I think I am very prone to addiction. Well I think it’s addiction, I may be misusing the term but I know that it’s something to the affect of addiction so I will use that word throughout this to describe my addictive nature towards certain things. I didn’t really believe that I could be easily addicted to things until recently but I thought about the possibility of it a few years ago when I was like 13 or 14. Some of these might seem ridiculous but if you think about them in the grand scheme of me and how I’ve developed as a person they might just explain how I get addicted so easily.
Let’s start it off with when I think I developed my first addiction. I was a baby and like all babies I had a dummy (or pacifier or whatever you call it). It was my favourite thing when I was really young. I had it at all times. I think my affinity towards it was more to chew on then anything else because I chewed on everything as a child. The dummy, soft plastic, hands of plastic dolls. I hated dolls with a passion so if people gave me one I was going to get some sort of benefit from them. It just so happened that the hand and feet were made of this weirdly chewy thin, soft plastic that I liked chewing on when I was teething as a toddler. All of this is obviously why my teeth are so fucked up to this day. My parents let me keep my dummy until I was 4 and then they decided to take it off me and “hide” it. I had more than one but once they took it off me I think they realized that I would make they’re life hell if they got rid of it completely. So me being the stubborn, inquisitive, and nosy child that I was I found that dummy easily. It was inside the door of my dad’s bedside table. It was there for a bit before they found out that I would sneak into the room and chew on it for a while and put it back where I found it. The dummy got moved around a little bit. I found it every time. Eventually they had enough of it so they finally got rid of it and said that I couldn’t rely on it all my life. I was in “big school”. I wouldn’t get any friends with a dummy in my mouth all the time. I think I was about 5, maybe even 6, when this happened. I got away with it for so long because I’m the baby of the family and I think my parents didn’t mind waiting a little longer for the fact that I was growing up to become a reality. Also as a really hyper, loud child it really calmed me down at times.
Another addiction that I succumbed to as a child started when I was about 2 and I’ve never overcome it. I am addicted to caffeine. When I was about 2 years old, I think I was at my Nan’s house and you know how grandparents are, they will give the’re grandchildren everything. So I assume I was being particularly crazy one day and I saw one of my cousins drinking Coca Cola and I was persistent in my ways so I probably wouldn’t stop being loud unless I got coke too. Also again being the baby nobody would say no to me, within reason. They probably thought “oh this won’t do her any harm”. Like realistically they were right, I was already hyper so the coke couldn’t make that any worse. Again like the dummy it sort of calmed me down. Sixteen years later I still drink it. I have gotten sick of it. Although I have gotten sick from it after having like 15 glasses of it on the night of my confirmation. So even well before I had gotten sick from alcohol, I knew the feeling of a drink causing me to vomit at 3am when I was 12. Throughout the years though the expansion on caffeinated drinks has developed. I started drinking tea and coffee. Primarily since starting college have I really gotten into drinking coffee, especially during semester 2. However, I think I also drank a lot of coffee during the Leaving Cert. I also drank a lot of a certain energy drink called ‘Monster’. My mother always bought a can of it in the weekly shopping without me asking because my brother bought the odd can of it every now and again when he had college assignments to do. I told her at one point to stop buying it because it was causing a sort of mild acid reflux, which I also get from drinking coke too much so I do have to limit that these days. During semester 1 of college I started drinking red bull for a bit but I haven’t drank that in ages (probably like February, but that was ages ago). My main caffeinated drink at the moment is coffee. Next is coke, which I believe I have really cut down in the past couple of years. This cutback mostly being the fact that I watched my cousin lose a fair amount of weight when she cut out all soft drinks from her diet. I can’t however cut it out completely.
