Name: Pauline Sanchez
From: Kearny, Arizona
The Horrors of addiction
The Horrors of Addiction
At ten years old my carefree childhood was over I had to grow up very quickly. First, it started when my little sister Deborah came. I thought I was going to be a normal big sister, play with her, love on her, and help my mom out when she asked me too. But I was so wrong about that. I learned fast that I didn’t have a normal happy family and I wasn’t going to be a normal carefree kid. My grandparents became my parents for some time then I became a parent to my four sisters. Addiction had a tremendous effect on my life.
All I ever wanted was a normal childhood but my mother’s addiction to drugs and my father’s addiction to alcohol made sure that I didn’t get to have a childhood. It was awhile before I found out about my mom’s addiction she hid it from the rest of us very well. One day someone in the family let it slip my mom was addicted to pills. Of course, I didn’t believe it at first, I did everything I could not to believe it. Unfortunately, it all made sense now why my mom always acted a little different and would sleep all day or suddenly get angry or way to happy just plain moody. Then there were days my mom hardly woke up I had to stay awake all night to make sure she was still breathing. This was all confirmed one day when I found multiple bottles of pills hidden in her drawer.
Fast forward two years I found out I was going to have another sister her name was Jenica. I was so angry with my mom. How could she be ok with having another child when she wasn’t even the one caring for the two she had now? I was tired of having to deal with everything I didn’t think I could take much more of it. I told my tata one day about what was happening and all I remember is how angry my mom was with me because I told him. She screamed at me I am to never repeat what happens in our house is our business. Every time I stayed by her side making sure she was still alive she could care less. She still did drugs after all the times I made sure she wasn’t beaten by my father. She still stayed with him and kept having kids.
My mom was a master at manipulation I didn’t know it at first but as more time when on after I found out about her addiction. I could see how good she was at lying and manipulating a person there were countless times she seemed so genuine when it was all a lie. The day I found all her pills I was so angry with her. After I found them I confronted her, and she tried to act clueless like she didn’t know what I was talking about. Then, she tried to act like it wasn’t a big deal and I was the one overreacting. She was good at manipulating me she had a way with words.
At one point I had to leave home because I got into a fight with my father I told him how horrible he was, and he told me to leave his house. I looked at my mom hoping she would finally say something, but I was wrong. She said nothing, and it was like a slap to the face after everything I’ve done for her I went to pack my things. While I was gone nothing changed, it got a lot worse. My mom ended up with a broken jaw and her drug problem was worse. I came back home after my mom begged me too. She gave me all the right lies. She was sorry, she would stop everything, and she would leave my father. I had heard all this before, but I was desperate for my mom back. I wanted to hate my mom after everything she had put me and my sister through. I tried so hard to be done with her countless times even when she begged me to be done with her I couldn’t do it.
I was always taking care of my sisters from the very beginning it got to the point where I was missing a lot of school and at first, I was only in 6th grade. When I was able to show up to school everyone would be surprised to see me. My teacher at the time told me I was like a part time student because I was never there. Almost two years later my second sister Alyssa comes. By this time, me and my other sister were always together I made sure she got to school, and homework was done and anything else she needed I made sure she got it. I felt so much guilt because I wasn’t happy about having another sister. I knew I would be raising another sister and miss even more school.
At 15 I was caring for two sisters I was stressed all the time and I always felt sad, angry and I hardly slept. By this time, I had gotten pretty good at caring for these little people that depended on me. I had missed so much school that I was almost going to be held back in school. I didn’t feel like myself anymore I was angry all the time and I hated it. The days I made it to school I couldn’t enjoy being with friends at all. I had become this person who was always either angry or sad all the time. At time I felt like just having a break down and crying but I knew I couldn’t do that. So, when I was around people I pretend to be happy and got really good at the fake smile.
My father’s addiction is the one I knew about since I was little. He was a useless man who was nothing but an angry drunk. I don’t have many good memories of my father because he was in prison till I was 10. I thought many times him and I would finally get a father daughter relationship, but it never happened. Sadly, he was too busy drinking all the time. Whenever I saw my father drinking I knew I wasn’t going to be getting any sleep that night because when he was drinking he turned angry, and when that happened I had to protect my mom. To this day I will never understand why my mom is still with my father when he is nothing but a drunk.
