My journey into addiction was easy and it took me by surprise, how I became a drug addict
Me! Being an addict!? It took me more than five years, before I understood that it was wrong to consume alcohol, cocaine, amphetamine and painkillers in the amounts I was doing.
I grew up in a small provincial town with 900 inhabitants in North Zealand, Denmark. The town had a petrol station, a supermarket, a butcher, a church, school and sports club. I was born in 1976. One year later, my parents got divorced, and I mainly grew up living with my mother. By the time, I was thirteen my mother and I had moved ten times. My mother was an alcoholic and dependent on sedatives, painkillers, and sleeping pills. Through different periods, she had spend all our money on alcohol, and therefore could not pay rent, resulting in us having to move on several occasions.
Despite my mother’s addictions problems, I still think that she was the loveliest mother in the world. No other person could make meat balls, potatoes and brown sauce like she could. She loved me, and I loved her, and because we have been through so many difficult situations, we became very close. During my first 13 years of life, I experienced repeatedly my mother being beaten and abused by violent partners.
Experiences made me tough as a little boy
When I was seven years old, I woke up one night on the first floor of our house, and could hear that my mother and a stranger,a man,were having an argument downstairs in the living room. It was not the first time, and my stomach contracted with fear, and I was quietly crying inside. I got out of my warm bed with my teddy held tight to my body; I sneaked down the ice-cold hallway which leeds down to the kitchen. The last meters I crawled, because I can hear that my mother and the man are shouting at each other at the bottom of the stairs. I felt terrified and fearful, and I could hear my mother screaming with all her lungs strength: “No..stooop! Please stop!”.
It is quiet for a second or two, and then the man pushes my mother into the stairway with all his force. She collapses and starts to cry. As a natural reflex she avoids the blows, that she knows are going to be coming her way. They are both drunk. Incomprehensible sentences and loud swearing are exchanged between them. The man steps back, in order for him to be able to kick my mother several times hard with his boots. She is quit now; she just lies still and cries.
He bends over and pulls her a little up from the floor, where after he looks at her and asks: “Are you finished, are you?”. He hits her hard in the face several times, and throws her onto the floor. In the same instance, both of them notice me. I am sitting crouched and holding my teddy in fear and feeling powerless. I get eye contact with my mother, and she instinctively shouts: “GO TO BED MARTIN!”
Then only thing I remember is that I hurry down the cold hallway and into my room, close my door and crawl back under my warm duvet. I cuddle my teddy hard, whilst a titanic sense of powerlessness overwhelms me, blended with an indescribable feeling loneliness; I cry in unstoppable fashion. Especially the feeling of loneliness is very strong and intense, and words cannot describe how alone I feel. The front door is closed with a loud bang. Silence prevails. My mother continues drinking alone downstairs in the living room, and after some time, I fall asleep with my teddy under my warm duvet.
Its experiences like these and others, that have shaped me as a a resilient little boy. I created my own life rules: “If the world is so evil, that I’m to witness my own loved mother been kicked ruthlessly and violently with boots, then I’ll manage and survive on my own”. Seen in hindsight this is not such a good thing, as I did not quite know how I was going to manage myself-but it was a way to survive.
My substance abuse escalated
My years from I was 13 til 18, were filled with school activities, football, girls and extreme experiments. I was lucky that I was doing well in school, and good at football. It gave me many success experiences, and occupied my time, when I was not able to be with my mother. I drank my first two beers at my confirmation party on the 22nd April 1990. My summer holiday (8th grade) became one long big party with my classmates and friends. I discovered that I started to drink to excess with my friends. I experienced blackouts and woke up in different locations that I did not even know how I had got to.
I also discovered that I was happy, and that my loneliness was sedated when I was partying and drinking. I was free of having to relate to my mother, and my mother’s men, and their drinking and drugs. When I was partying, all my problems disappeared for a while. I liked that. The same thing happened when I was with a girl. That meant that I at an early age had many girlfriends, and loved being with girls. They gave me a sense of belonging and recognition-also when I was not intoxicated.
During the years the parties became wilder and wilder, and the alcohol started to invade the football dressing rooms. Thursday evenings after football training, I could easily consume without issue, 5, 10,15 beers.
Suddenly alcohol was part of my life several times a week, and I did not take note of it. I never drank alone. Everybody else were also drinking. It was normal to drink after football training, Tuesday and Thursday; also at parties Friday and Saturday evening.
Over the duration of several years, it was normal for me and my mates to drink. Everybody went to school and work, and I had the pleasure of being drunk four out of the weeks seven days. It was a lovely sedative for dealing with my sorrow and loneliness, which I was carrying. I had no clue that I was in the midst of serious alcohol abuse.
When I was 19 years old, I got an apprenticeship in the local supermarket. One day I had a serious headache, and my mother was as always helpful with pills and different medicine. I happily received her help. Then one day I was given two Codeine pills. It alleviated the headache, worked in the same way that alcohol did, it made me happy, indifferent, and it energized me. My blood was gushing happily through my arteries, and I felt good when I took the Codeine pills.
My mother did not wish to fill me with lots of pills, so soon I found my own solutions. That was to call my doctor and say, that I had hurt my knee at football, in order for him to write a prescription for the same type of Codeine pills, which my mother had given me. After some months, he also prescribed other medicines that I liked, on my request of course. I also discovered that if I daily consumed 10-20 Kodimagnyl from the pharmacy, then I could achieve the same happiness, indifference, sedation and an energetic state. It soon became necessary for me to consume 10-15 Codeine pills daily, and 10,20,30,40 Kodimagnyl. All depending on how big my stocks were.
In my peer group, I was introduced to amphetamines, which just increased my feeling of happiness and energy-and as long as I daily consumed a mixture of Codeine, Ketogan, Nobligan, Kodimagnyl, Amphetamines or Cocaine, I felt quite good and happy, with quite a lot of energy. So I believed.
Slowly my world started to collapse. Within two months, I was sacked from my job, and went on sick leave with depression. My girlfriend left me, and I moved to Ikast and isolated myself, without friends, no work – just me with a few belongings, pills, my drugs and myself. Suddenly my alcohol and drug consumption changed from a social medium with friends at football and at parties, to being a lone process of me taking alcohol, pills, medicine and drugs alone.
And then I found out I was addicted to drugs
In October 2004, it dawned on me that things were not right. I went to my doctor and ask for help; help that I did not receive. The fact is that it made me aware, that I was an addict and abuser of pills and alcohol. I had withdrawal and craving symptoms; I could not live without my drugs and pills.
The road to my addictions and abuse life style, started at my confirmation celebration in April 1990, and it was not before October 2004, that it dawned on me that I had a problem. This despite having good friends, family and colleagues that supported me during the years.