My Father Was A Heroin Addict

My father was a heroin addict.

What is the first thing you pictured when you read that statement?

I promise you, whatever it was, was not my father.

My father was a heroin addict.

He was also one of the best people I’ve ever known. I’m not saying this because he was my father, nor am I saying this because once someone dies, all you can see is the good. I’m saying this because my dad, “Papa” I called him, was good. Genuinely good. He never intentionally hurt a soul. He was caring. He was loving. He always gave more than he took, which ultimately lead to his downfall. He was neat; his apartment was always tidy. He loved the show 24. He was an athlete, and loved to play soccer. He took me for long walks around town that ended in a stop at the local ice cream shop. Most importantly, he loved me.

My father was a heroin addict.

He taught me that you should never be too nice, because when you give too much, people take advantage. What’s that saying? “Give an inch, they’ll take a mile”? He taught me that you should always drink enough water. He taught me that no matter how badly you’re feeling, no matter how shitty your day is going… you smile. He taught me that when you make a mistake, you own it.

My father was a heroin addict.

But he was also a human being. He made a mistake, a simple mistake. Unfortunately, his mistake lead to an addiction, and ultimately, even after 5 years clean and sober, lead to his death. I do not like disclosing the circumstances of my father’s death. Not because I’m embarrassed, not because I don’t like to talk about it, but because the second you say “overdose”, the second you say “addict”, people stop seeing a person. And what follows is assumptions.

“Herzstillstand” was the official cause of death. Cardiac Arrest. We’ll never know what really happened. Did he leave us on purpose? His search history shows that the very last thing he watched was videos of me singing. His only child. Did he decide I was better off? Could he not bear the thought of telling me that he relapsed?

Maybe it was a bad batch.

Was it an accident?

I don’t know. I’m left with questions that will never be answered.

Here’s what I do know: my father is my hero. He fought harder than anyone I’ve ever met to atone for a simple mistake he made as a teenager, just as I am fighting every day to move past all of the mistakes I’ve made. Just as all of you, reading this, are fighting to atone for your mistakes. Many of you were fortunate enough to make mistakes that don’t follow you for the rest of your life. My father was not so lucky. He fought, and he lost.

I refuse to be silent for another minute. My father was a heroin addict. My father, who passed on January 20th of 2010, leaving behind a daughter, a mother, a sister, was an amazing person, and I wish I were more like him.

All of this to say… stop judging others. Stop making assumptions. If you haven’t taken the TIME to learn someone’s story, then why take the time to bash them on the internet? To gossip about them to your friends. Everyone has a story worth listening to, and if you’re not willing to hear it, who are you to judge?

 

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