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The End of my Addiction
phoenix

How I became me

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phoenix

I'm going to share my story, but it may come in bits. I guess I should start at the beginning.

 

I was born in the 1970s to parents who decided they were going to be strict, they were both quakers at that time, both fairly quiet, readers, not glamourous. My Mother was tee total, at that point a smoker but not during pregnancy, my Father was quitting smoking and drank a few beers infrequently. I don't remember ever seeing my dad worse for wear, alcohol wasn't kept in the house, and can't remember seeing either parent smoking.

 

At birth I had jaundice, so I was taken to a special ward and my Mother sent home. This meant I wasn't breastfed and instead weaned on artificial baby milk. As I grew up I was encouraged to be alternative, to read and be academic. We didn't have television, nor a car, we walked most places and used public transport. Holidays were low cost camping and hiking. A brother was born just over 2 years after me, I am the oldest child and I was terribly jealous of him. I also remember feeling very insecure from an early age.

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Ne1

Thanks, phoenix, for sharing part of your story. I look forward to hearing some more of it, but I know it takes time and effort. (You can see I still haven't done it yet! But it's high up on my to-do list and I'll get to it soon!

 

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phoenix

As I grew up we moved to a new town in a new area, at school I subjected to extreme bullying, and treated like a total outcast. I couldn't trust anyone, even my friends would turn so that they could keep safe. In my adultlife I have been approached by people I was at school with, who's first words on recognising me in the supermarket have been "You were terribly bullied, are you ok now?". One man recounted how he remembered me crying. I don't remember crying because I was told to ignore bullies, they'd go away eventually. As a result I spent a lot of time in my childhood alone, doing my own things, walking around the playground on my own. Sometimes I asked to join in, and the other children would decide whether to let me in, sometimes they'd throw the ball, which could be a full sized (soccer) football, they were playing with at me until I went away.

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phoenix

Throughout my childhood and teens I was encouraged to acheive academically. I was told from an early age that I would go to university, and not to feel under any pressure to get married or have any children. I did do well at school, and I worked hard at studies. I also discovered that I was fairly good at individual sports, I could run, walk, swim and enjoyed cycling. I fantasised about being a champion so that people would look up and admire me. I also liked strong athletic women's physiques.

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phoenix

So bullied, a loner. I was also told that because of some of the features of my appearance, that I wasn't attractive to the opposite sex.

I had my first taste of alcohol at the age of 15 at a friend's parent's barbeque, where I was allowed some of the fruit punch. I made a real drama out of feeling the effects of two cups, gained a lot of attention in the process. I then started a relationship with a really nice boy at school, middle class, parents drank wine with meals in moderation and I was given the occasional glass of cider with the Sunday lunch which I was often invited to.

 

A couple of years before this I had been involved with a man of 19 years old, he was the first male to show me attention and it was very exciting sneaking off to meet him. Despite me not particularly enjoying his intimate attentions, I went along with it until it became so unbearable that I decided to bring it to an end.

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phoenix

My relationship with the young man I met at school was very good, we talked about most things and had very few hangups. We were very innocent. I was however very aware of the perceived class difference, my parents were working class thinkers and hard workers, his parents were lower middle class and I often felt I wasn't elegant enough. In my later years at primary school (<age 11) I had a friend who's parents owned a local business, they were up and coming sort of yuppy types, very fashionable and they often said that my brother and I were scruffy and raggy. My parents were very careful with their salaries, they didn't believe in credit, never had credit cards or overdrafts, they didn't buy a car until they could buy one outright. They believed in buying quality when they could afford it. Our clothes were mostly hand-me-downs, home made or charity shop. I was sent to school in very cheap shoes which made my feet bleed (always leather though!). I didn't have the latest style of uniform skirt, didn't have the Dr Marten shoes which were all the rage, didn't have fancy deodorant, or pretty girls underwear. I was bought very plain practical things, often boyswear because they'd last longer.

So when I was with my beau despite his and his parents effort to include me, and his mother sharing make-up and letting me wear her Chanel no.5 I would feel not good enough. Typing this I feel so sad, there was great opportunity there and I was about to ruin it.

