Through high-school and early into my college career, I couldn't understand why I lived with such pain and darkness while all my friends seemed to be carefree. I only understood that I was sad and on edge, always.
I had always been a high-achiever: playing multiple sports, excelling in the classroom, and performing as a musician. But, that wasn't enough to make me happy. When I was 13, I began drinking heavily, smoking weed, and sleeping around to numb the pain in my head.
My parents tried to send me to therapy, but I fought and refused to open up to my counselors. With no head-shrinkers to answer to, my drug habits evolved - eventually leaving me as a small-time drug dealer with a penchant for getting intoxicated enough to forget my name, every day of the week, on any substance I could find.
I combatted the growing depression and anxiety with more drugs, more booze, more girls, more good times until I couldn't anymore.
Fast forward to 2016 - I'm a fairly successful post-grad with a drinking problem, a cocaine addiction, and a prescription for 120 Vicodin per month. My now wife, B, new something was wrong and helped me start on the path to sobriety by kicking coke and opiates. I wouldn't have my last drink until October 2018.
It wasn't until I became completely sober that I began to confront my demons with the help of therapists and medical professionals.
You see, I was molested frequently by an older teen, who will remain unnamed, from the time I was 10 or 11 until I was 13. When I was 17, I was assaulted by an older man who would buy my whiskey for me.
The therapists and counselors I saw helped me to uncover these memories that I had long repressed through substance abuse, and I'm finally moving past the trauma by sharing my story.
Today, I'm married to my best friend. We live in a beautiful house with an adorable dog. We volunteer at the local homeless shelter and our church. I have more money than I need, and I am safe, and I am happy. I see my therapist once a week. I go to recovery meetings once a week. I take medicine everyday. I meditate everyday. And I am safe, and I am happy.
There is light at the end of the darkness, and there is help for those who seek it.