Fathers Day in the Family of Addiction

Holly Dye

Addiction, when introduced to a family becomes the manager and ruler of hearts, finances, and operations. Addiction begins for each in a variety of ways, but ends the same. In the middle, it becomes a means of coping—even survival. For the child of an addict, being normal is the elusive, somewhat impossible experience a family affected by drugs will aspire. The achievement of this state, like the drugs that rule the house, is one that may be more like the unicorn than residents would hope—impossible to find, but beautiful to dream. The drug home is filled with the chaos of emotion and violence that the ruler mandates. The addict is never happy enough, nothing is ever their fault, and everyone else in the house is there to meet the bottomless pit of their emotional needs require. Domestic violence is something familiar to each resident of this house. Money needed for food and clothes will pay the dope man. The business decision to sell drugs to keep money at home will only invite the violence of the drug world into the family home even deeper.

This description of a drug home is an undeniable fact. Drugs are the cancer of society and the most preventable of all types. Accessibility is the primary risk factor for early drug use among children. Children of addicts will test positive for the drug their parent uses in their presence. They will also test positive as they come in contact with residue covered surfaces.

This truth came to the forefront of my mind recently as a young father called to ask for help. An addict himself since middle childhood when his father introduced him to crack cocaine and marijuana, he wants to stop. A frequenter of a number of treatment facilities, this is the first time in his life he was choosing to attempt recovery for himself. A father himself, he had not realized the harm to his daughter. As a child, he was broken by the pain of his past. The scenarios he described are ones I have heard dozens upon dozens of times. The desire for a father leading to his vulnerability of being sexually abused, the pain of watching the physical battery of his mother leaving him wondering if she will survive; feeling less-than because he could not stop it. Does this also sound like your story? Is it one of someone you know? Most importantly, does this describe the life of a child currently praying for rescue?

It is time for each of us as individuals that make up communities and work in front line professionals to hear the unsaid and see the unseen. It is time for us to help children before they become an addict.

Most of all, men, you are in the position to change the course of your family for a lifetime if you choose. Staying clean and living in recovery is difficult in the short run, but rewarding for life. Addiction is making the easy decision on impulse and committing yourself and your family to a lifetime of suffering as a result.

There is help for you. There is also HOPE.

Please review the online treatment provider directory for Kentucky: http://mhmr.ky.gov/providerdirectory/onlineproviderdirectory.aspx

Holly Dye, Executive Director

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