- DO NOT typically “moon” unsuspecting EMTs. During one particular 911 response, the friendly neighborhood ambulance squad attempted to assist a woman in her late 40s who, in the middle of an overdose, decided to use the restroom. There was a look of shock on one EMT’s face as the woman slowly toppled over herself, off of the toilet, and head first to the floor. That poor EMT had never seen (or probably ever will see) a “moon” so full.
- DO NOT lose their career and retirement because of possession charges. Those who have drug-related items often hide those items from family, bosses, and the police; maybe in the top dresser drawer, a locked file cabinet, or center-console of the car. Some get are very effective at hiding those things. Although, what if an emergency occurs in the middle of a high? There was an employee whose late 1800s home suddenly became filled with smoke. There was no time to be concerned with his stash. But, after the firefighters subdued the chimney fire in the old home, the cocaine “utensils” that were strung out on the living room coffee table were once again the most important items in the room.
- DO NOT usually have to explain to their children why they a booklet about drugs; one that looks similar to that of a 4-H or Scouts project book. A child around 8-10 years of age is going to have heard of addiction, police officers arresting drug users, drunk driving, etc. Unfortunately, childhood is no longer as innocent and sheltered as it once was. But at that age, most children are taught to think of people who do those things as the “bad guys”. It’s pretty difficult for an addict to explain to their child that they are one of those bad guys… A child’s trust is extremely difficult to regain when that child discovers their parent doesn’t follow their own rules.
- DO NOT feel failure when their child graduates high school. Every year, parents cry tears of joy over their child’s success and their feelings of pride. If you look closely enough, you can see which parents are crying because of shame. Graduations are not happy occasions for parents who were too stoned or drunk to support their child. It’s rather painful to see your child’s smiling face when receiving their diploma and know that you did nothing to help them achieve it.
- DO NOT mentally age 20 years faster than they should because of choices they made. Drugs really do kill brain cells and those dead brain cells don’t just make you forget the useless math you learned in high school. Substance abuse can cause you to lose short term memory as well. Nursing homes aren’t just homes for the elderly or physically disabled. Sometimes the residents are in their 40s and 50s. They’re there because they can’t remember what you just told them 10 minutes ago and they’re not safe to live without constant supervision. Not all nursing home residents needing memory or mental illness care developed a disease that causes mental damage. Some just decided that their addiction was worth more than their ability to live a normal, independent life.
- DO have a greater opportunity to become one of their child’s best friends. A mother at a bridal shop was expressing her excitement for her daughter’s wedding. When she went to try on her Mother-of-the-Bride gown, the daughter explained that her mother had always been there for her. “She’s the best mom any kid could have!” said the Bride. Later on the Bride revealed that she planned to surprise her mother on the wedding day. She had not chosen anyone to be her maid of honor so that when her father walked her down the aisle, she could give her bridal bouquet to her mother…her best friend.
- DO enjoy holidays with their happy family. The key here is the “happy family”. Winter time is packed with family get togethers and parties. When everyone is enjoying themselves without addiction, positive memories are made! Otherwise, the family members of an addicted person would be “babysitting” (and rather unhappy about it). It’s very difficult to hold a good conversation with someone when you’re monitoring another family member’s breathing while waiting on an ambulance. Overdoses ruin even the happiest moments.
- DO usually have more money for vacations! An addicted person spends an absolutely unreasonable amount of money on their substance of choice. Whether it’s cigarettes, alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs, etc., they all cost money and on an everyday basis. Vacations are much more positive and memorable than getting high. They’re stress free, you choose what you want to do, where to go, sleep in, stay up late; it’s freedom! What’s not to love about that?
- DO typically receive letters of gratitude and love at their child’s graduation. Graduation ceremonies often set aside time to acknowledge parents and loved ones who have supported the graduate throughout their schooling. Some high schools do this by having seniors write letters to their supporters that they give to them at the ceremony. The letters are given to people that the students hold closest to their hearts. Parents especially are thanked for the sleepless nights, help on projects, chauffeuring their child back and forth, and many other things that get overlooked in the day-to-day responsibilities of a parent. Parents who decide to use drugs instead of support their children, are not going to receive a thank you letter filled with sincerity.
- DO have a much better chance at developing reliable and trustworthy friendships. Good friends are hard to find and good friendships are even harder to keep when addiction controls your life. If you’re strung out on a high, you’re not going to able to pickup your friend if they’re car breaks down. If you’re more concerned about finding the closest bar after work, you’re probably not going to remember that you offered to help your friend paint their fence. If you’re looking for the next place to score some pills, you’re not going to be able to do anything after you realize that new dealer was actually an undercover cop.
The examples above are not stories written randomly; they’re true instances written from the memories of a young woman whose parents were both addicts to various drugs. The first five points were recalled from times during her parents’ addictions. The last five either occurred after one of her parents overcame their dependency or are the wishful thoughts of what could have been.
Parent or not, having an addiction does not only effect you. Everything you do, regardless of how alone you may feel, affects someone else around you.