Author: Isabella Baldino
Addiction. Such an ugly word but it’s not talked about enough. It’s always something that carried shame or swept under the rug.
From when I can remember my mom was drilling into me, “don’t tell anyone that your dad drinks too much.” Like it was this big dark secret. I felt so isolated and so alone at such a young age. I truly felt like no one understood how I felt or what I was going through.
I remember my mom telling me about how she started going to Al-Anon and how it was helping her so much. She mentioned they offered meetings for kids and she thought I should go. I was so hesitant but so thankful that I agreed. I remember my first meeting, I was so relieved and so shocked. Other kids my age felt the same way and were going through similar experiences and were actually talking about it.There wasn’t any shame there were no secrets it was pure honesty and it was refreshing. I couldn’t get enough of it. I worked my way through the program and dragged myself out of the darkest place that I have ever been in.
Eventually I felt strong enough to move on but I took everything I learned with me and I carry it with me every single day. My mom, sister, and I learned that it wasn’t something we had to keep hush hush. We can share what we went through and be proud that we were able to remove ourselves from that toxic environment. Ultimately, when my parents divorced is when we were able to completely move on and have a healthy living environment.
I took everything that happened in my life that almost pulled me under and turned it into amazing personal qualities. love being in control and having control over things and situations in life. I never understood how my dad allowed alcohol to control him so much that he chose it over his family. Chose it over his wife and his 2 daughters. I am proud of myself for being in control of myself. Control over what I eat, how much I drink, and my habits. Seeing him lose to this disease has shaped me into making my physical and mental health my number 1 priority.
Another quality is being an empath which has its pros and cons. And lastly, being an old soul and giving the best advice which I believe stems from having to grow up way sooner than most. My favourite saying tattooed right on my arm, “grow through what you go through” is the perfect quote that I live by. I wouldn’t change anything because I know I am a better person because of it but I also don’t want any person to feel like there is no way out and no help.
Addiction needs to be something that is talked about openly. I wish I knew sooner that I wasn’t alone and that there is always a way out and to always speak up.
I encourage anyone who is dealing with something similar to my story to look for help and talk about it, because it personally saved me.
Additional Resources (CAMH)
- A free tutorial on Addictions is available on Mental Health 101 page.
- Addiction: An Information Guide (PDF)
- An Early Start
- Talking about and Spotting Substance Use
- When a parent drinks too much… What kids want to know