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Trauma in Childhood Can Lead to Drug Addiction


Family TraumaThe trauma I faced in my childhood most certainly negatively affected my well-being and influenced my personal draw to drug abuse.  As a young kid, I was better off than most.  I had a financially successful father, a doting mother, and a motivated and loving sister.  We did the once-yearly vacation, could afford certain luxuries most families could not, and even shared the occasional family dinner together.

Yet, as I grew older and out of the childhood phase of simply needing attention to be content, certain things my parents did traumatized me that led me to question my every choice.  My father was a rather aloof man who spent his entire day at the office.  When he came home, usually in a sour mood, he rarely spent time with me.  At this point in my life, around the age of thirteen, I was beginning to need a father who did more than just provide for me financially.  Like most young children, I needed both a parent and a friend.  I wanted to learn how manage my emotions with my burgeoning life aspirations, and for that, I looked to my father.

As I reflect on my relationship with him, I can see quite clearly that he played a major role in my abuse of drugs.  I would see my dad occasionally at my sporting events, standing by himself as a social recluse afraid to be around the camaraderie of other parents.  He would leave as soon as I failed to score a goal or hit a homerun and I would later look for him in the crowd after the game, only to see that he, again, had left early to avoid being around me.

This type of neglect would be exasperated when we got home.  Instead of helpful pointers that I was hoping for upon arriving home seeking his approval, I received criticism and shame.  Verbal abuse cut my feet out from under me time and time again.  Nothing was good enough, no matter how well I had done in either sports or school.  I began to look for an outlet for my pain and isolated suffering.  I couldn’t talk to my friends who had what I perceived to be healthy relationships with their parents; I was alone to face my father’s disappointments.  I began to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol to be just like my father.  This was how I saw him late at night when he would come home from work and I thought that if I could emulate his style we would somehow be brought closer together.  This too failed me as my desperate attempt to get his attention was lost on him.

I moved to using cocaine to try to change my own personality to somehow get a reaction out of my father.  I was not a social cocaine user; rather, I sat in my room and used alone.  I would get the courage to come to talk with him as he ran numbers on his work pad of paper outside at the back table.  As I look back on it, he gave me no more attention when I was high on coke and I don’t think he even noticed that I was high.  Yet, I somehow felt a little less vulnerable to his lack of praise and acknowledgment.  I continued to abuse cocaine as a shield from my personal feelings of helplessness and a lack of love.  He didn’t even notice that I had gone from a social, outgoing guy to a social recluse locked away upstairs in my room.

I don’t know what else I could have down to get his attention and now, looking back at my experience with him, I feel a deep pain that I am trying to make go away.  His inability to show any compassion towards or understanding of his son nearly ruined my life.  What I got from my childhood was how not to treat another person – especially someone I love.  I’m trying to deal with this trauma as I mature but some of the scars are so deep I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive my father’s behaviors that led to my addiction to drugs.


By Chase A.

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Filed under: Love and Relationships · Tags: Addiction, alcohol, Alcohol and Drugs, cigarettes, cocaine, drug use, family relations, father-son relationships, isolation

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