Andy, 23

Drug Addiction / Sexual Abuse

I guess it is no surprise that I ended up with a drug problem. I grew up lonely and scared. My parents fought constantly. I felt protective of my Mother and hated my Dad. He drank too much, had a mean temper and he was volatile.


I know that many kids grow up playing video games and glued to the TV. I did it for survival. I wanted to hide, get off and out of my parent’s radar and I really wanted “to go into another world!”


I started to drink when I was 13. Not every day but we sure had fun on weekends. It wasn’t long before I tried bud (grass, pot, marijuana). It really settled me down and it allowed me to daydream.


By some stroke of good luck, I did really well in school. It was the only place where I felt I had any control, and despite the weekend partying, my grades stayed up.


When I hit 18, I decided to get out of dodge! My hope was to go to college but the most important thing was to get away from home. The only regret I have and it’s a big one, was leaving my little sister behind, but I had to leave to survive. Across the coast, three thousand miles away, I felt safe & hopeful for the first time.


It was not long before things started to catch up with me. All the awful feelings and bad things that had happened just seem to have followed me like my own shadow. As I have now learned, we take ourselves with us.


All the fear and hurt and anger I felt growing up was just churning inside of me. But it was worse than that because I was carrying a shameful secret that I had told no one.


When my parents went out to their parties and bars, they left my sister & me with the neighbors next door. What an irony; babysitters! As if, they were ever really paying attention or taking care of us when they were home. Anyway, I am sure you know what I am about to say. Yep, this couple had their way with us and it was not just once. Not only was I molested, I had to watch my little sister being…I cannot even say it.


These creeps were complete perverts but of course, in an all American & religious disguise. I wanted to kill them but my rage scared me so much that I kept dead quiet. Really, there was no one to tell, no one to turn to. Talk to my father, yeah right. I could not burden my Mom; she had too many problems of her own and was way too fragile.


A big part of me thought it was my fault and I was really guilty for not protecting my sister. Something must have been wrong with me. Why didn’t I do something? Why did they pick us? I felt so humiliated and ashamed; just damaged goods to be thrown in the trash. That’s what I was.


I began drinking and smoking pot almost daily. Eventually, I tried the Cocaine that was always around on the weekends and of course, I liked that too.


With all these bottled up feelings and the way I felt about myself, I just became increasingly depressed and more and more involved with drugs and alcohol. I had terrible relationships with girls because I acted out all my anger and negativity at them.


All of this personal trauma and drug use has led to serious Depression. I mean the kind where you do not want to get out of bed, don’t show up for things and you want to die. I actually had plans worked out in my mind.


It is such a vicious cycle and one that has been hard to break. It is not like a linear thing where you cut to the bottom line and get rid of that one problem. It all feeds upon itself and it is very complex.


My best advice would be “stay as far away from drugs and drinking as you can.” And if you have horrible things happen to you like I did, go find someone to talk to, fast! There are people who care. I know that now.


Dr. Barge helped me get into a treatment center and I am doing much better. I see her a couple times a week and we usually connect by phone once or twice as well.


It has taken me a while to trust Dr. Barge but even when the fear and distrust comes back, I see it in her eyes, I feel it. She really cares.


Also, she knows the secret, the first one I ever told. I still hate the thought of it all and I get flashbacks but it doesn’t seem so big anymore. I also no longer believe that it’s my fault.


I just have to work at staying away from the first drink or drug use, and keep talking about what is going on inside of me. It is hard and I have a long way to go but I am doing better than I ever thought possible and I know I don’t have to do it alone.


NOTE: Patient stories are real life stories. The identities are disguised and sometimes, a composite to protect patients. No identity should be assumed with any of these stories.