They’ll Never Even Know: Dealing With The Drug Addicted Relative


mom and baby

Growing up, no one said that life would be perfect. Especially not with siblings or everyone in your family. In fact, perfection is probably far from the truth and most of us deal with some kind of dysfunction at one point or another.

People take unexpected paths and journeys to find themselves, for whatever reason that may be. 

Maybe they leave for better jobs around the country. Living thousands of miles away.

Maybe they are just selfish and don’t want to be involved with family anymore.

Or maybe the pain is even deeper. Maybe they have been taken by the evil that lives in this world. By a force so strong neither you nor them can shake it. Can break it. Or change it.


When addiction hits, it not only wrecks the person’s life but it hurts the people around them so deeply, the pain may never go away. 

All of the lost potential cuts like a knife when you think about it.

The potential for them to be a successful person with a good job.

The potential to have a family of their own and understand what true love looks like when they look at their kids.

The potential to not always fear the law and the mess they have gotten themselves into. 

But the one that hurts the most is knowing my children will never even know them. 

My kids will never get to play outside with their uncle because he can’t be trusted.

He will never get to watch his nieces and nephews play pee-wee football or dance in the ballet because of the life he has chosen to live. 

Knowing that he will most likely not be at family functions anymore. Births. Holidays. Birthdays. Family Vacations.

Knowing that any day I could wake up and get a call that he is in jail or worse, dead.

Every time I hear the phone ring I have a small moment of fear wondering if today is that day. The day I will have to explain to my children why mommy is sad. Explain to them the complicated circumstances that someone who is not even involved in their life still loves/loved them very much just because they existed. 

How do you explain that to a child?!

I don’t have the answer but I prepare myself every day for the possibility. 

And every day I pray that he would just take the help so many have offered him. So that someday he would be able to really see and know the love we have for him. And that someday they too will know him. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please call the number below. SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)


  1. This breaks my heart. My brother is homeless and addicted. He’s been on the streets for almost 10 years. He’s 33. I too have struggled but have been clean and sober for a few years now. I have three children who have never met their uncle…. and probably never will…. it really is sad how drugs can grab hold of a life and not let go… thank you for sharing this.


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