Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – The Addict in the Room

Name: Jade A Nacke

The Addict in the Room

Addict in the Room

I have been
surrounded by addiction my whole life and I never realized. My dad
has smoked cigarettes since before I was born. Compared to something
such as cocaine, which is a much more addictive substance than
nicotine, cigarettes are nothing. I thought he was the only person in
my family that participated in substance use. Once I got older, I
realized that my mother is an alcoholic but refuses to admit it and
that my sister (who is 19) is addicted to marijuana, as well as
alcohol. My parents have been divorced since I was in grade school, I
remember happy memories of my family together, all of us having our
weekly reading night, and I thought that all was well. As I grew up,
I learned that there were many problems just under the surface of our
happy family. My mom told me how much fun alcohol was and how she
would sneak over to our neighbors in the middle of the night to “get
wasted and smoke a bowl.” My mother is a partier, always has been,
and always will be. She moved away from my sister and I when we were
young, she was still in state, but she would drive 2 hours to pick us
up for the weekend. There were times when we didn’t see our mom for
months at a time. She would tell us that she couldn’t come to get
us because she didn’t have enough money for gas. Some years later,
my older sister found out that while this was true, it was because my
mom was spending her gas money on cocaine with her boyfriend at the
time. When I found out in middle school that my mother was a frequent
user of marijuana, I cried myself to sleep for a week. I was
concerned with the fact that it reflected on me, I was the winner of
the D.A.R.E essay contest in elementary school, and the fact that my
mother was participating in something that I was so against,
unsettled me.

My sister began
dating her current boyfriend while she was still in high school. He
would spend most, if not all, of his paychecks on marijuana. When my
sister started dating him, she had easy access to weed that she
didn’t need to sneak around my father in our house. She and her
boyfriend would sit around all day, not doing anything but smoke
marijuana all day. She smoked so much that her stomach started
producing excess stomach acid which caused many stomach ulcers and
she spent months in and out of the ER. Doctor after doctor told her
that she needed to detox in order to get better. She would get pain
meds, start to feel better, go home and then she would smoke again.
She refused to believe that the drug she loved so much, and needed to
function in her everyday life, was slowly killing her. My family in
Washington told her that they would not support her habit. She burned
bridges when she was here and became a completely new person, someone
that no one wanted to be around. My mom told her to move to Tennessee
(which is where my mom lives) so that my mom could take care of her.
While there, my sister detoxed from marijuana, but moved on to a new
substance… alcohol.

My mother has
always had a glass of wine with dinner since I can remember. It began
with a glass a night, then moved to two, then to three, eventually
she was drinking two to three bottles of wine a night and a bottle of
vodka on the weekend. When my sister moved in with my mom, she would
drink every night with her, they would call me drunk, claiming to
have the time of their life. When they would sober up, one would call
me wanting me to cheer them up. The cycle would repeat the next
night. One night my mother told my sister that the reason we would go
months without seeing her was because she was spending all her money
on cocaine every week and then on meth. My mother still doesn’t
know that I know. If marijuana was legal in Tennessee, I am
one-hundred percent sure that my mother would be smoking once again,
because it is not, she turns to alcohol to numb herself. My mother is
chasing happiness, and when she gets it, she destroys it because of
her addict personality. She lets too many people in and they always
end up hurting her and she never picks those who are dependable over
those who can show her a good time. I realized years ago that I am my
own person and that the only thing that reflects me as a person are
my actions.

My family has a
myriad of problems going on behind the curtain. I thought that family
defined who you were when you grew up, I now know that to be false.
My mother is an addict, always chasing happiness and never fully
grasping it. My sister is an addict, who hopefully can get the help
that she needs one day, and my dad is also an addict, but not as
severe as my sister and mother. I myself have tried different
addictive substances, and while I’m not proud of it, I know that
they do not and will never control my life. I can have a glass when I
am of age, but I will not let it become my personality and what I get
out of bed for in the morning. I am my own person and I can choose
not to chase happiness, but rather to welcome it with open arms when
it comes my way.