My Story Of Survival

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I had a mostly normal childhood, I guess. There was one dark area of my life I kept hidden for a long time. I had great parents, they split up when I was 15 but had a great relationship even afterwards and I never felt like either of them missed out on part of my life. They got me my first car, helped pay for college and I could always count on them for anything. There was one mistake they made however, i’m not sure if its even right to call it a mistake because they did not know any better.

A babysitter they got when I was 9 years made sexual contact with me. I was so confused and he was incredibly manipulative. It only happened one time, my memory is fuzzy but I believe I made it clear to my parents I didn’t like him and to hire someone else next time. That’s all I said. Even then I felt shame about what had happened. I’m not even sure if it was shame back then, but I was told by my abuser not to say anything and something told me what had happened was really really bad.

Needless to say, holding in that secret from just that one day had a very powerful effect on my mental health. After that day anytime my parents went somewhere and hired a babysitter, I always insisted it was a female and they had no idea why I felt so strongly about it. I’m actually a little surprised they didnt see the signs that something had happened, but I guess I can’t expect them to notice. 

Growing up through high school I was a loner. I just couldn’t trust anybody I felt like. Kids weren’t mean to me but most of them just left me alone, which was nice I guess. At least they weren’t mean. I got good grades and put on a charade like I was happy, but I was miserable. 

When I was 17 I first smoked pot, it was the first relief I had felt in what felt like forever. I had found my remedy to my trauma. Drugs. 

I graduated high school and convinced my parents I was not ready for college (I was scared to be on my own) and they finally said that was okay after some convincing. I got a crappy part time job and I started experimenting with various hard drugs. It was the only excitement and relief I could find. Plus it actually had me socialize with people sometimes. Just not the best people to be socializing with.

At 19, I met what would become my best friend. Heroin. It completely washed away all of my bad feelings like a warm comfortable blanket. I thought if I just could stay high forever, things would be okay. What a horribly dangerous belief that was, it turned into the most vicious cycle you could imagine. 

By the time I was 21, I was a full blown heroin addict with no job and was stealing from anyone I could get close to. I had turned into a monster. It didn’t matter what got between me and my drugs, I was going to find a way to get them no matter what because otherwise I would not only feel withdrawals, I would feel all of my awful emotions i’d been stuffing down for years. 

I OD’ed a week before my 22nd birthday . My parents got me into treatment the next day. Thank god i survived. Since then I have so many horror stories about people walking into their friend or family member laying dead, cold on the floor. Another overdose victim. 

When I was at rehab I got to talk to a therapist about my trauma, she wasnt the first person I told but was the first person with some resolutions besides telling me, ‘they are sorry that happened’. I was introduced to the a 12 step program in there and that proved to be a process that helped me face and heal from my trauma more than I could have ever expected. 

I have been sober for 16 months now and life is far from perfect. I still have trust issues and PTSD from that one terrible day, but I am reasonably happy. I have faith in myself. I feel like I can grow and move forward from that day that defined me. 

Drugs fixed nothing, it just swept things under the rug. I swept those emotions under the rug so much that it almost killed me. If I have any advice to anyone. it’s to find a professional or someone you really trust and tell them about any abuse you have faced. Holding it in and keeping a secret is the complete and total wrong way to go about it. Telling a therapist felt like such a giant weight of my shoulders. She told me that it wasn’t my fault and that there was nothing I could of done to prevent it, and just hearing someone say something simple like that really helped me. I’m not sure why but it just did.

I know you think telling somebody won’t help but I promise you it will.

Don’t keep the secret any longer. 

Am I 

Join the Conversation


  1. tayestlack Volunteer

    Hello Love, i’m so sorry you’ve experienced such trauma and found yourself under the manipulation of drugs, however i am so so happy you found your way out with the 12 step program and help from your parents. I am also so happy that even though that one baby sitter had hurt you, you didn’t let it continue you and while i know you wish your parents knew then, you’re so much stronger now. Please keep your head high and stay standing strong. We’re all here, cheering you on. I hope you have an great day

  2. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It’s so inspirational to see that you were able to get the help that you needed and keep moving forward. Congratulations on 16 months sober! That is such an accomplishment. Keep growing and moving forward the best that you can. In the meantime, if you need anything else at all, please let us know. we are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3

  3. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi benschmidt,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that you had to experience that. I’m glad you were able to get the help you needed. You’ve come a far way and should be proud of that. If you ever need anything, let us know. We are always here for you.

  4. Ashley Day Captain

    Since you were a child when the babysitter made sexual contact, it’s understandable that you felt confused. I’m thinking the fact that he told you not to confide in anyone added onto the confusion. He had no right to disrespect your boundaries or manipulate you. As a babysitter, he had the responsibility to ensure you were safe and taken care of.
    After overdosing, it’s a relief to hear that your parents responded well by placing you in rehab for treatment; I can tell that they care about and support you. You can certainly grow and move forward.
    Congratulations on 16 months of sobriety, benschmidt 🙂 I’m glad that you are here to share your story.


