I don’t think I’m the only one who has dated a few people who were 100% wrong for you. I know that statistics say that many children of alcoholics tend to go for someone they can “fix”. If we can’t have control over fixing our parents, maybe we can fix the person we are with.
Talking with my Mom, I asked her:
“When did you know Dad had a drinking problem?”
My Mom replied with “I had known after a few dates, but hoped I was wrong.”
I asked her “Why did you end up marrying him then?”
To which her response was one that really touched me and is something I feel most ACOA’s can relate to:
“I loved him, and I was naive. I wanted to save him because I couldn’t save my own Dad.”
My mom’s Dad was also an alcoholic.
I asked her what kind of alcoholic her Dad was and she said: “He was sweet, but he would just keep drinking until he passed out.” He wasn’t the type my Dad was, which just shows every addict is different.
During my teenage years, I was so desperate for love, that I took what came my way. Turns out as much as you try to run from the things you can’t stand in people, you can still run into them in other places. I don’t think I consciously knew what I was doing, but maybe deep down I did.
So let’s begin with bad boyfriend # 1. Let’s call him Charlie. I knew he was bad news, he had dated someone I used to be friends with and I saw the decline in her immediately, and I had heard stories. But he gave me attention and called me pretty. A girl with no self-esteem is easily drawn to that, so, unfortunately, I was very easily drawn in. It happened fast. He went from really sweet to really fucking awful in a heartbeat.
Charlie used drugs, and one day he forced me to try oxycontin. You may be thinking, how was I forced? Peer pressure, mean words, being terrified if I didn’t try them what he would do to me.
The drug made me so, so, so sick. AND he laughed at me for not liking it. I hadn’t even wanted to try it in the first place, but again saying no wasn’t an option. It would have set him off and I did not want to do that. He scared me so much, that I did as I was told.
My Dad loathed Charlie. My Dad could see right through him. An addict can spot another addict almost instantly. Hell, on my birthday Charlie made me sit in the back of my own Dad’s car so he could sit up front and passed out (because he was taking pills). I was mortified, but he said he loved me, so I believed him.
I said those words back knowing deep down I never meant them. I don’t think I ever even really liked him. He was a scumbag.
There is a huge difference between certain addicts. Some can be just bad people, this kid even before he was on drugs was a bad person. The drugs only amplified it. Whereas there are addicts who do good things in the world but have a problem that makes them wired differently. It’s a hard one to explain. More on that later.
Charlie took money from me, stole from me, and he quickly turned violent.
My last straw with Charlie was on a day we decided to go to the movies. He wouldn’t even let me drive my own car, and I so badly wanted to be behind the wheel because I knew he was messed up on pills.
He started to drift off while driving so I went to grab the steering wheel. He SNAPPED! He quickly pulled his arm back into a punching position. I immediately folded myself as far into my door as I could, ready to jump out of my car if necessary. I screamed! Which made him slam on the brakes as I yelled at him to turn the car around. I couldn’t believe I kept letting him treat me this way. Every day I was terrified, yet I stayed.
I finally worked up the courage to leave. I even asked my Mom to bring me to his place so I could get the stuff I left there. I had never been so afraid. In my head, I felt like I deserved this. I hated myself so much, so of course, I looked for love in the darkest of places.
Bad boyfriend #2; we will call him Barry.
Barry and I had gone to school together, and he ended up working at the same place I did. Again another kid who liked to drink and get messed up on drugs, but I honestly really thought I could change him. Barry was a little different because I really thought what we had, had been something.
Again, young and naive.
His friends were a big part of the problem, all of his friends were on drugs or major drinkers. And his friends had girlfriends that I never got along with and who had always been very mean to me. They liked to make fun of me and say mean things when they never knew who I really was. They didn’t take the time to; they just needed someone to be their scapegoat to make themselves feel better.
His friends got more and more involved in cocaine, and well he followed suit.
Away from his friends, I knew a Barry that no one else knew, but that’s the thing with addicts they can be amazing people but drugs and alcohol will take hold over you no matter what. He said he wanted to change. But deep down he didn’t want to change as much as I wanted him to. And if I have learned ANYTHING, it’s you have to want to change for yourself; not others.
His friends persuaded him to dump me via phone. I was heartbroken and devastated; just the day before he was telling me how much he loved me.
It makes me laugh when I look back, his friends actually did me a HUGE favor. Good riddance!
Even after Barry, I swore this would be the end; but I kept going further and further down a road (that scared me) but there was no stopping it.
I am ashamed of myself for letting myself be wronged by bad people. Also ashamed and scared to admit that yes I was fucked up, yes I did things with people I didn’t know. NO, it didn’t happen all the time, but I was damaged and by the end of it I was taking drugs and drinking so my brain was nowhere near able to make good decisions.
When you feel like trash, you allow trash around you.
Eventually, I hit a point of “I cannot do this anymore”. I made a vow to myself that I would never fall for someone who needed saving, or someone with substance abuse. I would not follow the road my Mom took with my Dad. I would find love that was equal, and caring, and real. I would FINALLY try to care about ME first.
There’s more to me hitting that wall, but that’s for another day.
I am so lucky to say that I have walked away from all that chaos and madness. I try to lock away all the bad, but it’s still apart of who I am, and that’s okay. Because I was able to see how horrible it was and walk away. Not many people can say that.
I was able to find true, real, love and not just by Brett (my boyfriend of almost thirteen years). I’m finally finding it in MYSELF. Not everyone can be as lucky to say they have found someone that is truly their other half or can see that they can learn to love themselves.
If you are stuck, you are not alone. Look deep down and find your worth! It’s there I promise you! Ask for help, call a hotline, talk, do something. It helps.
I still hate this aspect for being part of my life, but it was. I shouldn’t feel ashamed about that, and I am starting to realize the more I work on myself the less I feel ashamed. I am a whole new person now.
Don’t allow others or even yourself to put you down any longer. Always easier said than done, I know this. But you can make it work!