By Luis Nava
Life is a journey no one chooses to take, but is forced to live. Parents’ choices bring us into circumstances we have no control of in our youngest years. Whether positive or negative, these situations shape the person we become as adults. Developing coping skills that can change the things we inherited from our parents is attainable. I was born into circumstances that greatly influenced who I am and determined what I wanted to do for a living.
Being part of a family with two parents addicted to meth has taken me through a pathway filled with life lessons. Sometimes, I did not understand why my family was always struggling. Getting your water, gas and electricity cut all at the same time is not a pleasant experience. Having to steal toilet paper from the park to bring home was a very shameful fact. Setting boundaries with friends and family in order to hide the reality of your family’s situation is the hardest thing to do when you are living life with drug addicts. There is a point where you start living the drug addict lifestyle without ever even trying them.
In the midst of chaos and need, there was hope. One event in my journey changed my perspective of life and encouraged me to pay it forward. One Sunday morning my family hit rock bottom when there was no food to eat that day. I got up and was determined to gather any coins I could find under the couches, bed, piggy bank, and behind the dresser. Unfortunately, I could only gather $1.47. I was defeated and saddened to know my younger siblings would not eat breakfast, lunch or dinner that day. With my head down and tears in my face I went to church as I did every Sunday. People stared at me for being late but all I did was pray. At the end of service a church deacon approached me and said “I have something for you”, and she then handed me a bag filled with food. She reported someone had dropped it off as a donation but no one wanted it. This moment changed my life and determined how I viewed all of my past experiences. I understood why I had to go through so much hardship and need. I now wanted to dedicate time to youth who were living lives under similar circumstances. I knew I had to educate myself and make positive choices that would allow me to do so.
Finding AADAP was a blessing. It helped me learn about addiction and how it works. In addition, it provided me a position where I could work with youth who are in need. Making a difference in just one life is worth the hard work. No matter what situation life has placed you in, if you stay humble and accept that people need people, together you will prevail.