Long before I ever picked up a drink or a drug I displayed I guess what you could call “Addict or Alcoholic” type thinking. As is so common in people’s Recovery stories, I felt very uncomfortable in my own skin as a child and feelings of inadequacy definitely consumed me. I felt different than my peers and had a hard time fitting in. I’ve shared on here about my first Drug of Choice being Your Validation, but today I want to talk about my first escape from reality. That first escape from reality (before I found drugs, alcohol, sex, etc,) was daydreaming.
Now I know you’re thinking “Isn’t it normal for a young child to daydream?” And you are absolutely correct, it is.
I had your stereotypical “I want to be big, buff, ride a motorcycle, be get at sports, and get all the girls” daydreams and fantasies. No one would hold that against me as being an odd type of fantasy or being a red flag that there might be issues in the future…although as I’ve shared openly on here and several other places online I battled with body dysmorphia in my early 20’s which is a huge part of my Recovery process.
The second set of daydream fantasies I had were the ones that were alarming. These fantasies I would never dream of telling anyone about. In fact, I acted this second set of daydreams out in my room for hours on end with my stuffed animals and various other toys (I wasn’t allowed video games so I played lots of make believe).
The second set of daydreams went something like this…
“Life would be GOOD if I could be the star quarterback in high school.”
So far nothing crazy – and yes it was a fantasy for sure as I was very unathletic and didn’t grow into my body till I hit my early 20’s.
“Life would be GREAT if I could be the star quarterback in high school and throw the game-winning touchdown on Homecoming Night.”
Again – no red flags here.
“Life would be PERFECT if I could be the star quarterback in high school and throw the game-winning touchdown on Homecoming Night, get smashed by the D-Line and become paralyzed on the field so they would have to cart me off field with the crowd chanting my name and all the girls crying in the stands.”
And that’s where things go “off the rails” so to speak in terms of your average child’s daydreams. I would literally act this out wearing my football helmet and pads, stuffed animals, and big bean bag chair in my room for hours on end. I would pray that if this could happen to me…that if I could just get paralyzed at 18 years old my life would be amazing and all I could ever ask for. And no, this isn’t a spoof, I am not joking – this was my ultimate fantasy.
What that shows me is I had already learned to play the victim at that young age and also saw that getting sympathy from others as a way to receive validation of myself. What that shows me is I was searching for something to fill the void I felt inside that I just assumed everyone else struggled with….or perhaps I thought I was the only one who felt this way so I was too scared to bring it up with anyone. I can’t be certain for sure.
What I do know is daydreams – twisted daydreams – were my first escape from reality until I found more effective ways to “turn off” and “check out” from my day to day feelings of being less than. I know I am not alone when I share things like this which is why I’m willing to shine a light on my past so that others know they are not alone.
I thought I was…and now I know I am not.
And for that, I am truly grateful!
Here is the video version of this post that we first put up on our FACEBOOK PAGE: