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[ Opinion ] [ Personal Narratives ]

I’m not an addict, but I’ve lived the life of one.

I’ve always felt lucky that I never had to face the struggle of addiction. I’ve just been cursed with watching most of my loved ones battle with it. I lost my mother at the age of nine. My father raised me, he was the best dad in the world. Once I reached 18, he didn’t feel the need to hide his addiction from me. 

I watched the terrible drug they call meth turn my father into a person I didn’t even know. I walked by my sister’s side on her road to recovery. I went to AA and NA every week with her, just so I knew she didn’t feel alone. I learned so much in those meetings. I saw addicts differently after learning from addicts themselves. I watched my aunt go through every phase of addiction. From an occasional user to a regular user to a basically junkie to a recovering addict. 

I look back at my families history and I’m thankful yet regretful. I’m thankful God showed me the worst side of addiction. The day I didn’t even recognize my dad was the day I vowed to myself I would never touch a drug nor alcohol. I’m regretful I missed a year of my dad not being in my life, I’m thankful he got clean and got to meet my son before he passed away. I’m thankful my aunt went through every phase of addiction, so she knows how far she has came and the place she’ll never go back to. Addiction is easy for an addict, you get high and forget about the world. 

Addiction takes the worst toll on the families. They watch helplessly as the drug pulls you further and further away from them. They watch you become a stranger, a heartless stranger. They watch you go through recovery and all they can do is pray you never relapse. Then they usually watch you relapse, and it crushes them all over again. The only thing that helped me growing up was my Granny. Knowing that she dealt with addiction in her family and she never even picked up a cigarette, helped me to know that you don’t need drugs or alchoul. You need love and the power of prayer. And faith. A whole lot of faith. People say addictions come from environmental externalities and/or genetic predisposition. Coming from a person who grew up with a sibling in the same environment, it’s about perspective. My sister is a recovering addict and I’m a sober hardass. She felt that was all she knew, I felt that was the one thing I’ll never do.