September is National Recovery Month, and there is no better time to share personal stories of recovery and triumph over addiction. This story comes to us from 14 year old Antoinette Hastings, who wrote this essay because she felt called to share her personal experience on how having a parent with an addiction has effected her life and family. She felt this story could help to prevent others from feeling alone if they were going through the same thing, or help to reach someone who might also be slipping into the depths of addiction.
Why I Will Say No To Drugs and Alcohol
When I was little I lost my mom. I don’t mean that she died, I mean it in the most literal way possible. My mom was lost- searching for a happiness that my dad and I couldn’t give her and to find that happiness she turned to drugs. This is why I lived without my mom for the first half of my life. This is also why I will never use drugs.
It all started as a dare. My mom was a teenager and her friends had found a weed plant. That’s how it always starts, as something that seems fun. You never realize how not fun it is until you’ve gone too far. You can probably guess the rest of this story, she met an older guy and one thing led to the next and BAM there I was. My parents tried marriage but my mom's addiction drove them apart so my dad raised me on his own.
My whole life I have seen the things that drugs cause someone to do. They draw you in and suck away your soul until you’re just a walking corpse. I watched my mom slowly get the life drained out of her and every time I got a visit from her I didn’t realize how that visit could be my last. Since I was just a little kid I only saw how fun and beautiful my mom was, I didn’t see the terrors she represented.
Something I learned from my mom is that my whole family has addictive tendencies. On both her side and my dad’s, so I’m pretty much genetically screwed. But that’s not the only reason I refuse to do drugs. I remember all the pain that my mom's family and I were put through, wondering if we were ever going to get her back. I never want to put someone through that pain, I never want to break someone’s heart like that. I remember all the times that I lay on the ground crying for my mom. It’s hard growing up and not knowing who your mom really is, if she is even alive, if she really loves you. I still remember to this day how I held in my tears when someone asked about my mom. I remember how the kids would talk about my in hushed voices, saying that I would end up like my mom. I remember how it always felt like a part of my heart was off with my mom in whatever state she was in at the time. I remember how some of our family shunned my mom when she got better. I remember all the pain my mom’s past caused her, and I would never want that for myself, I could never want that for myself or anyone else.
So to this day I feel like I have a healthy fear of drugs. They ripped apart the normal I desperately craved, and I wasn’t even the one using them.
I want so much more for my future than my mom got. I want a college education, a job that I will love, and a family. I know that if I follow that path my dreams will be shattered, unreachable. So now that you know my story, now that you know my pain, now that you know my dreams, you have to understand… I will always say no to drugs.