Opinion: The Things We Do Hurt Others Too


This crack in the sidewalk represents the wedge that’s put in between you and those closest to you when you’re addicted to harmful substances.

Our actions don’t affect the people around us that much, right? When we make bad decisions, it only affects us, right? Doing drugs, smoking, and drinking, that only damages us, right? While these are all things we may think, and believe, they’re wrong. Our actions have consequences, and our actions hurt those closest to us. 

When I was little, my dad wasn’t around. My mom had met my stepdad when I was two, so he was a dad in my eyes. They then had two other children and it could’ve been the perfect family, but it wasn’t. 

Our dad was chained by the shackles of addiction. He struggled for the majority of his life, and it was reflected onto his actions. He was a very good person who made some very bad decisions. And my mom was the main victim from that. His actions led to our mom refusing to let him live with us. And led to the pain in the lives of those around him, who had to watch this suffering, and they eventually led to his untimely death. 

I remember that day undesirably vivid in my mind. It was the day after my little brother’s birthday. He was seven, my sister was eight, and I was twelve. It was cold and rainy at my brother’s soccer game. Due to the cold and rainy weather, me and my sister went to sit in the car. The game ended and our mom, brother, and dad walked up to the car. Each one of my family members hugged him goodbye, but I decided to stay in the car because I was cold. He looked up, smiled and waved to me from outside. Unaware that I would never see him again, I stayed in the car, and waved and smiled back. 

It was later that day that our grandpa called my mom with the bad news. She tearfully told me first in the kitchen. I was completely numb after she had said the news. I then followed her back to her bedroom, where my terrified brother and sister were waiting to see why mom was crying. As she told them, I watched the light drain from their eyes with each tear. 

They sobbed the same questions, over, and over. “So I don’t have a daddy anymore?” and “Is this an April fools joke?” 

I watched them sobbing their sad, previously full of hope, up to that point shielded from the evils of the world, little eyes out. I was angry. I was angry that he chose to dabble in the exact thing that killed him. I was angry that he was inflicting this pain on his innocent little kids. 

I didn’t cry the first few days. Then the guilt kicked in. I kept picturing his face. His happy face as he stood in front of our car waving to me. And I was so mad at myself, because in my eyes, God had given me the opportunity to say goodbye and I didn’t cash that opportunity in. I started crying every night after that. I was sad that he was gone and that I’d never see him again. I was sad that he had lost his life before he even turned 40, and that he had struggled the majority of his life.

This wasn’t something that just went away one day. This was something we all had to deal with. Two years later, my little brother told my mom that everynight it “haunts him,” because he believes it was his fault, because he didn’t ask him to go out to eat with us. And it hurts me to think that a kid so young has dealt with the guilt of believing it was his fault his dad died. 

My point of this article is not to share the story, but instead to put in perspective the pain your actions can cause to those around you. You’re not just hurting yourself, which by the way, you are. You’re affecting those around you. You’re hurting those who love you. I know it can seem as if no one cares about you, but believe me, someone does. Most of them unfortunately don’t realize how much someone means to them until they lose them. 

Now the next time you feed into your addiction, I want you to picture your family and friends. Your mom, dad, siblings, and grandparents. And I want you to think twice about putting those things into your body and hurting yourself. 

Getting help is not shameful. Getting help is the strongest act one can do. Reach out to someone. Reach out to anyone. There’s always a way out. You just have to want it, and make an attempt to get it. And once you break free from those chains, never turn back. 

I know some people don’t like to talk about Jesus, but for me He’s the only way out. Praying, worshiping, and having faith is the easiest way to overcome addiction, and move on from it. Find yourself a church. Not one that condemns you but one that helps you acknowledge your mistakes, leads you to Jesus and His redemption, and lifts you up. Find a church that shows compassion and love, despite your mistakes. I recommend finding a non-demontinal church,  because I believe you don’t have to be religious to follow God. You just need faith. I believe this because of what Romans 11:6 says in the Bible, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”

Your counselors are always there to help, and I’m always here too. Also, if you know someone who is struggling with addiction, please reach out to them, and try to help them. 

Help hotlines-

Drug abuse: 1-800-662-4357

Suicide: 1-800-suicide (784-2488) & 1-800-273-8255

Self-harm: 1-800-DONT-CUT 

Eating disorders: 1-800-931-2237

National prayer line: 1-800-4-PRAYER

Want to know Jesus?: 1-800-NEED-HIM