Addiction (Battles with Addiction)

My best friend connected from the soul called me yesterday. A call I expected because like her I was thinking of the same feelings. The universe always has a way of making us feel connected to one another and knows when we need someone. What I did not expect from the call was talking about our addictions and how easily we slipped last week. The universe knew that we needed someone to hear why and get us back to sobriety.

Yes I admit last weekend I threw away nine good years of sobriety. Why? I don’t have the answers right now. Addiction lacks a sense of humour, it prides itself on vulnerability. I cannot make excuses to my slide of temporary loss of control as much as I want to right now. I let myself lose control and allow the need for my addictions to fill my loss of feelings. It started with making the wrong connections. I sat on a friends floor after smoking a joint finally feeling quiet. I accepted flirting from another person. My phone call yesterday put to terms that I will always want drugs and inappropriate sexual relationships when I think i’m over my addiction.

Addiction doesn’t care if you are travelling to recovery. It waits for the right moment to hook its user back in. The addict could finally be correct in life and one false moment of hopelessness is all addiction needs. Addiction is not just drugs. Addiction is the need to fill the void in one’s life to feel something missing. Addictions are false hope in feeling good for a moment instead of facing the demon in front. It doesn’t care; its victims could be young, old, ugly, pretty, rich, poor, addiction wants everyone and everything in your life to be consumed. Its appetite for inner war is unsalable. It needs to feed on grief and desperation to stay alive. Addiction is the parasite of life.

Addiction was not my choice on how I want to grow in my life. I grew up with alcoholism and drugs. The addiction to sexual intimacy without love came later in my life to cope with lack of love. I used to use sex to feel something but nothing at all. With most addictions one does it for a small moment of feeling good, but addiction doesn’t feel good. The lengths I go when I let my addiction run rampant is horrifying. It doesn’t hurt me as much as it hurts others. (Addictions) loves to feed off the pain of others as collateral damage. It hurts families, it loves hurting the ones you love the most. Addiction is personal hell that will drag everyone you know and love with it. Being an addict makes room for lies and deceit. What addiction loves the most: having more addicts in the wake recruited by the newest addition of the hooked and able.

At least it’s not hard drugs I used to say. It makes no difference I, Ali Johnson, am an addict. I am one week sober.

Written by Ali Johnson

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Mental Trauma (Childhood memories & PTSD)

Children that have memories after child hood abuse can be something fuzzy. Like tuning a radio finding a station. They sometimes can hear the chatter but the sound isn’t fully clear. Once they hit the right radio station however the image and quality of the memory becomes crystal clear. All the fuzz lifts away and leaves the person dealing with the memory in a limbo like spot. All the pain that once was and continues to be needs to be dealt with.

I struggle with all memories from my childhood. Even with the “good memories they are forced out by the ” bad memories”. I recently went over childhood photo books trying to place what time I was in. Names marked on the back of the photos I wanted to remember if I was happy at that moment. I wanted to know if it was possible for good times to outweigh the bad times. I recently started to recall parts of my life that was a main source of trauma. Wanting to get over the pain and move forward in life I struggle with the fuzz of the past. I can hear echos of words said and moments been. I cannot see faces unless I’m having a PTSD episode in my sleep. Once I wake I cannot remember who or where the incident happened. The fractures in my memory are really hard to cope with because I cannot get a clear picture of what happened. I question myself during the memory periods because I cannot say what is true and what is not.

I tried EMR treatments at therapy. I wish I could say the treatment was successful unfortunately I struggled with them. In my mind I struggled to know what was real and what my mind made up to cover the pain. Other people have reported EMR treatments for PTSD as highly successful. Even though it was not a success for me I still encourage others to try it. What works for one person in mental health may not work for everyone. I did feel angry that mine didn’t work because dealing with these memories have caused life problems I don’t have the solution to.

Triggers from fractured memories are complicated in childhood abuse cases. I have triggers ranging from the smell of bleach, smell of cologne, words people say in passing, and certain locations that look familiar. My anxiety gets triggered when my home becomes cluttered as I found my first home stressful due to my grandparents hoarding. Triggers and memory can be complex because try as I might to avoid them I cannot be certain I can. My husband has pointed out that I get weird around certain people. This can be contributed to remembering certain parts of my abusers face and placing it on the other person. Although my mind has blocked out what my abusers look like I can still remember from the fuzz certain details my mind has latched on to. One example of this is men with slight bags under their eyes. My one childhood sexual abuser to, had bags under his eyes and dark hair. I become triggered if the persons voice sounds similar to my molesters voice. I have never forgotten that voice because out of all the ones in the fuzz it’s the loudest.

One of the statements peoples make to childhood abuse survivors is ” remember this happened”. It’s hard to hear because the mind creates a protective bubble around the past. Trauma of the mind or body is a funny thing. Not hahaha funny, but funny in the way it works to protect the person living with the trauma. With extensive trauma such as childhood abuse or sexual abuse the mind forms the bubble in order for the host to survive mentally. This bubble is like a balloon and slowly deflates; because it becomes to filled with memories either true or untrue, that the person who survived the trauma has to try to heal from it. With any bubble or balloon it can pop at any given time and when that happens it is like an explosion of pain and grief. Not everyone survives the pop of greif.

I still live with fractured memories. I’m not keen on thinking I will ever fully grasp what actually happened. My mind is a puzzle missing the main pieces to complete. I don’t think my mental radio station will ever become fully in tune. Living with the fuzz is a part of my trauma. Moving forward has been tiresome because I wish I could put truth within my mind and understand why the abuse happened. Dealing with the release of memories has become a constant the older I get. One trick I have found helps in the getting rid of the fuzz is talking out the memory as if I was a small child again. Interacting with the memory even fractured has helped me cope and become more familiar with my triggers.

Everyone has a different way with dealing with trauma. In childhood abuse I would like to offer this it was not your fault. I am sorry someone robbed you of the good memories and replaced them with shards of false reality. You are not alone and others are right there with you hoping to replace what was once lost.

Written By: Ali Johnson

The Real Tea (Narcissistic Mothers)

Confession time I do judge other parents. Yes I am aware of mommy shaming is not the right thing to do. I don’t judge moms on what they feed their kids or what their children wear or how their children act. What I do judge is when moms who treat their children like property instead of treating them like human beings. These are the moms that I see mirroring what my mother acted like and seeing the child beside her trying hard to please mommy dearest. Those children were me at one point.

On the outside people seen my mom as charismatic. That is how she hooks her victims and keeps her narcissistic facade alive. To the outside my mother looks like she cares about her children, and she has won mom of the year award. I know the real her and when I stopped being beneficial to her every want and need I was a disposable child. I once thought that she was something to be admired and just misunderstood in the world. Waking up to her lies after seeing through some of them brought out the worst person imaginable.

I didn’t grow up with my mother directly and that suits me just fine. Remembering when I was a little girl I thought I missed my mom and that one day she would come get us kids and everything would be alright. As a grown woman who survived her abuse: later in life I see that I was incredibly lucky to not have lived with her. Although I still lived with abusive caregivers; I still could not imagine being alive today, if I was under her care.

She had reached out to me when I was fifteen and beginning to emancipate myself legally. I remember her messages she sent to me. The mom I know she really is, was not the person sending the messages of care and commitment to do right by her daughter. She found my weak spot of feeling alone. She latched tightly and wound her web to hold me. I was naive hearing her stories everything she said she had answers to. The lowest point of my life was her thriving point to carry out her abuse. What she said at the time made sense: looking back I was blind to how much she could create on a whim.

It took one year and several months to start seeing through the woman under the veil. What she said and what actually happened are two different things. People started talking about my mother and what they said sounded more rational than what she said. I had one act of disobedience telling her no. I said no to something that went against my beliefs that one little no lead to my mother hating my very existence. Not only would she tell people I was a whore she would tell people I was abusing her. Anything she was doing to me at that moment created into her statements about me.

One thing I learned about surviving my mother is that it’s not completely over until one of us has died. No matter how much I have tried to escape her she still finds ways to interject into my life. I finally realized after one of my suicide attempts, she said to me ” what a shame I would have been free of you” the woman that was my mother only cared about herself and nothing would make it right. The moment was horrific the life lesson gained from it is unforgettable. I too needed freedom from the woman in the beautiful mask. The face hidden underneath it is deathly and hollow.

I wish I could say there is a happy ending or a feel good moment in reconciliation. Reality is the opposite. The only way to escape her abuse and be truly fee is to disengage. I still have not fully disengaged myself and I can’t until there is closer that justice will do her in to stop her abuse of others. I know the time is coming up in her trials of animal abuse. Promising to keep fighting for her victims because I never want her to steal another persons flame because that is what she does best.

I do judge mothers like her because when people don’t see them they are so dangerous to the child by their side. The little girls and boys who had mothers like mine don’t survive traditional methods. Some of them don’t make it out alive. The pain caused by these narcissistic mothers is explainable. It’s not the child who needs to fight for love but for the mother to fight for her child.

I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents. … The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physicalmonsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

J. J Steinbeck, East of Eden

Written by Ali Johnson

The Mental Boardroom

In the last month I hit lows with my depression that I haven’t felt in a long time. This last month I felt like I was being thrown against a brick wall. Everything in my body was exhausted. My mind was going into overdrive. I cannot place what my trigger was but I can say this time I really went to the darkest place that exist. This dark place is hard to break out of because of the mental and physical hold that it takes. Its like having a parasite latch onto your brain by doing so it drives the host crazy until nothing is left.

My depression is not my friend if anything I wish it would completely disappear into a different dimension. I have several things wrong with me in the mental department. Most of my issues are a direct result of my depression or as my therapist put it subs categories. Resulting from depression is my high-functioning anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and insomnia. It may seem like a cooking pot of mental illness but under the surface depression is the CEO of Ali’s Mental department. I may be the CEO of my body but depression is the main guy in the boardroom stating it’s the boss and I hold no stakes in this company. The rest of the mental illnesses sit around the boardroom taking notes on what their duties are to complicate the relationship on healthy mind: healthy body.

I’m really grateful I have friends who remind me to stay alive. Without my friends caring and having family to tell me too not leave the boardroom meeting held by depression probably would have stayed dark. My mind would have stayed in fight club mode. Every emotion who works with rational thought fighting with the subs is not pleasant. I’m pretty sure happiness is hiding out in the broom closet again and needs to be let out sometime soon. I think anxiety locked happiness there and hid chemical balance in an unknown location. Either that or depression gave the eviction notice long ago and the good things simply walked away singing show tunes. On that note healthy sleep habits gave the middle finger and checked out last Tuesday with no polite resignation notice.

My depression thrives on chaos. When everything is going down the crap shoot of chaotic bad; depression sits there in the back of my mind smiling, it loves when I lose control. I will tell myself in the mental boardroom that I will fix this, I will be the person to kick depressions ass. The speech that I tell myself is full of gusto and yet full of false hopes. Depression and I go way back to when I was eight years old so it does know that I’m full of verbal poo. Despite the best efforts’ depression is not vacating the building anytime soon and continues to sit on throne of control.

Today I took a long lunch break as if to say eff you depression. I even got out of bed that I share with depressions minion insomnia and PTSD and thought to myself today I am going to just stay alive today. I didn’t leave my mental cubicle and wanted no part of my depressions debauchery. Though depression decided it was best to send anxiety with a tar like coffee to share, today was pleasant because for one second it remained silent. In my worst moments with depression I have to fight for my bodily rights. One good day such as today can make the difference in how the mental board meeting will go even for a short while.

Written by Ali Johnson

Promise, They Will Be Enough

[Will’s father came back into town, and then lied to Will about being around more and left. Phillip is trying to comfort him]

Will: Hey, you no what, you ain’t got to do nothing, Uncle Phil. You know, ain’t like I’m still five years old, you know? Ain’t like I’m gonna be sitting every night asking my mom ‘when’s daddy coming home?’ You know? Who needs him? Hey, he wasn’t there to teach me how to shoot my first basket, but I learned it, didn’t I? And I got pretty damn good at it too, didn’t I, Uncle Phil?

Phillip Banks: Yeah, you did.

Will: Got to do my first date without him, right? I learned how to ride, I learned how to shave, I learned how to fight without him. I had *fourteen* great birthdays without him; he never even sent me a damn card. The hell with him!

[pause]

Will: I didn’t need him then, I won’t need him now.

