I look at this old picture that I found of me and my old friend, and I feel a wealth of emotions right now. We were thirteen years old, hanging out at Six Flags. I had already been smoking cigarettes for about a year. Take a look at me, the one in the pink shirt. I was already smoking and doing drugs. When you look in my eyes, what do you see?
The look on my face says it all. I was making my “sexy” face. Behind my eyes, I can see the immense amount of pain that I was in. I had absolutely no confidence. I look at my friend’s face and see a spark behind her eyes. I have spent my entire life looking for my own spark of life. At this very moment, I am feeling very depressed and self-indulgent. I will come back to this later when I clear my mind some.
A few hours later:
My world has been one filled with addiction for nearly as long as I can remember. I have always felt as if there was something missing inside. There is this insatiable hole that I have spent nearly 40 years attempting to fill. Looking at this picture of me with my friend at age thirteen, I am reminded of the journey I have taken to be where I am now. It has been a long one, but I know I am much better for it. I must remember to change my lens when stinking thinking begins. What is seen as a negative situation from the human 3D perspective can be viewed from the higher soul perspective if you remove the emotions from the equation. “Change the lens” and view it from above.
Let me describe the first true addiction I had. I had just moved with my adopted mother from the small town of Waxahachie, TX, to the big city of Irving, TX. My adopted parents had just split up, and my mom was forced to rent our house because she could no longer afford all the bills on her own. We moved in with my aunt and cousin. My cousin was just one year older than I was, and we had spent a lot of time together growing up, so we were rather close.
The last day of school, my cousin showed up to my class wearing a hypercolor t-shirt. All my classmates crowded around to watch the shirt change color. I was not exactly the popular girl at school, so when the attention was on me and my cousin, I felt so cool! Summer was about to begin, and so was my new life in a big city.
When we arrived at my aunt’s apartment, we unpacked the small number of belongings that didn’t go into storage and settled into our new rooms. My mom stayed in the room with my aunt and my cousin had to give up her privacy to share her room with me. At some point that day, my cousin’s friend, Kelly, showed up for a visit. I was in awe at how beautiful she was with her bright blue eyes and long blonde hair. She was only one year older than I was, but back then, that was kind a big deal. To me, she was the epitome of perfect. I had longed to be beautiful, but I was far from it.
The three of us were standing outside on the steps leading up to the second floor, just talking, when Kelly pulled out a pack of Marlboro Reds. I had always hated cigarettes since my parents were indoor smokers. In fact, there were many times I would hide my parents’ cigarettes because I wanted them to quit smoking. They would always get so angry with me! All of the aversion I had felt my entire twelve years toward cigarettes flew out the window as soon as Kelly asked me if I wanted one.
The awful taste, the burning of my throat, the disgusting smell, and choking sensation went totally ignored. I remember Kelly laughing as I choked down the first couple drags. She knew I had never smoked before, but I was hell bent to become a smoker. I was determined to impress Kelly and forced myself to become used to the feeling of suffocation in order to do so. I became a smoker on my first day in the big city!
I will never forget our parents finding out we had started smoking. My cousin and I came home from school one day and our mothers were sitting at the kitchen table with two packs of cigarettes and a huge, round glass ash tray in the middle. Our punishment was to sit at the table and smoke the entire pack of cigarettes, one after the other. This was our parent’s way of keeping up from smoking. It actually worked on my cousin, who ended up puking into a nearby trash can before it was over. I was a bit harder to break. I was very sick afterwards, poisoned by the nicotine, but I would continue to smoke for another 26 years.
Flash forward two years to age fourteen. I had smoked a little pot a few times, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way it altered my state of mind. I don’t believe I was totally prepared for the next addiction, but I received it just the same. My mom and me had moved to our own tiny apartment across town, and we were visiting my aunt and cousin one day. My cousin was not there for one reason or another. It was just my mom, my aunt and my aunt’s long-time boyfriend. My mom and aunt had left to do some errand and were gone for a couple of hours, leaving me there with the boyfriend.
He said, “Wanna’ try something cool?” It did not take much convincing! He led me to the back bedroom and took out a small baggie with pink crystals inside. He opened up the bag and dropped some crystals down onto a mirror that was sitting on the dresser. I watched as he chopped it up and formed two lines. He took out a straw and snorted one of the lines. It was my turn, and I snorted my first line of meth. I will never forget feeling comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life. I was bulletproof!
Later that night, after everyone had gone to sleep, I was still wide awake. I snuck quietly into the bedroom where my aunt and her boyfriend were sleeping and sat down beside him. I gently shook him and softly whispered, “Hey, can I have some more of that?” He then put his hand down on my thigh and replied, “What will you do for me?” I was mortified! I did not waste much time getting the fuck out of there, and I would not be snorting any more lines that night!
