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  • Mark Parker

Dads Fight to Save his " Crazy Diamond" from Himself & the "War on Drugs"

Updated: May 20

This post is one of numerous subsections of my: BIOGRAPHY - Who am, where do I come from & WTF am I about?

Dads Fight to Save his " Crazy Diamond" from Himself & the "War on Drugs":

[Stephen Parker, 1999. Galway Ave, Marlston, South Australia.]

I reunite with my father who had finally found recovery via AA. Due to Dad's extensive experience with Alcoholism, addiction & surviving the "war on drugs" & fearing that his son will either die or end up in the same position as him having lost two wives & sets of children before finding recovery - DAD comes up with a ingeniously unique plan & at the expense of himself dedicates the following year to saving me from myself. Dad was not only one year clean & sober was in most respects a different man than I'd known. Well the good in him was still the same but he had made some significant improvements upon his deficits. Admittedly, he was still doing what he new best to survive - growing dope. Knowing I couldn't be told but although stubborn that I wasn't exactly stupid Dad used drugs as an incentive to get me to my first NA meeting where he knew that seeds of identification would be sown that would slowly but surely erode my denial surrounding my "Alcoholism/Addition".

Although only 16 - 17 years of age & having never had the things others had lost such as wives, houses, children etc - I identified with peoples descriptions of the emotional pain of an overactive head that they experienced & how that although drugs had at times provided relief to such pain that they were unable to manage their consumption as others leading to all kinds of fairly typical issues. They described how that once they place particular substance in their system that they develop an unquenchable craving to continue using & fear based obsession to find ways & means of never running out of drugs - like a squirrel madly gathering nuts for a never ending winter. There was something they not only described but some actually visibly presented that was as foreign as it was attractive to me - this was a level of serenity I was unaware I yearned for as even with the best drugs I had never experienced anything to the likes.

After years struggling to survive on Centrelink's "Unreasonable to Live at Home - Youth Allowance" & often struggling to meet participation requirements (often due to schooling issues) - I was granted a Disability Support Pension (DSP due to a combination of Severe ADHD, Alcoholism & Substance use Disorders, a range of Anxiety related disorders including generalised Anxiety, Claustrophobia & Panic Disorder aka Panic Attacks.

The DSP relieved a great deal of pressure. However, living in a small unit in Marlston, Dad didn't have room for his son who although he loved dearly, was detrimental to his personal recovery as I was an active alcoholic - I still had the issue of acquiring safe & secure housing. Whilst AA told him I was a risk to his recovery & he should "hand it over to God" - Dad knew that he couldn't live with himself if his "crazy diamond" (me) didn't survive "the war on drugs". Whilst surrounding me with the positive influence of people in recovery & linking me to a broad range of health & harm minimisation services - the second part of Dads ingeniously "crazy" plan was to provide a never ending supply of drugs & alcohol & safe environment, whilst leading by example maintaining his own recovery & encouraging me to demonstrate how much control I had. The intention of this was to accelerate the process of me reaching the rockbottom necessary to provide a solid foundation to recovery - kind of like a controlled demolition of a building. In facilitating the above he planned to move us both back to Whyalla as a familiar place where he knew we'd have greater access to housing to grow hydro.

The plan worked & as with a safe but never ending supply of drugs & alcohol the more I tried to control my consumption the more my inability to do so dominated every aspect of my life. It's difficult to describe the chaos as I immediately couldn't control my consumption of Alcohol & marijuana, & it wouldn't be long before I found Morphine there & was running huge overlapping habits. Of course, it wasn't long before the above inspired my own self motivated interest in recovery & attempts to detox though I was far from reaching a great enough place of pain & desperation to make recovery possible.


In March of 2001 something incredible happened that would change my life forever in ways that I couldn't even begin to comprehend - the birth of my son: Kaleb, TJ O'Donnell-Parker. The sole destroying part of this story is that every day throughout the pregnancy I sincerely desired to get clean & sober before becoming a father, yet day after day after day into weeks, and weeks, turning into month after month I failed to cease or really even reduce my substance consumption right up until, though & beyond the magical day my trapping 11.5lb bundle of joy bust his way into this magical cunt of a world. However, this is one of the biggest rock bottoms that however harsh will later serve as a solid foundation to my recovery as even once Kaleb is born no matter how hard I try to get clean for my family I simply can't. I recall the shame of him jumping on me as a toddler triggering panic attacks where I'd have to put him down & race outside stripping cloths off & gasping for air which of course got worse the more I attempted to manage them with drugs. However, aware that Alcohol is my most unmanageable substance of concern I managed to put down the drink within a year or so of Kalebs birth before or shortly after I turned 20years of age.

Although this drastically improved my health & safety throughout my early attempts at applying the 12steps to my life progress was severely limited due to my Alcoholism manifesting in other ways such as copious use of Marijuana, Morphine & various other substances. Throughout this period there were countless futile attempts at medical detoxification & trying to find the magical combination of "just smoking dope", drug replacement therapies, etc which always lead back to the same place - full blow uncontrollable substance use.

Throughout this period I was possibly the first person in South Australia to somehow develop a Morphine habit whilst on a max dose of Subutex (Buprenorphine). They wanted to double the dose from 16mg daily to 32mg at second daily intervals. However, I refused as due to my abnormal metabolism daily dosing wasn't holding me which was how I ended up with a duel habit. When I told Doctor Izza (the authority on drug replacement treatment from the Lower Eyre Peninsula up to Port Augusta) about my duel habit on top of whatever else what I was using - he called me a liar & said "you'd be dead". Despite my every attempt to explain that I had no reason to lie as I had plenty of drugs & desperately required help - he refused to believe me. Fortunately, I contacted Warinilla Detoxification clinic who knew me well enough to arrange administration & made me swear not to tell other clients what I'd been doing.

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