This is me.
From 8 to 10 years old I was molested by a male family member.
I started drinking at 11.
Smoking weed at 13.
Regular cocaine use at 15.
What was odd though about my drug and alcohol use/abuse was that I didn’t get high (or so I thought) because I was sad or depressed. It was always about feeling good or happy about something and wanting more. It was about taking it to the next level. I don’t think I ever used when I was down and depressed.
In hindsight however I was clearly self-medicating as a result of the trauma I suffered. As time went on I was diagnosed with a plethora of mental disorders: ADD, BiPolar II, Anxiety, Depression, and Impulsivity Disorder.
I wonder though: what came first the chicken or the egg? Did my drug abuse bring these mental disorders on or did the mental disorders cause me to self-medicate?
The answer (which I found out having gone back to school after my arrest) is: Yes. Add in my childhood trauma, genetic predisposition, and the re-wiring of my brain due to early use and you have the perfect storm for eventually blowing up one’s life.
It’s been said being a drug addict most often ends in one of two ways: death or prison. I do count myself lucky that it will be prison as I have so much to live for, so many people who love me and so much love to give I’m thankful to be alive and equally thankful I didn’t kill someone else with my reckless behavior.
While I spent 30 years drunk, high or in most cases both, I was able to accomplish a good deal. BA in Psych, MS in Psych, a dissertation away from a Ph.D, 20 years working for a big tech company, married, kids, etc.
But, one can sustain for only so long: divorce, financial ruin, job loss due to an alcohol-related incident culminated in a downward spiral of first buying drugs online to support my habit then selling to support that same habit ending in my arrest. Lost kids, lost friends, lost family members but gained hope.
Living with one face to the world and another face in the mirror is the most exhausting, depressing, lonely and dark place you can ever imagine.
Whether it was arrogance, ignorance, stupidity, shame or simply the drugs I lied to everyone, including myself and could never find the strength to ask for help.
If you find yourself in a similar situation please ask for help. Take that step. You are not alone. There are so many resources now available and so many good and kind people in this world who want to help….just ask. Ask before it’s too late. Don’t be me.
After my arrest I spent a year in Federal Support Court. It saved my life. It’s a structured program for those suffering with a substance use disorder that involves weekly group meetings run by a Federal judge and volunteers that require progression through a series of phases each with goals that must be met. Randomized drug screens. Mandatory journaling. Journaliing was a big part of my recovery. I still do it when I’m feeling anxious or depressed (kind of why I’m writing this now too.)
I spent 9 months in family therapy and won back full joint physical and legal custody of my children. We are closer than ever. They trust me more than ever. It crushes my soul to have hurt them and to hurt them again by having to go to prison. It is a pain that I can’t describe and nothing makes it better.
Prior to my arrest the longest I ever spent away from my kids was 12 days over the summer. After my arrest I didn’t see them for over 90 days. I spent some part of each of those 90 days curled up in a ball crying I was in such pain. I would talk to them by phone, FaceTime and wrote theme each a newsletter of sorts 2-3x/week and dropped them in their mom’s mailbox with a small present. To this day, my younger daughter says those letters were so powerful and helped her get over her anger and mistrust towards me. Something about the written word man.
While in support court I went back to school and got certified to be a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor (DARC). When I get out of prison my goal is to put in the supervised work requirement in order to eventually sit for the state licensing exam, work a couple years at a clinic, then hang my own shingle helping out youth struggling with substance abuse so they avoid the path I took.
While in school I learned how drugs re-wire the brain, especially those not fully developed. Drugs hijack the pleasure (dopamine) centers in the brain giving instant and addictive gratification that normally is received after putting forth effort (think cavemen hunting and killing food for their family, sexual pleasure derived from putting in work to gain a mate’s trust and attention, etc).
I sealed my fate by using at such a young age. We now know that the human brain isn’t fully developed to the mid to late (based on recent research) 20s. The number one message I’ve given my kids is to wait. Put off trying alcohol or drugs for as long as possible. Or don’t use at all. But at a minimum, give your brain a chance to develop and form normal and healthy neural connections.
I’ve taken great joy in watching a lot of traders crush this cycle. HentaiAvenger, Z, Stun, etc. I’ve seen how people like Gainzy take care of his friends and family. Watching Milkman and Cobie changes people’s lives has been awe-inspiring. It has however been bittersweet.
See, I have not made it. I’ve done well trading but given my situation I could not make the trades with size I would have liked to make. Getting liquidated or even taking a large loss was not an option.
Trading to pay your bills and take care of your family is a very different exercise in general but in the context of my inevitably going to prison, even more so. I’ve managed to survive, pay my bills, and leave my family with enough money while I”m away to take care of our home, expenses, etc. However, when I get out, I’ll pretty much be starting over.
Hurting my family once again when I go way is the worst thing about my situation. I’ve damaged my mind, body, heart and soul over the years by abusing substances and I’ve accepted it. Hurting others, especially those that I love and adore just hits different. It’s a pain I don’t know what to do with (other than cry) and I don’t think it will ever go away.
The second worst part about having to go inside will be missing what comes next over the next year in crypto. I think it will be special and I’m going to miss being a part of it. I can’t tell you how therapeutic it’s been to be part of CT during my recovery. It’s given me hope, many laughs, a sense of community and even friendship. I think I’ve helped others with my analysis which has been really rewarding and so I’ll miss that too.
If I had one wish it would be to give someone a small stack to trade for me while I’m away so that I could continue to be part of this game. Being inside but knowing I’m still a part of this madness in some small way would certainly ease the pain of missing out….POMO! Ha. Anyway, it is what it is.
I’ll conclude by reiterating why I’ve shared this story.
Substance Abuse Disorder is a motherfucker.
Mental illness is a motherfucker.
Childhood trauma, or trauma of any sort is a motherfucker.
But, more than ever before in history, awareness is at an all time high.
Quality help and quality people are here to help.
If you’re struggling, reach out to a family member, a friend, hell, DM me.
I hope everyone who reads this and everyone on CT makes it beyond their wildest dreams. If you’re already there. Share it. With friends. With family. With your community. Give back.