Every morning, after I get the kids from their rooms, come down stairs, make their sippy cups, get them their breakfast and change bums, I sit down as they are eating, and eat my breakfast. I check my news outlets via my smart phone, and then I check facebook (sometimes) and a mommy site of mine. It’s sort of my Hello, wake up, since I’ve had to cut down on coffee, being pregnant. =/ Oh, how I miss my morning coffee!
This morning, there was a post, “Drug Addicts…. are they ‘Scum‘ What do you think?” After reading this women’s post, she apparently had made another post prior to this one, talking about her drug addict daughter, and how she was arrested, and how the women on this site were so mean and ruthless about her daughter being scum. That the evening news was even worse about it, because her daughter was picked up during a sting operation.
I felt for this women, not because I felt the nasty replies were less than legit, but because I felt for her pain of losing someone you love to drugs. I sat for a minute or so, before I finally decided to reply, with my two cents.
My family has been riddled with drug abuse and addicts, (thankfully never myself, I watched it tear my family apart and nearly destroy some of my good friends, and I never wanted anything to do with it. I did however go through a time of heavily drinking; a short 6 month period of time.) My parents were into drugs when we were young children, I don’t remember when they started, all I know is it was the foundation of their demise, divorce and set the wheel in motion for our family to be shattered into pieces. Although my parents both EVENTUALLY cleaned up, it was not without consequences. The end result was we, the three of us children, aged out of the foster system. Our file had been deemed return to parent/s for the longest time. Then one day, suddenly it was changed, to “State Ward.” There would never be a chance again we’d be a family. In fact we all three went to separate state run group homes. By the time they changed our status to “State Ward” from return to parent, we were teens, no one wants to foster or adopt a teen, especially those with significant baggage. I fought long and hard for the three of us to be as close as possible and to remain in our schools we had grown up in, because I guess I just knew somehow that we needed some sort of familiarity with our chaotic life. We needed our family, which were our friends that became our family.
The three of us and our friends were all of our family we ever had, for the longest time. I kept my private life quiet. People who had known me my entire life, had NO idea what I was going through. I feared they would NEVER understand. See, our school, our home was in a “rich” area. We went to Garden Lakes Elem, which was considered a rich school, very charged in extra circulars, sports, and academics. After all I was on the advanced track. I just didn’t think that my “preppy” (as other schools claimed us to be), friends, classmates, peers could ever understand my deep dark secrets. They knew I lived with my grandparents for a long time, but they didn’t know about the abuse we endured, they didn’t know about the hell we were living through. They could never understand that I was working full time to support myself in my own apartment, they could never understand that I survived off of two to three hours of sleep, to make sure I finished all of my advanced course homework, after work, which was after track/cross country/band practice. They simply wouldn’t understand that I bought my furniture from Goodwill’s, and was sleeping on a little pull out cot. That I barely had enough food to sustain me. They would never understand that I lived on 83rd ave and almost McDowell, and I had to walk half a block to the bus stop at 430am, just to catch the bus, to take it to the Glendale Luke Link, so I could sprint another half a block to make it to the school bus stop by 6:45am, just to make it to school on time. There were no city bus systems that went anywhere near my school, when I was in high school. For two years, my Jr and Sr year, I lived through this. I was too poor for a car. I had no one to buy me a car. I felt jipped, my friends were getting their cars for their 16th birthday’s and having a blast just being high schoolers. I was barely making it. On occasion I went a week without electric living out of an ice cooler until I could pay the electric bill that pay day. I finally got an amazing job January of my senior year, and I finally was able to buy this junk car, I paid $500 for it, and it worked right up until the moment I could afford to finance my first car, then it literally blew up in my face. Only a few of my CLOSET friends knew ANY of this, they never dared to speak of my secrets. They never dared to mention why I left my home, my school, my friends/family for three months my freshman year, when CPS ripped us out of my grandparents home, because the abuse got worse, or how hard I fought to get back. They never pointed out my bruises, cracked ribs, bald spots on the back of my head from having being dragged by my hair, and so on. They knew my secret, but we never spoke of them, we just went on as business as usual.
