Growing Up With Drugs: Just a “Normal” Life

Chapter 2


We were born in 1998 and 1999, just before the new millennium. Our parents (to be more accurate, the people who biologically created us) were, well, we’ll just call them “Shaun” and “Serena.” They were both in their early 20s when they had us.


To us, our “parents” were both good parents. We didn’t know any better, at least not for a while. They loved us, I can only guess. They took care of many of our basic needs. I mean we didn’t die or suffer any permanent physical damage from their parenting.

We loved them both. I think we did anyway.


Drugs, though, often and probably usually stood in our way when we were kids.

We grew to hate Drugs and to hate what they did.


You could say we grew up with Drugs. They were almost always around us in one way or another. We either saw them or smelled them at any given time, or saw the effects of them on people around us. And, looking back with 20/20 eyesight, we saw the effects of them on us.

Powerful Drugs…

Drugs tend to affect everyone around them, not just the Drug users. They are that powerful.


The thing with Drugs is that they tend to affect everyone around them, not just the Drug users. They are that powerful.


Powerful. That’s a good one-word description for Drugs. Powerful.

Somehow, Drugs manage to control the people who use them, and then in turn control the lives of the people who depend on the people who use Drugs. That’s where we come in.


However you look at it, Drugs affected us. We didn’t use Drugs, of course, but that didn’t matter to the Drugs. They found a way to affect our lives. to butt into our lives. And later on, Drugs affected the lives of our younger siblings as well, but that’s for later.

Setting the Barometer

When you are a kid, you only know what you know, and what you know is… normal.


People sometimes ask me if I knew things were “different,” or if I knew things “weren’t normal” when we were little kids, being around Drugs and all the mess that came with them. When you are a kid, though, you only know what you know and what you know is, well, I guess you could say normal.

Your normal, anyway. In this case, our normal.


For us, normal was Drug use. And Drug use was normal.


Our normal was our mom sleeping most of every day, our dad disappearing for many hours or many days at a time. Normal was moving to different houses with regularity but not enough regularity to really be regular. Normal was eating at irregular hours… even eating sometimes just whenever we could find something.

Our normal was filled with sudden personality changes in either or both of our parents. These changes, which could be quite extreme, we often witnessed daily and, many times, throughout a single day.

Our normal was seeing a lot of fighting between our parents and, later, between our mom and her boyfriends and her family members. Our normal involved a lot of strangers coming and going to our “home”, or us coming and going to plenty of strangers’ homes, even having them live with us sometimes and us living with them sometimes.

Our normal was seeing Drugs in our house and in our vehicles, and seeing things that are used to take Drugs.

To us, those were the sort of things which were normal.

So, until they start seeing more of the world, kids really don’t know what is normal or what is different.

Our normal was a bit crazy. We know that now. We did not, however, know that then.


Our normal was a bit “crazy.” We know that now. We did not, however, know that then.

I suppose when people say it’s important for parents to set a good example for their kids, it just may be so their kids will have an acceptable and stable picture of normalcy, or, at least, not a crazy, way-out-there, anything goes picture of what normal is… or isn’t.

The Tortoise and The Hippo: An Exercise in Normalcy: The Speedier than a Hare Version

Normal: usual, typical, or expected

Normal is neither black nor white, but grey. One person’s normal may appear as pure insanity to another person. Normal is ambiguous. It is open to more than one interpretation. Normal is unclear and inexact. Maybe. We think.

So, normal can go like this…

A child in Africa sees her very first tortoise at a wildlife sanctuary. The huge, 100-plus-year-old tortoise has a best friend, which just so happens to be a hippo… an orphaned baby hippo. This hippo never leaves the side of the tortoise.* To the child, this is now normal. Unless told otherwise, the child may now expect all tortoises to hang out with hippos. This, to them, is normal.

Tortoises and Hippos. Hippos and Tortoises.

Best friends forever.

To us, as little kids, Drug use was normal. Drugs were normal. Seeing and smelling Drugs was normal. Jack Daniels whiskey was a normal drink for our parents. So as far as we knew, it was a normal drink for all Adults.

A mother and father whose personalities rapidly cycled from one end of the pole to the other — that was normal also.

There were no normal eating times for us. Normal was to eat when there was food and, if we were lucky, eat when we were hungry. There were no normal bed times, or normal get-out-of-bed times, no normal nap times. Normal was go to bed whenever, get up whenever, nap or don’t nap… just whatever. There were no normal bath times, or even so much as regular baths, in general. Bathe… whenever.

Our normal was pretty much anything goes.

*A true story: A one-year-old hippo was rescued a few years ago after a tsunami struck in Kenya. He was named Owen and brought to live in a sanctuary where he met up with a 100-year-old giant tortoise named Mzee. Owen wanted a friend and he picked Mzee for this role. Mzee, at first, was like, “What the heck?” to Owen, but Owen was determined to become friends. After a while, they became inseparable friends. They eat together, play together, rest together, even bathe together! — Source- BBC News.