NEW IBERIA, La. (BRPROUD) — Emily Tilley said she grew up traumatized, mistreated and abused because her father and mother suffered from addiction.
“My father struggled with severe problems of alcohol. My mother did drink as well, but for her, it was mainly drugs,” said Tilley.
Tilley said all of her siblings were older and out of their home in New Iberia.
“I grew up watching my parents suffer. Our lights were turned off in the home, sometimes there was no food to eat and I had to stay with family and friends. My parents were not able to be parents because of their addiction, and as I got older, I knew I had to get out of that situation and break this cycle.”
Tilley went on to college and received a degree in social work. She’s now the executive director of O’Brien House in Baton Rouge, the same recovery center where her mother received treatment.
Tilley’s mother, Shirley, remained clean of drugs and alcohol for more than 10 years before she died in 2015 from complications of her addiction. Tilley said her father only stopped drinking a few years ago.
“That’s only because he is on dialysis and can’t drink anymore,” Tilley said.
A tool on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website can help individuals evaluate their drinking and then come up with a plan to make healthier alcohol choices.
If you need help or support in other areas immediately, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free, confidential national helpline active 24/7/365 to provide information and treatment referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations: 800-662-HELP (4357) and 800-487-4889 (TTY option).