“Life with an addicted mother is like looking down a dark tunnel.”

Being the child of an addict is the worst, but watching them grow and recover is the best. I am here to speak today because no parent truly understands what a child goes through. I had to grow up super-fast. You never know what you’re going to get with a parent who is an addict. It’s like walking on eggshells. It’s the worst feeling because it causes families to tear apart and creates so much chaos. Kids don’t know how to deal with it, and many like me keep quiet and just wonder why me? It’s a horrible, empty feeling to see everything crumbling down as a child because there is nothing you can do while your mom or dad is numbing the pain. You just sit there in silence wondering what it is like to have a normal life.

I have a little brother who I’m very attached to. I took on the role of watching him like a lot of other kids do. To this day, he is the reason I never gave up. My mom and I weren’t always close. When my mom started losing everything, I still stuck by her side for many reasons. I have believed and pushed hope one day she’d realize this isn’t what life is about. The constant moving and car rides is unfair to do to any child because it’s your choices not theirs. Looking down a dark tunnel is how to describe it in a way. It’s so hard to have no control over it.

One day, when it all came back around, my dad had taken me from my mom and my life changed in an instant. Although I wasn’t happy with my mom, I still loved her. It is so hard to not love the person who took you into this world. I will never forget the first time I saw her after. I had so many emotions and I was nervous. She was so happy to see me and looked like better in a sort. I was only allowed to see her once a week. No spending the night or any longer than a full day and I will admit at first I was over it. But slowly she gained my trust back and started to bond with me again. Once she got me to see my brother, it was the best. She had started changing because ¬¬she put me before seeing her son. She started proving to me that she was trying to mend the wall I had up. My dad was also very supportive of me and I’m glad he was there as well.

Now, I live with my mom and we’re basically the same person and are very close. I tell her everything, and love to get mani-pedi’s together or go out to eat. She has my trust 100 percent. How? It took a while, but in the end it was worth it. Never give up. There is always light at the end. My mom went from one day a week, to me living with her. After the many hardships and tears, it all worked out. There has to be rainy days to enjoy the good ones. Congrats on graduating Mom; I love you: and congrats to everyone else here today too. Mom, I’m so glad of how close we are, and how we’re the same person.

The young lady who wrote this letter inspired an entire specialty graduating class when she read it at a graduation. She hopes to go on to be a counselor and gave her permission to share it to inspire others.

Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and the mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens. The next specialty court graduation is scheduled for April 3 at 2 p.m. in the jury services room at the Regional Justice Center.