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It started with prescription pain medication. Sounds innocent, right? It was, at first. My parents had back problems. They found a doctor. Simple.
Now, ten years later, my mother prostitutes to get her fix. She robs people, family included. She lies, she steals, and she breaks my heart. I haven't spoken to her in months, maybe even a year. She’s forgotten about my younger brother. She is now divorced from my father. She rides a bike around town. She's only met one of her grandchildren.
My mother is and was open about her addiction. My father, on the other hand, is and was in denial about his addiction. If I brought this up to him, or if he reads this, I am doomed to be shunned.
They always said they would never be “junkies.” They would never use a needle. They had their pills and that would be it. My mother now carries at least one hypodermic needle on her person at all times. She shoots up in her neck now, due to every other vein in her body being blown. This isn't my mother, or at least, it shouldn't be.
Addiction has single-handedly ruined what I knew to be my family. I hate addiction with every fiber of my being. I wish addiction was in my imagination. I wish I was imagining that my parents were this way. I wish I never had to see them the way the are, and the way they will be.
I don't know my mother, and I barely know my father. I still talk to him frequently . It's easy with him. We have a “don't ask, don't tell” policy about his addiction. I know that isn't happy but it is so easy. He hides it so well that I almost forget—until I hear an ambulance, that is. My mind always jumps to the fear that that ambulance is picking up one of their lifeless bodies.
To think that this horrific lifestyle all started over a pill blows my mind.
To this day, I am afraid to take a Tylenol. I know that this is a different story, but in my mind, it's all the same. A drug is a drug is a drug.
My children barely know my parents. My son only remembers my mom's screaming. He remembers his mom having to take him from his grandpa on Christmas because he was nodding out. My son remembers the lights— the ambulance lights. My daughter doesn't know her grandma. She hasn't even met her. My daughter only slightly knows her grandpa. I don't want it to be this way. I want my children to go to their grandparents’ on the holidays. This isn't fair to them.
If someone would have told me this would have happened ten years ago, I would have laughed in their face. “You have no idea what you're talking about. You don't know my family. They will never do heroin. You're insane.”
The reason I am writing this story is to let someone know that they are not alone. Whether you are battling addiction yourself, or you know someone in an addiction, if we all come together and take a stand, addiction will not be swept under the rug. Addiction is a serious issue in our lives. Someone will always know someone with an addiction. That is, until we can come together and solve this problem together, even if it is one person at a time.
If you, or someone you know, has an addiction, please get help.