Phillip Banks: Will…

Will: No, you know what, Uncle Phil? I’m gonna get through college without him, I’m gonna get a great job without him, I’m gonna marry me a beautiful honey and I’m having a whole bunch of kids. I’m gonna be a better father than he ever was. And I sure as hell don’t need him for that, ’cause there ain’t a damn thing he can teach me about how to love my kids!

[long pause; he’s crying]

Will: How come he don’t want me, man?

Scene from Fresh Prince of Belair.

I remember watching the scene from Fresh Prince of Belair for the first time and felt so connected to what he was saying. I too had absent parents who treated me out of convenience instead of want. Lonely is the best way I can describe my feelings towards the missing people that were supposed to step up and do the right thing. Some people say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but when your parent is negligent it causes a certain degree of pain.

Every time my parents would choose to jump in and out of my life a rift grew. I questioned why they chose that time to step up when they wanted no part in anything else going on. One of my battles as a child was dealing with questions of why I was not good enough for them. I was smart, imaginative, and loved to learn. The older I got I started to feel guilty for being a burden to them. I always felt that I was the reason my mom was slightly crazy and my dad didn’t want me because I made my mother nuts. It didn’t matter how much I achieved I was never good enough for them.

Overtime as their absent parenting grew I felt raw anger towards them. Other children would state how great their parents were. How they loved them unconditionally. The one time that I rejected seeing my father I was guilt tripped by family members. They stated that if I didn’t love my dad I should say it directly. I was torn into pieces that day instead of being told my emotions are validated. Thirteen year old me made a promise that day that if I ever have children; I would love them until the day I take my last breath, and be better than what they were one hundred percent.

Two boys later I have kept my promise. I, no longer keep contact with my mother by ensuring she has no access to abuse my children. My promise is simple yet it allows my children to be loved. Unlike my mother I will allow my children to make mistakes and not treat them as a disappointment. I will make sure they have food in their bellies before myself. They will always have a safe space to live in and someone to care about their needs. My last promise is to tell them I love them with each passing day. To hold them when they are scared and cheer them on when they do great things.

I am not a perfect parent by any means. My parents made a choice to walk away from me, what I learned is that I will be better. I did learn something from them and that is my children are first before me. My love for them shows them they are enough. They will not go through life wondering how they failed me. Love and trust does not come easy for me, but my children will never have to struggle with feeling alone and unheard. I may have been unwanted but I will always want my boys.

Written by: Ali Johnson

30 weeks with my son Maximus.

myself, Travis, and Max

Inside My Anxiety

She looks at herself in the mirror only to see her anxiety staring back at her. For the last three days she has raged war inside her mind again. It started slow she noticed how irritable she felt. Quite rages over small things and the quietest sounds. The silence she holds is deafening and no one else can hear it. The long forgotten videos of past trauma start to play in the dreams. To avoid re watching she will not sleep for weeks on end. She feels the familiar itch to pick her skin raw because that is what she can control. Time for her is passing in hours but it feels like forever.

She stands staring at herself she will analyze every flaw she believes she has. Her face is to large, her skin looks unfamiliar, she is to fat and needs to stop eating, and why would anyone call her beautiful? She feels like her skin is crawling with bumps and lumps that are only in her mind. She will pick each imaginary bump until her arms are covered in scabs. Today she avoided eating because she feels sick to her stomach. Binging and starving is what she knows to do. Its familiar when everything else in her life is crashing around her. She will hear the voice of long ago telling her she is stupid and ugly. She is diseased and needs to be cured. Her mind right now is being bombed with thoughts of wanting to be free.

Everyone on the outside thinks she is strong but as she stares at herself she knows otherwise. She feels weak and worn. Her insides are shredded paper. She cannot understand how her kids called her the best mom today as she fed them Kraft dinner for the second time this week. They binged TV today because she could not talk herself into doing what is needed around the house. She hated that she just wanted to look at her phone and forget that she is here for one more day. This is not her the mom that lets her kids rot their brains and eat processed food galore.

This is not her and she knows it. She knows that it will pass again, and she will feel happy for a short period. It could be weeks or months before she will feel normal again. It makes her so angry on the inside to be this person and battle the mental demons eating her away. Praying that this time will be the last, she knows this is not it. Her body aches with feelings of being squeezed until her insides fall out. The tears she is holding so her children will not see them sting in the back of her eyes. Rejection of happy thoughts are her battle. Anger fills her with desperation to not feel panicked because she cannot place her finger on what brought this on. It feels as though water is above her head, she cannot breathe.

