Hi there, my name's Chris.
I kinda figured it was time to tell my story here in another venue. I get a considerable amount of healing with the telling and it helps me even more by allowing others to give me helpful feedback.
It all started in 1973 when my parents divorced. My Father took me away from my Mother and over the ensuing battle used me as a pawn to get what he wanted from Mom. We went to live with my 80 year old Grandfather. Grandad, he was something else. An old school scotsman who believed children should be seen and not heard. He demanded a rigid code and discipline that I was not well suited for. I would like to say that he did his best but, can't as he contributed greatly to my isolation from my Mother.
We used to have large family dinners split between our house and my Uncles. My Uncle had a pool table in his basement which was a huge attraction to me as a small (pre-teen) boy. I would play on the table for hours while the grownups talked and drank upstairs in the living room. It was on one of these occasions that my Uncle Stewart came down and cornered me in the poolroom. This was the beginning. I don't remember if I was 12 or 13 but, from that time I'd dread going to Stewarts house for dinner. Every time, he used to corner me in the basement to touch and fondle me. He'd hug me and whisper to me asking if I liked it and wanted to know what I did when it got hard. I just stood there stiff and didn't say a word through every episode. I can say gratefully it never went further than that.
This behaviour continued until I was about 16 when we had another dinner at my Grandfathers house. I was having a shower after dinner before going out with friends. My Dad was drunk, passed out in his room, Grandad and Jean (my Aunt) were chatting in the living room. Stewart came in to the bathroom and trapped me in the shower. It was more of the same. The big difference this time was that Jean came looking for him and found him with me. She freaked out and he ran from the house. That was the last time it happened but, it wasn't the end of the betrayal. My Grandfather came down hard on me to never say anything about it to anyone. You see, as Master Mason's they both (Grandad and Stewart) had pretty solid reputations to protect and news like this would ruin their fine standing in the community. He brow beat me to remain silent and I did through fear and intimidation. As this was the seventies there was no real recourse for someone in my position.
This ended my abuse at the hands of my Uncle but, began the cycle of self abuse that continued for the next 25 years. I remember my Father dropping me off at my brothers house for the night so he could go out on a date. I was 13 or so. After dinner my Brother gave me an apple cider to drink. These feelings I had in my head and couldn't identify were, even then, driving me crazy. Being only 13 I got high off of the cider and all those feelings went away. Little did I know the journey I was about to embark upon. Long story shorter... this started a career of destruction that lasted until about ten short years ago.
I was a problem child. I had no self worth or esteem. I skipped school until I dropped out. Counsellors tried to help me but, couldn't get through. I ran away, stole, lied and cheated my way into adulthood. I had no skills or, education. Somewhere along the way I managed to get a trade and a short lived marriage. I had children that alcohol caused me to physically and mentally abuse and with divorce and consequent separation from them heaped even more pain upon me. I finally moved back to the city where I could work and afford my bills and payments but, this just gave me access to more powerful drugs to feed my ever growing addiction.
The journey back to “normal” life began for me in 2001 when I realized the drugs just weren't working anymore. My shame, guilt and remorse weren't covered up by my use of (crack) cocaine anymore and my life was a living hell. At the suggestion of a using friend who was in much the same boat I went to a detox facility. In the program I was introduced to 12 step fellowships and found a way out. Since February of 2001 I've got ten years clean from all substance. The 12 steps and a collection of Sponsors have given me the opportunity to look back and identify how and where I started and I've managed to come to some degree of forgiveness towards my abuser.
Here I sit today with a relatively healthy mind. I don't live in constant resentment towards my abuser and others and I don't have to punish myself for what I believed I might have been responsible for myself. One of the turning points in my recovery, through the steps, was that I was not to blame for the abuse I suffered. I couldn't have said no because I was only a child and children don't say no to trusted family members. Or, at least, so it was.
I do however, find myself, looking back over the years to see how much the abuse has affected my life. I've had no healthy sexual relationships. My orientation has been a question for much of my life. What relationships I have had have been sick and twisted things of co-dependency and addiction. Even now, at 49, I still have issues with authority and have difficulty approaching and speaking with women I don't know. I have no idea what “normal” is and am hoping that some of you may have some idea and/or suggestions about what I can do to bring myself to a more healthy way of looking at myself.
Most recently, I'm going back to school to get my high school matriculation. I'm in upgrade to grade 11 math right now and I'm loving it. I can feel my self esteem growing daily and through the process of learning am feeling better about myself every day. I don't love myself yet but, I can actually see a time in the not too distant future when I just might.
Thanks for letting me share.
Be happy, Chris
Because the roots of ignorance are so intimately entwined with the
fabric of the psyche, the unawakened mind is capable of deceiving itself
with breathtaking ingenuity.