South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

I can remember

For Female Survivors, Male Survivors

Tags: Survivor's Stories

Why the F*** am I doing this? I was in the back seat of a little GTR Torana, fully worked it was so, not that I have ever been mechanically minded, but I got by with what I knew. M and J were in the front seats. I don't think they gave a f*** about me, which was as much as I cared about myself. I did know that I was worth the $10 deal being mulled up in the spoon. F*** I was scared. Not that I would let anyone know.

"Give me ya arm! Give me ya arm" M said. As I pushed my arm forward to the front seat of that car, I crossed a line. Well sort-of... it represented all the shame and guilt and worthlessness that I have been brought up to believe about people who stuck fits into their arms, or anywhere else for that matter. On the other hand, it gave me control - they weren't doing it to me - I was. I'll show them how to hurt someone... it was just one more way to slash up. F*** it was good though It totally took me away. Plus I was doing it with the guys, 'the crew'. I had found another tribe, one of the many that I would float in and out of over the years. We drove around all night, smoking bongs and dropping in on everyone. That became the norm for a while, either driving around, running amok or sitting at home watching TV all night and waiting for Thunderbirds to come on - that show ate away at my soul.

From those days on it just got more chaotic. Living in Portarlington. It felt like the arsehole of the world. I lived with Mum and Dad, who had moved down from Melbourne. I was 14 years old. I was going to a new school. I was smoking dope and doing other drugs on the weekend. I never felt like I fitted in anywhere. I never felt like I got it. I didn't quite get what I had to do, or what I had to be. I was always a bit wild for people - not that I didn't give a f*** about them, it was me I didn't give a f*** about. Mum and Dad were fully shut down. I thought that they were in their own world.

We moved back to Melbourne after that. I came from a family of crooks, not that I saw it at the time. I had three older brothers and two older sisters. My brother D was just a gangster I thought. Monkey see, monkey do. I saw a man running amok, there was no responsibility. I was attracted to the violence and the drugs, and believe you me, there were plenty of both! I saw and did things that no-one my age should, things that you don't read about. They make movies about it, but this wasn't no F***ing movie.

It all sounds pretty dramatic, and it was, but I'm not going to sit here and glorify my past, it was far from glory. I hated everything, I hated you, all of you, I hated the look of the back of your head, I hated me, I couldn't stand being in my own skin... I didn't know why, I didn't even know that I didn't know. I didn't have the question let alone the answer.

I was running around with my brother D, snorting dope and being seen to have it together, but I was secretly using the needle. I would never steal from him, no way, I stole one bong out of the mix bowl without telling -I was too scared of him. I thought that this was what life was about, what my bro was doing. I grew up with morals, you know the one - you never give people up, always be staunch, be seen to be OK etc. Etc. I had a lot of shame from using the needle on the side, that's what I thought anyway.

My other brother K, he was a full-on piss-head. He had lots of great pub stories to tell, but he was pretty f***ed up. So I could point the finger at him and say that "I'm not as bad as him."

My sisters I didn't see, my oldest brother P, I didn't see. I had no memory of P. in the end things got worse and worse. I had been using heaps of speed anywhere from a few grams to 1/2 an ounce a day for three years. I was f***ing nuts. I had lost the plot. I was trying to get credit to buy drugs from the people I once sold to. I was totally mad. I was seeing things. Using drugs wasn't nodding off in a trendy cafe, it was f***ing some dirty junkie with demons coming out of the walls. I used to walk around the streets at 3am in the morning, crying and in a rage and not knowing why I was doing what I was or how to stop it. I had a girlfriend, J, she said she was pregnant. I jumped out of my brother D's window, taking with me four ounces of pure shit, shit scared, totally mad, running, running.

All I had done so far in my life was run, I ran and ran. I ran from myself. I tried heaps of stuff but no matter what I did to myself or what I put into myself or no matter where I went, I was there, yep, there I was. I couldn't run from myself. I was f***ed once again, I had nowhere to go. I had ripped off everyone I could get close to. I had blown all my bridges up. Raging psychosis - if they knew they would lock me up.

I walked into a hospital in Geelong. Call it luck or fate or a moment of truth - I'm still working that one out. I knew I was defeated though. I remember walking into the hospital. I remember that I had just got off the phone to my mum. She had finally decided she couldn't take anymore and she had said that she couldn't help me anymore unless I helped myself. A voice came into my head. "M, you don't have to do this anymore" out of nowhere, just like that. I had been going flat out for years and whammo! I got a little peace. But I had to act, I knew that. I knew I didn't trust myself. I admitted to myself that I needed help. What a concept! I walked into the hospital. I think I was looking for a cure. I just about begged the desk nurse for help.

