All help All
To say I was a troubled teenager would be a severe understatement. When I was 18, after spending two long years in drug rehab (Kinsman Hall), I was finally released two days before Christmas. Was I excited? Yes! I was filled with what I thought were endless possibilities. But I was more afraid than I was excited. Those two years kept me alive, but it did little else. When I hit the streets, I was armed with absolutely no tools for a drug-free and drama-free existence. How can anyone cope when they're left up to the their own faulty devices? Two years of not having to think for myself weighed heavily on me especially when I was suddenly faced with a real life filled with real problems and real decisions to make everyday. 

Towards the end of my two years at Kinsman Hall, I got involved with a staff member who was about ten years older than me. Oh, we had big plans of living happily ever after, but that happily ever after never happened. Bruce left the program a few months after my departure. The plan was for him to come get me in Florida and we'd start our life together. He got as far as New York where he was from and never made it any further. Denial works great for awhile and then reality sets in...Bruce and I were never going to have anything, but some sheltered memories of a relationship that was never put to the test of surviving in a life away from Kinsman Hall. I knew I made the wrong choice by getting involved with Bruce to begin with and instead of choosing with my heart, I chose with my head.  If I had chosen with my heart months earlier Bruce wouldn't have been in the picture.

Shortly after my departure, life slapped me in the face twice. The ferocity of the slap left me questioning everything I thought I knew. First, I lost my closest friend, Charlene. When she left rehab, she started shooting dope again. Although I knew what the writing on the wall predicted, I wasn't prepared to deal with a death...any death. Charlene died a week before her wedding. As Bruce broke the news of Charlene's death to me, I felt as if someone had reached into my chest and ripped my heart out. I could barely breathe. I could barely think. Yet with as raw as my emotions were I couldn't seem to cry. I just teetered on the edge.  I just wanted the hurt to go away, but before my wound could form a scab, I found out Bruce had started using again. He, too was shooting dope, but was lying to me about it. 

Another one bites the dust! There wasn't going to be any happily ever after for us. Drugs had won out again, so I tucked my tail between my legs and went off to lick my wounds. All I wanted to do and felt like I needed to do was insulate myself so no bad news could affect me again. Instead of tuning in, turning on and dropping out, I tuned out, turned off and then jumped into emotional obscurity. My first instinct was to hide and to fade far enough away so pain couldn't find me. I adopted a true fuck it attitude. What's the point of getting close to anyone when all they're going to do is break my heart? 

That summer was a memorable one. It changed my whole trajectory.  After being away from my hometown for 3 years, I foolishly returned. My first year of faux emancipation, I spent living on the streets. I was 15 and got one hell of an education. The next two years I spent in drug rehab. Oops! That was a completely unplanned detour.  I was probated there until I turned 18.  I knew going "home" would put me in harm's way, but I went home anyway because like a person who needs to physically cut themselves repeatedly, I was an emotional cutter. I needed to beat myself up until the pain subsided and I was comfortably and completely numb. I thought about returning to the drug rehab from which I had just been released because I felt I had unfinished business there but I didn't return for fear of rejection. Fear paralyzed me until it won and I too started getting high again.

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