On 15.08.17 numbers were released that stated the number of deaths that were recorded due drugs in 2016. A bunch of numbers, the highest we’ve seen in a while apparently.
My mother fell under that count. On the 12th of April 2016, 10 days after my little boy’s 1st birthday, we lost her. No question was asked, we didn’t need to. She had battled her addiction with heroin for all my life. I knew it was how she would go and I knew it was how she went. But still, you never stop thinking about it.
As someone who isn’t an addict, it’s never something I will be able to understand fully. But I have seen her! I have seen that look of desperation in her face as she dragged me to houses at 4 in the morning searching for an escape from reality. I’ve seen the guilt wash over her face as she realised that yet again she has given in to the temptation that she so wished she could escape, the temptation that drove a promising young dancer to a life of crime and a life without her 5 children. I watched as she threw every piece of her life away, yet struggling and fighting so hard to try and pretend that she was ok. I watched as she cried herself to sleep every night from the harrowing reality of her addiction and her wish to be free from it. And yet there were times when I saw her thrive when she was herself again.
People wonder when they become themselves again why they go back. I remember my mum, doing so well drug-free and happy. Yet she was denied continual support. They wouldn’t move her out of the area where this temptation surrounded her, constantly belittled rather than praised for how far she had come. I saw workers visit her and their attitudes were full of their prejudice towards her. No one wanted to help her. She had come so far yet people who were supposed to help her tore her down and each time she would believe it would be different she ended up back at square one. It didn’t matter how many times you told her to prove them wrong or told her to seek help for depression, why would she when she already knew an escape?
The prejudice that surrounds addicts continues and will always continue until we realise that these are still people! People with families who love them. People with families who are longing to have them back.
My mother may have been an addict and she may now be a statistic but she will always be more than that to those who loved her. She was a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother and a friend. She had so many people who loved her. She was hilarious, she loved to dance, she loved fashion and makeup and being girly. She watched crappy reality tv and every time I went to visit she passed me a packet of wotsits which she always bought special because she knew they were my favourite. Every day she would comment some cheesy I love you on my pictures just because and the love she had for my son, her golden boy? Was truly indescribable.
See the person, not the addiction. It’s a struggle for them, it’s not always a choice.