Something you hate about yourself.
A difficult one. Very difficult because I don’t want to go on a rant about the issues I have with body image, or my perceived personality flaws. I’ve never quite bought the belief that flaws are what make you attractive, at least not huge, damaging, life-changing personality issues. Perhaps my overbite does seem strangely cute to men, and maybe the fact that my hair always kinks at the back is endearing… but, emotionally, I have to keep myself carefully packaged so I don’t alienate everybody around me.
After some thought, I’ve decided that the thing I truly hate about myself is my inability to rationalise perfectly normal experiences, and my need to lean on something chemical or damaging to get me through.
I believe I was born with at least a degree of substance dependence. My father (as I’ve talked about in this post) is an alcoholic, my mother’s sister relied on drink for a long time, my sister E drinks to excess, or at least used to, and I’ve spent a lot of my life around people who have had some degree of addiction. I grew up in the early 90’s, when drugs were still seen as somewhat cool. Johnny Depp was a user. Hollywood thrived on cocaine. Housewives were swallowing prozac like sweets. I imagined the world of drugs and drink to be glamourous in a seedy way; and I always preferred the squalid to the classy.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a junkie. I have never injected a drug. I have never touched heroin, and never would (although I did fall for the charms of oral morphine for a few months in 2009, when I was living with J). My true addiction lies with over-the-counter medications, specifically co-codamol; at one point I became the woman who goes from pharmacy to pharmacy, buying as many tablets as possible. It’s a cheap, easily-available failsafe; four tablets and I’m calm. I fully believe it has saved my life many times (it stopped me walking into the sea a few years back), but it’s a dangerous addiction and one which, I believe, has started damaging my stomach and liver.
Morphine was a strange mistress. It made me feel sick and itch, but took all the worries away. By taking it, I quickly learned just how people become addicted to heroin. It simply removes everything bad and confusing from your mind and wraps you in a warm, safe blanket. Until you need more. I started drinking a bottle a day. When J found out, he threw the bottles away and shouted at me… it didn’t help. I suppose I needed some understanding, some way of him getting into his thick head that the reason I’d sunk so low was because of his outrageous, controlling nature and frequent mood swings. On the day he disappeared for a week, I took a large mouthful of morphine, followed by a packed joint, a large handful of co-codamol and best part of a bottle of red wine. I spent the entire week in bed, sweating and having nightmares, occasionally waking to take more pills and smoke more. The house was scary at night, I hated being alone in such a dangerous area.
Would I advise anyone against taking morphine for recreational or emotional use? Yes. I really, really would. The slide downwards is scarily fast. Would I take it again? Probably.
In many ways, my addictions have much improved. It’s been a while since I bought any co-codamol, and I’ve purposely avoided the offer of stronger painkillers like tramadol (another past addiction). I haven’t indulged in other emotional crutches either, like self harm or purging for good few months.
I feel like I have things under control right now, or as much as I can. I’ll always have an addictive nature, and part of me sometimes likes it. I enjoy the debauchery and the hedonism of addiction as much as I am chemically in need of it.
- Challenge Day 20: Your views on drugs and alcohol… (myownprivateuniverse.wordpress.com)
- A Disease You Can Get Yelled At For Having (addictionts.com)
- Addiction (liv2write2day.wordpress.com)