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Category Archives: Anonymous

A letter of hope for freedom, from an anonymous former patient of Dr Kim Dennis

In hindsight, I’ve always hated my body. I took up too much space. I couldn’t be contained. Thus, it started with diet pills, the good kind. I stole them from my mom until she bought me my own which confirmed what I thought. I was too much.

I never could remember what life was like before we moved to Texas, just outside Dallas. I was 13, 12 maybe, going into the 7th grade. My dad, an alcoholic. My mother, a perfect Al-Anon. Life was tumultuous at best. Each day carried a singular, unspoken goal: ‘don’t upset your father.’ My sister (6 years my younger) and I tried our best. Inevitably we would fail and he would rage. Sis always took the brunt for some reason, despite my best efforts. He never actually put his hands at us (not at that time, anyway. maybe? it’s blurry), but there were many a hole in the wall and items being thrown.

My first drink was at 15? 16? I had ‘waited’ because I didn’t want to be like him. It was completely unremarkable, to be honest. I did feel a part of; the cooler varsity players let me hang. I was a baller too. But not like them. Remember, I was too much. Too much to move fast like coaches wanted.

The eating disorder was in full flight by my senior year of high school. And so was my dad’s drinking. Mom, the glue, had taken a job promotion in another state. And so went my sanity. I was my sister’s parent. It was dark. Little did I know college would be darker. Collegiate basketball and softball kept me straight for a while but I was still bankrupt inside. Out of control restricting-Bulimia, purging 10x a day, self-harm. Drinking became more than mere habit. More than anything I was plagued by depression and suicidality. This lead to the campus counselor, to the local psychiatrist, to the psychiatric hospital. From there I would be transferred to an ED facility near Houston. It was in this facility that I would be introduced to the world of drugs (and a relationship with a tech employed there). 104 days later I emerged, sicker than ever. I started Grad School – Psychology ironically. I began running back and forth from school to Houston to pick up drugs and to maintain the relationship. One fateful weekend we decided I should try my entrepreneurial hand at selling prescription pills back at school. I loaded up. And was subsequently arrested a little more than half way home. I would later be indicted with a felony possession charge that haunts me to this day.

At the time of the arrest, Mom decided ‘drug dealing’ was not the reason she was paying for room and board. So I came home to Dallas and started trying to get sober. Started. Trying. Five (ish? I lose track) psych hospitals later. Another ED facility later. A suicide attempt later. It’s June 17, 2006 and I am finished. I do the best I can – trust God, clean house, help others – but I can’t shake this deep deep shame and need to destroy myself. I know the previous vices don’t work anymore. I start to feel nothing short of completely f’ed.

I am at least 6 years sober when the flashbacks start. The first 13 years of my life, flooding back in and I begin to realize…there’s a reason it was blacked out. It was the babysitter. And her son. And her husband. It was horrific. It was daily. It was for 6 years. It was maybe my dad too.

I am 8 years sober when I land at Chicago O’Hare and I want to die. I am in ‘this place’ again, I am institutionalized again, I am hopeless again, I am wondering what the point is…again. I am sober. By some miracle of God (truly) I meet Kim – Pine Lodge, Group 2, Process Group. I am instantly hooked. I am baffled. She knows what she’s talking about. Not because she read it in a book…no, this woman has LIVED what I have lived. And she’s on the other side and incredibly successful. I want EVERYTHING she has. The success, sure, but mostly the peace. I am chasing the peace. I am forever changed by Timberline Knolls in Lemont, IL. I miss it every day.

I am 10 years sober as I approach the end of my M.A. in Professional Counseling. I am not fully healed; but I am on the path. A path that’s headed toward freedom, a freedom of MY choosing. I have moments of the elusive Kim-sized peace. I am certain I can help others. I am hopeful.

Teenage child of an alcoholic affected positively

Anonymous, Teenage child of an alcoholic

My mom has been an alcoholic for as long as I could remember and it has not affected me in a positive way. I am terrified of being yelled at, I am scared to trust, and I have an extreme amount of stress. I love my mom but her partying at 3am in the morning has done no good for me or the rest of my family. The worrying began when I was much younger, when I would worry if my mom was coming home that night. The stress has continued throughout my life.

