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Remembering to Remember




 

Today is my Step-Dad’s birthday and for anyone that has known me or my family for more than the last 6 years, may know that he was in my life from when my memories first began and until his ended.

Today, for him, I want to help spread the word and STOP THE STIGMA #stopthestigma surrounding drug addiction and substance abuse

We should not be ashamed that we are sick and NEED help. We should be proud that someone wants to try to get better. Even if it takes a lifetime

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AND PLEASE, THISSSS!!! To the parents out there – yes you! Don’t keep your kids away from other children who have parents that struggle – if your kids want to be their friends, allow it, and let them into your home and show them (and their parents for that matter) some friggen compassion! Don’t say “oh, she was trouble” (maybe, just think it?!) Cuz that sh*t hurts! And try to be as supportive as possible, cause maybe your kid is the ONLY friend they have, the ONLY safe place they can go when sh*t gets ugly, or the ONLY couch they can sit on when they just need a little break from all the chaos.

When they say it takes a village – it literally takes a village – and that doesn’t just mean when everyone is in good space and is healthy – it is in the dark times too!! Thank your parents for us for that when we needed a safe space – you know who you are! Chels, especially – yes I just named names

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Growing up in a home with a sick parent, you don’t necessarily realize what is “normal” and what isn’t. But, no matter what environment or circumstances you grow up in when you feel love – you just know it.

Just because someone has an addiction to a substance, does not mean that they don’t or cannot love their family.

Even though Dave struggled throughout my entire life with a debilitating addiction, as an adult, I can see and know the love that he shared with us, even though he couldn’t really love himself.

He was resilient, he was strong, he never showed any fear, and he would do anything to provide for his family. He loved hard and was so proud of his family, especially Michael, even embarrassingly so at times – he even loved and protected my friends as his own kids when we moved to Beamsville and was never a creep (which unfortunately wasn’t always the case with of our friends and acquaintances Dad’s we have known).

He was so much fun, he gave me my first cd player (& many after that), the sweetest JBL speakers with wires that reached to the backyard!! (it was a big deal when we were 16), and he even gave me my first j after he found out we were “experimenting”. He made us a porch to hang out in, let us have pool parties whenever we wanted, and convinced my Mom to let me have 25+ people inside the house (or maybe it was the other way around ) on any given night of the week.

But, with all the good times, came the bad and scary. When someone struggles with an active addiction and is trying to get healthy, there can be many dark days and some even darker ones.

As a child and adolescent, you just don’t get it (even if you think you know everything in the whole f*cking world). I’m 36 and I still don’t get it, but, can understand more now than when I was a teen (& young adult) what addiction is and how someone might come to suffer from it. Having a theoretical background (not just the life experience) in this field has given me the fortunate opportunity to come to understand what causes addiction, instead of focusing on the negative behaviours (that is being very PC) that are often symptomatic of active addiction. Unfortunately, I learned this when it was too late, my Step-Dad was gone and I missed the opportunity to honestly talk to him about drugs, alcohol, and addiction, instead of always placing blame.

As a child, you can easily fault your parent – or yourself – or everyone – for the struggles that they face, not knowing the depth of their pain and root of their trauma and adversities. As an adult, I TRY to understand human behaviour on a deeper level, to understand WHAT has happened to someone to cause their poor choices or harmful behaviours, and not to isolate the behaviour and allow myself to take the blame – because I can only control my own actions.

Has everything that my family and I have been through been perfect (or even close to it at times), simply stated, No. Am I the person I am today in part because of it, 100 f*cking percent.

I am a better person today because of what I have been through in the past, and for that I am grateful.

So, Here is to Dave on his Birthday and everyone who lost their battle. Say their name. Stop the stigma. #stopthestigma

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