This testimony was given to me last week. It shows the harsh truth of the devastation left behind after the loss of a parent to overdose. I have kindly been given permission to reproduce the testimony in the hope that it raises awareness of the effects overdose can have on significant others left in it’s wake. I personally found it extremely emotional to read and due to the nature of the content have also ensured that the owner of the testimony has been supported throughout all interactions. Further support options have also been offered and ongoing support is currently being put in place.
Please take a moment out of your day to read this testimony and imagine how it must feel to have to deal with something like this every day of your life, from a child who lost her father, and could never understand why he had left her, almost blaming herself thinking that it was her fault, to an adult who still struggles to come to grips with the whole event. Living through the cold attitude of not only the strangers who taunted but those around her who she thought were her friends, her carers…..how cruel life can be. Then imagine how you would feel if someone told you, or you read somewhere that things could’ve been different, his death was preventable. Can you feel the anguish and sadness, the pain, the shame, the anger, the deep feelings of loss and powerlessness over not only the actual loss but the reactions from other people. Reactions that reach out beyond you and into your own family life, affecting your children. I personally couldn’t. I’ve lost close friends and acquaintances but not a family member, a parent. I wouldn’t dare say I could even remotely come close to feeling the same.
What I can do is continue to try my best to ensure that everything that can be done to reduce the risks of fatalities, reducing the numbers of children being left without a parent, or parents being left without a child. So can you.
Every life lost is someones daughter, someones son, and every loss is preventable….
“I am the child of an addicted parent, my father was a heroin addict who eventually lost his battle with addiction. I miss him every day”
On august 9th 2004 I was minding my own business when I had a phone call from my uncle who wanted to know where I was. My mother and step father had gone away the day before so I thought he was coming to ask if I wanted something to eat. I was living in a hostel at the time so the offer of a free meal was always a bonus. He said he was coming to pick me up.
I waited for him to come and get me, and when he turned up he wasn’t smiling, the reason for this was that he had to tell me that my father had died. I laughed, a nervous reaction, I don’t really know if it was disbelief or shock, but then he repeated those words and this time it sunk in, I realised that it was real and I broke down, the tears came, and I couldn’t control them, I cried so much. We didn’t know what he had died of at this point, we only knew that our daddy was gone. I remember it like it was yesterday, that day I lost my best friend, my daddy.
My dad was known to the police, which is not something either he or the family were proud of, but the addiction taken a hold of him. He was in prison and out again, and on and on I seemed to go, never ending. Prison didn’t seem to make any difference to my father, he didn’t seem to care. I didn’t know the underlying reasons at the time so couldn’t have understood just how much control his addictions had over him. But looking back I understand better now I know. I can see that prison wasn’t the solution or what he really needed. He needed help, not punishment.
I remember when I found out my father was taking Heroin and how. I went off the rails for a short period after the loss of my father and the local Police Station became my second home for near on two weeks.
I remember one day when I had gone in to the police station and the CID were talking to me about my father, saying to me heroin and drink doesn’t mix. I didn’t understand? I kept saying that my daddy didn’t do heroin.
This was their way of telling me, a grieving daughter, that her daddy was a heroin addict.
I didn’t believe them, I didn’t want to believe them but I kept hearing the same thing over and over, and it got worse. Eventually I rang up the coroner to ask for him to tell me the outcome of the post-mortem, he wouldn’t give me the information, I found out later that he had spoken with my auntie and she had requested that I not be told. The first time I actually found out for certain what my dad had died of when it was released in the local paper. My whole world fell apart when I read the headline, there it was in black and white ‘WELL KNOWN DRUG USER DIES OF OVERDOSE’ That was how I found out that my dad had died of a overdose, I felt annoyed, hurt, lost, and numb, all at the same time. I couldn’t believe that I had lost my daddy in this was….something inside me died with him that day.
Everyone I met afterwards, I would tell them upfront who I was and how my father had died. I think it was because I was scared that if people found in son other way, they would like me, this was my way of coping with it. There is a lot of stigma attached to addiction, people judge you and because my daddy had died this way, some people used to call me names like ‘dirty smackhead’ and shout nasty things to me in the street.
Because of the way my father died I was made to feel like I didn’t belong, and ended upon my own a lot. Son people told me it was only a matter of time before I started taking drugs as well.
This all had a negative effect in me and my whole life was effected by this spiteful, horrible, ignorance.
I have a child who for different reasons, went to live with her dad. As part of the process I had to undergo an assessment. At the assessment the lady kept saying to me I shoul
don’t / couldn’t class my dad as my best friend because he was a drug addict, but he was still my dad, I believed at the time that his addiction had killed him. All I know I that I didn’t have him there any more, and how it affected me. The past and everything in it became a huge thing used against me regarding my ability to look after my children, questioning my parenting skills?
Underneath all of this no-one seemed to notice that I had lost my dad and a huge part of my heart died with him.
I now know that there is medication available that can reverse the effects of an overdose and wish that this has been available when I lost my daddy. I might still have him today.
Prison didn’t help my daddy, no-one ever offered my daddy the help that he needed, instead he just became ‘just another junkie’ a label that deeply affected my future and my child’s future.
I was only 18 when I lost my dad has been dead 12 years this year and will never meet his grandchildren nor will he see my little sister or me get married.
To find out that he could have been saved and that he could still be here has made me realise that there are other, more sensible ways of dealing with addiction and the people who fight with it daily. Things need to change and we need to start showing that we care, offering help where we can and when we can. My daddy wasn’t a criminal, he was a man who was struggling to dope every single day of his life, and I loved him so much….
“I can still hear my daddy sometimes, I can see him when I close my eyes, I can even smell him close by sometimes. I remember his smile and all the good things about him. But I can’t touch him, I can’t feel his touch, I can’t reach him at night just before I wake up crying and he’s left me again, over and over. I miss my daddy so much. He was my best friend”
(Original post can be found here….A testimony from the child of an addicted parent.)
Thank you all for taking the time to read this and please do let me know your thoughts..
The young lady who wrote this has kindly given her details so that others going through the same can connect. They have not been printed for obvious reasons but if you would like to get a message to her she is available via this link. If you feel that you would like to share your testimony or would like to get involved in any current or future campaigns to help reduce the harms and risks of overdose and any other harm induced by current policy and legislation. Please don’t hesitate to me at….
or alternatively call me on 07500948157.