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  • Writer's pictureKaren James

Addiction and Childhood Experiences

For some people, childhood can be a scary place.

We don’t all end up being dropped off by the stork in the 'right' home and you just can’t pack your bags and move down the street when you’re a little kid because home sucks. Sometimes home can be a combat zone and addiction can be the fuel that sets the fire.

I grew up in an addicted home.

Image courtesy of Flickr

The first 18 years of my life were spent there and what I learned there was a lot about hurt and pain that my parents attempted to bury under alcohol. Unfortunately, that only made the pain worse and sparked a lot of rage on top of it. By the time my single mother died, I was locked into an addiction that would take the next 16 years of my life and destroy my marriage. I would work in a job where many of the people there were locked into addiction, too.

I would finally walk out of that world and recover, but I would leave it all behind because there would be nothing that was salvageable. Recovery would be a long process - and I did recover - but I learned more about addiction than I ever thought possible.

As the child of addicted parents and a former addict, I’m uniquely situated in the discussion of addiction. I am part of a recovering community of addicted people. For the past twenty-five years I’ve worked with and even lived among highly addicted people.

There is not much about addiction that I don’t know.

Being someone who thinks a lot, I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on the subject of addiction and how it’s approached in our country. I believe in treatment because it did so much for me and I believe that people deserve to have their lives given back to them.

Recovering from addiction gave me the opportunity to recover from the trauma of my childhood, which then freed me to have the life of my choosing. I could fix the problems my childhood had left me with, make changes in my personality, develop new skills, challenge myself, and rise above where I had come from to be someone that I had the capability of being if only things had started out differently.

I could reach a place where I could define myself and that should be the right of every person.

That’s what therapy is about. It's about deciding who you are. It's taking back yourself from the places that stole you. Sometimes it's discovering you for the first time because you never had the chance.

It's about making the decision that you're important enough to put yourself first.

After I recovered from my addiction, I wrote a book. If you’re so inclined, check it out on Amazon but it’s certainly not a requirement to take that first step and call us. I’d love to help you find your true self and help you free yourself from addiction’s grasp.

If you'd like to talk to Karen please contact us at or call 613-877-4148. We can help.

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