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When Your Father is an Addict

Father’s Day is coming up and we wanted to shed some light on what children and families face when their father is an addict. In a recent documentary which aired on BBC3 television in the UK, a 31 year-old son confronts his father’s heroin addiction. The film is called Chasing Dad: A Lifelong Addiction, by Phillip Wood.

In this film, much of what is depicted rings true for people all over the United States. In the midst of the heroin epidemic in America, many walk in similar shoes as the filmmaker.

For those who have sober parents, Chasing Dad provides a glimpse into everyday life of children of addicted parents. The film deals with problems a family has in such a situation, such as the disconnect that results from years of addiction and all of the bad behaviors that go with it.

Wood’s father, also named Phillip, shares his history with many addicted parents. He never intended to use heroin but once introduced became addicted very quickly. After six months his behavior was out of control. He changed jobs very often, until he no longer was hirable. His family only remembers his dad as being unemployed and using.

Consequences for Children of a Addict Father

Kids of addicted parents suffer immensely in the wake of the parent’s substance abuse. For the filmmaker, this meant growing up in poverty in a housing project. His schoolwork suffered. He often ran away and slept in a park to escape his unstable environment. He suffered physical and mental abuse and even began drinking himself.

Wood’s sister Emma also recounts what life was like as a child of a heroin addict. She says their lives were unpredictable and unstable. Violence and anger were common with many outside visitors coming and going. Drugs always in full view. She remembers her personal items being stolen, as well as her father being frequently unconscious.

Perhaps the most important message of the film is that there is more to cleaning up a heroin addicted patient than just getting them into detox. Wood clarifies that an extensive  rehab is required to overcome this type of long-term addiction.

Help for the Addict You Love

This film is similar to everyday life for many people. If you are one of those people who love someone addicted to heroin or other substances, you can relate to the ongoing struggle of being around someone with an addiction. Like Wood, you can also understand that overcoming addiction requires not just detoxification, but also a comprehensive program of rehabilitation.

If your father or loved one needs help with their addiction, call us at (760) 342-6616. We can help!