The coffee addiction hit peak around the last 2 or 3 months of college. Since then I still drink it fairly regularly at home having around 2-3 cups a day. I don’t even get why I drink it so much, I only find it alright. I seem to like the feeling of artificially making my heart feel as though it will burst out of my chest. I have no need for it because of my anxiety and my constant feeling of fear, I have heart palpitations at all times. The coffee just brings it up on days where I’m feeling calm and for some reason want to feel uncomfortable. I’ve a feeling this heart thing is hereditary though. My maternal grandfather had something wrong with his heart and my mother had a heart tumour 8 years ago. I’ve been kinda anticipate some sort of heart related health problem since I was 10 so if I ever decide to go to a doctor ever, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had bad news for me to do with my heart. Well any part of me really, but my heart or my lungs have probably caused me the most hindrance in my life. I was always told to just wait it out and walk off any pain I ever had so I’ve done that. If I ever do go to the doctors it will be because someone forced me to go there. I have had one check up and I got my blood pressure checked and my blood taken to test for typhoid problems. I fainted 10 minutes after getting my blood taken and I don’t have typhoid problems like my mother, not yet anyways. That check up was like 2 years ago and it was the first time I had been to the doctor since I was a baby. It also wasn’t even the doctor, it was a nurse. So let me take this back a minute and stop lying. I haven’t been to see a doctor since I was a baby/toddler, whenever all my vaccinations were complete. I should probably say too that my mother is fine now, sorry I went off on my own tangent there for a bit.
My mom got sick after we returned from a holiday in Lanzarote which lasted 11 days and is still my longest holiday to date. It was 2008 around mid-November and we had been back home maybe a week or two when my mom got really fatigued and got a bad pain in her leg. My mom was a full time waitress at the time so she spent a lot of time on her feet, carrying heavy trays and had very little breaks and worked a lot of hours. To be fair she had been working at that place for 20 years and still works there as a waitress but can now only manage part-time, which still seems like a lot of hours and some busy weekends she might work all day on a Saturday or Sunday with little to no breaks. It was all going to catch up eventually. She was 41 when it happened. I knew something was wrong, we all did. One day she was doing the dishes in the kitchen and just felt really faint and had to go lie down on the sofa in the sitting room for a while. I was outside the back of the house playing with my next door neighbour at the time. My brother who had been upstairs in his room got called down by my mother and he went outside to tell me that mom was in serious pain and was on lying on the couch, which she never really did unless she was feeling unwell. However unwell back then was usually hungover or a vomiting bug. My dad was either at work or gone out drinking at the time. So my mom called the doctor and got a taxi in and out of town that day. She could barely fucking walk. I was scared. I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know what the doctor could tell her. So I think she came back and said that they did some tests and she’d find out in a couple of days what the deal was. I think the doctor said that she could have a clot in her leg but that was all he could tell us until the test results came back.
They found out that it was a clot and therefore my mom would have to go to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee so we had to pack her a hospital bag for maybe two or three days’ worth. This was fine we expected her to come back after the clot was removed but before she got to Tralee they were checking to see what caused this clot because they found it rather odd that this happened. So as we packed her bag before driving her to Tralee I was like “So all they have to do is remove this clot and keep an eye on you for a few days and then you’re home right?” My mom assured me that yes that was all, unless something came back from those latest tests that she did but they probably wouldn’t bring up anything else. The clot was probably just caused by all the time mom spent on her feet and maybe something to do with circulation while on the flight back, because she felt a bit off after the flight home. Pretty much upon arrival my mom had a consultation where they told her that long the reason she got the clot in her leg was because she had a “growth” on her heart. In other words a tumour. The word tumour was never used around that time. I only ever heard growth. I guess they knew that had I heard the word tumour, I would have gotten really freaked out and scared (at least more scared than I already was.) The hospital in Tralee can only do so much, or so little should I say. I don’t even know did the clot removal happen there or in the next hospital. She spent about 3 days in Tralee, then she got transferred to the Mercy Hospital in Cork. Then she got moved to the regional hospital in Cork which I think is Cork University Hospital but I don’t know. I visited her once in every hospital. One of the times I went to visit her in a Cork hospital I was after being at a birthday party. I could have gone and visited mom the day before but I was at my Nan’s at the time with my cousins and I always had the best time in those moments. Parties were a bit hit or miss for me so there was a chance I wouldn’t enjoy it. Like most parties they started to get better not too long before I had to leave. My best friend was in her moment at every single party where she hated everyone except for me. So the two of us were sitting away from everyone else while she bitched about them to me and I sat there and listened not wanting to be one of these people she disliked. So while I was her shoulder to bitch on, my dad showed up and said it was time to go. I was the first to leave the party and no one made me feel weird about it or anything and my friends parents were always extra nice to me during that time.
