An Open Letter to the Kids with Drug Addict Parents

An Open Letter to the Kids of Addicts,
I know, I have been there. Loving and covering for someone who was a drug addict. As you are reading this, I see you. I see you hiding out in your room and crying yourself to sleep. I see you hiding your parent’s problem so that you don’t make life even harder for them. I see you trying to save them, being on your best behavior because you believe it will somehow make them better. I even see you trying to harm yourself because you feel like you might be able to shock them out of their problem. I see you, because I was you.
I laid in bed at night, hungry but afraid to tell anyone that we had run out of food. I was there that night when we were finally promised food and waited up until midnight for one bag of fries to share between 8 kids. I listened as they laughed in the kitchen about how they almost forgot to buy it while buying more of whatever they were using. I was banished to another room for hours while my parent got high with her friends. I heard them sing along to music drunkenly and sometimes cry, convinced that they were misunderstood and needed the pills or the meth to feel better. That no one could possibly blame them. I remember wondering if that was true and trying to force myself to forgive her because it made it easier than holding onto all the pain.
I was in that room, trying to distract my sister while we were locked in a room until 4 pm. Hungry, but no cared because they were all passed out around the house and we were ignored. I walked in on stranger having sex in my bed and watched as my mom’s boyfriend punched my sister for trying to protect us. I felt awful as my older sister tried to be more adult than she should have because she had no other choice. I remember going into my mom’s room and shaking her awake, trying to tell her about school. Trying to impress her so that she would just look at me for once and see everything inside of me that was breaking. I remember thinking that I could force her to see and I watched as my hands sliced the inside of my arms. Making myself bleed to escape. Trying to make her see that I was disappearing and that it was her fault.
I see you. So I can tell you without a doubt that none of this is your fault. What is happening right now is unfair in the worst way. Parents have children and it’s ridiculous to have to expect them to do anything but right by us. We didn’t ask to be placed into one family or another. But we are given the situation regardless. I hear you. I hear you screaming back and being made promises that will be broken over and over. I get it, and you can’t change what happens. No matter what you do, the only time an addict changes is when they are ready. No one can force another person to be happy or to get healthy. But you do have the ability to chance how the rest of your life plays out.
Please, please tell someone what is going on. It might feel like the biggest betrayal of your life but you are the child. You aren’t supposed to have to save someone else, but you do need someone to save you. Tell someone you trust what is going on, tell them your fears, tell them the truth and don’t feel responsible. Be the change that you so desperately need in your life.
If it comes down to it, let yourself walk away. Put as much distance between you and the addiction as you can. Don’t let this define you. It’s never too late to start over and you deserve more. You are loved by so many people, just look around you and let yourself feel it. You are valued, you are cared for, you matter. I see you.

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