This being the week’s of my Mother’s death anniversary brings with it cravings for alcohol. You see I am a recovering alcoholic. I have not had a drink in four years, difficult though it is. I was the victim of a paedophile ring for fourteen years in an Irish village in Southern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s.
Since the age of four, I had been given alcohol to make me compliant to the men’s invasions. If the men did not bring it with them, my Mother would give it to me before they came. At first, it tasted repulsive and astringent, too bitter to swallow and caused a gagging reflex. Not to be defeated, she simply added Coke to disguise it’s poisonous taste. Coke became the elixir of life. A strong, bubbly, black, sickly sweet reliever of anticipated violation. As it snaked its way down my throat and entered my stomach I knew I had to wait but a short time before it would suspend the present and allow my mind to enter the crack in the wall behind the roses where the fairy lived. My fairy, my mental liberator, if even short-lived. The alcohol made me light headed at first and sick in the stomach particularly if I had not eaten but then slowly it flowed through my tiny body releasing me from my dementors.
That was my introduction to the clear fluid contained in the bottle with the red label, with its embossed emblem and red cap which I later knew as Vodka. Red like her shoes that kicked indiscriminately when she was in its grip. When I was kicked out by her at eighteen and lived on the streets of Dublin it was my first time in fourteen years to not drink. It was hell. Excruciating headaches, vomiting, and uncontrollable shaking. Night time was the worst. Sleep was elusive and when it did come it brought nightmares of the unimaginable kind. The street was not a safe place. Men circled like hungry wolves, plying food and more alcohol. I wanted neither. I just wanted to be free.
That was in 1979 and I never drank a drop until 2012 until the Royal Commission in Institutional Child Sexual Abuse was announced and I started hearing the testimony of the witnesses that my own past started flooding back and I had a breakdown. I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder and the long road to recovery began.
I have met some extraordinary people along the journey. An amazing psychotherapist and psychiatrist who have stuck with me through thick and thin. An amazing partner and children who survive the alters and the switching, self-harm, suicide attempts and the tough road that CPTSD families survive. They are amazing.
This has been a tough few weeks. I have self-harmed several times as I have switched harmful alters who are intent on harm and punishment for what happened to me as a child believing me responsible. I have Stockholm Syndrome and Survivor Guilt. I have a long way to go but with the fantastic support I have around me, I will make it.