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Chrysalis

Good to read this post, I imagine a lot of people can relate as I can.  Please do carry on sharing.

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Ne1
On 3/31/2016 at 4:11 AM, phoenix said:

Typing this I feel so sad, there was great opportunity there and I was about to ruin it.

I'm so sorry that it makes you feel sad, even now. It can be very difficult, I know you know, to look back and see the mistakes we have made and, for some of us, the havoc we've wreaked in our own lives. 

Thanks, again, Phoenix, for sharing your story. 

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phoenix

I'm liking it even though it's hard. It's giving me compassion and understanding for myself, I used to be either gung-ho or beat myself up over 'mistakes'. 

Acceptance can open doors. 

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Ne1
29 minutes ago, phoenix said:

I'm liking it even though it's hard. It's giving me compassion and understanding for myself, I used to be either gung-ho or beat myself up over 'mistakes'. 

Acceptance can open doors. 

I agree, Phoenix. I have forgiven myself, or excused myself, or completely dismissed some of the things I used to feel badly about because I finally came to an understanding that I have a disease that, among other things, makes me have extreme anxiety which I used to treat with alcohol...  

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Baclofenman
22 hours ago, Chrysalis said:

Good to read this post, I imagine a lot of people can relate as I can.  Please do carry on sharing.

Plus One

Regards

 

Bacman

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phoenix

I guess what was also important is that around this time my parents were struggling, we'd moved house to try and make things easier and it only seemed to make them even more distant. Shortly before I was about to go away on holiday to France with my beau and his parents, I was told by my Mother that when I returned my Dad might not be living with us. She explained that he'd become obsessed with a friend of hers who she had friended at a local running club. Running had become something my Mum discovered in her late 30s after spending her previous life considering herself to be overweight, and unathletically talented. She'd taken to it like a horse to water, lost weight (first) and became a good club and county level masters runner, never mind fast enough to challenge me even as a senior some years later. So I went away to France with this knowledge. This was a holiday I'd really been looking foward to, my family didn't go abroad very often, I was brought up camping and youth hostelling around the north of england. If I or my brother upset my Dad he'd tell us that my brother couldn't run in the English Championships (he was a talented runner), and that I couldn't go to France. Both of which felt really cruel threats.

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phoenix

My beau later told me that I changed from that holiday. We went away and had a great time, we did sample some wine from the local co-operatif. Just like the barbeque, there was a night when I had a glass too much and became a messy pain in the neck. Funny what sticks in your mind, and that evening definitely does.

When we got back from the holiday, a night or two later my parents had a huge, painful and distressing bust up which involved me, my brother, and my beau being sent home during it all. My father was locked out of the house, I wanted to go with my beau, but I was not allowed. Instead I was left in the house to prevent my father from getting in, and he did try, spying an open window he got the ladders from round the back. Following my mother's instructions I closed the window in his face. He begged me to let him in............it was a horrible night.

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phoenix

My parents lived apart for a while and I remember resolving to never have anyone betray me as my Father had my Mother, until then I was totally trusting and believed in love, but to me it seemed that it must be truly terrible to have someone let you down like that.

I became more and more insecure. My boyfriend and I went out to pubs where he (18) would buy me (16) half a cider, sometimes we'd buy a bottle of cider and drink it in my bedroom. One morning my brother found a half full bottle and told me he'd tell my parents if I didn't let him have it. He is 2 years younger than me and had already started drinking and smoking. I drank the cider, justifying it as destroying evidence, went to school and ended up sleeping it off in the library. Until this point I'd been a fairly top performing student, I'd gained A grades across most of what I'd call 'serious' subjects in my age 16 exams (UK GCSEs), and had entered the 6th form aiming to complete A levels and progress to university. I remember feeling very insecure and was attracted to a boy I met via my social circle who seemed exciting. I was also jealous of the sophisticated women my beau appeared to be meeting at university, and was insanely jealous. So I did what I knew I could to protect myself, I wrote him a dear John letter, and started a relationship with the exciting boy. My beau was devasted, in fact the letter was delayed and he tried to meet up with me in our usual manner. I flippantly told him it was over, read the letter.

