The smell of freshly baked cookies greeted me as I entered our tiny, two bedroom apartment. My mother often slept during the day, so the delicious aroma was a bit perplexing. My mother was a bartender and worked nights, usually staying out until the wee hours of the morning. She slept during the day and most times was still asleep upstairs by the time my sister and I got home from school.
“Hello my beautiful girls!” My mother exclaimed as she emerged from the kitchen. My sister and I excitedly ran to embrace her and I noticed the table had been set with 2 glasses of milk and a plate of cookies. “Mom! You’re awake.” I said, lunging for a seat at the table.
I remember looking up at my mother as I gleefully dipped my cookie into the cold glass of milk, even at 7 years old, I could tell something was off. “Why are you awake, Mom?” I asked, as she turned to head back into the kitchen. No answer.
I looked across the table at my little sister and we both started to giggle. The excitement of having our mom there to greet us, combined with the wonderfully surprising treats was too much to contain. We were so used to fending for ourselves upon arriving home, that this moment felt like Christmas morning.
My sister picked two cookies up and placed them over her eyes while singing a silly little tune about being blind. I will never forget her face as the police officers burst through the front door.
A look of terror immediately crossed her face, causing her to drop one of the cookies onto the table. “Where is he?” An officer barked, his gun drawn.
My sister began screaming and I saw my mother rushing to comfort her. Why is mom crying? I thought to myself, feeling confused. I began to cry too, not necessarily because I was sad, I was crying because my mom and sister were, and they both looked terrified.
My mother pointed upstairs and I could hear the boots of the officers as they quickly made their way up to the second floor. I tried to open my mouth to ask my mom where they were going, but I couldn’t speak. Just then I heard my father’s voice from upstairs, but I couldn’t make out what he said.
“Dad’s home?” I asked my mother, feeling more confused that before. He was supposed to be at work. Instead of answering, she put her finger up to her lips to quiet me, her eyes pleading.
I could hear multiple footsteps stomping down the stairs, and I stared at the entryway, anxious for them to emerge so I could piece together what was happening. The first officer came into view and without saying a word, walked out the front door. He was closely followed by my dad, and before I could call out to him, I realized his arms were handcuffed behind his back.
My sister must have noticed too, because she let out an ear-piercing scream while trying to rip away from mom. “Daddy!” She cried as my mother held her tightly. My eyes grew wide when I realized they were taking him away. Where were they going? My vision was clouded with tears, and I was having trouble breathing between sobs.
“Daddy!” My sister screamed again. My heart fell as I witnessed them shoving him angrily out onto the front stoop. “I love you girls!” My father yelled over his shoulder, as the officer slammed the door behind them.
I remember this so vividly in my mind, as if it just happened yesterday. I’m still unsure to this day what occurred, but whatever it was must have been the breaking point, because my mother and father divorced shortly after this. As a child, I had an incredibly difficult time processing the idea that my daddy wasn’t going to live with us anymore.
My father was my best friend. He had made childhood an extraordinary place for my sister and I to be. Our dad was the kind of guy to take all of the recyclables from the house and fashion them into a life-sized human body. He called him “Plastic Man” and Plastic Man was part of the family for many years.
My father decided he wasn’t happy with his truck, so he super-glued astro-turf to the outside of it and adorned it with little plastic farm animals. My dad was goofy, hilarious and insanely creative. The thought of him no longer being in the same home, putting the mattresses on the wall for us to slide down or giving us piggy-back rides around the house was earth-shattering.
My father battled with his own demons, but as young children with no concept of adult problems, my sister and I were clueless.
In hindsight, I can see it all. I see the glaring signs of his alcoholism and the effect it had on us, but at the time, it was all we ever knew.
My mother would drop my sister and I off at visitations with my father, and we would immediately head to his favorite bar. We would play the jukebox and roll the little balls to each other across the pool table while waving over to our father as he chugged beer on a stool with his friends. He loved us, he wanted to see us, he just loved the drink, and had a difficult time separating the two.
With my mother being a bartender, and my father spending all of his time at bars, my sister and I grew up feeling like the smoky rooms and loud music playing over the excited and aggressive conversations of the bar patrons – was our home.
When my dad began dating another woman, things started to change drastically. Jan was a drinker, and her and my father would often get into physical altercations resulting in the police banging down the door and whisking my father away. I can recall one of those times when my father was taken, leaving us with Jan.
I cried to Jan that night, asking when my father would be back, and I’ll never forget the way her face twisted in disgust, almost as if she wanted to spit in response to my question. “Never, your father is a piece of s**t and can burn in hell for all I care.” She replied angrily before stomping up the stairs.
I was around 8 years old at the time and I remember sitting on the couch alone in her apartment, crying in the dark. She would occasionally yell for me to “shut the hell up” from the top of the stairs, but never came down to check on me. I felt like an abandoned puppy that nobody wanted. I wanted my Mommy, but Jan spitefully refused to allow me to call her saying; “my father could sort it out in the morning.”
Jan and my dad made up the next day after sobering up and pretended like nothing ever happened. They sat me down and explained it was all a joke and they loved each other very much. I was so confused, and never spoke a word of it to anyone.
It’s funny, because when you are a child, you don’t have any expectations or ideas of the way things should be. You have nothing to compare your childhood to, because it’s the only childhood you’ve ever had.