So it was evening time when we were driving to Cork. I wanted to see mom but I was sad about leaving the party early. I was texting one of my friends who was at the party for a little bit but eventually he went back to partying and we stopped texting. (Yes I had a phone when I was 10, get over it!) During the drive I was listening to radio and I don’t know why but of all the songs that came on, one stuck out and I always think back to that moment of going to visit mom in hospital whenever I hear it. It’s ‘Human’ by The Killers. At the time, and for years following, the song made me cry every single time I heard it. I think I had a teddy with me in the car at the time, which I always really liked having on night drives. I think I just hugged the teddy tightly covering my face because when I’m really sad I hug a teddy and also I needed to try and wipe away my tears and stop crying. I never wanted to cry in front of my mom when she was sick. It was happening to her, not to me. I didn’t think it was my place to cry. I needed to be strong because she wasn’t. She never really cried either, probably again so I wasn’t scared. In my family we never tell each that we love each other. This is probably the reason I have trouble saying it to people. It’s not that I wasn’t loved it was just never verbally said. I was still hugged as a child and my parents did care about me. I think anytime we visited her in the hospital though we did say it but I can’t even remember if we said it then. My mom had open heart surgery in early December of 2008 and was out of there around the 18th or 19th of December. Luckily we spend every Christmas at my Nan’s house so my mom wasn’t under much pressure for that. Since she had open heart surgery she has this long scar down the centre of her chest starting from just under the collar bone to the top of the abdominal area. Over the years it has faded ever so slightly and it is by no means ever going to disappear. She also has two small scar on her stomach from tubes that she had while in hospital.
She has been taking medication to make sure nothing like this happens again. For the first like 5 or 6 years one of the things she was taking was Warfarin which thins the blood so it would prevent it from clotting. However, my mom had to learn the hard way that mixing this with alcohol would have a drastic effect. In the summer after the operation she was on a night out during my dad’s summer holidays so he was at home to mind me and my brother. When she used to go out before it wasn’t odd for her to return home at like 4am. I noticed that she wasn’t home at midnight when I was still trying to get to sleep but I wasn’t worried or anything. I woke up at 5am to a loud thud from my parents room. Back then I used to have the door of my room open at night. I called out to my dad and he sort of rushed in so I wouldn’t suspect anything. I asked what was happening he said “Nothing, just try and go back to sleep okay?” I hear another thud and he assures me everything is fine. The next morning I’m told that those thud noises were mom hitting the ground because my brother and my dad were trying to carry her to bed. My dad looked out the window that night to see my mom passed out up against the front wall inside the garden amongst the flowers. He had woken my brother up to help bring her in and they got her inside and up the stairs. She was like half awake but she practically conked out from what they told me. Mom spent all of that day in bed and we were suppose to have gone on a family day out that day if we ever could decide where we wanted to go. After what happened we couldn’t go anywhere and it was the last week of my dad’s holidays so that was it for that summer. I didn’t really mind though we had already been on two trips in the two weeks prior. I went up to see her in her room to see how she was doing. I saw the cuts on her lip, above one her eyebrows, and on her arm, and I started crying. I couldn’t help it I just got extremely emotional and couldn’t keep up the strong front anymore, I just broke down. This set off a chain reaction and my mother started crying as I lied into the bed next to her. We were both lying there crying for what felt like a lifetime. I then got up eventually and left. I had to constantly tell my mother while I was in there that it was okay and I didn’t mind that we couldn’t go on our day out. “It’s okay Mom!” I felt bad for going into the room and causing her to cry and then just leaving her there but I didn’t mean to do that. I got freaked out when I saw all the marks from the fall. I was frightened. I started thinking about what would have happened had she not made it home. How did she make it home? How did she make it to the taxi? How did she pay for the taxi? Nothing like that has happened since. She went to the doctor later that week and he could tell she felt bad about what happened so he was being a bit light-hearted about the whole thing as long as she was more careful next time. He said “You’ve had a case of P.D.F.O. which means you were Pissed Drunk and Fell Over.”
