The following discussion takes place between myself and a friend who has dealt with the demons of being the child of parents dealing with addiction. She has faced her own issues when it comes to drugs as well as other adversities. We feel it is necessary to mention the dialogue may make some uncomfortable. Her story , and stories like these, are central to our message. Please share this story with anyone who might be able to find strength from it…
What are your thoughts on addiction?
Addiction is very natural, every single person is addicted to something. As people we constantly look for more. I think this is, in part, why religion is so popular. Everyone’s trying to fill a hole.
Where does this come from?
The root of addiction is pain. I want people to talk about it. There’s so much isolation because so much is internalized, it’s like there’s a war in your head. Everyone just wants to feel normal, people dive into addiction to try and find themselves and end up lost. I appreciate someone who’s been through things, we can learn a lot from people who have struggled.
Have you had any personal experience with addiction?
I never drank, maybe once in high school, I didn’t smoke pot, once in high school maybe, till college. I smoke frequently now. I’m going through issues of addiction because I just don’t want to feel like shit. It’s not so much that I want to, “get better” I just don’t want to feel bad anymore. Also, my mom, I started to realize she had a drug problem in my early 20s. She’d fall asleep and slur her words, I knew something was wrong.
Has your Moms addiction impacted yours?
Yes, obviously from a genetics standpoint also, generational pain is real. A lot of children face the same struggles as their parents. My mom and I would have the worst kind of fights, we’d call each other names. When I was a little girl I remember asking her how come you don’t know how to be my mom. I have lots of memories of my mom swerving the car when I was young. She would always say she’s ok, her and I have never really got along. In high school she’d tell us she’d take us shopping or to the movie’s and she’d cancel. I noticed a change, when things started really getting bad, because she stopped cooking and my parents fought a lot. This is what the pharmaceutical companies have done. I’m convinced something happened and she started using when I was young. My father is also prescribed painkillers, he would hide his and she would find them. I never used opiates, I preferred uppers, Adderall in particular, I had a prescription in college for a while. I would sell mine and buy more, it’s also definitely a drug that gets abused a lot.
What else impacted your addiction?
I was molested when I was two, and that sucks. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child who was abused. They never told me I was molested, I never realized it till I was in college. I took an abuse and neglect class and saw myself responding in so many of the ways victims of molestation respond so I asked them (my parents) about it. I was really upset, but it clicked, everything made sense. Why I couldn’t go to sleep overs, why I couldn’t date, where makeup, etc… Realizing you cannot change any of the things that have happened, I had to forgive them. I wrote them letters saying, “I know you’ve always apologized to me, but I want to apologize that happened to you as parents”. They’re very good people so it’s difficult for me to see all these conflicting views. Sometimes when I talk about my issues it freaks me out. Everyone’s always giving up on me and I think that’s why I give up on myself. I rationalize it because I don’t want to feel the pain.
What’s your role?
I’m responsible for how I respond, you have two choices: to allow it to consume you or to persevere. Our moments of trial are the best way for us to determine who we are. You don’t want the feelings anymore. Sometimes I become super isolated because of my addiction, it makes me feel like my mother.
How have your moms behaviors influenced you?
I didn’t realize I carried the pain of having a drug addict mother. There’s a difference between a blue collar worker who pops some Vicodin and some guy shooting heroin. Maybe there shouldn’t be. Anyways, I’ve made these choices and I’m beginning to realize where I’ve allowed them to define me.
How do we educate kids whose parents are addicts?
Creating an environment of empathy is imperative. One that isn’t dangerous in determining what is lacking in people. If you educate your kids it makes a world of difference. Being open and speaking up, maybe it’s “so and so needs to talk about it”. It’s all about prevention, in anything medical. You have to accept things the way they are because they’ve already happened. How should kids respond, how could they protect themselves. How do they speak up, when do they speak up, who do they tell. These are the questions we need to answer to better protect today’s children. We need clear and open dialogue, people continue to use because they like it.
You believe people like to use?
It all comes back to pain, they just want to feel good, to feel better. When I say people like it, what I mean is they like it in comparison to their own reality.
How do you feel about OD?
People spend a lot of time talking about things that are irrelevant and need to spend more time talking about things that make them uncomfortable. Communication equals success, happiness, and peace. I feel good about it, I was instantly turned on by the idea.