Unfortunately, his target was always my mom. I can’t count how many times I had to stand in front of my mom, follow her wherever she went so my father couldn’t get to her, and sleep with her so he wouldn’t go near her. Every time I did this It took everything in me to not panic I told myself “if you panic you won’t be able to protect mom he will hurt her you can’t let that happen.” Time after time I did this even when sometimes the anxiety was so bad it felt like there was so much weight on my chest that I couldn’t breathe.
One night finally changed everything my father was drunk and angry breaking things in the house. This was the first time I couldn’t calm him down he wouldn’t stop he was so angry that night was the first time I feared him. I got all of us out of the house and away from him and my mom took us to her friend who was also an addict. This friend always had pills on hand I knew that why we were there. The next day I set my plan in motion I couldn’t take this hectic life anymore my number one priority was to keep my sisters safe. I told my tata what happened that night and that I didn’t think my sisters and myself were safe with parents. That same day he went to court and got temporary custody of me and my sisters. This started two long years of being in court rooms and dealing with unwanted people such as lawyers, caseworkers and counselors. Who had control over my life now and wanted to know my story it was hard enough living it I was determined not to re-live it anyway possible.
Addiction tore apart my family my sisters and myself were put into foster care with my grandparents. It really hurt my sisters to be taken from my mom and not able to see her anymore they were to young to understand. I don’t speak to my father anymore there is no fixing our relationship. I barley spoke to my mom for two years are relationship was so broken I didn’t think we could repair it at all. My mom and I are talking again but we aren’t nearly as close as we use to be I don’t think we will ever be that close again.
My parent’s addiction has had a lasting effect on me. Now because of dealing with my fathers anger while he was drunk. Whenever, I see someone drinking I get anxiety because then it makes me remember everything that happened when my father was drunk. Next, for a long time I couldn’t be around people if they were fighting it would trigger my anxiety and I would have a panic attack. After being lied to and hurt both parent’s multiple times it is difficult for me to let me guard down and trust people. Also, I can’t open up to people about how I feel i hate talking about any type of emotion. Every time I showed any type of emotion to my mom she would say I was overreacting or I was sensitive, and however I was feeling was just brushed off like it was nothing, so I stopped showing emotion.
Now there are only three people in my life that I speak to about how I feel I took me years to be able to do this. One of my friends who now knows everything about my life barley learned about everything about a year ago. She learned that I trust her enough to talking about my feelings and be vulnerable in front of her. But if she wants me to know how I am really feeling she has to bring it up and ask me because I am so use to not talking about it and hiding it I cant just start talking about it on my own. Lastly, my parents have had a pattern over the years of doing really well then, they fall back into their addictions and it goes on like that. Now because of this I don’t want kids I feel like I always need to have room in my life for my four sisters if anything were to happen to my mom. I also don’t want kids now because instead of having a childhood I ended up raising my four sisters, so I feel like I have had four kids already.
Every day I wish I could’ve just had normal parents then I wouldn’t have had to deal with the life I did. I had good years with it just being my mom and I but that only lasted till I was ten. Then, I went to being this person that was either angry or sad all the time and I hated it I wanted to feel something else so badly. Now because of dealing with their addictions I can’t open up to people, I don’t want kids, emotions make me uncomfortable. Even when someone tries to hug me it makes me uncomfortable. Now I don’t sleep as much as I should because I’m use to not sleeping I couldn’t because of the nightmares. All these things have also made it difficult to have a relationship with someone.
I still deal with trying to let go of my anger towards my parents I know its not good for me to hold on to it. But it’s difficult when because of them I lost a childhood and have to deal with all these issues now. One thing I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop being angry about is that my mom barley remembers everything that happened. When I would give anything to be able to forget everything that has happened.
Lastly, I believe us as nation is dealing with an addiction crisis because literally addiction is in everything that we do and there are so many different things we can become addicted to it’s not only drugs it can be alcohol, food binging or smoking it can literally almost be anything and we all need to be careful. I am not really sure how we could fix the crisis of addiction it would take a lot to fully get rid of the addiction crisis in my own personal life I’ve only dealt with drugs and alcohol as a addiction I know someone could be addicted to something completely different and I not know it because when we think addiction it’s automatically thinking of drugs I know that’s how it is for me at least. Also, the consequences of addiction as an individual can be brutal. For example, my parents lost their kids for also three years and both parents lost their jobs as well and it can impact a society in so many ways it is so bad to were we have to call it a crisis and we have to come up with these ways to help people get clean and back on their feet.