I’m not even sure where to begin. Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been surrounded by various degrees of addiction my entire life. Personally, i am not an addict (was terrified to touch addictive substances but weed and mushrooms were fair game. I’m also epileptic and cannot drink. Which is an actual blessing). My mother is a high functioning alcoholic, and has been so for almost 20 years. Her drinking began after I became an adult. She was severely sexually abused by family members as a child, and I think that was the longest she could hold out.
The day I was born, my father wasn’t there. He was at a Hell’s Angels party, high on acid. That would prove to wake him up a bit to his shit habits. My father tried, but he was a fairly functioning alcoholic my entire childhood. He got sober after his divorce from my mom when I was a teen, but through a series of accidents, became addicted to percocet/oxy. Between 3-6pm I knew not to call him because he’d be high and have the nods. He forgot my birthday three years in a row. The absolute fucking crazy part is he was the better of my two parents. I love my dad so much. He really tried his best. We’d have deep heart to hearts. Deeeeeeeeeeeeep. He Stayed with me for days in the hospital after my ectopic pregnancy. Not using, because he knew I needed him. You could see how torn he was between the pill and being a parent. He was always so proud that I never got into that shit. My brother wasn’t so lucky. He’s 6 years younger than me and had a violent alcohol and cocaine problem. He’s been shot at multiple times. (Never took any bullets, thank God. But we are from the same town as Silverstein, and that shit doesn’t happen unless you look for it).
My brother reached his breaking point March of 2020. He wanted to get sober but no one would help. My husband and I took him and his dog into our home with our then, two and a half year old son. My brother did get sober and has remained sober. However, he has not received therapy. As I’m sure you can imagine, he isn’t aware of how his addiction hurt others and the way he has to earn trust back. He may not use, but his behaviors are still that of an addict, so we had to ask him to find his own place and we have had no contact ever since.
The one thing that was carrying me through was knowing my brother and father were finally talking. However, my father succumbed to his addiction on January 9th 2022. He was 67. And it’s been a whirlwind of unpacking. I used to view my father as my hero. But there was so much I was willing to ignore. So so much. And it’s opened my eyes to how many other adult-figures in my life have been addicts. My aunts and uncles are all alcoholics. Growing up, I was what we now call a “pick me girl.” And while it took my autistic ass a while to understand what that meant, I get it now. Everyone who was supposed to protect me, picked substance over their child. Even my husband of 10 years just disclosed to me he believes he’s an alcoholic. THANKFULLY he hasn’t had a drop in 5 years and is working his ASS OFF to be the best sober version of himself… but man.
The struggle of this environment… it’s a lot to over come. I’m terrified to let someone love me. I remember when you guys released “Sentry the Defiant.” The impact that had on my well being… I swear I can tangibly feel the way addiction has hit your band and the way it rings through the songs and music. I was a pick me girl because I so desperately wanted to be chosen over a substance. I’m in as much therapy as I can afford (which means months to year long breaks) but I’ve done an INCREDIBLE job (if I do say so myself) at building real friends who truly support me and are willing to help me grow into the human I’ve always wanted to be. I just had zero adults who could help. It’s been fucking hard as shit, but I’m proud that I never gave up. Ever. And I owe your music a big thank you for giving me the courage to always move forward, no matter how scary things may be. I am capable. I am worthy. I am loved. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
Wishing you and your families all the best. The work you’re doing is changing lives.