The addiction to alcohol did not come until several years later, though I know now that it was an issue from age 17. I was in a relationship with Michael, the man who later fathered my daughter. He was four years older than me and had just turned 21. He was alcoholic as well, drinking to escape his pain. I had only drunk alcohol a handful of times until then, but quickly learned that it brought out the worst in me. My relationship with Michael was far from perfect, but when alcohol became involved, it turned tumultuous. All the pain and anger I had held inside for years began to seep out onto him. He had his moments when he was a jerk, but he did not deserve the wrath I laid upon him while I was drinking.
My drinking was out of control nearly every time I consumed alcohol. I have been arrested at least a dozen times, most of the time, “coming to” instead of waking up inside a jail cell. My violent temper was a huge issue for me and would continue to be so for years to come. I was mad at the world and everyone in it. I was running from myself and from my pain. I did not know how to heal the wounds I am facing now.
I sit here now, sober, feeling every emotion I ran from for nearly thirty years. All my mind-altering band aids have been peeled away. My wounded inner child is struggling to find comfort in the midst of all the pain. She is raw and scared to death. The other day, I picked up a cigarette for the first time in nine months to help deal with the cravings of any substance that would help me escape. A cigarette was going to be my crutch, but it was so horrible that I had to put it down. I attempted to choke myself with carcinogenic smoke a few more times before finally deciding it was futile.
Why the hell would I sit there and intentionally harm my body this way? On my way home from a recent BBQ where everyone was drinking and partying around me, I was nearly in tears. One girl at the party had been drinking quite a bit and was very friendly toward me. I have known her for years, but I always felt a rift between us. She mentioned a time when I was so wasted over there that I threw glass ash trays at my daughter and my friend. I do not remember this event because I was in a blackout, but I distinctly remember the horror I felt the morning after. The dread I felt in my chest when I was told what I did was a nightmare in itself. I hated the person I had become, and yet I had no way out of my own misery. There were times when death seemed a better option.
There have been other incidents of violence at this location that I won’t mention here. This is the place where my awakening took place in 2015. Some of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened at this house, and here I was clean and sober, making amends where possible. I should have felt great about life. I should have had a newfound sense of pride for the leaps and bounds I have made. The truth is, that I was more depressed than ever by the time I left.
My confidence has been in shambles my entire life. I feel completely ripped open for all to see, very raw and vulnerable. I am vulnerable now. There are people I have done my best to make amends to, yet they won’t even read my letters. They hate me for the things in my past. So be it. Hate is a heavy weight, and I can no longer allow hatred into my heart. I must pick myself up and dust myself off. I just wish I would hurry up and stop feeling so broken. I’ve done so much emotional clearing, it would seem that I would be magically healed and feeling top notch, right?
I still get sad about the death of my parents. I still struggle to find a shred of confidence in my Self and my abilities. I still live in fear that every step I take is a mistake. This is not a fun existence right now. There are days when I feel on top of the world, like I can do anything I set my mind too. Then, there comes these times when I feel like absolute garbage and want to lay in bed all day.
A friend of mine mentioned to me last night that I have what is referred to as Anhedonia. That certainly helps explain the horrible insomnia I have experienced over the last couple of years. Another thing he mentioned was Hedonic. It would seem that my whole life has been spent teaching me that instant gratification is the way to go. I have not exactly been one who is very patient. That is the way of the world now, is it not? We want what we want when we want it. Fast food. Fast cars. Movies on demand. This does help put my current troubles in perspective. I just mentioned that I wanted to be “magically” healed. That is not how this works!
Healing ourselves of ancient wounds is not something to be impatient with. This is not something that I will just wake up one day and be instantly better. There are layers upon layers of scars that must be treated delicately. June 21, 2019 will be my nine-month sobriety birthday and my daughter will be proudly handing me my sobriety chip. I must accept the changes that are taking place in my life and know that what I am feeling is necessary for the greater good. I have been running from this pain for a long time, and my legs are getting weary.
I will wrap this up by saying that loving myself is my ultimate goal. Overcoming all the hurdles life has thrown my way is actually training me for the best version of myself I can be. I will use this training to assist others along their journey one day. All these “hot mess” years will not be in vain. When I fully and unconditionally love myself, I will not want to harm my body with addictive substances. This will come naturally. It is baby steps until then, putting one foot in front of the other until I no longer need anyone or anything else to feel comfortable in my own skin.
My name is Kerry Eppler and these are my true tales. Relax. Enjoy. Be inspired.