My Addicted Father

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Silhouette of a man drinking alcohol

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. We asked teens to tell us who inspires them to stay away from illegal drugs. Here’s what one teen said. 

You probably haven't met my mother.

Or any of my teachers.

Or the friends I surround myself with.

And that's okay.

But you see, I've always grown up in a loving—albeit kind of tension-filled—household. I have a mother who’s strict, but loving, and a father who drinks and sometimes forgets my birthday, but I can feel his unconditional love for me as well.

I've always been surrounded by words like “Don't become like your father” and “Don't do drugs, kid!” And at first, it just seems like “yeah, yeah, whatever.” But when you have someone close to you abuse a substance like alcohol, everything just kind of clicks into perspective.

I've grown up with an alcoholic father. I remember thinking, when I was little, that everyone had a father that got drunk every night and left the lights and TV on late and woke up with eyes bloodshot and rimmed-red.

This was my norm.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, although I have an alcoholic father, I've never felt the pull of alcohol or drugs. Maybe it's been indoctrinated into me. Or maybe it's because of the people I've surrounded myself with and learned to trust with my issues: my teachers, my friends, and my mother. I see their lives and hear the stories about their misguided siblings or friends or parents, and I think, That's not who I want to become. I want to be like my mother, my teacher, my friends.

Maybe it's not always about you. Maybe it's about the people your heart decides to care about, about how they will be affected by your actions. Doing drugs is not a personal decision. It is a selfish one. So if you ever feel the urge, don't just think of yourself. Think of those around you.

Born and raised in Irving, Texas, the author of this post (who asked to remain anonymous)is a 9th grader who loves chick flicks, writing, and traveling, and finds that she is happiest surrounded by nature, immersed in a good book.

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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