Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child several years ago. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
I wish our story was an exception; that our tragedy didn't occur again 179 times every day in America. I wish i could tell you there aren't hundreds of thousands of kids in this country waking up this morning missing a parent because of addiction. I wish I could roll over and see my best friend, my muse, my light, not have become my worst enemy. I wish my daughter could hear her mom’s voice, and run and play, instead of seeing only pictures. I wish I could tell everyone reading this, that opioids aren't the leading cause of death in The United States, on pace to claim almost 100,000 thousand souls this year. I wish it was different, but it’s not.
We all know someone directly affected by this crisis, they either are an addict, love an addict, are friends of an addict, or have buried one. This flash fire epidemic continues to spread almost unimpeded every single day. Our story is not unique, it happens every day, all over this great country.
Having spent the last 2 years working to help save lives I've come to realize several truths. Those truths are that addiction has no face, it is all of us. I have seen lawyers, doctors, police officers, firefighters, nurses, mothers and fathers all struggling. It spans across every race and ethnicity, every single age group, every religion and creed, every tax bracket. This isn't a matter of mental fortitude; the truth is much more complex. From in adequate mental health care availability to over-prescription of powerful painkillers, there are many causes and only a few solutions.
Recovery, in all its trials and tribulations, is the only way out and back to a healthy life. Many addicts are losing it all before they lose their lives, and many don’t know how to get healthy or where to start. The same can be said for many families who have no idea how to help or stop enabling.
There are resources out there in every state, every city, and every town. If you or someone you know is struggling, ask for help. It is out there an available. We all need to join together to fight this menace, before a whole generation of children is being raised by grandparents.
www.amirf.org for more information.
This piece is dedicated to Savannah, and all those taken too soon.
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 13: In Ontario, 17% of people who die from an opioid overdose receive naloxone, indicating that it's not a foolproof antidote, but one of many tools used by first responders, outreach workers, hospital and city staff, and bystanders that doesn't always work.
(Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)