The effects of Living in Denial of Addictions—I went to my first narcotics anonymous meeting at the age of 16 after a night of binge drinking and admitting to a friend (who was against drugs) that I was smoking crack. His immediate response was that I needed to get help, and soon. He was my designated driver as long as I picked up the girls for us to hang out with that night. So, we picked up two girls from the local park and things were going well until the levels of intoxications lowered my inhibitions to a self-pity state. I ended the night in a tantrum of crying and screaming, “What’s wrong with me?”
We were having a good night with the two girls and it didn’t seem like I was all too addicted. I was just drinking a pint of Smirnoff between the three of us… and some beers, at the age of sixteen.
We were all at the local park with no one else in site in the middle of summer dusk play touchy-feely tag… “Smack!” right in the ass. I would flirt with Lizzy while the other girl wasn’t all too flirty, although I tried for both of them. We then played basketball at the local court and I forced a lot of bodily contact between me and the “other team,” being the girls. It was already a sweaty mess, but the night didn’t turn out any way I had expected it to, not at all.
I eventually drank most of the pint myself and we picked up another one from the store down the street. The other guy I was hanging out with was 21 years old and the rest of us were all underage. I always hung out with people older than me—which was true most of the time—but what he was doing hanging out with teenagers for was a mystery to me.
Darren was preoccupied with his misery and would do anything just to have any contact with women again, whether it’s just talking to my “friends.” He was the kind of guy who you'd look at and get the urge to ask him, “Are you uncoordinated? You’re awfully gumpy!” He was also obsessed with the teenage phenomenon, “American Idiot” by Green Day; man I was so sick of hearing that song. Surely he didn’t act his age and was an extremely codependent individual, especially to be supplying minors with alcohol. There was clearly an issue in the situation, well, there were many!
I ended up going back to Darren’s house with my two girl “friends,” and this is where all of the shit hit the fan. I was about a bottle deep of vodka with some beer after I forced Darren to go back to the store for rounds two and three. Darren had asked me to slow down a few different times; I didn’t. The girls were drunk off of a couple of shots, but nothing compared to my intoxicated state.
I bent over in my chair and contemplated myself as Darren asked for a second time for me to slow down. This is the part of the night where my tears started flow like a river that could over flow the fire and put out any flame. This was Denial River.
“Do you really think I have a problem? I’ll tell you something really convincing Darren,” I repeated under my breath to him as he did hear me. I was looking for pity… Who wants to join the party? It was self-promotion to join my miserable loathsomeness.
The girls look at me in a constant battle of fear and curiosity, while Lizzy blurts it out, “What is it? Just tell us! Don’t be so conceited.”
I look up and Darren sees the tears coming in full force now as I begin to sniffle and snort snot bubbles. I tell him that they don’t want to now but proceed to tell them anyways, “It all started off with my buddy Steve, do you remember him?” They all nod, as if anyone could forget the grimy and snarly buck toothed Steve. I begin to go into elaboration about how much I’ve been drinking but they don’t believe me, as if tonight’s drinking didn’t effect me besides the barrage of crying. It was all an utter lie.
“Let me go get my brother because he goes to these drug meetings, he would know what you’re talking about,” Darren says. He sprints back to the house taking the rest of the alcohol from my hands.
Darren’s brother enters the bonfire area and says it, “Hi there I’m Jarret and I’m an addict, I hear you have something you need to tell me?” I couldn’t bring myself to say anything, all I wondered is what he meant by the term addict? “Who are you implying is addicted here?” I mumbled under my breath again as Jarret hears me anyways and laughs. I was only 16 years old how could I be an addict I’m too young, why is this guy even talking to me? This is what I asked myself and him with the dirty eye I was giving him.
“You know, I was in the same spot you were about a year ago, now I’m sober,” Jarret tells me. Again I'm thinking, “What spot is that asshole?” I now get it, everyone wants me to get sober; “shit!” I didn’t know why they wanted me to get sober because this wasn’t a problem? I’m just a teenager, “I’m experimenting,” I told them. He replies with, “Then why do you feel so guilty? Are you in denial?” He pried for the true meaning behind my mask as I think it too. “Am I an addict?” I asked…then I admitted my habits, or at least tried to comprehend them in a small yet non-meaningful way.
“I’ve been switching between smoking crack and taking ecstasy for the past two weeks, and when it’s not crack I snort cocaine!" There I said it! "But I don’t have a problem, I swear I don’t,” I tried to contest to him as all he did was shake his head and grin for the progress I had “evidently” made.
“That’s the first step right there if you were to just finish it… I have a problem. This is why I told you I’m an addict. This is a fight we share together brother!” he said to me as I tried to cut Jarret off mid sentence but he just spoke louder… “I don’t have a problem!”
Jarret agreed with me I think by saying, “It’s fine… you don’t have a problem that’s right, not until you admit it you don’t, am I right?” as this was the only foul way I would agree with him. “Right! And I don’t Jarret!” I told him with pure conviction on my face.
“Okay then, if you don’t have a problem then come with me somewhere at 12 noon tomorrow and we will see if anyone we meet can relate to your story, or vice versa… you’ll be stunned,” He winked at me as my denial was convinced he couldn’t figure me out.