Why do I divulge these terrible secrets that very few knew about me? Because the ball that rolled down the hill, that created this life for me, was set in motion by drugs, drug addicts. My life was ripped apart, I lost my childhood, even before what I just described, I lost my family, and I lost me for a while.
When I was 6, I had started 1st grade, no one was home to watch my siblings, and even at 6, I just couldn’t in good conscious, leave my siblings at home. I used to go to our backyard (We sublet ted a small apartment home on a farm property, that usually had no electricity) and pick a grapefruit, or an orange, and feed it to my siblings, before getting them cleaned and ready to take them to school with me. I would walk a mile with them to my school. Then I would hide them in the bathrooms, I swear the teacher must have thought I had a bad bladder or something, because I was checking on them as often as I could. I would sneak my lunch outside, behind the building and bring my siblings, and would feed us. Then back to hiding them in the bathroom until school was out. When we got home, I would find whatever I could in the house for us to eat for dinner. I did this until my brother was in kindergarten.
Why do I bring up these events? Because again, drugs made my parents forget they had three small children depending on them. We ate like royalty on the weekends my grandparents would show up and take us to their homes for the weekends. One weekend it was my moms parents, the next it was my dads mom and step dad, the following it was my dads dad and step mom, and on the fourth weekend, I would shamelessly call my aunt, or a grandparent and get them to come get us. I would sneak food home from their houses, so I could feed us. Once I walked all the way from 35th ave and Bethany from my moms house, to 83rd and Mcdowell, all night, with my two sleeping siblings in the wagon behind me, to my dads, who took us to my grandparents so we could eat, we had not eaten in two days. This is what drugs do to a family.
Honestly I can’t tell you why, at 5,6,7, and 8 years old that I did what my parents should have been doing. I’ve been told that if it were not for me, and thinking about my siblings, who were younger than me, then none of us would have made it out alive. A blessing and a curse. These stories, are not fairy tales, they are not stories, they are my life, they are true events, they really happened to me, us. I can’t change them, I try to ignore these memories and have even tried to completely forget about them, but I can’t.
So, when my sister started using drugs in grade school, I knew I had lost the battle. To her, it was easier to fall into that trap, than to fight out of it. I was wholly devastated when I learned she had gone to juvi the first time for drug possession. I tried and I tried to help her. I offered her a clean, nothing much, even had to share my bedroom with her again, apartment. She pulled a knife to my throat one day when I came home for lunch, because I asked her to move so I could get into the fridge for lunch. She was high and cleaning my title with a brush. I realized that day, that I could no longer help her. That the only way she was getting help, was if she wanted it, and she didn’t. I basically started to mourn the loss of my sister. Drugs, they change you, the people we used to know and love are not the same when they are doing drugs. My sweet, loving, giving, beautiful, Dr. Doolittle (female version) sister was a monster, that I no longer recognized. There was no hint of her left when she is on drugs.
I wanted NO part in that life, or lifestyle. I didn’t want to ruin my life, and be scumming for the rest of my life. I did the only thing I knew I had to do, I walked away from her, and I told her to never return until she was clean. I still sometimes mourn the loss of my sister, yes, she’s still here physically, in body, but her spirit, the person I knew and loved, isn’t here any longer, and hasn’t been for a long time. Truth is, she may never come back, not after over 10 years of heavy drug use. If my mother couldn’t convince her on her death bed to get clean, and I couldn’t convince her with her nephews, so she could be an aunt in their lives, then I’m afraid nothing will bring her back. For me, I know it’s not a question of IF I will get that call to identify her body, it’s a matter of WHEN. She has no desire to change, and I can’t help her or make her, until she does want to change. I can’t have that around my children, family or in my home though. So she knows she can’t come here. Things end up missing when she does, and that’s because she hawks it to get money to get high. She leaves for hours down the street to get high. I simply can’t have that filth here, not around MY INNOCENT children. They deserve a better life than I had. It might not be perfect, and they may not get everything they want, but they are loved, and every need is taken care of, and then some.
