White Picket FenceDavid Beckerman
I grew up in a beautiful suburb 30 minutes south of Boston, in an area that most families would dream of raising a family. I had two loving parents in my life, an older sister, and a house that looked right out of the movies, white picket fence and all.
As I sat in rehab two years ago, my therapist would continually probe for an event or situation that first triggered my fifteen-year drug habit; but the reality was there was no possible way I could put the blame for my addiction on anyone other than myself. My parents had argued and eventually got a divorce when I was in college, but it was an amicable one and certainly did not lead to me shoving pills down my throat on a daily basis.
It was not until I had about a year sober that I began to realize my addiction stemmed from character defects I had been born with or developed early on in life—my own personal character defects.
My self-esteem was always low, and being teased was an everyday occurrence when I was younger. When I was nine years old, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, a nerve disorder that caused involuntary tics. At a time when my confidence was already low, this made it even more difficult for me to love myself. This caused a lot of physical and mental stress, and eventually led to an eating disorder. I had severe body image issues and barely ate, out of fear I was getting fat.
It was not until I went to treatment that I realized the diagnosis of both of these disorders was tied to my substance abuse later on in life. I continued the rest of my early childhood doing everything I could to be popular. I often acted out in class, and did self-degrading things to gain respect from my peers. I was insecure, scared, and uncomfortable in my own skin. I also feared change, and the transition to high school was a difficult one.
My ultimate goal was to be liked by people and have many friends, so I was excited when I was invited to a party on the first day of school. The entire day I thought about what I was going to wear, and envisioned myself making everyone laugh and being the life of the party. I arrived to the party, and within ten minutes I was handed a beer and was passed a joint of marijuana. I was in love. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin, and this feeling was something I never wanted to let go.