Featured Story: John Fuqua
Do you think that you’re suffering less, if one of your parent’s battled addiction, rather than you?
Even though John never had the addiction himself, he was raised in a “crack house”, for about a decade. Altogether, 6 children (John and his siblings), had to live with a mom who didn’t give them structure, nor did these children have any supervision in general. When John would leave school, and return to “home sweet home”, he’d walk in the front door and instantaneously smell the burnt aroma of crack cooking. For a decade, this drug had John’s mom in such a powerful grasp, she didn’t even have electricity in the house for her own children. John remembers DYFS being involved so many times, that eventually, they intervened – ultimately splitting him and his siblings up. With their mom as their only authority figure in their lives, John’s siblings ended up developing negative behaviors, exemplified by their mom (his sisters kept coming home pregnant at such young ages, etc.). For about 10 years, these children were suffering, longing for their mom to come back… their mom who could attend classroom holiday parties, football practices, and dance recitals – A mom who wasn’t victim of addiction.
When John was in 8th grade (in 1991), he got in trouble for drinking alcohol at school. Ironically, his mom was called down to reprimand him. Feeling completely intolerant of hearing his mother’s hypocritical words, dripping with disdain, he confronted her. “How can you come down on me so hard, NOW all of a sudden? How can you yell at me when you’ve been doing drugs daily, for all these years? How can you be angry about what I did, when you’re high right now?”
John says, “I don’t know what it was… but, ever since that day, something just clicked for her. She went into rehab in 1991, and she was clean from 1992, up until she passed away a few years ago. Finally, we had the mother we always wanted. We enjoyed every moment of her sobriety.”
John understands that addiction is a disease, but he experienced first-hand, what happens to a family when one of their loved ones battles an addiction. Nowadays, he has strong family values: “Don’t ever take anyone you love for granted. Family comes first and foremost. Period. What I went through then, is the reason why I never did and never will, do any type of drugs.”
John likes to share his story to children, alongside Michael DeLeon, for Steered Straight. He wants to make sure today’s youth knows that they are not alone, and just because you aren’t an addict, it doesn’t mean you can’t suffer if you love one.
A Quote from John: “You can choose your actions, but you can’t choose your consequences.”
By Jessica Osborn, Steered Straight