Teen Troubles

I was flipping through the channels today and came across a show on Lifetime called, "Teen Trouble". On the show, Josh Shipp, a teen behavior expert, tries to help teens overcome their drug addictions, or harmful behaviors. The episode I happened to watch was about a girl in California named Ashley, and she was addicted to meth, heroine, and other substances.

When Josh met with her, he said that we all know that addictive behaviors are destructive, but at least they feel familiar to us. Change is scary. He then went on to say when Ashley changes, she is the hero. It's her life at stake, and when she turns it around, she is the one to be celebrated. She was fighting the hardest battle of her life.

As I heard Ashley talk about her experience with addiction, I couldn't help but hear myself in her voice. Although our addictions are totally different, the emotions, and motions are similar. She said that once she started using, she felt like her soul just left and everything just kept getting worse. She felt worthless, and that made her use more. Josh went on to say that once she realized her value she would naturally want to protect herself. From drugs, abuse, and self-defeating thoughts. 

From the moment I started watching the show, I couldn't help but think back to my first visit to the FUN clinic with my mom. Ashley's mom acted almost exactly as my mom did. I guess I've resented my mom for the longest time for how she has treated me, and thought of me since learning of my addiction. She was never adequate enough for what I thought were my needs, and ignorant of how she talked of me to others. She didn't understand anything. She always turned the conversation back to her needs rather than mine at clinic visits, it seemed selfish to me. Just like a few weeks ago when she told my therapist that the reason why I still binged was because individually I didn't follow through on things. I hated her for how she acted. 

After watching Ashley's mom, I realized now that my mom felt just as much a victim as I did. I also realize though why my mom upset me so much. Josh told her that because she felt like a victim she couldn't resist fighting back when Ashley "attacked", but she was just putting gas on a fire, making things worse. She needed to spend less time arguing with her, and more time helping her. To not rage, but to disengage. I can't tell you how many times I wished my mom would have done this.  I felt disappointed if she wasn't calm or collected when I had a mental breakdown, which often angered me even more. I was emotionally raw, why couldn't she realize that?

 I'm not trying to pin myself as her victim, but I think that my addiction victimized both of us. She felt like she was trying to save herself from drowning, but forgot that I was drowning next her (and vice-versa). Ashley's mom went on to say that she felt betrayed by her daughter, and was hurt. 

It's funny to watch Ashley as she reacted to the consequences of her actions, she went from enraged to humble in thirty minutes. The same would happen to me. But she did need space when she was "flipping out", and Josh said it perfectly, "the best thing you can do...is give them space". Heck, I can't tell you how many times I wished that my mom would just let me calm down on my own, let me get back to a rational level of thinking. 

Ashley said that she should be able to do anything to get her life back, herself back. I've thought the same thing so many times throughout the past two years. I guess I lost faith in myself and those around me. She also said that she used to try and keep her past life "private", she didn't want anyone to see what she had been doing, she would put up a wall so that no one could hurt her.  I've felt the exact same way. She struggled with the fact that her dad was distance physically, and I guess I've always struggled with my dad being distant emotionally. 

Ashley also relapsed, but she didn't give up. For a period of my life, I had given up after my first relapse. I still feel defeated whenever I fall back into old habits. I've relapsed four times, and each time is just as hard as the last. 

I'm not going to give up though...I hope.

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