Inside of her sits the person that vacated today. That other side of her the one that makes jokes and feels good is vacationing hopefully to return soon. The spirit that lives right now is temporary. The damage control once she decides to go back to the dark space of the mind is disheartening. I hope that she knows one day we will be OK, and we as two spirits will work together to stay alive for one more day.

Written by: Ali Johnson

Advice To Me

I recently bought a journal called 300 writing prompts. When I purchased it I thought it would be a good way to ask hard questions I’ve avoided, each question in this self writing journal brings me closer in my journey of self healing. I want to heal drug and alcohol free. One way to do this is by writing and telling my story for others to hear. I put this journal away for half a year when I started to feel emotional answering questions regarding advice to myself. A few days ago my partner found the journal in the deep depths of our disorganized garage. I pondered the idea if I should start writing in it again.

I opened this tiny blue journal I felt a wave of relief to see it blank in spots that asked hard hitting questions. I have decided to write here on the Garden of Love questions that are asked. The question I landed on today was ” If you go back in time exactly 10 years and give yourself some advice, what would you tell yourself?”

Ten years ago I was an emancipated minor dealing with my abusive mother trying to figure out my life. I was drinking to deal with my pain and forget that I existed. Without a care in the world I was on self-destruct mode. Ten years ago I was an awful human being who fell for victimization of myself. I was a user. Anger does wild things to a person, it makes them toxic and highly volatile.

The person I was ten years ago probably would have said I don’t need your advice. She was stubborn and felt that she could figure out the world on her own. Looking back at the person I was, I feel that the only advice she would receive is keep going. Everything she would do in the next three years of her life would give her a purpose. I know she will have to fight hard and feel like a failure but if she keeps going her life gets better.

Ten years ago I was at my all time low. Looking back at who I was and who I would become is endearing. I have come really far in life and just now hitting a point of knowing what my purpose is. I have three amazing boys and have moments of pure happiness. Ten years ago I thought this is the end of things. I truly believed that if I would not live for another ten years. My feelings and emotions got the best of me on all accounts. I’m glad ten years ago I made it through the darkest time period.

I hope through in the next ten years from now I can give this sound advice; keep living truthfully, live like tomorrow is your last day. I also hope to see future me love herself even when she cannot find the reason to. Lastly I hope ten years from now I can look back and see the good I have done and know that I lived with purpose and good intentions. I owe it to the ones I love and myself to grow up learning and becoming the person I set out to be.

Written by Ali Johnson

2009
2018

Anxiety taking over.

My anxiety this week is out of control and I have no idea why it came on. I started this week on a good note nothing out of the ordinary. I kept to my routines and thought I was on track with everything. Oddly enough I finally had sleep after four days of sleep regression from my toddler. Eating healthy again normally boosts my system in keeping my anxiety down about eating food.

Try as I might I don’t know what my trigger was this time. Knowing when it’s getting bad again because I get the increasing feeling of uneasiness. The irritated feeling creeps up ever so slowly I feel like a volcano about to burst. Self doubt start to plague my every move to the point I don’t want to talk on my phone or answer calls. Plans get put off until I can handle this feeling of drowning on the surface and catch my breath.

Sometimes I can talk myself out of the anxiety spell that falls into my lap. Other times it’s like a bad cold I cannot shake. I know that there is no magical pill to take this all away. Often I wish I could be magic wave some wand casting the spell of clearing my anxiety. I hate how my body feels right now.

I feel so tired not sleepy but emotionally and physically tired. No I did not do anything strenuous but anxiety and depression is like having a concrete being poured all over me. I have no drive to get anything done because it doesn’t feel like it matters right now. Right now I know that my anxiety is affecting everything.

I can do all the tricks to help ease this attack but most of all it will come right back. I know when an awful spell is about to come on and I brace for impact. This anxiety attack was sneaky, a little mind ninja with a sword slicing through my thoughts with rapid succession. I’ll be OK I’m always OK, right now I’m a mess. Not quite at locking myself in the bathroom and fearing the outside world, but I am not myself right now.

I am tired of feeling like I’m drowning on dry land.