The last time I physically saw my sister, was this past Spring, she scared the living tar out of me. You could see every bone in her body. I was out working on homework for a class assignment. I figured since I was in the area, and had not heard from her since Christmas, that I would stop by briefly, just to see if she was still alive. When I pulled up, she excitedly wanted to show me something she had done. I had my camera on me, so I didn’t even think twice. Her druggie boyfriend, friends and her, had dug out under neath their mobile home and across the culd a sac to the drug lords house, a tunnel, and living space. It had “bedrooms”, a bathroom, a living room, a kitchen, rooms where the meth was being cooked, rooms where the weed was being grown. The entrance was in the shed out back, covered by a heavy tool box, that they built stairs down into, that they CARPETED! Yes, seriously! She was so proud of this! Yes, it was ALL underground! From their house to the drug lords house. She was so pleased with her self that she decorated it down there. WHO in their right mind does this? I was shocked, and I felt like it was going to cave in at any time. I wanted out of there fast.
I cried all the way home. My sister was truly gone now. THIS is what drugs do to people!!!!
A drug addict, IS NOT the person we remember them to be, and they never will, until THEY chose to clean up. This was not my sister. This was a monster, in my sisters body. We really have not spoken since then. She just barely found out that we moved and are expecting a third son. Still, it doesn’t phase her. She will end up dead or back in prison. I’m just waiting for that call. So yes, do I think drug addicts are scum? Yes, especially when they are using. Because drug addicts are not the same people they were before the drugs. You can’t even call them your loved one when they are using, because they simply are not. Drugs change people, and kill the person we love. There is nothing you can do to change that.
I do plan on one day to tell my children about my life, and how drugs affected me, who never touched a drug, and how it took their aunt from us, how it killed my aunt. I do plan on telling them how drugs destroyed our family, on all sides. I don’t know when that day will be, or what exactly I will tell them, but I do know that I will be honest about it, and I will tell them, that drugs don’t just ruin and destroy the person using, they ruin and destroy those who love them. That my wish for them, is that they never touch one single drug, that if a friend offers, that it’s not “uncool” to say no, and walk away, because they will thank their lucky stars when they are older.
I have several friends who made it through drug addiction, and are WONDERFUL people today that I LOVE so much. The difference between them, and my sister, or other drug addicts, is THEY chose to change. It was a choice they made. No one could make that choice for them.
Sadly, this is how I feel, and what I think, based off of my experiences. I pray everyday that the Lord heal my sister, and remove the monster holding her hostage, and I pray every day that she chooses to come clean, and change. One day I hope she makes the choice before its too late, because I would LOVE IT if my children could have their aunt. My heart hurts, because although my husband and I over compensate to give them everything they need and some of what they want, they are missing out on some family. They have three awesome Uncles on my husbands moms/step dads side who love and adore them, and are always there for them. However, their only biological aunt, is not in the picture, their uncle, my brother is out of state, and trying to get back to AZ. Their other aunts and uncles on my husbands dad and step moms side, don’t even know them, and they don’t know their aunts and uncles on that side. It’s complicated. But it breaks my heart. The size of a family isn’t what matters, it’s the quality of the family. Between my dad, husband, my husbands mom and step dad, and my husbands brothers on that side, including myself, they are a very loving and high quality family dynamic. That’s the most I can ask for, to give my sons, the life I never got to have growing up.
I was able to break the cycle my parents fell victim to, and I have brought myself a LONG way from where I was. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty, but I did it, I accomplished a lot! I’m so proud of where I came from and where I am today. However, that doesn’t change what I feel about drug addicts.