From: joppa, Maryland
I Love You More
When I was a little girl, I would always end the conversation when talking with my mom or dad with “I love you more”. Why? Well for one it always made them smile, but for me it had a deeper meaning. Maybe from watching one to many sad tv shows or one to many sad movies but I was always scared something bad was going to happen. I always wanted “I love you more” to be the last thing I said to them, just in case. On January 29th, 2021, the last words I said to my father were “I love you more”. A few days later February 4th, 2021, my dad lost his almost lifelong battle with addiction.
I used to take pride in the close relationship I had with my dad. He took me to all my soccer games, taught me all my “that’s what she said jokes”, and helped me with boy problems, well he tried to at least but most importantly I called him my best friend. If I ever needed a shoulder to cry on, someone to rant to, or if I needed a good laugh I would always go to my dad, until about freshman year.
I always felt as if my mom was jealous of my relationship with my dad and because of that I felt that she was trying to take me away from him. Custody always changing from fifty percent of the time with both, to seventy thirty, eighty twenty, then just a hundred percent with my mom. I hated my her for this. Every day I would ask why my mom, “why won’t you let me see my dad, why?” She always, without fail brushed off my question and changed the subject. I suspected that my dad had used or was still using just by the way he would move his body, the way he could never keep a house, a job, or even a girlfriend. I knew that in the past he had multiple serious surgeries and I always wondered if he ever gave up the pain meds he used after those surgeries or if he switched to cheaper alternatives. However, I never gave into that curiosity, I would always shut out the thought as soon as it came to my head, because that’s not how I wanted to think of my dad. Freshman year the court ordered a hair follicle drug test for my dad to regain custody. Oddly enough my dad called me the night the results came back saying that the results were perfect and that he was so excited to see me. I went to my mom later that night furious, saying very hateful things and blaming my her for not letting me see him. She tried to calm me down and said we would talk about it tomorrow. I refused to accept that and begged to see the drug test. I was hysterical but reluctant, so she finally agreed to show me.
I should have listened to her. She sat me down and showed me a packet of papers, the results of the test. Heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, surplus amounts of prescribed oxycodone and oxycontin all on the first damn page. When I read that my mom watched firsthand as my world shattered. And to think that this all started with a snowboarding accident. Late that Wednesday night was the last time I talked to my dad for over a year. I didn’t want to be a part of his life anymore just to watch him slowly kill himself. Is that selfish? I used to think so. I also used to think I was a horrible daughter because that’s what my own sister told me. She told me I left him at the time where he needed me the most. Those words have never left my head. I still think about them today. But in a way, I think I gave my dad more time on earth because it pushed him to get some type of treatment and get clean for a couple months. In those couple months where he was clean, we became closer than ever and most importantly we had a healthy relationship. We were even picking out paint and room décor because I was going to move back in. It was nice…
Drug addiction is so much more than the constant back and forth with a drug and a drug user. Drug usage can tear apart families, friendships, careers and tear apart your reputation. In my experience society views individuals who are battling addiction as bad people, or people that cannot be trusted. Drug addiction in society is like a domino effect. If you have watched someone battle addiction you have watched their impact on society. Addiction can affect anyone, it doesn’t matter who you are, how rich you are or what color you are. What matters is figuring out why there is an addiction epidemic in the US and the plan to overcome it. In the United States most addictions stem from “experimenting” at social events as a teen and from doctors over prescribing opioids or other drugs to patients. Monitoring drug prescriptions could potentially help stop opioid addiction before it even starts. However once someone is already addicted to a drug it must be their choice to get sober and stay sober. Overcoming addiction is not an easy process at all, in fact only fifteen percent of drug users are successful in staying clean after addiction.
Anger, one of the five stages of grief is an emotion I felt a lot of when watching my dad battle addiction, however now that void in my heart that was filled with so much anger is now filled with forgiveness and joyful memories. Joyful memories I have with him not tainted or overwhelmed by bad memories because I forgave him. I made the decision to try to move on with life so I wouldn’t be constantly angry at something that would never change.