As the interviews continued, I eventually got to the “core” reason why an individual would begin to use narcotics for any length of time. I discovered that the majority of my clients began to use drugs between ten to thirteen years of age. I would ask, “What was going on in the home at that time for you to begin using drugs?” The most popular response I received time and time again was that there was no one home. What does that mean? It meant that there was literally or figuratively no parental figure in the home to provide positive mentoring and support.
This “nobody home” condition can come in a variety of ways, such as divorce, the death of the father, imprisonment, or being socially/emotionally absent within the home. Therefore, the social/emotional responsibility usually fell on the mother, who was typically working extra jobs and didn’t have time to meet the social/emotional needs of the client as a child. In some cases the children were being raised by other relatives or in foster care.