Hey Family, my name is Amanda and I’m an addict. When I was a little girl my daddy’s parents lived down the street from us, so I spent a lot of time with my grandmother oh how I loved her, she was full of life and loved bright colors and loud music and taught me so much about cooking and kindness and compassion …
I was four years old when she became my grandmother, and you would have never known I wasn’t her “blood” … My mom had just divorced my dad and married my stepdad and we had moved out to the forest and so began this life I’ve come to remember. My dad and his father both were “men’s men” rough and tough, hard workers, extremely God-fearing men and put that fear in their children. Thanks to NA I can see they had some beautiful qualities too and I think they wanted what was best for their kids.
I remember a couple times during my childhood my grandmother going “away” and no one telling me where and wouldn’t talk to me about it… I come from a family that kids are to be seen and not heard and they keep things a secret, so my feelings were never really thought of at least that’s how I felt. My grandmother would return and be a little distant and would always have what I thought was a creepy smile on her face that scared me. And as I’m sitting writing this I’m having to stop and cry because now I understand, now I know and I’m heartbroken for her I have to call someone in my support circle because I did not expect these feelings to bubble up and I’m a mess.
OK I’m back, what I now know my grandmother was leaving for she was being committed for her “fits of hysteria” she was sad and depressed and had mental health issues. To this day I still do not know what my grandfather saw or whatnot that caused him to “commit” her and they have both since passed but I mention this specific story because it starts the ugly cycle of shame and guilt, I felt for having a mental illness MYSELF!
What I’ve realized is I have literally lived in FEAR my WHOLE little life! Do you know how exhausting that is? So, my father was raised to treat mental illness as something that “women” do to get attention and my mom did whatever he said and then she did whatever the Lord/Church said.
So, you pray it away. You have faith enough to make yourself better. You mask it, hide it, lie about it, and stuff it. You can’t talk to doctors about because they are just going to fill your mind with mojo and drugs …
What do you do??? Well, I looked for the solution like anybody would right… SEX, DRUGS, and ROCK and ROLL and more drugs. By the time I got to NA I felt my soul was no longer with me. I was a shell of a person. You all taught me how to live a new life Clean (I thought y’all would teach me how to use without getting consequences but uh nope)
And with that new life you taught me how all those things I used to survive the lying, hiding, mask wearing, manipulative, shady slick ass behaviors would not be supportive of a lifestyle in recovery … You all taught me how to live the spiritual principles by working the 12 steps with my sponsor Like honesty and integrity and open mindedness and compassion, kindness! NA gave me my soul back.
You all loved me and held my hand as I learned to love myself, accept myself and I will forever be grateful! We talk about Addiction being a family disease BUT Recovery is a Family peace.
People that know me know my relationship with my mom hasn’t always been good, the last couple years we have both really grown, well some “more will be revealed” bullshit surfaced that led me to seek therapy this last year and it’s been so fucking hard! I shared a cliffs note version with my mom and her response was I’m not sure why you need therapy though?? I explained mom you just got through telling me how proud of me you were and where I am in my recovery, do you not understand I am here because I keep DOING these things to work on myself as they are revealed to me? She responded oh I didn’t know…. 2 weeks later she calls to tell me she thinks she needs therapy …
Recovery spreads through our family like a warm blanket the longer we stay clean, thank you NA.
Our literature talks about sometimes needing outside help. See:
In Times of Illness booklet and the new IP Mental Health in Recovery.
What I have learned is there is a stigma to mental illness out there but damn it if I haven’t run across it in the rooms as well. … we (I) need to do better.
I believe it is real, and I have a mental illness my name is Amanda and I love you all!