A voice from the other side. By Adrian Simon
I lost my father not once, but three times. The first time when I was only two, he was arrested in Bangkok attempting to traffic 8.5 kilograms of smack into Australia. Subsequently he faced the death penalty, creating international news, and in doing so destroying the fabric and stability of my whole family. Most of all, my daddy broke my heart. Choosing to be a drug dealer is like making a deal with the devil, and the devil always collects.
From the day I was born, Heroin shaped the course my life. Stained by greedy actions, my mother and I were forced to live in the shadows, tarred by the same brush by an unforgiving society.
How do you tell your child his father is a bad man, locked away rotting in a Thai prison? There is no easy way. The world was closing in. The media reports never went away. This inescapable truth realized after witnessing my father on TV. There was no turning back. That was my daddy. My world was rocked; overloaded. I couldn’t process it. The heroic Alfa male I manufactured in my mind during his absence was nothing but an illusion. When Mum told he was never coming home, I broke, and in a snap suffered a nervous breakdown. I was only nine years old. This set forth a mental condition known as OTD, obsessive thought disorder. I was stuck in a torturous loop of destructive thoughts. I wasn’t expected to recover or at least grow to be healthy. Not only was my father lost, I was too.
The second time I lost my father was upon his release from the big tiger prison. He returned a deeply affected man. In a sick irony, the drug he trafficked ended up trafficking his soul. During his twelve-year incarceration he became a heavy heroin user. Reality was a cold serve when I finally came face to face with my biological father. Sixteen years of social, mental, physical and family tribulations had built up. When we shook hands at the aptly named judgement bar in Sydney, I knew then, not that I wanted to admit it, my father had lost himself to addiction.
As soon as I was old enough I hit the road travelling the world. Leave the past behind was my motto. Be the director of my own future. Wasn’t long before I was walking on thin ice, experimenting and testing my limits. Call it youth, or define it as covering up a damaged past, I was tasting the world’s offerings. What was becoming clear was I had to let my father go. His lack of effort demonstrated a lack of love, which really hurt. So by the time I was living and working in the media in London I decided to kill him off, metaphorically speaking. He was dead to me.
The problem with this was it was another form of suppression. Shoving more baggage in an already cramped compartment in my emotional system. No, the cord wasn’t cut.
This decision was a bitter and corrosive pill to swallow as under the surface, laying deep in my subconscious I was searching for answers. Answers to why I had endured adverse childhood traumas requiring resolution. Like a disease, traumas have ways to rear their ugly head.
Years later, call it coincidence, fate, intervention, I received a call out of the blue from a private number. I never answer private calls, though on this occasion I did. It was my father; it had been at least five years since I heard that croaky voice. Bolts of anxiety shot through me.
There we were, father and son standing again face to face, only this time a role reversal. I felt like the father and he the son. He looked terrible, perhaps not long for this world. I knew we could never take back the lost time. I was apprehensive and skeptical as a result of his past behavior. I couldn’t just turn my back and walk; it appeared he needed my help. Damn, maybe the little boy in me did as well. So I gave him another chance.
My father wrote a book called The Damage Done, known worldwide by millions. That was it, the way to glue us together. Combine this best-selling story with my media skills to produce a movie to rebalance the family chi.
Maybe this time we would walk off into the proverbial sunset together.
Some damages can’t be undone. Drug addiction is too powerful and too all- consuming. My father slipped again, leading him down the dark path towards psychosis. In and out of psych wards for years, the mental strain on all of us led us to breaking point. Sadly the bond could never stick. Heroin poisoned any chance of a healthy and lasting relationship. The hardest and only choice to make had to be done. I lost my father for the third and last time. The cord was cut.
I recently wrote my own book titled, Milk-Blood, growing up the son of a convicted drug trafficker. Writing was something I had to do. To conquer my demons, uncover the truth, and most importantly face up to reality.
Part of what I discovered throughout my life is the sad fact the media and society only see through a narrow lens. The focus is always on the addicts, the dealers, the cartels, and the war on drugs. What about the mothers, fathers, siblings and love ones that are continually picking up the pieces? They too are suffering, in ways that are lifelong and immeasurable. The many unheard voices from the other side. Taking care of an addict is taxing on all levels. The essence of heroin is evil at its core, indomitable in nature and completely unforgiving.
The human spirit is truly remarkable. Together we can implement the right steps and programs to re-educate and construct effective rehabilitation systems. With groups like Stop Heroin Now, we can help change minds, hand in hand. This is where the true strength lies, in the everyday people banding together. For all those affected, stay strong, there is always a way.
On a final note, if it weren’t for the strength of my single mother, who knows how I would have ended up. Equally, I saved her life, if she didn’t have me nor the maternal drive to protect us, she would be dead. Love wins in the end.
If you want to find out more about my story, read a sample of Milk-Blood, or listen to a sample of the audiobook, hit this link http://www.theauthorpeople.com/milk-blood/
You may just find some hope and inspiration through this lived story. Expect the unexpected.