*This was written by a Ventura County young adult.
I’ve never really talked about it in depth for fear of hurting someone’s feelings by disregarding privacy in order to shed my own opinions on the topic of addiction.
Both my parents are drug addicts. There is no cure. Addiction is this always looming black hole that has repeatedly sucked me and those I care about in. We always get spit out the other side and when we finally feel stable again, someone drags us back in for whatever reason. For a long time as a child and young adult I truly felt like I was alone – that this only happened to my family, but it’s all true and common in this day and age to know a drug addict or alcoholic. Children are often the silent victims of addiction and commonly carry the wear and tear of their parents mistakes with them for their entire lives. I’ll say it again for the people in the back, children are ALWAYS AFFECTED. If you have an addiction problem and you think your child doesn’t know or you think it can’t affect them, it absolutely will. It has. It will. It won’t let up. It will ruin them as much as it ruins you.
I have seen my father with abscesses on his arms the size of my hands.
I have seen my mother spasm on the floor and scream while trying to detox at home.
I’ve had my mom punch me in the face for nine dollars at 1 in the morning.
My junior year of high school my Mom relapsed after 12 years clean. Teachers and other parents knew, but not a single Mandated Reporter around me did anything. I would play softball my senior year and other parents would drive me to the bar so I could pick her up and drive her home but no one batted an eye.
I have seen people I love become bewildered, rabid shells of themselves.
You know my harsh reality?
The fact that finding a parent dead from overdosing is a thing I have to live with.
It’s a terrible fact that being the child of a drug addict is like watching someone drown, but knowing that they can save themselves with something as simple as standing up and you just have to watch.
It’s like those dreams where you’re running but not fast enough.
I suffer from depression, anxiety, distrust, and nightmares that I can directly correlate to my parents drug addiction.
The damage you do to your children with your addiction is lifelong, and deeply rooted in who they become as a person.
They may forgive you, they may move 300 miles away but they will carry that rotted core you’ve caused within them throughout the entirety of their lives. Every path of their life is shadowed by you.
I humbly speak for all of us children when I say this, your addiction has already taken you from us after that it seeks out our own potential. Don’t let your mistakes crush the very existence we are built on. Don’t take our opportunities before they even have a chance. Don’t crush that part of us that’s innocent and happy.
Addiction never gave me anything but sadness, heartbreak, and suicidal thoughts and I’m not even an addict.
We children are fragile. Don’t break us just because you’re broken. We don’t deserve to die with you.