Since I was very little, my mom had been on crack. It started with her doing drugs in her room, then she would go out and partake with friends, and then it finally got to the point that she would leave me and my three other siblings home for days on end while she went on binges.
The hardest thing to swallow at that point was that my mom did drugs, it did not matter the drug of choice because all we knew is that her choice was the drug over us, and that was a painful realization.
Child Abuse Comes in Many Forms
Many people are naive and believe that child abuse means physically harming a child, but that is not the case. Child abuse comes in the form of neglect, abandonment, physical abuse, mental abuse and emotional abuse. A child who is being abused does not always show up to school with bruises on his body, and that is an important fact to remember.
Sometimes, bringing a known offender around your children can be considered neglect. There were many things that went on inside of our home that should never go on in any place. The "friends" hurt us in many ways. Most of the time, my sister and I would hide away in a locked room in order to keep our sanity. This was no way for anyone to live. Constant fear of being hurt is a pain all of its own.
My Siblings and I
When I was 10 years old, I had three other siblings with me. My older brother was 11, my little sister was five, and my little brother was three. When my mom would leave the house for extended periods, we had to fend for ourselves. It is hard being a child and providing for another child, especially when you have to keep it all a secret from the rest of the world.
Me and my brother used to argue over who had to stay home with our little brother. We had school, and he did not. We had to get my sister up and dressed for school. We used to sell our lunches at school so that we could buy hot dogs and bread for dinner. There was a point that we were stealing food from the local grocery store. We even had to smell our clothes to figure out which ones were the least dirty, and it got really hard to pick at times.
We Kept It a Secret
There was no option. If we told anyone what was going on, we would be taken away and split apart. We already didn't have parents, so we could not stand the thought of being separated from each other as well. What we did was keep it all a secret. We pretended like everything was fine. We forged mom's signature on school papers, and we kept on providing every way that we knew how.
I guess someone else noticed what was going on because all of that changed. My mom was actually home when it happened, but she was not sober. Child Protective Services (CPS) came into our house, and they took us away. They let us stay with family, but not any of our parents. We were only gone for a couple of days before they let us right back into the home that was littered with crack pipes only two or three days before. The worse part was that we had no say in where we wanted to go, and we had no say in what was going to happen. We were just children, and our voices were not heard.
I am a Mother Now
Looking back, I cannot fathom doing to my children what was done to us. My mother taught me not only how to make the wrong decisions, but through her mistakes, I was taught how to be a mom. I was taught that under no circumstances should I let my dirty habits get in the way of my family life, and with that lesson, I thrive as a mother. I have made my mistakes, but I was able to quickly see who I was becoming, and I changed my path of my own free will.
My Mom Now
My mom has quit doing drugs, and I am so very proud of her. Addiction runs rampant in our family, and she did not let it keep her. There were many times that we worried about her, about whether she would live or die, about when we would see her again and even about where we would be the next time she came home, but not anymore. Nowadays, she is a mom and a grandmother. She makes it a point to let us know that we are loved. I could not ask for anything more from my mom than what she is giving now.
Cryste Harvey has battled with addiction since the day she was born. From family issues to personal issues, she has seen many things, but she has taken the leap to be sober and to help inform others of the hardships, trials and tribulations associated with addiction. She is now a mother and wife, and she has vowed to help others on their road to recovery. With little to no help from her parents and siblings, she was the first person in her family to graduate high school and continue on to college. Harvey is currently working toward an English degree, and she hopes to become a published author. "Cryste Harvey" is a pseudonym.