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Baclofenman

Hi Phoenix

Your story is enthralling - I love the snippet at a time narration

Best Wishes

 

Bacman  

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phoenix

So after this I had a few disasterous short-term flings, ended up with a man who became violent towards me - but not at first. I also fell out with my parents. I was going out at night to pubs, and clubs loving the attention from men, and had my first alcohol blackout. Of course the man I was with said my drink was probably spiked. Many years later the number of blackouts became so high, I realised my drinks were probably never spiked. I simply drank more than my body and mind could cope with.

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Ne1

I can relate to the increasing blackouts, Phoenix. It was almost worse when I didn't black out and could remember everything I did. ugh. Terrible memories. 

I actually did have a drink spiked (at least I think that now, looking back on it) long before it was public knowledge that those kind of things happened. Still have no idea what happened that night, and honestly, I'm thankful for it. It certainly could have been a blackout, but the scenario just didn't add up to a "normal" blackout. Anyway, it was more than 20 years ago, so long-dead history for me. 

I stopped going out and started drinking at home, alone, some time in my 30s. Much safer...

Anyway, looking forward to hearing more. 

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Baclofenman
On 20/04/2016 at 9:19 PM, phoenix said:

 Many years later the number of blackouts became so high, I realised my drinks were probably never spiked. I simply drank more than my body and mind could cope with.

I have had many of these too - I have woken up in most peculiar of places including Gardening allotments, strange houses and Police stations

 

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phoenix

Yes later in my 20s I often woke up with strange men who I wouldn't normally have slept with, I would also get into cars with solo or groups of men on the promise of more booze and later drugs.

My parents told me I couldn't behave in the way I was if I was to continue living with them, so I packed and left. I had already been groomed into the violence, which had started as a simple slap on the face because I 'wasn't listening' to what he was trying to tell me about a man I was becoming attached to. This developed further and I feel into feeling it was all my fault, the other couple we shared a house with would denigrate me, my boyfriend was insecure about me persuing A levels and progressing to uni, I was told by all of them I should grow up and get a job like they had, work hard, have a house, car, children as priorities. Ironically they were working in minimum wage-before minimum wage, lowest paid jobs. I had a part-time job which I did after school working in a supermarket. I remember one month paying the rent from those wages because my partner had spent the rent money. He had left his job and claimed welfare based on a long-term chronic health condition which he said caused him a lot of pain. The pain didn't stop him smoking, drinking or beating me. The constant 'silly school girl' comments continued. I went out one night, lied about being with a friend (he'd encouraged me to cut my friends and other interests off, but I stubbornly carried on, sometimes with a penalty to pay), ended up having sex with another man. This got back to my man, who dragged me across the top of the staircase and lay into me on our bed.

 

After 9 months and an incident in which he pulled out a carving knife from under the bed I decided to leave.

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StuckinLA

Just want to give one big Thank You for sharing your story, instead of clicking all the stupid notification buttons. 

Thank you.

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phoenix
1 hour ago, StuckinLA said:

Just want to give one big Thank You for sharing your story, instead of clicking all the stupid notification buttons. 

Thank you.

Thanks Stuck

I've only gotten to 18 years right now! I used to say "Oh I wasn't abused, there's no skeletons in my closet". I've since learned that this is a way I coped with life (not the drink, the bravado), I was brought up to get on with things ignore the bullies and as you can see I was already just pushing things to one side.

 

After I left my violent partner I was of course called all the names under the sun, the other woman in the house came to my parents house and started shouting at me to go back to him, he was so upset and I was just a heartless bitch. I couldn't tell anyone about the abuse, and surely they knew, they'd been in the same small house with paper thin walls, so it was obviously not serious.

