ADDICTION IS REAL
Early last year reality hit hard when someone close to me revealed a heartbreaking side of themselves: as an addict. I didn’t want to believe it, nor did I want to live it. I was devastated and in complete shock. I knew everything about them could have been too good to be true, but why now and why me?
You hear about it, read about it, and even see it in movies but never actually think it will happen to you -- yes, really, you! I remember the day he told me his addiction was real. Our morning started out rough, per usual, but at one point he grabbed my hands, and got down on his knees. As much as I was wishing he was going to ask me to marry him, I knew that was far from the truth. He told me he had an addiction, and that he has been in denial for over a year lying, not only to me, but himself as well. He said he was sorry.
Although this is something you’d hope NOT to hear (like ever), it was kind of a relief for me. I always suspected he had an addiction but now my suspicions were a complete reality, and a dangerous one at that. Knowing someone I truly loved struggled with an addiction broke my heart. I constantly blamed myself. Why didn’t he ask me for help? Was I not good enough? How could I have been so stupid? I asked myself all these questions over and over again. Did they help? Or course not! Why? Well because although his addiction broke my heart it, it had nothing to do with me.
WHAT IS AN ADDICTION?
An addiction starts when someone abuses a way to cope or deal with a difficult time or situation in their life and loses control to it. They abuse this substance or coping method when anything goes wrong and I mean ANYTHING. It isn’t because he or she doesn’t love you or because you’re not good enough.
Helping someone you love recover from an addiction is one of the hardest things to ever go through. Not only was I hit hard with this devastating reality, but I was alongside when he went through the whole withdraw experience from the beginning to the seemingly never-ending finish. It’s not over and I’m not sure if it will ever be. For me, I just kept thinking, 'Wow, I rather get hit by 2,999 more SUVS than to EVER and -- I mean EVER -- go through this. Helping someone who isn't ready (yes, I said 'isn't ready'… broken heart emoji here) to recover is not only physically, but emotionally draining.
I started losing myself through this whole experience. I felt so helpless. I spent most of my days crying on my couch. My couch became my best friend. It couldn't hurt me or judge me. It just soaked up all my sorry-ass tears like a kitchen sponge. I spent a week, maybe two tops, crying like a huge fucking baby, and wallowing in depression. I lost my appetite. I couldn’t sleep and everything just started to hurt. When I realized things were only going down from there (because the relapse rate for a drug addict is scary as fuck, but true) I decided I had two choices:
One: to continue to be a sad fucking puppy, always drained and depressed, trying to help someone who does not want help; or Two: to not let this addiction take over my life, and to turn this devastating reality into something dreamy as fuck. I always thought of my brand and life as a beautiful disorder or disaster, that’s why I have it tattooed on my hands. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been taking things that hurt me and turning them into treasures babes like you can cherish for years to come. Creating Alexandrea Anissa was and is my way of coping or dealing with a difficult time or situation in my life, whether it happened yesterday or ten years ago. I use my brand as a creative outlet to vent and express my emotions.
PUT YOURSELF FIRST
During this whole experience I started to lose myself in his addiction, his depression, and his insecurities. I made his feelings mine. I made his struggles mine. I put himself before me because I couldn’t bare to lose someone I loved so much to an addiction. I was tired of seeing him as a corpse. Most of the time his body was there but his mind wasn’t. He wasn’t the same person I fell in love with. It was devastating to me because I felt like I never got to say goodbye to the old him, the real person that I fell in love with.
At a certain point you have to determine what circumstances in your situation cross the line. For me, it was when I realized I made myself a victim based off someone else insecurities. When I realized I was losing myself in a situation that may never get better. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally okay to be that someone’s support system or back bone, but at the end of the day you must put yourself first. By putting yourself first, you learn how to love yourself as a whole and you actually gain the strength to help others on a whole new level.
HOW TO DEAL WITH ADDICTION
If you know someone who struggles with an addiction and you don’t know how to cope or deal with the situation, follow the steps below and make sure to give yourself the same amount of love and support as you give to the addict.
- Accept the reality, but don’t dwell on it.
- Learn about the addiction and how you can help. Do your research, read a few books and attend a meeting.
- Accept you CAN NOT control everything.
- Realize you can’t help someone who does not want help. There is a HUGE difference between helping and enabling.
- Understand that putting yourself first DOES NOT mean you’re selfish. Seriously!
- Learn to balance your life all while being a positive support system. Whatever you give the addict, give back to yourself.
- Ask for help! I certainly didn’t get through this alone. I wouldn’t have been able to get through this whole experience if it wasn’t for my sisters, my close-friends, my family and my therapist.
- Talk to me. Seriously! I am here for you babe. <3 We can get through this together.
Follow these steps and your life will be easier. Trust me! Although I made these steps short, simple and to the point, they aren’t as easy as they seem. Everything will take time so please have patience and remember that you can’t accomplish the world in one day. Whether or not you or someone you love is ready to recover and get their life back together, I have listed a few resources below that you can use or bookmark. Most of these resources are open 365 days a year and are available 24/7.
- Addiction | 1-877-671-1785 or https://www.addiction.com/meetingfinder/
- Addiction Center | 1-888-982-3077 or https://www.addictioncenter.com
- Drug Abuse | 1-888-744-0069 or http://drugabuse.com
- Narcotics Anonymous | https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/
- Recovery.org | 1-888-978-5389 or http://www.recovery.org
- The Dunes East Hamptons | https://theduneseasthampton.com
Another great resource: 6 things to do if your loved one is struggling with Addiction.
When I started developing the lingerie photographed for High by the Beach was when I was hit hard with my devastating reality. I used my creativity to channel my emotions through my designs and my lingerie look book. From muted peach tones to floral prints and darkly seductive mesh silhouettes, I created a mix of lingerie based on how I felt and what would make me feel better.
Photographed above is the Nancy Eyelash Lace Babydoll, by far one of my favorite designs to-date. Featuring demi style bra cups, a sexy triangle cut out at the waist and a full power mesh skirt, the Nancy Eyelash Babydoll represents the darkness I’ve created for myself through his addiction. The all-over lace bodice represents the rigidness of the situation. Although dark, it is still delicate and feminine. The full power mesh skirt represents freedom, since the skirt literally dances with the wind not constraining or conforming to your body or life it itself.
High by the Beach is by far one of the most emotional lingerie look books I have ever released. It hits home for me, and it hits it hard. Browsing all of these photographs together brings tears to my eyes not because I am sad, but because I am happy that I was able to overcome such a huge obstacle in my life and learn put myself first. At the end of the day, Alexandrea Anissa isn’t about making profit or getting x amount of exposure, it is my visual diary, my life and everything I aspire to be one day.
Have you or someone you loved ever struggle with an addiction? How did you or they cope or deal with the situation? What was your outlet?