Monday, April 11, 2011

What's a Normal Childhood?

A couple of days ago I ran into a woman who had just read our book "Facing the Dragon - How a Desperate Act Pulled One Addict Out of Methamphetamine Hell".  She is a teacher and said the book made her want to go back to school and give every one of her students a hug because it really made her think about how she never really knows what it going on in some of her students homes.  She had went to school with David's sisters and said she never realized what her friends were going through.  She, our friend, had led a sheltered life (thankfully) and just assumed until she was older that everyone else lived a life just like her own.  It was normal to her and she never knew of any other way to live.

It's the same for kids living in a drug home.  It's normal for parents to be neglectful and abusive.  It's normal to have secrets they can't talk about for fear of punishment, being taken away, or parent's going to jail.  The chaos and violence are normal.  The fear and uncertainty are normal.  By the time kids are old enough to figure out that everyone doesn't live like that many times it is too late - they are already on their way to continuing the cycle of addition and their parent's destructive behaviors.

In the book David talks about growing up in a alcohol fueled violent home then following in his father's footsteps and becoming and alcoholic and drug addict.  For years, David considered his father's drug use the catalyst of his behavior, but didn't put much thought into the abuse he lived through on his mother's side of the family, with whom he spent his early childhood years.  Hiding in cornfields with his mother, grandmother, and sisters while his grandfather shot holes in the hose had a profound effect on his development.  That coupled with the lack of affection and physical abuse from his mother really affected his own behavior even without adding addictive substances to the mix.  However, this lifestyle was normal to him because it was all he knew.

Too many children are living in similar situations today.  To have a chance at a safe and secure life they need someone to intervene on their behalf.  They need someone to save them.  They need someone to show them they care.  Sometimes, a simple phone call can not only save a child's life but also save their future.  Without intervention there is no way to show a drug endangered child what normal really is.