 

My parents continued with their split, both threatening to live in various remote locations which left me feeling insecure, there was no place for me. I failed most of my A levels (18 year old school leavers exams), did get a uni place but was too scared to take it. I continued in my student job and found full time work as a scientist (one of my passions). At the same time I developed an eating disorder, all I knew was that I liked losing weight, and that I had to lose weight, so I ate as little as possible, sometimes only 1 apple per day, walked everywhere and went for runs several times per week. When the hunger got too much I would binge, but that would mean I'd either have to throw up which I found difficult, or bear it out which I hated. At the same time I limited then reduced my alcohol intake because that contained kcalories. My weight plummeted.

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StuckinLA
2 hours ago, phoenix said:

I failed most of my A levels (18 year old school leavers exams), did get a uni place but was too scared to take it. I continued in my student job and found full time work as a scientist (one of my passions). 

Hearing your story, but especially this part, makes me think you should get in touch with Lostinspace. I think the two of you would have a lot to talk about.

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phoenix

During some time with my Mum yesterday we ended up on the topic of attachment and my birth. My mum suddenly decided to fill me in on the details surrounding my birth.

I was overdue, she was experiencing a lot of back pain, I was induced over a 12 hour period followed by a difficult birth. Afterwards visitors to the ward viewing me commented that I looked so lovely just like a peach. I wouldn't feed and the midwife put a cold, wet cloth on my forehead to make me feed. My mum wasn't comfy with this but this was her first time, so went along with the experts. I still wasn't feeding and after some probing my mum was told that I was ill. I was sent to the infirmary, and she was sent home. At the same time her maternal aunt who had brought her up was dying a long, painful death. When I came home my mum didn't want to pick me up, she went to her GP (Dr) and told him she was crying all the time, didn't want to pick me up, she was also afraid to push anything in case I was taken from her. The Dr told her to go home and get on with it.

This is almost definitely the reason I would shrink when she tried to hug me as an older child. Also when my brother was born he received a lot of attention which I resented. This created a huge gulf between us. I also guess it taught me to only rely on myself to moderate my moods, and of course later alcohol and drugs took over that role.

I feel a lot closer to my mum today.

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Ne1

Thanks, again, for sharing your story, Phoenix. 

So glad that you had that talk with your mum and that it made you feel closer to her. I spent the weekend with my parents, and had a really tough conversation with them about me, and their concerns, on Tuesday morning. My mom was totally unsupportive and said some really hurtful and unhelpful things. I left the whole experience absolutely furious and feeling farther away from her than I have in years. Fortunately, I had an appointment with my therapist yesterday who helped me decompress a bit and see how she was reacting in a defensive way for many reasons...Primarily guilt, I think, for not being a better parent. 

Anyway, looking forward to the rest of the story. 

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phoenix

So instead of University I went to work as a lab technician, and ended up studying Chemistry at between A level and degree level tied in with the job. I spent 2 years in a relationship with a man I'd known both before and after the violent relationship. He was a lot older than me, he wanted to get married which I initially accepted but I became very restless and decided to leave him to discover the world.

 

The world being a package holiday to Spain, on which I was pickpocketed, mildy harassed by a group of spanish men, had a holiday fling, broken condom, dodgy wiring + CO2 poisioning oh and drank heavily each evening.............came home, within a few months I had a man interested in being with me, fitness type who went to the US working a lot. I resisted then moved in with him. During this time I was bulimic, when he was away I'd vomit after binges, when he was home I'd manage without binging. There were a few social occasions at which I drank far too much. He used to ask why does Phoenix have to get drunk, me I have 1 or 2 bottles of beer and that's all I want. My brother was involved in drugs and partying, I and my boyfriend became interested in trying E, we gave him some money but the drug never came, so we forgot about it. Things came to a head when away again I held a planned house warming, I got drunk, slept with someone else. I started going out drinking in town, and decided I wanted to leave the person who's house I was living in and so I wrote him a letter telling him I was leaving. Once again I was told by his family that I was the bad one, they checked the valuables, that I hadn't 'taken' anything from the house etc. Throughout this I was training for athletics up to 3 hours a day, restricting my diet and having at least one bulimic binge (vommiting per week). I remember getting food from a previous days binge back out of the outside waste bin.............I'd try to hide evidence, then the overwhelming urge to eat chocolate, pizza, icecream would be so strong that yes I'd eat from bins. If I didn't vomit, which I found incredibly hard and difficult to induce, I'd not eat anything but plain vegetables the following day, do a 10 mile run or hike, and eat only 1200kcals the day after that - which negated the overeat.

