How My Adoption Contributed to My Struggle with Addiction
“Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces,” – Sigmund Freud
This is My Addiction Recovery Story
I spent my whole life believing that the gift of adoption is so great that anything less than unconditionally honoring it would be a great misfortune. And, that the little bit of love I thought I had would disappear. As a young boy, I knew I was adopted; but it didn’t really register until later in my adult life when I was able to connect the dots.
My biological mother was drug dependent. I only know the name of my biological father. I was given to the Department of Social Services, by my biological mother, when I was 12 months old. My adoption records state that I was in foster care for one and a half years, but I’m unaware of how many placements I had.
At two and half years old, I was formally adopted by a married couple who owned a restaurant near Denver, Colorado. I know now, that my adoptive mother tried to have biological children, but could not. My adoptive father tells me that I was quiet and loved to play with my toy truck. Psychological records from my infancy also document that I played alone, did not seek attention or care from others and connected more to objects.
My adoptive parents also fostered and adopted a young girl about one or two years later. At that time my adoptive mother had to spend more time parenting and less time partnering – this took a toll on my adoptive parents’ relationship.
We took family vacations to Disney Land, Disney World and Yellowstone National Park. I have old VHS tapes of my birthday parties and Christmas mornings. I have old pictures of me and my family that portray happiness and family fun – although, if I look close enough, I can feel the disconnection, fear of attachment, fear of disappointment, lack of control and fantasy for something else.
I have vivid recollections of lying in bed at night, watching black and white television, with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and apprehension about peer relationships, my lack of identity, loneliness and thoughts that I was undeserving and lacked value.
For me, the dichotomy of being gifted with adopted parents, after being given up by my natural parents, created conflict, confusion and uncertainty. I experienced great difficulty in forming healthy connections without the anticipation of being abandoned, rejected or disappointed again.
As a result, I developed fantasies built on themes of attention, love and nurturing to help sedate my constant discomfort and longing. The belief that my drug addiction was the problem, was an illusion.
How Drug Addiction Masked My True Problem
In part two of my addiction recovery story, I’ll share my experience with substance abuse and how it prevented me from getting the help I needed. In the meantime, if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, The Raleigh House is here to help.
As the founder of this addiction rehab center, I wanted to help others who might be going through a situation like mine. That’s why our program doesn’t just treat addiction; it treats the underlying and co-occurring conditions that often go together with substance use disorders. Don’t wait. Get help today.