My mom, Jessica Geschke, asked me if I wanted to share from a kid’s perspective what it is like to have an uncle addicted to drugs. I know that this is important because people are struggling and we need to help them.
I found out that my Uncle was addicted a few years ago when my mom started speaking with Rise Together. I remember her speaking in schools to kids, talking to the kids about what my uncle did to our family. It made me really sad because my uncle is someone I look up to and I didn’t think he would do some of those things that she said he did to her or my grandma and grandpa.
My uncle was using drugs a few years ago and it made my mom very sad. I could tell. She would cry and her and my dad would talk about him in the kitchen when she thought I couldn’t hear. She would say things about how he needed treatment but didn’t have money for it. Or how he needed medication to get better, but didn’t have insurance. Or how he had said things when he had used drugs, and the things he said, made my mom very mad. My mom flew to Arizona with my grandpa once to get my Uncle and bring him home. He was using heroin every day. I was worried about her, my grandpa and my uncle but mainly my mom. He came home and got better for a little while but then used heroin again. I didn’t understand why my mom didn’t fix him. She fixes a lot of people. She is always on her phone, helping people who call her, all the time. One time, she left in the middle of the night to go pick someone up, that she didn’t even know, that was in trouble. My mom does a lot for a lot of people. But she couldn’t do what she wanted to do to help my uncle. This made my mom very sad because she is a therapist. She thinks because she is a person who helps other people, she should be able to fix my uncle and make him stop using drugs. I know this bothers her.
This past year, my uncle came to live with us because he got sober. It has been one of the happiest years of my life. He played with me and my sister. He babysat us. He took me fishing. We went camping. He taught me a lot of things. I love my uncle, very much.
But in July, my mom and my uncle started fighting a lot. I knew something was wrong by the way he ignored me and my sister and would never come upstairs. He slept all the time. He looked sleepy when he was by us in the living room. He fell asleep in the chair with food in his mouth. One day, my mom, sister and me came home from shopping and I walked into the living room. I found my uncle on the chair. He was hardly breathing. He wouldn’t move. His head was turned down and he looked dead. We yelled his name. He didn’t wake up. My mom made me and my sister leave the room and yelled at us to go into the kitchen. I didn’t listen. I kept running back into the living room asking her what was wrong with my uncle. My mom was slapping him on his face to get him to wake up and running back and forth from the living room to the bathroom. I was very scared. When my mom began to cry, I figured my sister and I should wait in the kitchen, so we did. My uncle finally woke up after my mom gave him some medicine. He came out into the kitchen. He fell into the stove and finally went outside. I heard my mom asking him a lot of questions, he never answered her. His eyes were shut a lot. He didn’t want to talk to her. I heard my mom tell my uncle he could no longer live with us. She was so mad at him for falling asleep in the chair. She was crying but her tears were mad crying, not sad. I was very mad at her for telling him that he couldn’t live with us. I didn’t know where he would go at the time and I didn’t want him to be alone. My mom explained to me and my sister that she had to protect us first and that my uncle came second. I guess my mom’s job is the hardest. She loves my uncle a lot, but she loves us too.
My uncle left us and went to treatment where he stayed for the 32 days. We got to go visit him once when he was there. I cried a lot. I love him so much. I want him to be happy. He got out of the treatment place and went to live in a home with other people who are sober. He has been living there for the past five months. This week, he celebrated 188 days of sobriety and I am very happy and proud of him.
People who have an addiction to drugs or alcohol can get better. One of my best friends is in recovery. His name is Abe. He is a pretty cool dude. He also helps my uncle and my family understand what we are going through. My Aunt Katie is in recovery. She is one of my mom’s best friends. She has been sober for 13 years. My friends Anthony and Nadine with Rise Together are in recovery. They are super cool and always help my uncle and my mom whenever she needs them. I want everyone who has an addiction to be in recovery. My mom always says, “Recovery is possible!” And I know that is really is.
Kellen Geschke, Age 12