Editor’s note: This story is a first person account by a Southmoreland student whose life was dramatically altered by her mother’s drug use. This is her story told in her own words. She submitted this story requesting her name not be published.
My mother had absentmindedly spent six plus years of our lives snorting, shooting up, popping pills instead of tending to her children as a normal mother would. In the grand scheme of it, did she really deserve my love?
I’ll start from the beginning. My siblings and I grew up in a marvelous house that sat atop endless mountains in another state, which was obviously outside the borders of dreary Pennsylvania. My father was never really around, for he was a truck driver and worked endless hours to support our family. On the contrary, my mother was a stay-at-home mom who cared for her three kids and shaped our unforgettable youth. She was the head of the PTA; she drove us to school most days; she kissed us every night. Needless to say, she was the depiction of the “perfect mom.”
For reasons still not clear to me, my mother and father divorced. Maybe it was his abusive nature or her cheating; there are two sides to every story. My mom and the kids moved to a large town, compared to our secluded lodge in the mountains. This move would ultimately be the end to all beginnings. She got “involved” with the neighbor down the street who was recognized all over town as the “pill popper,” yet she always claimed she was at “Carol’s house” or “Walmart” or any excuse she could formulate after my 53rd phone call.
I pray to God that no child has to experience that feeling of not knowing – not knowing if your mother will come home that night or be declared dead on the side of the road the following morning. That’s a feeling generally reserved for parents worrying about their children, not the other way around.
I honestly try to store these memories that tear me to pieces and keep them to myself. Yet I also feel as if God wants me to share my story with the world.
Our new home quickly lost its warmth and any hope it once had. Progressively things got worse for my siblings and me. Various electronics, tools, money, Wii games, and more just continually kept disappearing, and my mom blamed it on all of her failed relationships. Every man she dated after my father left must have taken our stuff “to get back at” her. That’s logical, right?
Any birthday money, Christmas money, Easter money that was sent to us ended up straight in my mother’s greedy hands. At 12 years old, I tried to hide any money I received under my bed, in picture frames, in clothes pockets, and even in my Bible, yet it all vanished within a day or two. When we confronted her about where our money went, she would either deny taking it or say her famous words: “I’ll pay you back.” God, have I heard that a million times.
When she raided our rooms for any cash while we were at school, we would come home to find only pennies left in the hiding locations. She couldn’t take it all, right?
Along with stealing money, brand new clothes always vanished as well. For instance, when I was 14 years old, I went shopping with my older sister and bought a pretty black dress for a wedding I planned to attend in the spring. It was merely $100 for this dress that stole my heart – the same dress that I refused to take the tag off of because I wanted to keep it as new as possible up until the wedding day. My first mistake would be going home and showing it off to my mother, who told me I looked “Beautiful. Just beautiful.” Needless to say, a week before the wedding I went to retrieve it from the closet to try it on one last time before the big day. It was gone. My mom had returned it to the store only to take my $100 yet again, likely to buy drugs.
People may be curious as to why I never asked for help from family or told a single soul about my problems at home that went on for six plus years. To this day, I can’t really explain why. I just know that she filled our heads with endless falsehoods: Our family would only be mad at us; the entire family already hates her; this will only make it worse; if you tell your father what is going on, he will only be mad at you kids.
As I briefly touch upon my experiences of being the daughter of an addict, I wish to bring up the topic of lying. From the time she started using to this very day, lying has evolved into a “false” truth. Every day we had to cover up her mistakes with our lies. If anyone called us kids asking where she was or what she was doing, we immediately said what she wanted. More recently, we were evicted from that same desolate house which I described earlier. When the policeman came to the door in search for my mom, she’d tell us to say we weren’t sure where she went. That ironically was true.
One day, the officer finally arrived at just the right time. We were all sitting on the porch when he handed her the letter. Our home was being sold and we had a month to get out. My siblings and I sobbed endlessly. We literally had nowhere to go, no one to call, no hope left. My mom was too doped up to even get off the couch and help us kids.
Please, never tell me that “I’m just a kid.” I’ve been living the life of an adult for years. It was now time for me to find a home for my siblings and me. My mother was no longer capable of providing a home for us, and my father was no longer in the picture.
What happens when parents choose drugs over their children? The child immediately loses their naïve perception of the world. They are forced to switch roles with the parent. I couldn’t tell you how many times I would call and text my mother asking when she’d be home and what she was doing and why she was always sleeping. I could leave the house for a week and the situation never changed.
The child learns he or she is the one who has to carry the family. When my sister turned 16, she instantly got a job and constantly “lent” money to my mother to pay the bills. My sister made sure that my brother and I always had a ride to wherever we had to go. She brought us out to eat on the nights when my mom was too high to function or the times she used her food stamps on everything but food.
I haven’t talked to my mother in two months. I decided enough was enough. She no longer calls to ask for money. I have totally deleted her out of my life. Surprisingly, I don’t miss her nor do I ever want to come into contact with her again. My brother and sister occasionally talk to her but I won’t.
Why would I?
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