Now onto my last and most recent addiction;Cigarettes! Yes I know that it’s the nicotine in the cigarettes that I’m addicted to but I’m just going to keep saying that the addiction is to cigarettes/smoking. My mom smoked for years ever since she was about 16 I think up until her heart tumour happened. The doctor said that the smoking didn’t have any direct correlation to the tumour but that continuing to smoke wasn’t going to help her in any way so she quit. My dad’s parents have always smoked and they still do. My Grandad is like 82 and my Nan will soon be 75. I’ve spent a lot of time at their house over the last 18 years so I’ve been surrounded by them smoking a lot and smoking in the car and everything. I was never in the car too much with them but I would be sometimes to go to mass. go to Knocknagree to visit my uncle’s grave, go to my cousin’s house in Ballydesmond, and go on our yearly summer day trip to Castleisland. It used to be my favourite day out ever, I loved going to Castleisland it was always so sunny, usually really windy but always sunny pretty much. We would always go to lunch at the Good Table, which is the main reason why we would go on this trip because my Nan loved that place. Also all of the kids, so my brother, my two cousins and myself, could get one toy each. There was one year we were there towards the end when these trips were unbeknownst to us soon to be stopped. So my cousin who is about 4 years older than me had recently been caught smoking and was in trouble for it and everything. That was probably one of the best things he did because he did a lot worse things than smoke after that. Anyways we were in the shop where we were going to get toys and I feel like I got the best toys every year. One year I got a small punching bag and boxing gloves, I never had a place to hang the bag but still it was fun to hit. That year though we were walking around the shop and I noticed these toy cigarettes. They were really cigarette like with a light inside the end of it to look as though it was a proper lit cigarette. I picked one up and I was like to my cousin who smoked I said “Look you could get one of these. You’ll still look cool but you won’t have to damage your lungs. Can I get one? I want to look like you!” He didn’t appreciate it and he said to me “I don’t smoke to look cool.” I still don’t really know why he smoked then, probably his first act of rebelling against his parents maybe?
I think I’ve always been intrigued by smoking and I don’t know why. Maybe because my Nan smokes and she has always been one of my favourite people and she could do no wrong in my eyes. Whenever my grandparents would smoke my brother would cover his nose and mouth and try not to inhale anything and if he did he would cough. I, on the other hand, would just sit there normally. I wouldn’t try inhaling it or anything but if it happened I wouldn’t react or take much notice of it. My grandparents have cut back recently and I don’t know why, if I was their age I would smoke more. It’s good though because they are trying to not smoke in front of my younger cousins probably because my two older cousins both smoke now. I never planned on ever really starting to smoke because my father hates it so much but I used to always say when he’d tell me never to smoke “Ok but when I’m 80 years old, I’m going to start smoking because it won’t be as bad if something happens to me then I’d be old enough!” I never thought I would make it to 80, I still don’t, but I thought that telling myself this would make me keep fighting to get to that age because I’ve always been so curious about what they’re like. I never wanted to smoke when I was too young because I like to abide by the law. So I had my first drag of a cigarette on the 6th of February 2016, the day after I turned 18. I was at a 21st birthday for one of my college friends and Jodi was there and I went up with her to the smoking area and I think she could tell that I wanted to try it and she goes “So I don’t want to make you feel forced or put an idea in your head but do you want to try it?” I immediately said yes and I took a drag and coughed immediately. I didn’t hate it though. Next time I smoked was a full cigarette at the night of the dogs so that was March 8th, over a month later. I had to beg Jodi to give me one, she eventually did. Then later I went back out and had a 2nd cigarette with people in my class. I had no idea how to smoke properly so I looked stupid doing it. I bought my first box of cigarettes on the 22nd of March and I started smoking officially and opened that box a week later on the 29th of March. I know waiting a week to open them is a bit strange but I have reason as to why I did that. I knew that I would get addicted and want to push out the starting date as long as possible.
When I decided to start smoking I thought about it for a long time. I weighed the pros and cons and thought about the addiction side of it. I kept telling myself I wouldn’t get addicted but I knew it was a lie. When I was deciding all signs pointed to no and I shouldn’t have started but I ignored all the no signs and focused on the yes ones. I started smoking initially as a stress reliever and for socializing. Things were getting stressful college work wise at the point in time that I started and I felt that by smoking I would give myself reason to take a break. I used to go out to the smoking area anyways to talk to people I knew who were smoking but I didn’t like standing out there not smoking when everyone else was. It was inevitable anyway that I would start smoking, although I didn’t think it would start as soon after turning 18 as it did. I don’t regret starting to smoke but I know for financial reasons I will have to cut down when I get back to college. That’s fine though because I’m very generous with my cigarettes so I have people who owe me a fair enough amount of cigarettes.