  5. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey there benschmidt,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m glad that you have been healing and am proud of you for your sobriety! Heroin is a nasty drug and is so hard to break from. You are incredibly strong for working through the difficulties you’ve experienced. I agree that talking to someone you trust, whether it’s a therapist or a friend, is a crucial step to processing your trauma. We’re always here if you want to share again. Continue to be kind to yourself in your sobriety!

  6. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi benschmidt,
    I’m extremely sorry about what happened and about what you’ve been through. You’re not at fault for what happened to you, and you didn’t deserve it at all. It’s so difficult to bottle the emotions and keep it a secret.
    I’m so glad that you talked to a therapist about what happened and that you went through the 12 step program. It’s amazing that you’re moving forward and growing. Validation can be so helpful in healing, and I’m happy that you’ve been validated.
    Thank you for trusting us with your story. We’re here to help you if you need anything, so please feel free to reach out. You’ve come so far, and your story is inspiring! Stay strong!

  7. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear benschmidt,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us and for reiterating the importance of being validated. Hearing from someone else that it was not your fault and that you didn’t do anything wrong is so simple, yet makes all the difference in the world. You are brave and strong and you have our AVFTI community supporting you on your healing journey. Our Find Help tab has a variety of resources that you may find useful and you are welcome to write to us as often as you would like. You are not alone!
    Sending you love and strength,

  8. Kayla Volunteer


    Thank you for sharing with us. I agree with you, telling your story can have such a profound impact! It really can take weight off your shoulders. I’m so glad you were able to find treatment and healing, and that you’re in a healthy and positive state now.

  9. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for sharing with us. That is so amazing that you overcame all of that and have such a positive attitude now! You are an inspiration to others. Keep staying strong and succeeding <3

  10. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story! I am so glad you found AVFTI to share your story. I am so sorry that you went through so much and that you had to experience all of this, especially so young. But I want you to know that I think your story is very inspiring and encouraging to those who might not quite be in the same spot you on the healing journey. You are so incredibly strong!! I am glad your therapist told you that what happened was not your fault. It can be so important to hear those words from someone, and that is awesome that you had that support! I hope you continue to make strides in the right direction for your recovery. We will always be here to support you and cheer you on! Please let us know updates if you would like!


  11. Amysue43 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! Your story is encouraging for others who are feeling anxious, nervous or scared in terms of sharing their own story or asking for help. I’m sorry to hear what had happened to you, but I’m happy to see how far you have come on you recovery path and the confidence in your writing. You’re doing great things!
    Feel free to continue posting!

    Stay strong<3

  12. Megan Volunteer

    Hey benschmidt,

    I’m sorry that your babysitter did that to you and I’m sorry that you felt like you had to hold it in all those years. I can understand how hard it was feeling like you can’t talk about it ever even while it’s impacting your life. I have to say though, I am so proud of you for going through treatment and opening up about what happened to you. It takes a lot of courage to do that. You have come so far and that is so incredible. You should be proud of yourself.

    Keep fighting. We are always here if you need anything,

  13. Lizzi

    I’m so sorry for what happened to you with the babysitter and the trauma you had to battle for many years. It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t deserve anything that happened. You’re right that drugs fix nothing. They may temporarily help you ignore the emotions but those emotions are always still there. I’m so proud of you for accepting treatment and working through what had happened to you. That’s not easy to do and 16 months of sobriety is such a huge accomplishment! I’m proud of you. And I’m glad to hear that while things aren’t perfect, you’re doing pretty well. Your story is inspiring and I thank you for trusting us and sharing it with us. If you need anything, know that we’re always here for you.

  14. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi benschmidt,
    I’m so sorry this happened. This isn’t your fault. What happened to you is something no one should go through. I’m sorry your parents didn’t think more into why you didn’t want a male babysitter, but at least they cared enough about you to get you help. That is the most important part. They sound like a good support system. You also have us know as support. We are always here for you. I’m happy that therapy helped you and congrats on 16 months. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. Continue to stay strong.

  15. colton95 Volunteer

    I think it’s great that you have found the courage to share your story! Doing that is one of the many steps towards healing which is a difficult but necessary process to go through. I hope that you will stay strong and that there is someone in your life who you absolutely trust and can confide in. If not, feel free to reach out to anyone here!

  16. Kailey2298 Volunteer

    Hi benschmidt,
    I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that. Thank you for trusting us with your story I’m so proud of how far you’ve come you! Becoming sober is such a huge accomplishment and your doing great! I’m happy you found a program and a therapist that you find comfort in, having a good support system is so important during recovery. You are so strong don’t forget that! If we can help you in any way please let us know!

  17. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for sharing your story here with us. First, I am so sorry for what happened to you. You didn’t deserve it, and it wasn’t your fault. I’m glad that therapy has really helped you, and that you have been in treatment and are healing. That is so important. Let us know if there is anything else we can do to support you!


  18. rkr18 Volunteer

    Hey benschmidt,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us and I am sorry you experienced all that trauma. Also, for sharing the importance and difference your therapist made on your road to recovery. I pray for your continued healing. Please know we are here if you need us.