Aloha my friends and I hope you are well, I wanna take a moment just to share with you the impact surviving child sexual abuse has had on my life.
I struggled for many years with letting others get too close to me. But it was the other struggles, the ones that people could not see, that caused me the most significant amount of turmoil.
These struggles were some of the driving forces that kept me in the cycle of addiction for so long.
Of course, there were numerous other factors as well.
Addiction is a tangled web and for me there were a number of elements that came into play and kept pulling me back to my form of self-medication which fuelled my alcoholism.
This is not an easy subject to talk about, but I feel it is essential to make people aware of the truth behind the impact of such events on survivors like me in later life.
To give insight and educate so that we may begin to see the whole picture of someone's journey to assist them properly.
Of course, everyone is different, and this is my experience. Childhood trauma is not a one size fits all category of mental health.
The effects of such incidents are a vast ocean of despair for many. With storms and whirlpools threatening to pull the individual under at any given time.
I was groomed for around a year when I was about eight years old by a family friend who raped me for the first time during a camping trip, and then continued to sexually abuse me for around six years.
As I got older, I found it very difficult to be intimate with anyone. I was not a hugger. I did not like to be touched, which at times would cause me huge problems.
If I was in bed with someone, I had an imaginary bubble in my mind that I did not like my partner to enter. If a foot or hand touched me in the night, I would jump up in fright in a defensive position.
You can imagine the difficulties this would cause me, as it would seem, to my partner like I would not want her anywhere near me, but that was not the case.
It was a trigger that took me back to my childhood and the nights when the predator would slide his hand under my duvet, and I knew what was about to happen.
I could not explain this, though, as it would cause me great anxiety that I would need to explain that I was sexually abused as a child
So instead, I would try and laugh it off or blame it on experiences from my time in the armed forces, but deep down, I know what it was; however, I did not know how to fix it aside from drinking, which would lower my inhibitions.
Even when I was alone, I did not like getting undressed. When I closed my eyes to wash my hair while showering, a streak of fear would come over me. Like I was being watched or about to be touched. I could never enjoy relaxing in the shower or bath because these were times when I would feel vulnerable.
The night time was the biggest trigger for me, and when I would feel strongest that I needed alcohol to knock me out until the morning. If I didn't drink, I could not relax. I would be on edge and feared the darkness.
The predator first started sexually abusing me at night. The night times were my earliest memories and of the first times that he raped me.
When he got braver and I was taking solvents more frequently, he began to make his moves during the day, but I did not care very much anymore by that point.
Later in life, when it was getting closer to bedtime, the fear would begin to creep in, and I would feel myself becoming more anxious as it got closer to the time when the rest of the world went to sleep.
If I did try, I would have to have the lights on or at the very least a t.v. and this went on for years. But I wouldn't sleep. Like a child scared of monsters under the bed, the fear would grip me.
But when I drank, I would pass out but of course this was also forming th foundations for my daily alcohol usage.
Over the years, I lost all pride in myself and my appearance. I would often look dishevelled, didn't cut my hair, and would wear the same clothes for a week. Showering and taking care of my personal hygiene took a back seat.
Partly caused by the triggers, I spoke of earlier and because I simply did not have a great deal of pride in myself.
Being used the way I was as a child for someone else's sexual gratification made me feel worthless.
This was reinforced by my abandonment issues of my mum leaving when I was a baby, never to be seen again and the unprovoked attack that left me for dead at the age of thirteen years old.
My self-worth was very low. I had been left, used and nearly killed before I had even reached fourteen.
A series of events that over time depleted any feelings of self-worth that I should have had, and the only comfort I found in life was through turning to the bottle or other substances.
I also developed a very short fuse which as I got older seemed to worsen. I would get very snappy and, at times, violent.
When witnessed by others, this would seem like a complete overreaction, and once I had calmed down, feelings of guilt would sweep over me.
Because deep down, I wasn't a violent, angry man. But I did have a short fuse, and I couldn't explain why.
It was only once I was in recovery and started to talk about my childhood traumas, most notably the sexual abuse, that I learned a lot of my anger stemmed from the child within who never got to scream for help, who never got to see justice.
I share this with you because I want you to understand the difficulties survivors can have and the knock-on effect of historical sexual abuse. Of course, everyone is different, I just hope to show how childhood trauma can open the gateway to addiction for others and hopefully encourage others to start talking.
Alongside those instances there were and are other triggers.
Such as smells, certain places, songs and films etc. In fact, the triggers are numerous and not a day goes by when something reminds me. I questioned my sexuality and at points really did not know where I fit in.
In my recovery, the best thing I found was opening up and releasing myself of the burdens I had carried around for so long.
And I dont talk this stuff for a pity party guys
I share it in the hope that I can bring some understanding to people who have not been touched by addiction and to those lucky enough to have not experienced any similar childhood traumas.
Thank you so much for your time, and I hope that when you see someone struggling, you don't just walk by.
You learn to try not to judge too quickly and open your ears, offering that person the opportunity to share their feelings.
Let's start seeing not just with our eyes but with our hearts also.