You see, our civilisation is plagued with a complex and divergent relationship with alcohol. We wince at heavy drinkers, mock those who ‘can’t handle their drink,’ ridicule the alcoholics, question those who ‘don’t drink at all’ and have brainwashed each other into believing a drink can alter our self-confidence.
Years ago, addiction would only refer to psychoactive substances absorbed into the blood, temporarily changing the chemical balance of the brain like alcohol, drugs etc. But today there’s a psychological dependency that can cause the same trauma like that of gambling, sex and exercise. Yet our perceptions of addicts are still stuck at the stereotyped washed up heroin-fuelled rock star or stereotyped alcoholic found on the streets of your local town centre. But addiction doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t have a stereotype. It can blind sight anyone regardless of fame, wealth or hierarchy. To assume you are safe from any kind of addiction, is naïve. Immunity is unlikely.
More people than you know will have their own experience of addiction. First hand or not, it’s still a cause for concern. I was twelve when my father was diagnosed with alcoholism. Throughout high school I was distant. In a world of my own. Because instead of looking at what was in front of me, my mind was too busy questioning and somewhat preparing [myself] for what I could be going home to. No twelve year old should have to come face to face with another version of their relative or friend for that matter. No child should ever be subjected to that. Why? Because it causes more unseen damage than people know. Anxiety? Yes. EDNOS? Yes. Chronic stress? Yes. All before I reached 22-years-old.
I refuse to sit here and let another child go through what I have; without an increase of help. Because the worst part of addiction, is that no matter what happens, no matter what is said or what is done, the person with the addiction is different to the person without. Meaning, the person who drinks and the person who doesn’t, are different. The person who takes drugs and the person who doesn’t, are different. The person who gambles and the person who doesn’t, are different. The person who spends hours in the gym shedding calories is different to the person who doesn’t exercise. They just share the same body. Its two personalities squished into one brain, one body. Like it’s been hijacked. And sometimes one is more powerful than the other; but that doesn’t mean the loved one should be left to fend for themselves. Because the addiction does not, and should not, define who they are.
I know how hard it can be. To not want the life you have. To want the easy way out. To wish they didn’t suffer with what they do. To wake up with a different life. Your head fights against itself, rationale thoughts disappear and you succumb to the belief that it is your fault. But it isn’t. It isn’t anyone’s fault. My mum always tells me “we have difficult moments in our lives because we are strong enough to overcome them.” Ten years seems like an eternity and that number will only rise. But if it wasn’t for any of my past experiences, I wouldn’t be the person I am today – and I like the person I have grown to be.
To any daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, cousins, friends;
One day you will wake up in the morning and be truly happy.
One day you will believe in yourself and your abilities.
One day you will find the strength and comfort to tell someone of your past.
One day you will stop crying.
One day you will put yourself first and not feel guilty.
One day you will realise you have no limits.
One day you will be able to enjoy peace and quiet and the silence won’t be deafening.
One day you will believe that you are worth it.
One day you will learn to love yourself.
One day you will stop living inside of your head.
One day you will stop worrying.
One day you will find the happiness you crave.
One day you will be in control.
One day you will have a bedroom to be proud of.
Please visit http://www.nacoa.org.uk/ and make a difference to a child’s life. Every little helps. Thank you.