By Tara McKee
Having a rough life as a child and not really being able to talk freely about my issues was always big for me. I always hid my emotions and my feelings. I shut down rather than talked. Even at a young age I also self-soothed. I coped any way I knew possible, and cutting became something I would do. Self-harm seemed like the only option to scream for help without really talking.
Growing up a mixed child, Black and White, was very hard. I grew up in a Hispanic community and making friends did not come easy to me. I tended to kind of hold on to pretty much anyone that would have me: girls, boys, anyone; and as I grew older I did the same, but only this time I used my lady parts to get people to like me. I started having sex at a very young age; sex became my clutch. I wanted to feel loved, and doing that made me feel good, and I thought that’s what love was.
I got pregnant at 16 and lost my volleyball career and it was all over after that. I went through a huge spiral. I ended up marrying a military man that had a lot of issues himself, one being drinking. I had never touched alcohol before but I was more than willing to try it if it would make me feel good. One drink turned into two, which later turned into bottles. I was still able to function and I managed a store. I was able to provide for my kids but one day I took it overboard and there was no coming back from that.
I loved the feeling of alcohol. I got to be someone else for a while. I didn’t have to be me, that poor miserable child. I was Tara, the fun partier that everyone wanted to be around. But now thinking back on it, I wasn’t me. I had turned into a miserable, depressed person because once that alcohol left my system I was mean, I was sick, I needed more.
I lost jobs, friends, my life. My husband started becoming abusive which lead me to more drinking. Maybe I wouldn’t feel the hits, maybe they wouldn’t hurt this time. I would just drink myself into a coma hoping maybe I won’t feel it at all.
After multiple suicide attempts I finally decided rehab was my only option. I pushed through rehab and I changed my life. I was taught life has so much more to offer than what I was doing. I now am going to school to fulfill my passion for cooking. I’m healthier. I have a wonderful boyfriend who loves and respects me and has my back through all of my wild ideas. I have my two beautiful daughters that love me through it all, and I have great friends.
Addiction does not have to be forever and people do recover. Sometimes it takes a while and you can’t force someone that doesn’t want help, but I am glad I finally got the help I needed and admitted I had a problem. I love my life now and I am happy being me.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available and recovery is possible. Visit https://vcbh.org/en/programs-services/substance-use-services for resources in Ventura County.