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Drug Abuse: The “Silent Killer” And How It It Feels to Watch Someone You Love Slowly Decline

When you’re a young child, you don’t really understand what drugs are and how badly they can affect someone you love. You just take that person as they are and go your whole childhood thinking they love and respect you-no matter what.

A family member of mine started smoking when she was about 15. I wasn’t born yet back in that day, so I don’t really know what happened to make her start so young. All I know is when my mom first got pregnant with me and told her the good news; she was so excited about having her first niece. She was going on about how much she was going to spoil me, buy all these cute girl outfits and so on.

My mom’s baby shower came and went. She didn’t buy a thing.

Then I was born…..everyone including her was so excited to have me in the world. I think she thought my life was going to be normal. Even though my birth weight was low, I still came out a perfectly, healthy, happy baby girl.

But, then in just a few weeks our lives changed….

My brain didn’t heal-my nerve endings that connect your fingers and body functions didn’t close up, causeig my brain to bleed out and for me to have a stroke.

The doctor that was on call the night I was born did a ton of testing, including and ultrasound and Gait Analasis to find out what was wrong. On January 7, 1999, my family received a confermied diagnosis…

I had Cerebral Palsy.

My family knew my life would change. Everything would have to change. They all were ok with it and accepted it-but I think we all had a feeling that our family member wasn’t ok with it.

She was never there for any of my Dr. Appointments, school thing and so on. She wouldn’t be there when I needed her most-never would offer to help my mom out with talking care of me

Our relationship with each other was great –until I got to my teenage years.

She would always force me to do things I didn’t want to do. Every time she would touch or hug me, the smell of smoke would get on my clothes – she would never just randomly buy or surprise me with special things like a real family member would.

She made a promise to all of us, saying she would quit smoking when she turned 40. That milestone came and went –she never quit.  She broke her promise.

Instead of the relashonship getting better like I hoped it would, it only got worse. If she didn’t get “her way.” With me she would bully me about through phone calls and social media- she would also send me nasty messages through social media as well. Some were so nasty, that I would sit there having a full blown anxiety attack which included hyperventilating and screaming for an hour or more. It was either her way or you may as well forget it because you were on her “bad side.”

It was after my grandfather passed she did a total 360 on us, her attitude and mood tword all of us changed. We all didn’t do anything wrong so I don’t really know what caused her to change so quickly. She would call our house phone, harass and yell at us over the dumbest of things.

I cut her out of my life. It was healthier for me and my anxiety.

I didn’t really realize how bad the side effects of her drug abuse had gotten. I knew it was somewhat bad by her tone of voice when she would call my dad on his phone or send my mom nasty cruel text messages.

I got a little taste of how bad it really was when she came in our house unannoced.

She went in my mom’s room and freaked out on her. Saying things like, “I WANT THIS BACK!” Or “YOUR DAUGHTER DOESN’T RESPECT ME.” Her yelling was so piercing; you could hear it echo through the door,

She even tried to put her hands on my mom. I was already up out of my chair watching the whole thing happen. I almost had an outburst because I wasn’t going to tolerate her putting her hands on my mom. But I stayed back.

By the time she left the house I stood there, shaken up and crying. What I had just watched was so scary.  We were going out that same night, but after watching that, I was afraid to leave the house- afraid that she might follow us.

Thankfully, she didn’t follow us. But for me as a young 18 year old and her only niece. It was very scary to what she had become now due to abusing drugs. It was very hard to watch and see what she looked like now because the drugs were now taking a toll on her body…..

To put it simple, the whole situation just made me straight out sick to my stomach!!!!

I feel like our relationship was very forced. It was not a very healthy loving, one at all. And it’s very sad because I have all of these great things coming and she won’t be around to see them.

It hurts me. It hurts and upsets me horribly that I wasted my time, life and energy on her. I should have thrown her away a long time ago, but I only put up with her because my grandfather was still alive. That was his daughter and I needed to respect her even if killed me.

I believe that if you keep abusing drugs in the way my family member is doing, they can be the “silent killer.” People who smoke may not realize it, but the drugs you are abusing are slowly killing you!! While you’re killing yourself, the rest of your family suffers watching. And knowing you don’t care enough to make a promise to quit when you turn a certain age will hurt them. Nothing has happened to my family member yet, but one day I know we will be reading about her death in the paper. And she will only hurt herself and not any of us- Because she put herself in her coffin.

I must say, I’m so thankful  for all of the wonderful people I have met since she has left my life. I came out as person with CP a year ago. That’s also when my writing career really took off. I just want to thank that people for making my life a whole lot better. Meeting a few of you has opened my eyes to what a real friendship is. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for supporting me with my writing, sharing my writing and saying you’re proud of me and meaning it!!! Without all of you I’d be lost. It’s made me realize I don’t need a jerk like my family member in my life.  They say friends are more like your family- for more these past two months; this statement has never been truer!!!

The lessons I hope you guys walk away with after reading this is keep the people you love family and friends close to you. And cut the bad ones out of your life- you don’t need them.  Other family members- if you’re struggling with quitting drugs my advice would be quit now and change yourselves for the better. Don’t make others in your family suffer especially if there are young teens in your family- you don’t want to see them hurting and suffering in pain on the inside. Change so you can keep yourselves around long enough to see all the amazing milestones in their life.

Change yourself not just for you, but for all the people who love you!!!!

Don’t let using drugs define who you really are.

Be you.

Juliana Ruggiero

Juliana is 18 and fresh out of High school. She graduated with High honors. Writing is something she really enjoys doing and everyone that knows her tells her she has a gift for it. Juliana is a hopeless Italian food addict, loves meeting new people and making new friends. She is very laid back and easy going. Juliana is here to inspire everyone and give it her all. She doesn't have a bad bone in her body. Her career began in July of 2016 after reaching out and offering to be interviewed for The Abler Blog. Since that interview, after seeing all the positive feedback she was getting from everyone, it pushed her to do more with her writing! Pushing herself to do more has lead Juliana to some of the most kind and supportive people she could ask for! She is grateful that she took that "leap of faith."

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