 

I had it all worked out.

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phoenix

After a few flings and short relationships, I started a relationship with a man just a little older than me who was also involved in sports and fitness.

I think it's important to review my drinking pattern at this point;

I didn't drink at home, I did drink perhaps once or twice a week, I went out to pubs and night clubs, loved dancing. I stayed within 21 UK units per week, the amount deemed safe - but which I've now learned this isn't a safe limit, it's a limit above which risks start to escalate.

In relationship my drinking was often less, because we'd not go out as much, although I still did the round the pubs thing with my school and work friends. Christmas and other work dos were a bit of a problem, I often would overdrink, and end up in the toilets vomitting, or trying to make myself sick because I'd binged on the buffet. During a singleton period I also experimented with using rapidly drunk alcohol to help me vomit the food up. It was mildy successful. I also went through a phase of eating nothing but veg (hardly any kcals if any) for 36 hours, binging on junk and using salt water to throw up. That got my weight down for a while. I'd also started competing as a runner again, and was sort of managing to balance the drinking, bulmia and training.

I attained my intermediate qualification, and took a voluntary redundancy package to take up a place on a degree course at University full time. The exact degree was a specialised, and topical science which I might post later. I loved chemistry and really took to it. My first year I was very dedicated, gained good marks, was up every morning running and became the star runner of the Uni athletics team.

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StuckinLA

Phoenix - I know you're writing your story bit by bit, and not really talking to us plebes. That's totally cool. I just want to thank you for sharing. I am following your story with great interest. Thanks for writing, babe. 

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phoenix
4 minutes ago, StuckinLA said:

Phoenix - I know you're writing your story bit by bit, and not really talking to us plebes. That's totally cool. I just want to thank you for sharing. I am following your story with great interest. Thanks for writing, babe. 

Hey Stuck

 

I know you're reading, I'm no good at those long conversation threads. I also have a lot on at the moment (3 hours of training and a regimented diet every day + life), so would be over stretched if I became involved. There's also some threads/people I'm trying to keep away from - partly my stuff.

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StuckinLA
Just now, phoenix said:

Hey Stuck

 

I know you're reading, I'm no good at those long conversation threads. I also have a lot on at the moment (3 hours of training and a regimented diet every day + life), so would be over stretched if I became involved. There's also some threads/people I'm trying to keep away from - partly my stuff.

I don't want to be patronizing or anything - so I won't comment on how "good" you are at conversations or whatever. Please, take care of your things. It sounds like you've got a tough schedule and a workout regime that would make me cry into my pillow every night.

I just like hearing from you, that's all. 

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phoenix

I somet

2 hours ago, StuckinLA said:

I don't want to be patronizing or anything - so I won't comment on how "good" you are at conversations or whatever. Please, take care of your things. It sounds like you've got a tough schedule and a workout regime that would make me cry into my pillow every night.

I just like hearing from you, that's all. 

I sometimes am physically crying inside, but I keep on pushing. The feeling when I compete is amazing.

So I decided to end my relationship, I had been having an affair, and didn't feel I was getting what I wanted. I gained a bit of unwanted weight and toddled off to Weight Watchers. I saved up my exercise points for alcohol points, and so I could go out partying one night per week interspersing drinks with dancing (more points=more drinks). Around this time I also started getting tonsilitis on an annual basis, which intially I put down to being at university. I returned to the second year at uni and things just seemed to go downhill. I had a drunken episode which also involved food (I'd been binge eating sandwhiches at the field centre for a residential part of our course), felt bad, drank too much, came back to the centre, flirted, had sex with another 'mature' student, flipped my lid, went and lay down outside on small bridge in the road wailing and gnashing. That's where the course lead found me.

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