Anyway I saw a doctor and there was nothing they could really do except give me drugs. I knew that if I had more drugs I would be off again. I got into a detox. I handed over the bag of buds I had. Even then I knew I couldn't keep doing this to myself. Well, what a culture shock! I just wanted my head to shut up! They had me hugging trees, being nice to and communicating with people, sleeping and eating at regular times, having a shower everyday, and talking about what was going on in my head and my heart. I did it because I knew I didn't want to go back and they told me that I didn't have to. Call me stupid, but I took a risk and trusted them and did whatever they said. If they had said 'run down the street naked', I would have and thank God for that. From the detox I moved into a halfway house, it was run by the U.S. Society. I had plans to move into a caravan in Geelong, but I took the advice from two women I had met at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting while in detox. I did NA for the next 7 months while in the halfway house. I shared the house with this kooky, short, skinny guy who seemed really intense, D, he is my best friend today. Anyway the psychosis got worse. I was psychotic for about 18 months before it went away. I had no medications. I just talked to anyone who would stand still and listen. I did two NA meetings a day and in-between, talked and hung out with NA members. We had to do groups as well. I had walked away from my old friends or what was left of my past, it was like some sort of war zone. D and I faced some huge mountains together. Our honesty got us through, we didn't have to like each other we just had to be honest, that we did become friends was a bonus. When I moved out of the house I lived with NA members. I ate, drank, slept and shat NA. I just tried to be as honest as I could be. I put down stealing and snorting when I put down the drugs, not that I had any dash left to do it anyway. There was a group of us that hung together, that's where I met L who is my wife today. Well, heaps of stuff happened. I just bounced off the walls for a few years. I should be dad but I'm not. The longer I stayed clean, the more I was able to question my past. I first noticed it when L and I started sleeping together. The sex thing was weird. I thought that it was because I was used to doing it with drugs for so long. The intimacy thing was full on. I would sometimes wake up as L was leaving the room in tears. I would follow and ask what was wrong, she would say I had just been verbally abusing her for the past 5 minutes in my sleep. I knew things were up. I couldn't remember anything before 13 years of age and I started to question this.

I have had lots of problems with intimacy and my head. My head has always been all over me with that crap which I have come to understand and accept as a lie, you know "I'm worthless, no good, I'm a f***-up, might as well f*** things up now, they're going to stuff up anyway". When I get like that I'm not on my side, I have no voice... yuk! Through my long, honest conversations with D and being presented with my own self-defeating behaviours, questioning what I told myself I have come to find the truth so far. I was clean from drugs and alcohol for 5 years, married to a beautiful woman, L, pregnant with our first child, and I was giving myself hell. I used to think that I just wanted to die, but I was so scared of having a good life, I would try to f*** it up. I would shut people out, not communicate with L and often people in my life. I would escape from myself in shonky emotional relationships. I let people treat me like shit really. To the heart of it. One night I had my niece staying with us. I was close to her, she had seen me at my worst and now we had a very honest relationship, I love her heaps. She told me about how she had been raped by some lowlife pig, and we talked for hours. She shared her feelings with me. We also have similar views on our family.

The day after she left I got flashbacks and they didn't stop for well over a year. F*** did I find out why I used drugs. I had been raped at age 10 or 11 by a teenage girl across the street. At 12 my oldest brother P had raped me, as it turns out he has raped and molested just about all of the siblings in my family. He also tampered with me when I was a lot younger. I'm still finding out where it began. He had raped my sister B for years, she has tried to deal with it but honestly she is struggling. My brother D, he used to wake me up with a gun to my head and all sorts of weird shit. F***, I look at what I went through with him, living in a total state of anxiety all the time, he would stand over me with his finger on my chest, running me down. And violence was always there. My Dad was violent, he used to beat us all. I remember him punching me in the face. I used to play right up at school, it served two purposes, it kept me out of home later because I would get detention, and it would give the beatings some meaning. I was just a kid. I couldn't understand why I got beaten, this gave it some depth. I remember clearly when I decided I wouldn't feel, when I said "F*** you, get it over with." I used to punch walls to try to escape how I felt. I remember the nightmares that turned into convulsions, sometimes I'd end up at the doctors or even the hospital. I escaped into my head, I escaped from my heart. From my pain, it was so black, so dark, I grew up in a place of no hope, no substance and no love.

I should be dead. I should be in a rooming house strung out on booze and pills or in an institution somewhere. I remember dreading that I deserve a good life. I choose not to believe the lie anymore. I have two children, beautiful cherubs, a little boy and a little girl. I have in my life a wife, who has become my best friend. I love her with all my heart, she is the best. I get so vulnerable around her at times and get that scared, I run away from her emotionally. I shut her out, but she's still here. I have come to accept that I deserve. I and we have created our own family, and we are thriving, there is lots of love and life. I have been a triathlete for 3 years, competing in races that I used to watch on TV through a blurred daze. I have met the most amazing healthy and loving people through this sport. People who I can see myself knowing when I'm old and gray. Today I work with kids. I have worked in the drug and alcohol field for the past 4 years and enjoy it because I get paid for my personal and professional skills and get to go home at 5 o'clock.

Another of the great things in my life has been being able to rock up to SECASA once a week and pour out all the stuff in my head and to nurture my heart. I first went there when my past was in my face and I still go. When I walk through that gate I know that they are on my side and that is invaluable to me. I remember who I am and where I came from. I know now I can have real freedom. I am living and working with and through my fears. I look back over this story, my life, and it's hard to express it in just a few pages. I suppose I'm into hope, because it's there till the end. I just have to create it.

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