Cynthia Tindal: Self-Destructive Behavior
At the young age of 12, Cynthia Tindal was under peer pressure to use alcohol and drugs. What started out as just curiosity turned into an addiction. She is from a small town here in South Carolina known as Summerton. Numerous of local people have loved ones out on the streets in this town who are abusing drugs and alcohol. After two interviews and a phone conversation, she was able to give enough information about her life to understand why it’s shattered in a million pieces.
As a little girl she started out on the sneaking level. As she got older she couldn’t stop. Cynthia called her problem a disease. “It’s a disease that can be fatal”. When asked how many years she has been on and off drugs she simply said from 12 years old until now. Her Birthday is March 19, 1962. She is often out on the streets, during the week it’s three or four days at a time before she takes a break. She called this a spree.
She described her addiction as a relief, at the same time knowing that her abuse is affecting her body mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Describing her addiction for the second time as a disease again, she added that its just like any other. She used cancer as an example and said that people with drug and alcohol addictions are no different from cancer patients. “We are sick” is what she said.
After asking her if she could stop using, did she want to stop, how would she stop and lastly why wouldn’t she stop. She said because it’s how I handle stress. “I want to stop and think about it all the time. I just haven’t tried in a while”. She mentioned going back to church and to treatment to get help.
Getting the drugs are pretty easy. Hanging around friends who use alcohol and drugs like she does keep her in the position to always get her hands-on something. Cynthia explained how nervous and jittery she becomes when she can’t get a fix. She can’t focus or concentrate.
Knowing that the alcohol can burn her brain and is messing her up physically, she has to have it. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disease and is very aware that while she is under the influence it intensifies, causing her to become psychotic and out of control. She is not the healthiest person and has quite a few physical problems with her body. However, she feels no pain when smoking weed and drinking alcohol. She calls that feeling “false security”.
When asked if she had children she replied proudly, “Yes, I have two boys”. I asked what was life like for them growing up with a mom who was fighting demons? She paused and finally replied going into details about how hard life was for them. In addition, she gave thanks to God for her parents and family. Also, she indicated that everyone helped with the children. Most times she was always around and could be found, but she wasn’t home like she was supposed to be. As a result, both children are grown and have anger problems today.
Cynthia was sober for almost five years when, her estranged husband who was very sick, came back into her life. He had cancer and died within two years of coming back. She was devastated and turned back to using drugs and drinking alcohol. She has been self-destructing ever since.
Cynthia encourages all those who are not in too deep or just curious to “Don’t Start”. Walk the other way or you will end up like her; trying to find relief in substance abuse at the age of 53. An old woman, on the streets trying to find her next hit.
Having the chance to interview with one of her younger sisters, Theresa. She provided another look into Cynthia’s life. Theresa told how growing up with her sister was confusing and scary as a child. She said watching her sister go through those things and not understand why or what was going on, was crazy. She remembered her sister using at the age of 14. She thinks a classmate introduced her sister to alcohol and drugs.
Theresa said, “ Back then, my family wasn’t accepting her addiction very well. My parents kept her in treatment centers.” I asked Theresa, how does the family handle this situation today? She replied, “Our family has to accept who she is and love her”. Theresa’s advice to those who have loved ones who are self-destructing is to “ never give up on them and keep them in your prayers”.