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Before My Own Addiction, I Was Trying to Understand My Father’s

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Editor's Note

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction, the following post could be triggering. You can contact SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

Years before I would have my first taste of addiction, I was trying to understand it through my father’s.

My father was a doctor who had the unfortunate combination of an anxiety disorder and unlimited access to medication.

His affliction was not apparent to me until I reached my early teenage years. The rapid change in moods, the slurring, the binge eating, all the undeniable signs I could no longer deny. It became my mission to fix my father of his addiction.
Believing that finding his drugs and catching him would change his behavior, I went on to follow his every move. Unfortunately, until one understands the reasons why one suffers addictions, they can’t begin to help them.

After years of more and more drugs, disappointment, and disintegration, my father went away to get clean. I believed this was the cure and life would become calm again. Several weeks later, my father returned home and all was beautiful. To celebrate, we went on a family vacation. In disbelief, I witnessed disturbing behavior bubble up. I thought he was cured, and could not comprehend in my adolescent mind, why he would do what he was doing. Later that day, I found the telltale amber prescription bottle under his driver’s seat of his car. It was one of his favorite hiding spots. This was the first time I felt hopelessness and helplessness.

Additional rehabilitation could not alleviate his struggle, and he died by suicide.

Years of pain followed trying to understand the why. Here was a man who appeared to have everything: a fantastic job as a doctor, looks, brains, financial security, family, friends.

My struggles led me on a direct path to my father’s misfortune, and I was now the addict. Debilitated by anxiety, I could no longer function in life. The medication started out with doctors prescribing it to me for anxiety and quickly spiraled out of control.

Years later and after many life lesions, I have been blessed to go further than my father in life. I was able to understand the pain and struggle that brings one to addition and the need for medication. I was also to able to gain the necessary insight to overcome my anxiety and poor coping skills, ridding myself of the need to numb life’s feelings.

Getty image by finwal

Originally published: November 11, 2021
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