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Elena, addicted to coca and alcohol for 22 years: “In this dark world, women always suffer violence”

Elena is now 37 years old but her life is so hard that it has to be told slowly. Almost from the beginning and the beginning she went at 13. Hers was a cigarette, a beer… and the rest came alone: “It wasn’t even me who chose to drink that first beer. But it was automatic because after that first one, my body asked me for more.”. And at the age of 15 she had already consumed all kinds of drugs that were fashionable at the time: ecstasy, speed, cocaine… In a matter of two years I had tried everything. Luckily, heroin wasn’t because it wasn’t fashionable then and I was able to get rid of it.”

It tells its story without breaking the thread. He knows that development is very important. His experience can save lives. “At that time the information was minimal. They told you that drugs were bad but you didn’t know what could happen to you over the years nor the consequences that it could bring to you.” And she, in all her descent into hell, feels lucky.

She was the daughter of parents who loved her, in a well-off middle-class family, “not unstructured or those things they say” and who supported her when she needed it. But Not even that has freed her from the sentence in which she has lived since she was 13 until two years ago, another beginning, when she decided that she could no longer continue like this.. “So I searched the internet and found the clinic Trioraa place where they talked about illness, not vice, and that treat you in three directions: physical, psychological and also spiritual, and I needed to understand that emptiness that I felt.

Their first times are reminiscent of many people’s first times. “I was 13 years old when the owner of the hamburger restaurant where I went with my friend asked us if we wanted to drink beer. Now that would be unthinkable”. The first drug was tobacco: “I chose that one, it was to act cool, because I had always been a person who had gone unnoticed.” But alcohol and especially cocaine were stealing from him his present and in some way his future.

“I had a life planned to have a career but I dropped out in my last year of high school and started working.” At 18 years old, the fights at home were already unbearable and She went to live with her boyfriend, “a trafficker,” she smiles as she says it with the bitter memory in the mouth of someone who knows perfectly well the size of the mistake. even while he is committing it: “The seven years with him were a real hell because he was an abuser. You depend on a person who believes he is superior to you and has rights over you and that was when I learned that The world of consumption is a very dark world where women are always at a disadvantage.. “When you are addicted and in that dark world you encounter very harsh situations of violence.”

She has “only” suffered abuse from her ex-partner. And that “only” sounds like a miracle for her and a drama for any woman who has not crossed that threshold.. “I know many colleagues who have had to become prostitutes to be able to afford consumption. I have seen many situations in front of me, of girls directly telling a man: ‘If you invite me to a party, I will go with you.’ And some of my friends too, that today, he can continue doing it and I feel very sorry to see it.

Laura Yáñez, psychologist at the Triora clinica center specialized in the treatment of addictions, clarifies that the path to consumption for a man and a woman is the same, but this factor of violence that exists in this “world” often complicates the recovery of patients.

“That type of profile of women that They are capable of giving up everything, including self-care, to achieve consumption. They are patients who have a complicated prognosis. at the time of recovery. It is harder because it is not only giving up consumption but also that supposed favored treatment that they get through prostitution. “They are dependency relationships,” she clarifies.

The pattern of female consumers in Spain is very varied. In this specialized clinic in Alicante They talk about three types of female patients: “There are the most youths who are addicted to drugs, have a partner and live with very toxic habits. Then there is the woman middle age who has been suffering in recent years from problems of substance abuse, relationships, etc. and wants to stop. And finally the patient over 50 years which is mostly carried by the family and with a heavy consumption of alcohol and/or anxiolytics.

Experts and psychologists warn that Confinement has increased addictions but in patients who were not yet in treatment because in many clinics, such as Triora, follow-up has been maintained on-line. “Yes, we have seen that alcohol consumption has increased, because it was the most accessible legal drug for everyone, but also addictions through new technologies: gambling, betting, video games… We are encountering a lot of behavioral addictions“.

The fall

Elena arrived in Triora alone and without anyone knowing except her cousin, who took her in the car, and the place where she worked. “I have taken care of two girls since they were 6 months and 2 years old. And I wanted to be honest with my bosses and I told them about my addiction and that I was going to enter a center. When I got out, I went back to my job.”

