A Woman’s Experience Of Addiction

The world of addiction as a woman is very lonely. The peak of my addiction was from ages 15-17. Getting into nightclubs or bars meant finding a sleazy or drunk enough man willing to get me in, the sad reality is, I always could. No matter how much affection I would get from other people, nothing kept me company, fulfilled me or was there for me like drugs.

When I got high, the world was a better place. I didn’t feel on guard. It didn’t matter how I’d got the substance, who I’d manipulated or stole from. Drugs where there for me in a world where I had learned not to trust. Being vulnerable and honest are not comfortable things for me.

As a woman, I acted in ways I’m not proud of to get on. Admitting that, let alone writing about it on the internet bring about a sense of shame and guilt that’s inevitable with any addiction.

Sexual assault is part of my story. I was so traumatised by what happened, I became terrified of men.

Once again, drugs were my safe place. When I was using I wasn’t remembering or feeling.

I got clean when I was 17 years old and were around other addicts a lot. The reality of that was I endured a great deal of looks and comments. To this day people will comment on my body, my clothes and my personal relationships. It is important for me to remember my primary purpose – to stay clean and help other addicts.

It would be the easiest thing in the world for me to wake up tomorrow, pull the doona over my head and not leave the house. I even have the reasons to back it up, trauma, addiction, mental health…

While this may be easy, it doesn’t serve me. For my own mental health I had to stop playing the victim. The world wasn’t happening to me, I was an active part in it. I learned to stand up for myself.

Being a woman is hard enough without adding addiction. It can be exhausting and disheartening, but it can also be empowering and courageous.

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