Destructive life needs to change


Destructive life needs to change


your avatar   Nikki (22 year-old woman) from Los Angeles, CA

I am turning 23 on the 26th of December and I have no reason at all to celebrate.

I have failed in everything. I got married young, got a GED, had two kids. Then lost it all to the state, they were taken due to abuse in my ex's family, they were in great danger - sure. I turned to escort work, drugs, and jail time. I've spent the last 3,4, or is it 5 years running. I did a lot of drugs and a lot of time. The last time when we both got booked because we were fugitives, I got out first.

First thing I did was go to an agency to work, got pregnant and went with my driver to Maui. I continued using cocaine till two weeks before my daughter's birth because of the empty relationship. I gave her up and went home. As fate would have it I ended up back in jail and he left me. My ex got out before me, and when I was released we got together. I left him one day after meeting a client at the club I was dancing at. I just packed and left.

Now I have a lot of problems with my current relationship. My boyfriend started out as my driver and then we started living together. When I saw how different we were, I popped a bunch of pills. I survived and he took me home. There, (by the way I'm a only child, my mother kicked me out at 15 and my father is in Asia), I was surrounded with love and stability, so I rebelled.

I worked, but I also destroyed out of anger and rage. I broke a window, put my boyfriend's brother in jail because I was on a psycho speed trip, popped more pills, suspected them of putting other chemicals in the coke we taking, shot up a lot of ketamine, took more speed, destroyed his clothes, slammed doors, tried to set him fire, accused him of cheating on me, and so forth.

I am tired of this crap and I am so sure they are too. I feel so stupid with him, like he is my caretaker. I know of no other life than this work, I live in this hotel room 24 hours and he sits and waits. He is a very gifted person who had a lot going for him and I let him down. They look on me as a child, a troublemaker. I have none of the carefree, young, easygoing ways of a 23 year old. I have no friends, no family, no education. I know also that because of my trips and ODs that I have made myself into "psychogirl" in their eyes and want it to stop. I need all this to end, I am so exhausted, I used to do so well, I can do it again, but how?

My question is, how can I improve my self esteem, because of this lifestyle I have made it clear to myself that I am inferior. How can I become a better person and learn to accept that there is such a thing as caring people. How do I stop destroying them and bringing them down with me? I can I stay focused and in control of my situation? What steps to I need to take to salvage this relationship and how will I ever be confident in the way he feel and acts toward me again, and his brother? I want to earn my place back, how and will I ever feel confident enough to feel on the same level as them? Help me please; I am on cliff, either I jump or walk away stronger.


    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

Dear Nikki,

What I hear most from your letter is how much shame you feel for all the things that you have done. Shame is a feeling of being deeply and hopelessly flawed inside. This is an emotion that I don't feel is valid. I am not saying that you haven't behaved in ways that have hurt yourself and others tremendously. You have and I don't want to minimize it in the least. However, we are more than just our recent behavior. Many people have screwed up a number of years of their youth and pulled it together enough to live productive and fulfilling lives. Shame is the feeling of not being good enough while guilt is knowing that our behavior has been poor, but we are still valuable as a person.

There are two ways to reduce shame. One is to lower your expectations of yourself and look realistically about the futility of trying to be perfect and seeing things in terms of behavior over time and not about personhood. The second way is to really take a look at your behavior and raise your standards in this area. There is no possible way that you or others are really going to be able to respect you if you are in the sex industry or doing drugs. These are basically ways to get intensity into your life to drown out the feelings of shame. It never works well and therefore more drugs and sex have to be added on to keep the shame down further.

The question I think you need to ask yourself is how to give yourself the best chance of turning your life around. With all of the drugs you have been doing I would seriously suggest a 30-day inpatient chemical dependence hospital. This would give you the most comprehensive help to stabilize and be safe medically. Afterwards, I would suggest a 12-step program and outpatient therapy once a week for between six months to a year. I realize that that had to be a shock to you, but the seriousness of the problem warrants it. A further reason that I am suggesting this route is I always get suspicious that people who are using a lot of drugs are often self-medicating a hidden emotional or psychiatric disorder such as depression or attention deficit disorder. There is no way to find this out accurately without being off the drugs for a couple of months and this is more likely to occur in an inpatient setting.

Nikki, although you say that your early home life was supportive and satisfying, it sounds as if there had to be early abandonment if your dad wasn't around and your mother kicked you out at 15. I have worked extensively with escorts and dancers and 95% of them have been abused in their early childhood and usually there is a sexual component to the abuse. There are exceptions but I certainly wonder if this might be part of your problem. When people are abused they decide they are bad people and then spend a significant part of their life trying to prove to themselves that their abusers were right about them. You have been doing so much in your life that it sure would make sense if it were subconsciously purposeful behavior.

Whatever you do don't lose hope. People change their lives all the time. It takes hard work and commitment, but it can be done. I believe that people are basically good and only get into trouble by a series of pain and self-hate.

Good luck,

Jef Gazley

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit:


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