Behind drug statistics is real human drama

Living with a drug addict is a truly painful experience

“There was a lot of hostility in our household when I was growing up,” local artist Jon S. said, sitting outside a café in Tumon, smoking as he recalled how addiction tore his family apart.

When thinking about surviving drug addiction, we look at individuals rising from their own negative choices. However, one’s addiction can hurt beyond the self. It affects their loved ones, friends and neighbors.

“My dad has been a drug addict since he was living in the Philippines and he carried that is addiction when he moved to Guam,” Jon S. recounted, rubbing a tattooed knuckle upon his stubbled chin. “He left his paraphernalia in the bathroom and I’d tell my mom, but she’d get mad at me for having a big mouth. She’d never get mad at him.”

Having been a helpless child with unreliable parents, the 40-year-old artist from Dededo had never felt at home anywhere. “I didn’t feel safe growing up. I didn’t feel threatened or my life was in danger, but it’s as if I didn’t have a morally right home,” he said. “I couldn’t relax. I didn’t want to be there.”