I've Been On My Own Most Of The Time Since I Was 17

When I was 17 years old I was kicked out of my parent's house. In retrospect I think they expected me to come begging to be let back in, but I didn't. I went off and got a job and lived couch surfing between friends. Honestly, many of the circumstances surrounding me getting kicked out were my own fault, but it all stemmed from a shared family dynamic. I lived couch surfing for a little bit, until my family went off on vacation and I broke into their house. I ended up getting arrested, and shortly thereafter got shipped away to a rehab. Let it be known that at the time had smoked weed and drank, but I certainly did not have a drug problem.

After I got out of rehab I went back to living with my parents again, until I got kicked out again at age 18. This time I stayed with one friend for a month while I started a computer repair business and thereafter rented my first room. Running a business on your own is stressful. Every month I started out not knowing how much I was going to make and barely squeaked by from month to month. At the time, I was dating a girl and she basically moved in with me without "actually technically" moving in with me. I got into the rave scene, and started doing all of the drugs that I had been told were awesome when I was in rehab. Ecstasy, LSD, 2C-I, Adderall, Xanax, etc, etc. Being the entrepreneurial spirit I was, I even sold weed and Xanax for a short period of time, but I wasn't enough of a social butterfly to sustain that. Among my friends I became the dude with his own place, and I had people coming through all the time doing all varieties of drugs. While we definitely did have some fun times, a lot of it was spent stressing out about money and worrying about what would happen if I didn't make it. I latched onto my girlfriend for support, and not too long in we broke up. After that I kind of crumbled. I gave up and moved back in with my parents, hoping to go back to school and get things on track.

Before we go on, I suppose its important to explain the family dynamic I have and am a product of. My nuclear family is extremely emotionally abusive. People screaming at each other is a daily occurrence. No one (usually) hits each other, but my family has some serious anger and rage issues and we don't know how to express those emotions appropriately. My mom is a blazing rageaholic, and my dad just kind of mentally checks out. They don't fight much nowadays, but I'm told they fought a lot when I was a small child. One of the first memories I have is of my dad coming home from work and being afraid when he came in the door. This strikes me as odd nowadays, because I generally think of my dad as a very gentle man, though he does have a side to him. My little sisters and I are the natural products of such a dynamic. When faced with a stressful/aggressive social interaction we either lash out aggressively or mentally check out. Everyone tries to control each other through attempts to manipulate and force people into actions. My sisters don't even realize this is abnormal, and I have only come to the conclusion after years of living away from my family.

So naturally, my hopes that life would be peaceful vanished in short order. Before long we were at each other's throats again, I crumbled under the stress, my academic performance tanked, and by the time my school semester ended I was booted out again. Oh, and all those friends that were always coming through when I had my place - they had mostly disappeared. By this time I had gotten a job teaching martial arts, a long time love of my life, and had a small, but fixed income. I moved out to a trailer park in a nearby town where I lived for the next year. Life was a good bit less stressful. I was single, I was managing. My life was, however, going nowhere. I started doing something I had always told myself I would never do. I started smoking weed every day, not to uplift and relax myself anymore, but instead to prevent myself from having to think. I scraped by just enough money to make my rent, pay my utilities, and buy some food until I got on food stamps. After that, I had no money. I couldn't afford anything outside the basics. I felt like I couldn't do anything to get ahead in the world. I was stuck.

So at this point I devised a plan to do something. I moved out, got my security deposit back, and moved in with a friend out in the country (but still in the same area) to save up money. Before long I had $1500, bought a van, put a bed in it and blocked out the windows. I now had a house on wheels. By this time I was 21. The original plan was to go south until I got to Brazil, but then love struck again and I had a new girlfriend. After about six months I moved out of my friend's house, but that six month stay had been beautiful. It was peaceful in the country. And there was a flippin horse in my backyard! I certainly wouldn't mind living in a place like that again.

So I started living in the van, and that was a beautiful experience too. I paid no rent, had much more money. I could go and move my house anywhere I wanted at a whim. Yes, there were downsides - lack of temperature control, small living space, lack of in house utilities, etc. But honestly the good parts far outweighed the bad. I'd do it again in a heart beat. With that extra money, I enrolled in school again. A few months in, my girlfriend was kicked out of her living arrangements and started living with me in the van. And I didn't mind, we had a good time. She was sick though, she had cancer, and with winter starting to come I didn't want her living in a van. So we combined our money and rented a house.

At this point, I was 21, had a house, a car, a job, and a girl. However I was back where I started too. I was barely scraping by month to month again and the stress wore on us. A happy first few months gave way to fighting and arguments. I have found with both the previous girl and this girl, I latched onto them. I loved with everything I had, but I showed my love in the way my family had. I lashed out, I shut down, I stressed, I manipulated, I worried and found that I had no idea of how to have a functional relationship. I found myself loving abundantly, with no idea how to show love. Not to mention, in both scenarios I latched onto girls with similar problems to me. I sought a girl who could understand me, yet we always seemed to recreate the situation I had come from. After our year lease was up, we went through a very ugly drawn out break up. She moved in with her new boyfriend and I moved back with my family.

Now I stand at 22, three months away from 23. I'm back living with my parents. One of my sisters is off at college. I have a job, I'm enrolled in school and doing well. The same problems that we've always had are still present and it is ripping me apart, because now I am aware of it. I am trying desperately to not get sucked into the cycle and instead am trying to influence the dynamic for the better. I meditate daily and try to stay relaxed and keep a cool head on my shoulders. I am not perfect though and I find myself getting sucked in fairly often. I wake up almost every morning hearing my mom and sister screaming at each other and it tears me apart. I'm afraid I'll be what I hate being. I screamed at my sister and hit her the other day, and ashamed does not begin to sum it up. Its the feeling of failing to live up to the standard you have set for yourself. I am a good man, and acting in the way that I always learned to act in growing up is NOT OK with me. Part of me feels like the only way I can stop it is to leave. But I feel that if I do that it will just rear its ugly head when I love again. I am hoping I can somehow influence the situation for the better. And in all of that, I know that if I leave I am condemning myself to a month to month, stuck existence.

I've had a unique experience from my peers. I had to grow up very quickly and suddenly. Sometimes my friends criticize the way I live my life. Everything from "you need to relax and live a little" to "you need to focus more." Everyone's an expert, but they don't know anything about the experiences I've had. I've been addicted to dextroamphetamine and vicodin. I have done so many different types of drugs at this point, always searching. I found God in a psychedelic and it brought me back to spirituality. All others were illusion making us feel good as the world crumbled around us. I'm trying to stay sober now, but I don't really know how to be a sober adult. I've missed out on education and a lot of the fun of just being young. But I've also gained a type of education I wouldn't have otherwise - I have business acumen, I can reach out and relate to people, I can dance, and I have a spiritual understanding I would never have gained otherwise. I almost feel like a fallen angel, like I fell out of a world of false images of perfection, and the people from that world often look at me like I'm of a lower class. At the same time I feel this was the path I was destined for, and the journey hasn't been all bad. My experiences have manifested in my outlook on the world, the way I stand, the way I talk, etc. And so few seem to understand or relate. Yeah, there's a bunch of people out there with worse stories than mine. But its not a contest to see who has it the most ****** up. And this story is mine. I found this site just looking for someone out there who had had similar experiences and understood. And maybe someone out there will read this and know that they aren't alone.
An Ep User An EP User
Jan 9, 2013