Monday, April 1, 2013


I know I've mentioned addiction before, I don't remember how detailed I've gotten, but I think I've glossed over it mostly.  But it's been on my mind a lot lately.  I have fears about addiction, not for myself, but for my little miracles.

See, addiction runs in families.  It's actually in the genes and hereditary.  There have been studies on it, although I don't plan on citing them or anything, after all, it's a blog not a research paper :-)

Anyways, I've got it in scores.  Both of my grandfathers were alcoholics.  Both of my brothers are alcoholics and drug addicts.  My father is a drug addict.  I am a recovered drug addict.  And that's just as far back as I know, I have no idea about my great-grandparents or back further.  So you can probably see where my fears come from, a long line of addicts with a gene tucked away in there somewhere.

Sometimes I do wish I had made different decisions. I don't regret the choices I made, or the life I lived during that time of my life.  It made me who I am, and I actually like the person I've become.  But looking back I wonder if I might be living a different dream if I had made some different choices.  But that thought scares me too, I LOVE my life, I wouldn't want anything different in terms of my husband and children.  It would have been interesting to see what career path I would have chosen, but that's the only thing I'd be interested in.

Don't get me wrong, I actually have good memories from those years.  Some good memories.  But I also have bad memories, some scary memories, and entire blanks hidden away in there.  I have a few friends that date back to before those years, and they will tell stories, of me, during that time and I will look at them like they're talking about a complete stranger.  It's not like it strikes a chord and you think to yourself that you kind of remember that happening, it's not there, at all.  You assume she is talking about someone else, or a book she read, but that's not the case.  She remembers it clear as day, but the memories have been erased, dashed out by the drug riddled days.

I had this friend that I met my senior year in HS.  She was a Freshman.  We were in band together, and I was a group lead, and she was in my group.  I was supposed to be someone that she could look up to.  We became fast friends, having some of the same 'issues' and (lack of) feelings of self worth.  I was ocean deep in my addiction by then.  She was fresh and young and naive.  One day I agreed to let her party with me, and she found that she couldn't stand the lack of control.  She freaked out and swore she'd never touch drugs again.  I'm glad that she made the decision.  But it was really hard when by the end of the year she told me that she could no longer watch me waltz my way down the path to self destruction.  That if I continued to partake then she was going to walk away from our friendship.  She felt it was easier and better for her to lose the one person that she felt really understood her, then to watch me continue doing what I was doing.

I watched her walk away, sad that she was doing so, but in my haze wished her good riddance.  I don't know where she is today, nor do I know how she is.

When I think back to the person that I was, it scares me that my children could follow in those footsteps.  I remember the nights of partying so hard that I don't know how I made it home.  That I wouldn't remember the night, that I honestly thought I was dying.  I remember the suicidal thoughts, the 'friends' that would save me when I was having a particularly rough night, simply to take me out and feed the demons with more drugs.

I remember closing myself in a tent because I was so paranoid and scared of the world around me that I honestly could not leave.  It was a crippling fear like I've never felt before.  I remember locking myself in a bathroom and sitting on the rug in the middle because I was so afraid to step on the tiles.  I was locked in there for hours before I was able to be talked down enough to gain the strength to reach across the 2 feet to the door and unlock it.  They had to carry me out and then put me on the phone with the one person that could pull me down from those heights.  That person took on everyone's demons, and never managed to deal with her own.  She committed suicide a couple of years later.

I managed to pull myself out of the depths of this addiction, with help of some very good people in my life, along with the NEED to make something of myself, to be more than what my father and brothers ever became.

These are the memories that haunt me, that make me so afraid for my children.  What if they fall prey to drugs, or alcohol?  What if they don't have it in them to dig their way out of those trenches?  My brother is still there, and has been for around 20 years.  He's a wreck of an adult, living on peoples couches, jumping from state to state.  Everything he owns fitting in a hiking bag that he uses when he's hitching from one town to the next.  He was once a boy with a high IQ, and now only lives through books.

I worry.  I know part of it is the environment.  I was surrounded by it, I remember watching my dad roll joints when I was growing up.  Then my brother started in.  It was all around me, it seemed like the thing to do.  I was lucky, not only that I got out, but that I got out with minimal scars.  Not everyone is that lucky.  And I know that our children will not be around it in a home environment.

But I still worry, with all my heart and soul and being.  I am scared, scared that they will walk down that same path, fight those same demons that almost lost me to the world, the same way they stole other family members.  I do not want that for them, I want better for them.  It's a tough tough road, pitted with holes and snakes and hidden obstacles, and I hope and pray that they never walk down it.


  1. How I love this honest post, Emms. My father is an alcoholic (and hell if I know what else he's addicted to, but I'm sure there's more than just alcohol). My grandfather was an alcoholic. I've got the genes, too. What I know is this - yes, genes are part of who we are. But they're aren't the totality of who we are. I'm grateful my parents divorced and I wasn't subjected to daily addiction. I know my life would look so different now. In the whole nature versus nurture debate. I come down firmly on the side of nurture. Nature may be who we start as, but nurture plays at least as strong a role.

  2. I agree, it takes a lot to be so honest and open. The fact that you are so aware and thoughtful about this, is a huge benefit to your kids. I know it's not exactly the same, but I think a lot about passing down medical conditions to my girls. Birdies heart condition and possible thyroid condition came from me. I worry that they both might have PCOS like me. There are so many things we can pass on to our kids that we have no control over. My parents almost didn't have kids because they worried about passing along their medical conditions. I'm certainly glad that they did. But I understand your worry. I worry all the time about the things i know that could hurt my girls, and the things I don't know that could hurt my girls. This is something you know about though, something you can be prepared for and can prepare your little ones for. And the fact that they have you, already puts them in a better place then you were. I'm sleep deprived and rambling, but I hope that made sense. Either way, I'm thinking of you and hope the worry eases somehow. Although I feel like with parenthood, that's a hard thing to accomplish.

  3. My family is full of addicts, too. It became an open conversation with my son from a fairly early age. My brother went through a few years of hell so we couldn't see him. I never bashed him to my son, but kept it honest. "Your family has a hard time maintaining control of some things that others don't struggle so much with" (or something along those lines) helped get the point across. In all honesty, it was probably a lot easier to address as a single mom than it will be now that Tom and I have the girls. In my son's case, I could say it comes from both sides. For the girls, it's just mine. Tom's family is so "girl next door" (um, you know what I mean, right?!), whereas I was raised by bikers. I don't want the girls to think less of my side OR leave them unprepared. Tricky.