I also felt the loneliness and … “wrongness”. I have always felt that I was alone and that I was wrong and all the others were right and normal. Many thoughts and feelings ran through my 8 year old brain and body, so I simply retreated to myself.
I had LEGO in my room, I had a tape recorder that could play audio books like: “The Jungle book”. So there I sat in my room and played until the clock turned to 7 pm. and my grandfather arrived in his fine outfit, ready to celebrate Easter. I hadn’t seen anything of my mother since 3 ‘o’ clock; she had fallen asleep on the couch with two bottles of cherry wine laying on the floor and a package of medicine (alopam) placed on the coffee table. The food had been in the oven since noon and was all burned. Potatoes, red cabbage, and French potatoes and were still sitting in their respective bags and containers- clearly the concept of Easter dinner was far from becoming a reality.
My grandfather was quick to decide what was going to happen. He packed me, my LEGO and some of the food together – and then we drove to his place. I didn’t see my mother until several days later. My granddad got me some clean clothes and then I stayed with him for a few days. I don’t think my mother said sorry or explained to me why that Easter went the way it did, so I accepted that life is like that sometimes.
Me, mother and father
Easter, New Year and festivals are therefore filled with negative emotions. I am deeply grateful that my granddad picked me up that day and hosted my Easter in the best way he could. I have also had countless Easter holidays, Christmas Eves and New Year’s Eves and other holidays, which have been good. At my uncle and aunt, at my dad and Bodils place, at my friends and girlfriends and their families. There have through the years been many good experiences – and I am deeply grateful for being able to stay with them, especially when my mother couldn’t handle it.
During the holiday season I always feel different compared to others. It was very pronounced and clear to me as a child. Remember; already as very young I have had really tiresome experiences with my mother and abuse around Easter. So spending Easter somewhere else, because my mother was under the influence, was both a blessing and a curse. I was able to live some “good” Easter holidays, yet I also always felt different- like a homeless being taken in for a special occasion.
I did love my mother and missed her, as much as my little heart could. I am well aware that all the sweet families that I have spent Easter with did it with good intentions, however, none of it can remove the emptiness I felt from my broken home. There wasn’t anything I would have rather done than to spent Easter and New Years and all others days with my beloved mother Janne. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t possible.
As a result, as I became older, it also became easier to ignore the holidays and choose to sit alone on Easter and enjoy my own company. I have been alone Easter, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, my birthday, and many other occasions. Sometimes I lied about it, so my family, friends and girlfriend believed that I had someone to be with. As I knew they wouldn’t like me sitting alone: “You can just be with us, Martin. You should not sit home alone”. But the older I got, the more it hurt to be with “ordinary” people during times of celebration.
When I was approximately 18 years old my abuse and addiction took off and continued for more than 13 years. When I was approximately 15 years old my mother met a man, whom she married. He was also an alcoholic and together it had the effect that I never saw my mother on holidays ever again, except my 18th birthday, which my mother and her new husband hosted for me where they both were on antabuse.
By then my abuse of pills, medicine, drugs, alcohol and marihuana had begun. The advantage of my own abuse was that I could tranquilize my sense of emptiness, sadness and “wrongness”. As the years went by as an addict, I began to realize perhaps I was not better off with these substances.
I was well aware that, deep inside, it wasn’t a good idea to drink, do drugs or take pills. But it evolved into a downward spiral: the more wrong I felt, the more substances I used to tranquilize my emotions, yet the more wrong I felt.
Spending the holidays at my loved ones homes- all of them but my own further emphasized to me the difference between normal people and my abnormal situation. It was less emotionally draining to simply sit on my own and forget the whole magic of the season.
So in 2004 I moved 100 miles away from all those who loved me. Away from the closeness and away from family and friends. I wanted to be alone. I isolated myself. I couldn’t be close to “real and normal” people in my life anymore.
On April 2004 I sat alone after having declined all invitations for Easter and spring celebrations. I had shopped at my pusher and at 4 apothecaries in the area and I had done a bit of food shopping – and when I got home, I knew that I had food, drugs, pills, medicine and alcohol to last me until the Easter holidays were over, when I could go shopping again. Then I was filled with a calmness and satisfaction within. After seven years as an addict and abuser, this system carried on. When the emptiness became unbearable I retreated to myself as I had been doing since I was a boy.
Me, after one of my motivational speeches, signing my book
The more the years went by, the more aware I became that I was lonely. My own thoughts, actions and my abuse were of course contributing to make me more lonely and “wrong”. The negative feelings took over, and they required more and more tranquilization.
My salvation was finally becoming clean and drug-free in 2010. The rehabilitation was at a public treatment center in Denmark and lasted from November 2009 to July 2010. I slowly started to discover I was okay- As time passed I built a feeling of being worth something and my faith in being able to cope with life in a good way grew.
Holidays became a joyful moment now. They meant being able to enjoy celebrations with my family, and girlfriend without feeling that I was wrong. It was my own life where I learned to overlook the bad by appreciating the good.
Thanks to my family, my girlfriend her family and our friends I feel I am worth something now. I feel that I am good enough. I feel that me tagging along, means my contribution to the joyful season.
Of course I wish that I could share it all with my beloved mother and grandfather. Yet I am thankful and joyful to spend it with the wonderful people still left in my life. Most important of all, I feel I deserve it – I feel that I am good enough to be a part of all these events and gatherings. I feel that I have something to contribute; I have never felt that
Martin Bødker Fritzen