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A heavy burden to bear
Growing up with someone close to you, someone you love deeply, being addicted is a very heavy burden to bear and it has consequences. One of the consequences is an ocean of different feelings and emotions; anger, pain, loneliness, frustration, shame to name but a few.
All the feelings known to human beings are experienced – over and over again.
As time goes by you will learn how to deal with these emotions however some are easier to handle than others. As a child of an addicted parent that one feeling in particular that has stuck with me though I am now adult, and have dealt with everything that happened in my childhood is – shame!
It is the one emotion which hits me again and again like a boomerang and has been stuck with me since what seems like forever.
Thinking back on my childhood and teenage years I do not remember speaking out to many people about my mother’s addiction though I am convinced that everybody knew what was going on – I mean, it isn’t rocket science.
Even IF someone reached out and tried to approach this subject it is so much easier to find some lame excuse for not talking about it as it, at least for me, made me feel abnormal. Not only is this subject very “touchy” and emotional, but why would you trust someone and let them in on your deepest and most secret thoughts when you, most likely, have learned to be extremely careful with whom you trust? I mean, when the person in your life who should’ve been your rock, your guide, friend and savior fails you so miserable (and it might seem harsh and heartless but this is the feeling I was left with and I am rather convinced that I am not the only one with this perspective) then why would you ever trust anyone again?
What we carry inside…
I will tell you why – because parents are only humans too and the remarkable thing about human beings is that we are all different. However, the feelings we carry inside are somewhat the same.
We are all ashamed of something, afraid of something, love something (or someone if you prefer) and I could go on forever.
The point I am trying to make is, that what does not kill you will makes you stronger however dark the future might seem and however much you feel like you’re drowning in the ocean of all these emotions. And, all these thoughts and emotions in your head might very well be harmful to you if you do not share them.
Finding it hard to cope?
Letting others know
Whatever feelings you have inside are normal – and in order to trust again, handle these emotions and benefit from this very unfortunate and difficult situation you are in or have been in, with having someone close to you who is or has been an addict, you need to share.
I promise you, scouts honor, you will feel better and soon come to realise, that you are not alone.
If you know an adult who you feel comfortable with perhaps a relative, or a friend who you know you trust, then they would be the first ones to talk to. It may be more comfortable because you know that these are people who care about you, and they are more likely to want to help.
It's not your fault
The first thing you must know is that it is not your fault. It is NOT your fault, you are not to blame. That is a really important point to know, and it is so powerful because it is the truth. Living with an addicted parent is living with something that unfortunately, you have no control over…which makes the situation that much harder to live with.
Am I safe around an addict?
It is important to contact someone straight away if at any time you are in real danger, whether you contact a helpline or relative or friend. Do not stay in a dangerous environment, because everyone has the right to live in a safe environment.
You didn't casue it, you can't control it
Even though you don’t have control over your parent’s addiction, you still do have control over your own life, and this is something to remember. Making time for yourself to do something you love which makes you happy; like writing, drawing, listening to music or something active like running or karate can all really help. You also mustn’t feel guilty or bad for enjoying yourself, because you are entitled to be happy…even if others aren’t at the moment. Giving yourself time to be happy will really lift your spirits and help you to cope.
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