There are only two moments where Elena breaks down when telling her story, and talking about her work is one of them. “They gave me a very big vote of confidence because the girls were very young and to tell parents whose daughters you are taking care of that you have an addiction problem and that you have to go to a center for a while to rehabilitate yourself was super hard for me. It is true that I was never in bad conditions with the girls. Yes, I was sometimes able to get hungover, which is not a good thing… but the love I received from them was incredible.”

Laura Yáñez assures that it is a very typical attitude of women who end up in rehabilitation: “They arrive later to the clinic, it is more difficult for them to ask for help, due to family responsibilities, it seems that they do not have enough time to stop and they do not involve the family in this decision.

Elena entered and did not tell her father. She just wanted to make him proud. And in fact, it’s when she talks about the conversation with him that she breaks down again. “We feel ashamed because we know we are not doing it right.. My father began to see that he was different and he told me: ‘I don’t know what you’re doing, but he keeps doing it because you’re doing very well.’ And then I dared to tell him.”

All experts explain that the rehabilitation process of an addict is lifelong, that they have to be in constant recovery. “The advantage that the clinic offers is that we can always have meetings and call them when we need it.” In fact, Elena demands that there be more women-only meetings, like some that have been held in the centerbecause “we have all suffered abuse to a greater or lesser extent and it is very necessary in recovery to unite with the girls, to support each other more and end these stigmas.”

3,000 euros in consumption

Elena tried from the beginning to have an independent life despite consumption, but Running a business that makes money when you are addicted is not always positive. “I started a beauty business and that was horrible because there was money in the till every day. And when the bug woke up, at any moment I would take the money and consume it. Then, obviously, I ran out and my parents had to cover me.” .

Speaking of the economic aspect of addiction, he clarifies that The money you spend on drugs varies greatly because it depends on the time of year you are in.: “I have not been one of those consumers who do not stop and yet, in more or less controlled times, I spent 800 euros per month. But that doesn’t mean that in a single night that got out of hand I spent up to 300 euros. I have colleagues who have been able to spend 3,000 or 5,000 euros in a single night“.

The last three years of her life as an addict were very destructive. “I had gone through more complicated situations, like the death of my mother, but you add years, you have less and less self-esteem and the fact that my friends began to make their lives, It led me to become obsessed with wanting to change, quit drugs, find a partner, have children… and that made me consume more and more.“.

The paradox is that with drugs you always start with social consumption and end up doing it in the most depressing loneliness. “Evolution makes you increasingly lonely and you lose social skills and you make yourself a bubble, you lock yourself in your world and I entered a spiral that separated from me everything I wanted in my life.” At that moment, almost like Pedro, Elena fainted after three days of non-stop consumption that took her to the hospital. “Almost dead. “I realized that I had hit rock bottom and that if I wanted to stop this, the only way was to heal that spiritual part that had become empty.”

In Triora she discovered something that seems obvious in some circles but is not so widely accepted: that she was sick. “I didn’t know it was a disease. What the people around you tell you is that you are vicious and you believe it.. And you wonder what’s wrong with you, why my friends can drink three beers and go home and I can’t, I have to continue until I fall to the ground.”

Besides, This disease feeds on other deficiencies and insecurities: “Consumption is the tip of the iceberg, which is what is emerging and what we see because it is already beginning to affect us at an economic, social and personal level. But underneath there are problems of self-esteem, insecurities, faults, unresolved grief.… there is everything and that is what the treatment consists of,” clarifies the expert in these addictions.

“I came to believe that there were people who were born for some things and people who were born for others and that that had touched me and that it was forever. I came to accept that it was what I had come into this world to do: get high. and that there was no other solution,” Elena summarizes.

Now she has been clean for two years but knows that the treatment for her illness is for life. She does not touch alcohol and has stopped smoking. Of course, you can’t go to the places you’ve always had or be with the same friends from your years of addiction, but the effort is worth it..

If you don’t stop you only have three options left: jail, hospital and death. Understanding what was happening to me was the beginning of freedom and from there I work, work and work.” She tells her story in case it can help someone avoid those hells without being completely aware that she is worth the medal of the fight to those who, having fallen so low, are able to get up on their own feet.

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