Name: Avery Watts
Addiction doesn’t add anything to your life. Addiction seeks to destroy everything and everyone in its path. It does not discriminate between mother and child, rich or poor. The trauma of addiction seeks to reinvent the cycle of destruction.
The history of addiction in my family most likely goes further than I know. My maternal great-grandmother, Rita*, struggled with alcoholism her whole life. My mom shares stories of how her grandmother was not loving or kind. She was constantly drinking and had very little room in her life for her grandchildren. Rita found acceptance and community with people who frequented her bar. Leaving her addiction would mean turning her back on her income and ‘community’.
My grandmother, Debbie* shares how her great grandmother was as a mom. She abandoned her teenage children, visiting weekly to drop off some cash and a few groceries. As a result, my grandmother did not finish high school in order to get a job to provide basic needs. My grandmother is in her sixties and has worked at jobs requiring physical labor her entire life. Debbie has also struggled with addiction throughout her life. Though her addiction did not lead her to neglect her own children, it has destroyed parts of her life. Debbie also found community in those that abused drugs as she did. They would often gather together to play cards and partake in their drugs of choice. Leaving this addiction would result in Debbie losing her community and having to face the trauma of her life without the temporary relief that addiction provided.
Debbie has two daughters, and my mom is one of them. My mom has always been different, a sensitive soul. As a mom, she is determined to break the cycle of addiction in our family. Though she has struggled with some trauma as a child, she sought therapy and trust in a higher power to help her through it. In hopes of a better life, my mom and dad brought us to another state to get a solid public-school education. They have had to raise us with very little help from family but have done a phenomenal job. I am not sure of all that my mom has endured as a child, but I am forever grateful for her tenacity to give us a better life.
Going forward, I am enrolled at Louisiana State University in the fall to study medicine. I know how important it is to find community in people that have the same goals in life that I do. I am determined to dedicate myself to helping others overcome their adversities and addictions.
*Names have been changed.