When people ask me why I started using drugs, it’s a hard question to answer because there are a thousands of fleeting thoughts that occurred in my mind over the course of my life. Thoughts that contributed to the way I carried myself, the way I perceived things and the way I dealt with situations. Hundreds of these situations added up over the course of my life that shaped my character. These thoughts and situations combined with the environment I found myself in, and the people I surrounded myself with, created the perfect recipe for experimental drugs use.
I felt lost, I had little stability and structure and I had an unbearably difficult time fitting in because my mind was a prison harboring self-doubt and insecurity. The moment I took that first pill, the moment it made me feel absolutely… nothing, was the moment the darkness sleeping within me jolted awake and latched onto my soul. By the time I realized it had coiled around my mind and weaved it’s way into my bones, it was too late, I was powerless.
Yay another story!! Frickin love it!! So happy thank you thank you thank you!! Absolutely love you!! You are an absolute rock star!!
My Mind is a Prison… that sounds like the “theme song” to my life. So many years I have been lost within myself, Running blind. Fighting demons. Laughing out Loud. Dying on the inside!! They can’t find me- no one can!!
I feel you. Perfectly stayed.
Wow! Meeee too girl!! I’ve been soooo many different people for the benefit of others that had no idea I wasn’t being my true self and probably would have liked the real me, buuuuut, in my own mind, I wasn’t “good enough” for them. It’s a vicious cycle and I ended up addicted to various benzodiazepines and opiates because of living in my own head full of self doubt.
Touche! Me too! What I didn’t understand for years was that it didn’t actually matter at all if anyone liked me. Why did I need anybody else’s approval? Especially that of an a**hole? It sounds so ridiculous to me now.
I loved this so much!!! You’re awesome Tiffany!!! ??
THIS is what I’m talking about GIRRRRLLLL. Your story brings up so much of my own past. In a good way though. Keep it up ??
I can relate to that feeling so much. Thank you for writing this ?
Thank you for this ?
You really are a truly amazing and rave woman! I love the way you tell your story. I felt like I was right there with you watching it happen. When you describe that first pill how it awakened the darkness I know that all too well my friend. I’m just so thankful to be out of that misery and back in the light! You should really write a book with all these stories in it. If you already have I apologize for being late. Lol! But this is something everyone struggling with addiction or going through recovery should read. It’s also good for the family members and loved ones of addicts to read and maybe give them some insight. I love you BIG lady please keep staying strong and being you!
Brace not rave btw. Stupid autocorrect lol!
So proud of all you’ve overcome to be the amazing mother and role model to your kids. I know i don’t know you but i feel like i do. You exude positivity and that’s awesome. So glad to see more of a peak into your world. Keep on rockin
Yaaaay!!!! Another series!!!??
Its not a series guys! Dont get excited lol. I dont know what it is, im just writing ? i love you all thank you.
Hugs Tiff. Thank you for sharing !
It’s a serious of thoughts. I had a visitor last-night, ( I believe her to be female ), She has not come in quite some time. Her body will rest on the foot of my bed, I can feel her weight, it has been about six years since she last came. Last night, she did, except this time, she was close, near my hips, her entire weight rested against me. My visitor, she is not visible. I tell you this because I am a firm believer in, belief.. If we believe all those words, and accumulate all the shame we become that, because it is our, belief. Everyday, Tiffany, I am learning, I have a long way to go, but I am learning. Keep learning..
Wow…thank you so much for sharing. It gives me hope that you were able to feel everything you had numbed for so long…and it didnt kill you.
I remember the first time I smoked pot…years before I ever touched alcohol. It was the first escape I had from a constant turmoil in my mind…it was a break and a relief. I’m so thankful I no longer need an escape
“darkness sleeping within me jolted awake and latched onto my soul.”
this describes it perfectly, the contagious need of the nothingness. you are an amazing writer ??
Always a great read. Can’t wait for the next one! ?
Now I am about to start back at the beginning and reread all of it ..you Rock girlie!!!! Love love it! I hate you went thru so much in your life. My life has been far from perfect but I just no longer have words for it like you do. Simply captivating!
^ that prior comment (mypainisnotyoupain) is me, Kryssie. I’m just another fan lol not sure why my name didn’t come up. I’m not real familiar with word press or this account I started 5 years ago obviously. Lol
I’m a mom of two and dealt with addiction. Your awesome and your story gives me comfort. Thank you
Thank you so much for this! I had wondered, as I’m sure many had, why you started using. I can’t even begin to explain how much hearing your story has helped me, helped me examine my own demons and those of others close to me. Love to you from Arkansas, keep writing, you are so very talented.
I just saw you on the local news and felt the need to look into your blog, and i couldn’t be happier that i did. This story almost feels like it was written about me. So very close to a night i has as a young girl. and many nights actually. I am now pregnant with my first, a baby girl. I have struggled with addiction ever since i can remember. Starting with eating disorders and insomnia moving on to alcohol and then to heroin. Many rehabs, jail, and like you said my self made prison of my mind. I look forward to reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your past with us and the strength and happiness of your present. It feels good to know i’m not alone on this journey of recovery for me and my growing family. <3 <3
This is so epic. This is the dance and fight to a t. Way to write the hell out of some life, lady!
I just want to hug little 8 year old you. It’s hard to think of such a little person left to their own. Also, can you even eat chocolate chip cookies with out being massively triggered? Xo
I would like to hug that little girl and make her feel loved and safe. Forever. ❤️ Sending love and peace.