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Abuse and Addiction

This is a long post, but please read to the end to get the whole point.

Due to sexual abuse and a multitude of other socio-economic influences in my childhood, I got a very early start on being sexually active.  Its not something I am proud of, and not something I often talk about with anyone, but it has definitely shaped a lot of my experiences in life, and has had a strong affect on who I am now.

When I was 5 years old, my mom left my dad and we moved to an apartment in a low-income apartment complex.  It was the best she could do to put a roof over our heads.  But the friends I made out there were not the greatest of influences.  The girl who ended up being my best friend was very sex-obsessed, and talked about local boys quite a lot.  She taught me to sneak around to see those boys, and even encouraged me by example and peer pressure to kiss them.  And so boys became my focus around age 11. There were other things going on in my life that reinforced this focus, but those will be left unwritten since this is a public blog.

When I was 12 years old, my mom married.  Not only did I have a step-dad, but also a 19-year old step-brother.  My best friend encouraged me to try things with him, since he was a boy and living under the same roof as me.  And him being a teenage boy, he went for it.  I do not remember details, but I was young, shy and innocent.  I was not aggressive with any advances because I was scared.  But he coaxed me into doing more and more until he took my virginity.  This “affair” went on for months.  It was always very sneaky, and very hushed.  It felt dirty, but I wanted the approval from my friend, and the attention from a boy.

shutterstock_351113201I’m not sure how many months it continued, but eventually my mom did discover what was going on.  She told his dad (her husband), and he was on her side when she pressed charges.  All he got was 2-3 years probation, which to my knowledge he never obeyed… he was in and out of prison for years for relationships with minors and other such offensive behavior.  Mom was very upset with me for hiding it from her for so long, and shamed me for the breaking of her trust.  This shame further pushed me away from her and toward more unacceptable behavior.

At this point I was in a new town, and a new school.  I didn’t have the influence of my friend anymore, but I had already started down a path that no longer required it.  Within the first month of 7th grade I had a boyfriend.  He had never even kissed a girl, but I soon changed that.  He went from innocent to having regular sex with me within a month.  He split up with me when he moved away in the spring.  And then I got another boyfriend… and the pattern continued.  It continued through my teen years.  I got my heart broken and I broke the hearts of a few boys.  I was experimental and promiscuous and careless.  Somewhere in the middle my friends’ moms stopped liking me and I couldn’t figure out why.  I honestly didn’t see that I was doing anything wrong.  I always made sure I was “in a relationship” before I slept with a boy.  And 90% of the time I would break up with them before I would date and sleep with another boy.  So why was I being treated like such a bad person?

When I was 20 I got pregnant for the first time.  I married a childhood friend to make sure my son had a daddy.  After 2 years of marriage (and during my second pregnancy), he and I split up.  And my cycle continued.  For the next several years I lost touch with all my female friends and I slept with many of my male friends.  I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t keep friends.

AddictionCycleTo be honest this awful cycle of sexual self-destruction didn’t start coming to an end until I turned 30.  I realized I had a sex addiction.  I was putting this addiction above all my other needs.  I reached out to a sex addict group online but never really got involved with it.  I did a lot of research.  I tried to rationalize it alongside my spirituality.  I was always very liberal and free with my body, and I didn’t see anything wrong with following my animal instincts and urges.  But overall I knew it was not fulfilling my desire to get positive attention.  All I was getting was attention that made me feel cheap and more lonely.  So I finally decided it was time to make a change.

As I started to distance myself from sex, I started to notice all of the mistakes I had made.  I was seen as a threat to all the female friends I had.  They didn’t want to hang out with me because I was flirting with their men, whether I realized it or not.  And my male friends didn’t hang out with me unless they wanted to use me.  The transition to being respectable was a long, lonely transition.  I went from having attention from many people, and often… to none from anyone for a while.  A couple of the relationships I tried at first were rocky, and I cheated either physically or emotionally.  The addiction had a very strong pull and make me irritable and unpredictable even to myself.
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And then, as if someone flipped a switch, I was done with it.  The sexual promiscuity was behind me, and I was a new woman.  In comparison to my history with the addiction, my “clean” time has not been very long.  But I am extremely confident that I have moved passed that time in my life.  I feel good, confident, and sure that I am a much better person for overcoming my addiction.  And I am infinitely thankful that I am at this point now and know for sure that I will not hurt my soon-to-be husband with my senseless shenanigans from the past.

But the whole thought process that brought up sharing this story:  My oldest boy Andy will be 12 in May.  He will be the same age I was when the abuse started for me.  That thought alone brings such a huge mix of emotions to me.  I feel glad that he is not currently exposed to anyone I know of that would abuse him.  I am thankful that I am a good mom and always know what my kids are doing, so that nothing bad happens to them.  I feel sad putting the age and innocence into perspective… knowing I was so young and naive when things started happening to me.  I feel guilty for the boys I brought into my sexual world when I was young… so very guilty knowing now just how innocent they were, and how much I changed that far too early for them.  As a mom, I know how innocent my boys are, and how much I want them to keep their innocence and youth for as long as possible.  I know I won’t always be able to watch over them so closely, and I know they will all be wanting to go out and do their own things in no time.  I just pray no one like the person I used to be comes into their lives.  They deserve so much better.

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If you have found yourself in a similar situation from either side of the story, I’d love to hear your story.  I have kept this to myself for a very long time.  I shared because if my story can help anyone break the cycle, it is worth it.

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