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My Father’s Addiction Made Him A Stranger. Is It Too Late to Get to Know Him Now?

Father stranger swings
© hannah buckman via washington post

From the Washington Post:

‘Wow. This is really beautiful, son, thanks so much for this.”

I’m sitting in a Takoma Park restaurant watching my father thumb through a small silver photo album from my parents’ wedding. It’s the first time he’s seen the album in 25 years. And this is only the third or fourth time I’ve seen him in the past decade.

My mother, who raised me, passed suddenly in her sleep in 2016 — bringing me into possession of the album. My father was in a Maryland prison when she died. Now he’d been paroled, and here I was learning about a wedding she’d rarely talked about.

Like millions of Americans, I am a child of addiction. Research indicates that an annual average of 8.7 million children 17 or younger live with a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol. Drug deaths rose by 21 percent in 2016, the biggest annual increase ever recorded. Today’s headlines warn of the arrival of a new drug crisis, driven by a flood of opiates and alcohol. For the second year in a row, American life expectancies declined in 2016 because of the surge in the death rate from drug overdoses.

Read the rest of this moving account by Sebastian Johnson here.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)