Written by Ali Johnson

It's OK to not be OK. But It's Not OK to stay that way.
Picture has mountains and water with a cloudy sky

One bad day away

It takes one bad day to make a normal person to lose control of their life. One bad decision can bring on the domino effect of bad circumstances. I know this from first hand to never take granted what and who I have in my life. I was that person who had one bad day that lead to many more bad choices. Homeless at sixteen, emancipated at seventeen my life direction was complicated.

If someone had asked me in 2009 if I was going to live much longer my response would’ve been no. I was going in such a direction I thought I would lose my life. If it wasn’t to drinking it was being with the wrong person, so many choices I made was the wrong one. I used sex and drugs as a way to numb the pain I was in. I gave up on myself and lost faith in the goodwill of others. Anytime someone offered a glimpse of true help I would treat them as criminal.

Someone once asked me if I regret my actions to survive, my response to this is no. Living with regrets for things I did would not change my future. I see my past choices whether right or wrong shaped who I am today. I used to blame the actions of others on my misfortune it took well into my adult years to see that my choices based on bad days was defining my pathway. What I do now with past choices is to educate others on surviving with trauma and to teach people to have compassion towards others.

I talk to people who were like me I hear the same thought process leading to their choices it was one bad day. That bad day led to one bad choice. Those bad choices led to several others. In between the lines of the bad day and poor choices there is a thin line that shows a person in pain trying to survive. It shows me to not judge anyone because they too can be one bad day away from losing everything.

I don’t know what anyone is going through to lead them on their life path, what I can do is understand survival tactics and give an ear of compassion. I can be that person that allows my mind to remain open to others pain and accept that they to had one moment of weakness. It takes a few seconds to be a good person to understand all walks of life. This is the same give one part of goodness to ease one bad day. I believe that in those moments of living with our choices one small act of kindness can walk someone off the ledge and lead that person to staying alive for longer.

Written by: Ali Johnson

Let’s Talk

Let’s take a moment of silence two minutes of your time is required. This silence is to remember the millions of victims who have lost their lives to suicide and depression. I will hold the silence with you start your timer.
In the next eighteen minutes a small fraction of the two minutes we took to remember a suicide is completed. On www.everyminute.org every minute of the day a suicide is happening. The frightening results of suffering from hidden mental illness. Statistics taken worldwide show four hundred fifty million people suffer from these conditions. Mental illness has become the leading cause of disability and ill-health worldwide. These numbers are not one hundred percent due to a great number not getting help for their hidden disorder.
Numbers and statistics show one thing this is a global epidemic. Disheartening in nature the bigger picture here should be to show what hidden mental illness does to a person. A great number of people go untreated due to stigmas placed by society, cost of treatment, and lack of preventive care for those with depression. Other factors that play into this mass epidemic is religious belief, lack of financial support, and lack of personal interest of the public. With more information and support with removal of stigma these rates could potentially drop. Although it will never fully stop, we can find ways to prevent these rates from rising further and save lives.
Statistics show the numbers of people affected by mental illness and loss of life by suicide. What they don’t show is the mental state leading up to one’s mentality committing the act itself. The internet has resources to educate members of society to notice signs of suicide but it’s commonly used to educate the public about a small part of what is bringing on this epidemic. Considering the stigma placed by populations of religion and dogmas of public; depression is still seen not as illness but a choice. Around seventy-eight percent of people who go untreated for mental illness and depression have some forms of drug addiction. Stigma around drug use widely ignores those who show signs of mental illness causing people to fear getting treatment. In some religions people living with mental illness and depression are exiled and shamed for their conditions. With biasing opinions being placed on those who are untreated it contributes to the ongoing pandemic.
Untreated mental illness is the leading cause of suicides worldwide. This includes Bipolar, Schizophrenia, depression, as well Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other hidden mental illnesses. Mental illness can affect anyone regardless of social stature, financial stature, and personal stature. Mental illness is not the only factor for suicide rates. Other factors are grief, trauma, drug abuse, job loss, and injuries and other contributing life events. Genetics can play a part as well in untreated mental illness. With the factors contributing to the epidemic of suicides and depression more research and knowledge and understanding has to be placed to better understand why this is occurring. Four hundred and Fifty million lives is one too many.

Written by Ali Johnson

Sources used in research