“No thanks!” I said. Plain and simple, “No” as my denial kept a creeping affect in my life. I don’t want to talk to anyone about this, let alone Jarret… I need to leave. “Darren… Asshole! Take me home, do what you want with the girls…”
“Why are you crying and coming to me with an admittance of something that clearly made you upset then?” Jarret asked and he has a great point, but yet again I didn’t want to believe any of this in the slightest, especially since it was about me! My only response could be was: “It was the alcohol talking Jarret!” as he nods his head and looks at me like his price was purely proven.
“Precisely my point,” Jarret says with a 100% approval rate of his question.
“I’ll be by at 11 we can get coffee before,” he says walking back in the house. “How do you know where I live?” I screamed. “You’re friends with my brother, I’ll find you, don’t worry!” he says as he sounds convinced of his admiration to get me sober.
I go home a complete and utter mess turning my phone off trying to purposefully “not expect” a call the next day. I was up at 10:30am and walk down the stairs then I yell to my mom, “That coffee smells great!” as I hear laughter coming from the dining room. Jarret had shown up an extra half an hour early and brought coffee telling my mom that we were going to breakfast with no mention of the meeting. I’m in pure disbelief that this guy is sitting in my front room right now! How could he? But, how could I? He was just trying to save my life I see now, but my denial had the blinders over my eyes and the muffs over my ears. I played the game he laid out for me, but it wasn’t what I expected.
“Ready for breakfast sport? It’s on me!” Jarret says in front of my mom. I make one last plea saying I’m not hungry, and then my mother gives me $20 and says to Jarret, “No it’s on me! Thanks for being so nice to our son!” I was screwed, now I had to go! “Free food!” I said as I grabbed it and ran out the door into Jarret’s front seat grabbing my coffee he had brought me.
Forced to my first meeting (as most are to their first meeting ONE WAY OR ANOTHER), I walk out the front door with $20 in hand as Jarret snags it from me and tells me, “You don’t get that back until after the meeting.”
I was 16 years old and unbeknownst the way, but thankfully someone spread the message to me in return even if I couldn’t see it or hear it properly at this point in my life!
We drive a while and head towards downriver Detroit as Jarret said this is his “home group,” me being unknowing to what a home group was. “Why are we going to Detroit anyways?” I asked him. “I only come here to score drugs!” I laughed as he asked me if I ever wanted my $20 back.
As I was still in complete denial and cracking rude and ill intended jokes the car stops in a church parking lot in a not so bad spot of Detroit, although I was more used to the bad spots than not! I got out and followed Jarret.
Getting out of the car I’m being honest when I say I didn’t know any of what was coming. I was unwilling and unaccepting of my surroundings but I proceeded. I wasn’t religious so I wondered why the meeting was in a church, in fact I was against religion at that point in my life, but I humored Jarret as that’s all I thought it was, humor. “Ha Ha” he hears me grunting out under my foul mouth. “What’s funny? Come on now don’t be afraid,” he said as that was really what I was.
We go to a back room and there are two tables of men sitting around them in metal chairs with coffee from the same spot Jarret got ours. “WELCOME!” everyone yells as I’m given more hugs in that minute than I had in the last two years. “Welcome home” one of them says and introduces himself by first name only, “My name is Scotty J. I’m an addict,” feeling as if the “meeting” I'd now been coerced into going to had now begun… “Hell” I thought.
I didn’t know if there was a specific order so I sat and I waited… they all look at me as everyone has already spoke. “It’s your turn.”
“I’m…. FULL NAME.” They cut me off and tell me it’s apart of some sort of tradition to only say our last initial and that we have admitted to our addiction afterwards.
“Okay I’m Name L. and I’m not admitting anything to anyone. The guy to my left is falling asleep, and the guy on my right won’t get off his phone, what am I supposed to tell you jokes?” as I look at them with a pissed off stare. They don’t look phased by my benevolence and actually took it better than I thought, they took it a lot better than I thought… not my plan.
“Calm down kid, Dom is falling asleep because of his methadone and he’s admitted he has a problem… have you?” As I know they aren’t supposed to answer me back but do anyways because the slander was directed at these “addicts.”
“I’m not one of you so I don’t have to listen, I’m who I say I am!” As I get even angrier and begin into the story of how Jarret and I met through my dealings with drugs and alcoholic binging. They looked at me as they saw the gears turning in my head as I see they notice I’m starting to come a realization, although it didn’t last long actively, but stuck with me subconsciously to this day!
At the end the last thing that I expected happened. They all gave me a round of applause, as I wasn’t being cordial to them so I don’t know why I deserved it. Jarret says, “On a closing note, welcome to your first meeting, that’s exactly what we needed from you as it’s exactly what you needed from yourself, you may not believe it but we have a lot more in common than you think.” He was right and he predicted my future when I came back to my next meeting at 18 years old, he was there, I tell him, “You called it.” He said, “It graduated to heroin if I remember calling it correctly, right?” All I could reply with was a hug and, “Yup, I’m an addict Jarret.”
Debating it, “Is this denial real or do I have a problem?” And although this first meeting didn’t keep me clean much longer after that, I knew when I was ready to quit the next time that this was a safe place, this was my new home when I wanted to get off drugs and live a life of recovery. But, I was sixteen and wasn’t ready as this was just my first meeting at an extremely young age… I did chime in with one last comment before I left.
“I think I may be an addict…”
-Denial versus Acceptance
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