[Ed. note: This guest post come to us from Jennifer Storm, author of Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America.]
According to RAINN, The Rape Abuse and Incest Network, nearly 90% of alcoholic women were sexually abused as children or suffered severe violence at the hands of a parent.
Victims of sexual assault are...
-Three times more likely to suffer from depression.
-Six times more likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
-Thirteen times more likely to abuse alcohol.
-Twenty-six times more likely to abuse drugs.
-Four times more likely to contemplate suicide.
20 -30% of all gay people have an alcohol abuse problem according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatments.
I lived as a walking poster child for these statistic for over ten years during my pre-teen and adult life; all of which I chronicle in my memoir, Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America, which hits books stores nationwide today.
I hope this book sheds much needed light on the reality of addiction, particularly the overwhelming issue of addiction in the queer community. It is an issue that we must begin to openly and honestly dialogue about. For me personally, I have watched far too many of my queer friends swill their lives away in the bottom of a bottle, good people with incredible potential but a horrible disease.
I hope this book serves as a resource for young and old people alike, who may fall into that staggering statistic or who surely know someone who does. I want people to open my book and have felt some of the things I felt, or did some of the things I did and know they are not alone. No matter how far down you have gone in your addiction, depression or fear, there is a way out. I share openly of my past experiences and while very painful and dark at times, there is extreme hope at the end.
I have survived sexual assault, bulimia, abuse, alcoholism, addiction, abandonment, suicide and an utter self-loathing that I never thought would go away. My disease took me down a painful self-injurious road that led me to places of victimization, shame, fear, and utter hopelessness. Just when I thought I would surely die from this disease at age twenty-two, something happened, and I made the decision to stop living the way I was living. I embraced myself fully and began to dive into all the reasons why I drank and used. After all the drugs and alcohol were but symptoms of my larger issue—ME!
It wasn’t easy, but it is totally possible to lift yourself out of the darkness of the disease of alcoholism and addiction. This issue is so pervasive in our community, whether it is because we have had to live in darkness in spirit because we cannot fully be our authentic selves or because we are predisposed to the disease or because the “party life” is so ingrained in our community as a whole.
It takes a lot of hard work, recovery from anything isn’t easy but it truly is worth every effort. The rewards you begin to reap make up for the pain it takes to get you there. I am now free! Free from my addictions, free from living in the shadows of my past mistakes and most importantly free to live my life to the fullest and most honest way. I hope that you choose to read my book and you take something away from my story—whether it is for yourself or for a loved one. We have a responsibility to the queer youth coming up behind us to show them that you can live an honest, authentic life free from chemical dependency.