This is What Life Is Like When Both Of Your Parents Have Addictions

waves on the beach
Alexey Marchenko

I write this as someone who has two addict parents who refuse to get help for themselves. I do not have parents who are getting help for their addiction, and are doing the best they can despite everything. I write this as someone who has a mom who is no longer in my life because she chose drugs over her daughters. She cut off communication and all involvement. I write this as someone whose father makes himself a mere ghost in my life, who isn’t supportive or involved in any of my goals or achievements. He never asks how my day went or how school or work is going, or how I’m doing with the task of planning my own wedding, something he should be happy about. Instead, he feels sorry for himself and ignores all the good that is in his life. He gets belligerently drunk at important life events, almost ruining those happy moments without even so much as an apology for doing so.

I write this trying to find peace of mind for myself and hopefully help others out there who may have experienced something similar. This is what life is like when through it all, you’re still grappling to realize how much of a toll your parents addiction problems and their refusal to get help has taken on you, your mind, and your heart:

You Feel Alone

Regardless of all those who do support you, you still feel alone. You feel like it’s just you against this crazy, fucked up world. You could really use a parent once in awhile for advice and support, or even just to know you can lean on them when life gets tough. But knowing you don’t have that on days when you need it most can make you feel like the loneliest person in the world.

You Feel Like Nobody Understands

You don’t know too many people who don’t have their parents in their lives. You see most of the people around you cherishing their parents and all they’ve done for them. You feel like everyone around you, despite any problems life may throw their way, can always lean on their parents no matter what. But you don’t have that and you never will. And when you want to cry about it or vent, you feel like nobody will ever understand what it really feels like.

You Always Feel Like Something’s Missing

It always feels like there’s this hole in your heart, a giant void that will never be able to be filled properly. While you’re so grateful for siblings and friends, and you truly don’t know where you’d be without them, it’s never the same as your parents. You seek out “replacement” parents in a lot of people, trying to find a different connection or bond that’ll maybe take the pain away, but you never exactly find what you’re looking for. When you have big news, you know you can’t call your parents or share this happiness with them. It just feels like a huge part of your life is missing.

The Good Memories Are Almost Painful

You hang on to the good memories for dear life. Any of those fleeting, happy memories you have, you try to cling to. You replay them in your head when you’re feeling down or angry, trying to make sense of it all. But in a way, these memories only cause more pain because you know life can never stay that way and will most likely never be.

You Learn How To Do Everything On Your Own

Everything is much more complicated because you don’t have a parent there to guide you or offer advice. You have to figure it out on your own. The only person you can depend on is yourself.

You’re Almost Too Responsible

Sometimes you get a little ahead of yourself and can forget how to let loose. You’re so used to always having to be the responsible one that sometimes you overdo it. You grew up to fast because you had to. You had to protect yourself and fight for happiness, making sure not to end up the way your parents did.

You Feel Helpless

You can’t make your parents want to get help for themselves, and you don’t know what else to do. When it all comes down to it, there really is nothing you can do. You just feel helpless.

You Feel Angry and Sad All At The Same Time

You have so much pent up anger from their actions and their unwillingness to seek help for themselves. But at the same time, you’re sad that this is the reality of it all. You’re sad they can’t see life the way you do. This alternate life you envision where they get the help they need, move on, and have a happy life with you in it. You feel so many different emotions about it all, and it varies day by day.

You Try Your Best To Accept The Way Things Are

You can’t change them or the way things are. You try your best to accept it, and some days you’re better at accepting the reality than other days. But it’s always a constant struggle to try and accept things the way they are because you wish in your heart things were different.

You Always Wonder How Different Life Would Be If You’re Parents Weren’t Addicts

It’s a sad, sad truth, but you always have these thoughts in the back of your mind – what if my parents weren’t addicts? What if they were in my life, what if they were involved and supportive? How different would I have turned out? What if I could share my happiness with them? What if I never had to worry about them doing something stupid or hurting themselves? How different would life be if they were just my parents, my role models? What kind of person would I be today?

I’m not a product of my past, and I certainly chose a different path than my parents did. I rose above it all, but I still carry all of this pain with me. Pain caused by my parents and their unwillingness to get the help they need and deserve. I wish them all the best. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I hope to help others by sharing my experiences through writing.

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