Jan. 13th –The Daily Mail covered a the touching story of Emily Hunter Gordon (25), who slipped into the drug life at the tender age of 12. Emily was the focus of intense bullying in school, and as a way to deal with the stress of puberty, exasperated by being tormented at school (to which the teachers did nothing to abate- which was really helpful- not), she decided to self mediate herself, as lots of young people do, and began smoking marijuana. She said, ‘I never felt like I [fit] in. . . weed made me fuzzy and it made me laugh. It also made the noise inside me go quiet, and I liked that.” Emily also struggled with self mutilation. Her mother knew about Emily’s cutting problem, but was unaware of her growing drug addiction.
Emily’s father attended rehabilitation treatment for alcoholism. We now know that addictive behaviors are entrenched in our DNA, so families with a history of abuse are more prone to fall victim to abusing substances. More importantly, families with a track record for abuse typically do not know how to cope with internalized struggles. Cutting, drug addiction, and alcoholism are problems, yes- however, addiction stems from the internalized inability to manage intense emotions and stressful situations. Therefore, cutting and substance abuse becomes cries for help, and an unhealthy means to deal with underlying problems. In short: drug addiction is not the intrinsic problem, but a symptom of a larger picture, which often goes unaddressed in the face of potentially fatal behaviors.
In the continued attempt to address Emily’s emotional difficulties, the teen began taking ecstasy at 13. From there her situation desperately worsened, and she began to steal money from her mother to fund her addiction as she grew older and started experimenting with cocaine. She attempted suicide at 16, after a traumatic breakup with her boyfriend. After her suicide attempt (which was attributed to a narcotic overdose) her family was well aware of her drug problem, in which her father initially anticipated, and Emily attended drug rehab. Unfortunately she relapsed when she moved to London, and started to regularly abuse cocaine. Eventually Emily was fired from her job for missing work regularly, due to drug binges- and was forced to live in her car with her cats before moving in with her mother again.
Finally, Emily received the rehabilitation treatment that she needed, after her mom discovered a stash of marijuana in her jacket pocket. Emily is now a proud mother and is attending school in training to be a social worker. Perhaps she will help others find their way to recovery. She says that her son, Freddie, gives her the strength to stay on the right path. She says, “My life is so much happier and so much better, people need to know that they aren’t alone and help is out there. Life can be better- you just have [to] want to make the change.”