Pauline Read – I Will Not Be Blackmailed

My only child, my son was born just 5 months after my 18th birthday. At 18 you know nothing, although if anyone dared to even imply that, you would rip their head off. At 18 you think you have already been there and got the T shirt and maybe that is the way it should be. When you do start to realise just how little you know, it is the sort of learning curve you never forget.

So there I was, 18 years old and responsible for another life. I loved my son with a fierceness I had never before experienced and like all mums regardless of age, there was nothing I would not do for him. He was my sun, my moon my stars.

Imagine then my sorrow when my son reached the age I had given birth to him, I discovered he was a drug addict and had probably been one since he was 16 years old.

Of course in my ignorance I did not know the signs, and my first reaction was denial. As a non smoker, I was upset when he started smoking but of course there was nothing I could do to stop him, that did not stop me trying. Even then I had no idea that roll up cigarettes were a perfect vehicle for marijuana which is how, like most addicts, my son got into the dirty world of drugs.

The first I really knew of my son’s addiction was that a friend of mine broke every rule in the book and told me my son had been visited by a consultant from the hospital whilst I was away on a training course for my job, and that blood tests revealed he had hepatitis. At the time he was obviously injecting himself. Armed with this knowledge I looked for marks on his arms, but there were none, and I later discovered that he had been injecting between his toes.

Thus started the roller coaster that my life became and I am sure the lives of millions of families who make the same horrible discovery. I tried every way I knew how but nothing seemed to be stronger than the hold the drugs had on my son. He would lie, he stole everything of value I possessed and I am sure he probably did some dealing to fund his habit.

When I met Agile some 28 years ago I was still trying to fight the demon that had such a firm hold on my son. By now he was 22 but we continued the fight together. I was grateful to have a close ally. So many times we thought we had made a breakthrough and so many times we were wrong. The years rolled on and the addiction just took a firmer hold on my son. We did everything to help, from rehab to counselling to threatening. Like every type of addiction, you cannot help the addict until s/he also wants to break free of it.

Eventually I made the hardest decision of my life, I walked away from my son and his lifestyle. By now of course he had been living away from me for some considerable time. I reasoned that if he wanted to ruin his life, I had done as much as was humanly possible to stop him and had failed. There was no reason why I should allow my life to be ruined as well.

I have no idea if my son is still alive but there is never a day goes by that I do not think about him.

This is a subject I have never spoken of to anyone in north Cyprus, When anyone asked Agile and I if we have children, I have said no, which strictly speaking is true. We do not have children together.

So why am I telling you all about this now. I opened up my heart to someone I thought I could trust. In the ugliness that followed the break up of this friendship and in an attempt to stop the publication of the truth about the break up and the gaffe’s of the Finance Minister, a written threat was received by the Editor of NCFP in which the writer said to tell me that the Kibris Gazetesi would be interested in the story of my son. A threat of blackmail is useless if the person threatened goes public with the information being used as a weapon. I am not ashamed of my son, I am in constant pain because of what has happened but I will NOT be blackmailed. I would say to the editor of Kibris Gazetesi, if you really want to publish my very personal grief, come to me, I will give you the true details.

Since then certain statements have been made accusing me of attacking her family. I have never stooped that low, nor would I.

Pauline Ann Read


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