Rob Sullivan, a former inmate at a Connecticut penitentiary, is no stranger to the confining walls of a prison cell. The New York Times has recently recounted Sullivan’s upbringing in a story that suggests his childhood tribulations are to blame for his juvenile adolescence and incarceration.
Tragedy had followed Sullivan since the tender age of six, when two thieves ransacked his father’s dope stash, holding Sullivan at gunpoint during the robbery. Sullivan recounts this time as nothing more than “chaotic.” This incident has proven to be the bedrock of Sullivan’s life as drug abuse and domestic violence followed him into adulthood.
Sullivan’s struggle with addiction dates back to as early as 1985, when Sullivan, at the age of 12, indulged in his first sip of beer. What followed were alcoholic tendencies that resulted in a 12-pack a day addiction at the age of 19. When alcohol wasn’t enough to subdue his pain, Sullivan turned to heroin, the drug that took his mom’s life when he was 21-years-old. Despite Sullivan’s best efforts to resist his heroin urges, his “love” for the drug couldn’t stop him from succumbing to the “numbing and soothing” it offered. Sullivan’s addiction and inability to follow probation ultimately landed him in and out of jail throughout his life.
According to numerous scientific studies, it’s not surprising that Sullivan’s troubled childhood led to rebellious patterns. The National Center for Biotechnology Information released a study that revealed “trauma in childhood, whether physical, sexual, or emotional, has consequences across the life cycle.” In addition, their findings demonstrated that childhood sufferings are associated with the risk of “alcohol and drug abuse and antisocial behaviors in adulthood.” Further research conducted by the Justice Policy Institute found that “people who experienced trauma as children,” are more likely to have “substance abuse disorders.” Unfortunately, Sullivan’s childhood made him susceptible to the results found in both case studies.
In an attempt to mend his relationship with his daughter, 43-year-old Sullivan voluntarily checked himself into Lebanon Pines, a rehabilitation center specifically designed for men struggling with drug addiction. As suspected, Sullivan didn’t see his recovery through. Six weeks before his rehab completion date, Sullivan left and never returned. Sullivan himself stated that he “never followed through on anything.” Without the necessary help his addiction demands, Sullivan is liable to wind up back in jail.
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