I have a good enough relationship with my mom for us to talk at least every other day and for her to always pick up the phone when I call. A couple years ago, something happened with my mom in Mexico which ended up with me not being able to see her for a month or so. It hurt my brother and me a lot. So when I hadn’t heard from my mom in almost three days, who was in Mexico at the time, I began to worry. I texted her Tuesday night at around 9 or 10, a time which we had been talking every other day at. She never answered. Around lunch time the next day I called her and she didn’t pick up. Therefore I texted my grandpa if he had heard from her. No response. My stress level rose very high and my judgement became poor. In general when I worry and stress, I freak out and the situation around me becomes a blur. I over think and think about the worst that could happen. I thought my mom was dead. This same day I found myself caught in a state of panic over why my mom wasn’t getting back to me, I was driving to work when I saw sirens behind me and I got a really bad and stupid ticket for speeding. I can’t believe I was going that fast, I never drive that fast and more than anything as a result of my behavior I am now forced to realize that the situation with my mom has affected me far more than maybe I had previously realized.

At nearly 17 years old, I don’t think I can blame my mom or anyone for that matter for my choices or my actions. I can learn where my feelings come from, I can talk about them instead of pretending they don’t exist and I can find a way to heal so that I do not self destruct like she did by making bad choices.  I have kept so much inside for so long. Yesterday I wanted to talk with my dad and my grandma about my fears and worries but as usual, I kept it inside and pretended that I was just fine. Clearly I was not just fine. I was scared, I was upset and I was not thinking or acting with a clear head. The lesson for me and for others who grow up in this type of environment and have to deal with this type of chaos and fear and uncertainty is that it’s ok to feel, it’s ok to talk about fears and feelings, none of this is my fault and if we keep all of this inside alone and in secrecy, it can and will hurt us in ways we can’t even imagine. Just look at what happened to me yesterday.  I learned a lesson and it isn’t just to drive more carefully. It is that I have deeply rooted and unresolved things in my head that I need to be aware of and need to deal with. Thank god I did not hurt anyone but myself yesterday.  And thank god the officer who pulled me over was kind and did not take me to the police station.  This could have been a lot worse.

What is it like being a sober kid on the North Shore?

Anonymous, North Shore Teenage Perspective

What is it like being a sober kid on the North Shore?
Well to start off, it’s pretty messed up. All of the people around you or at least 95% are drunk every weekend, who knows probably high too, and despite that it is illegal to drink under 21, you are the one that is looked at differently. People either idolize you for having your own morals, not caring, and doing what you want, or they think that you’re unsocial, think you’re better than them, or blatantly a loser. Why it’s so messed up? Is because everyone knows who is drinking and who’s not. The parents know, the teachers can tell, and even the law knows half the time. But because we live on the North Shore where there is no shortage of money, no one will do anything about it, parents are the ones buying the alcohol, teachers won’t speak up or punish the kids, and officers won’t even be too harsh with these over privileged kids because of the fact there’s soooo much money involved with everything. That’s what everything around me personally is like, but what it’s like to be the 5% that doesn’t drink is different. You’re generally not going out every Friday and Saturday night to party, you’re not getting 500 likes on Instagram or Facebook or you’re not posting 300 second stories, you’re watching them. It hits everyone differently, if you can be strong enough to say no, screw you, I have a future and I won’t mess it up, I’ll earn my way to college and not have mommy and daddy pay my way in, then good for you, you know yourself and you have it right. But on the flipside there’s always the kid who will get pressured into it because they want to be cool, or the kid who wishes they were in those photos, or wishing they got the invite, and that’s when it’s hard, hard to be the one left out for doing the right thing. What is meant by you’re the one being left it is you’re not invited to parties and  it’s tough and it’s sad that you’re not there just because you don’t drink. If you do go to parties, then generally what you’re thinking is, “This is crazy”, “alcohol everywhere”, “fun when beer isn’t being spilled on you”, but most of all you feel pity for all of the kids that have to drink or smoke to have fun, because at the end of the night you’ll go home and know you did the right thing even if you didn’t want to at the time, and who knows what they’ll go home thinking.

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