There are certain things I'm not afraid to tell people. Among them is that I grew up in the middle of the disaster caused by addiction. Specifically, crack cocaine addiction (supplemented by heroin and alcohol). There were police chases and prison sentences and violent outbursts -- and crack cocaine was calling all the shots.

So you can imagine how the anger rose up in my body and my mind became a frazzled haze of disbelief when the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) stormed our neighborhood two nights ago in hopes of catching my neighbor in possession of crack cocaine. Men in black, wearing masks, with guns, hiding out in the woods and then swarming into a house that sits across the street from us. My neighbor, her daughter, and the two adults she's renting to were cuffed and made to lay face down while the agents combed through every nook and cranny in her home.

My neighbor knows my experience with drugs and dealers and addicts. She knows because when she was released from 30-day rehab (for opiate addiction), I shared my story with her. I wanted her to know that I understood her addiction, that we wanted to help her when we could, and that her top priority must be to heal her relationship with her daughter (who is the one most devastated by my neighbor's addiction). I told her how crack had demolished my relationship with my father, how it ruined my belief in myself for so long, how it left me vulnerable to whatever man showed me love.

She sat in my living room and cried. Said she understood and wanted to live a healthy life. Said her top concern was getting her life together so that she can be an inspiration to her daughter (who is fast following her footsteps). She held my hand and listened to my story and the whole time she knew her boarder was selling crack out of her house. She knew the money in her pocket came from addicts. She knew she was bringing addiction into our neighborhood. She knew she was putting us all at risk.

I won't open my door to her now. Not because I think she's a bad person -- because I don't. I think she's carrying extremely low self-esteem and still dealing with her addiction and still making mistakes. My door is closed to her because I've worked so hard over the past years to free myself from the manipulation and anger that comes from being used and lied to and betrayed. It makes me sick to my stomach that she would come to my home, bringing her drug money with her, and sit in the comfort of my words and understanding.

It makes me sick to think her manipulation could've brought the DEA down on us. Can you imagine what it looked like? Here she was coming to our house for five or ten minutes at a time, popping in and out, while someone was trafficking drugs? And when the drugs weren't found (because they weren't -- the DEA found nothing), how hard would it be to make this leap: The drugs are being sold from this home, but they're being stored at that one.

Or what if someone so deep in their addiction decided to break into our home or steal one of our cars? What could've happened to me and Bella as we spend long days together in this house with the blinds all the way open to let the winter sun in? She knew the beast of addiction and she played fast and loose with our safety by inviting it to come visit. For the past couple of days, I've been afraid to open the blinds and don't want to be outside. Knowing the danger that was makes me paranoid about the danger that could still be.

I know that we're safe now. The raid pushed the dealer and his girlfriend to find some other place to conduct their business. My neighbor keeps begging for forgiveness, for help, for understanding. I have none. I've given so much to addiction in my lifetime. I refuse to allow it back into my home -- even by way of the enabler. I know I will forgive my neighbor eventually because I've learned not to hold onto anger. I will tell her how much her actions hurt me and I will move on.

But in the meantime, I'm working on letting in the light, in seeing the joy of a quiet, green neighborhood, and in trusting that the people in my life are here for a reason.


  • Sarah


    I can't imagine the scene as the DEA descended upon your house. I am sorry for the strife in the neighborhood. Especially since it hits so close to home (in more ways than one). I am no stranger to addiction and think that I would simply feel nauseous if this were going on in my own neighborhood.

    Here's to protecting what is yours and realizing that the people in your life right NOW are exactly who they are supposed to be -- for you, and for them.

  • Kelly Miller

    They didn't come here -- just to the neighbor's house. My dad (who is highly knowledgeable in these things) warned that we may be on a watch list now. So effed up -- especially since our neighborhood is so quiet and (used to be) safe!

  • Draft Queen

    That just sucks. There isn't anything even remotely related to addiction that doesn't suck. I've seen people turn their lives around remarkably and I've seen other lives completely devastated and ruined.

    I'm sorry you have to deal with this in your face and in your neighborhood.

  • Shelli

    I totally know where you're coming from and where you're at. However, I'm not even remotely friends with my drug-dealing, criminal neighbors. I pray for the day I see a "For Sale" sign in their yard or when the police seize their house. It isn't the parents who are the problem, it's their children. Or more specifically, their child. He's been in and out of jail. He's well known to our police force. He's burglarized many homes in our neighborhood. We haven't fallen victim to him because a) my husband is a cop and he knows it and b) we live right next door and I think that's too close for comfort. We have been talked to by the police and given a card to call if we see any suspicious behavior. I wish they would just go away. The neighbors, I mean.

  • amber_mtmc

    What a powerful post.

    Kelly, I have written and erased everything I have typed because I just can't seem to say what is in my heart.

    You, girl, are powerful. You have fought and triumphed. You need to protect yourself and your family. That is really the most important thing.

    I am amazed by your strength.

  • Anonymous

    Please allow me to second Amber on this one. I am (and always have been) amazed by your strength.

  • Anonymous

    Oh wow. I don't know what I would have done in that situation. I have GAD and live in fear that bad things are going to happen to my family so throwing that into the mix would just kill me. How DARE she destroy your feelings of safety? Putting your children in danger. Shame on her. She needs help.

  • Kelly Miller

    Thank you so much, guys. A large part of me felt a little guilty that I was so angry (codependency sucks!) because a) we never got hurt by this and b) we aren't the ones struggling to recovery from addiction.

    I feel much stronger in my conviction and feelings know that you all would feel the same way. It's snowing and icing here today, and I know my neighbor's water was shut off yesterday. I'll likely send Billy over there with a couple gallons of water -- but I'm still maintaining our boundaries and focusing on OUR well being.

    Does that make sense?

  • amber_mtmc

    Yes, Kelly, it does make sense. You have a good heart and you are doing what you need to do.

  • Amber Page Writes

    I would do the same thing...you have to protect your family first. Period, the end.

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