Drinking, Drugging and Sexing
When I was in my early twenties, I had no idea that I had been damaged emotionally by the abuse that occurred when I was younger. At that time, I was living my life, enjoying the freedoms that I thought I had. I had entered my first long term relationship that would soon reveal itself to be toxic to my well-being. I had no idea that I was damaged goods. I had allowed myself to be manipulated by my first partner which spiraled me into a dark world of sex, drugs, and alcohol. I lived in that world until I was twenty-three. I met my next partner which took me into a world of emotional dominance and physical abuse.
I say this because you must know that during that period of my life, I was not who I would wind up being. I was not the strong man that I am today. When I was younger, I had no idea of what I lost. I had low to no self-esteem. Instead, I had someone convince me to go down a path that took me into the not-so-great realms of society. Looking back on my life, I used to feel shame for what I did…but that shame was short-lived as I realized what I wanted as well as what I did not want in a potential partner. One of the main things that you must know is that I did not care about continuing my education to increase my chances of obtaining a good job. That thought never occurred to me. In my early twenties, I thought I knew enough to get me through to the next phase of my life. I never gave thought to my future and what it may hold for me.
I was damaged. My thoughts revolved around pleasures of the flesh, until I realized that it did not make me happy. It only made me feel good in the moment. Certain time periods are a blur because it was lost in me numbing my inner hurt with alcohol and drugs. I knew that the path that I was on would only lead me to self-destruction. I say this to those of you who are either in the throes of addiction or just came out on the other side and have no idea where to go from here.
When you look at things through the eyes of a damaged individual, everything is distorted. You accept that as your normal reality even if it is not. You think that the reason you drink too much is because you love liquor and how it makes you feel. You may drink to take the edge off or use it to wind down at the end of the day or night. You may drug because it helps you to become the life of the party, or you may love the feeling of its effects as you dance the night away. You may sex too much because you think you love the touch of another man or woman’s body. You may even convince yourself that you crave it.
Even though all of what I described in the paragraph above may be perfectly viable for those of us who may not have been assaulted in our youth; the message may ring true for those of us who had. I had to reach the age of fifty-one to finally figure out that what happened to me when I was younger had a direct correlation to who I became.
The good news is that we are all human and as humans, we make mistakes. There is a saying that I remember from my catholic upbringing that goes:
“To err is human; to forgive divine.”
I hold onto to that because that saying helped me forgive myself for the mistakes I made. I made them and I own them. Me forgiving myself helped me to then fall in love with myself. Make no mistake though; falling in love with yourself is a process…not an emotional destination.
Forgive yourself, forgive whoever assaulted you and then go on with life. I make this sound easy.
It is not.
You must forgive yourself and your assailant over and over.
However, one day, you will find that the pain that you were in has diminished. You will be able to live a life that is full of things that matter instead of things that do not.
And as always, if you have been the victim of sexual violence or assault, please contact RAINN (Rape and Incest National Network) at 800-656-HOPE (4673).
Take Care all of you and have an awesome day!
~ J.L. Whitehead