There are many of us that battle with obtaining sobriety, but what about watching someone going through the battle? How is it possible to cope with, not your own addiction, but of someone that you love? One person that shares his powerful story of having addicted loved ones is Illanoiz. This is a rapper who, from watching his parents suffer with addiction, uses his platform to raise awareness of the damage addiction does to families.
With such an inspirational story and shining a light on a too often forgotten issue, we were lucky enough to interview with Illanoiz.
Soberocity [S]: What inspired you to develop your platform in the music industry?
Illanoiz [I]: Everything inspires me to develop my platform in the music industry. My past because of all I’ve overcome and never allowing myself to be subdued by my trials and tribulations. My present because of what those trials and tribulations made of me, a strong and resilient person with the willpower to push towards my goals relentlessly. My future because of the person I strive to be but have yet to become. Everything around me moves me and I use that to create passion and purpose.
S: How did becoming sober and encouraging others to be sober change your life?
I: Although I’ve experimented with different drugs growing up, I never let myself fall deep into any addiction. Watching both of my parents struggle with their heroin addiction taught me that I never want to let any drug supersede my will to live and that’s why anytime I felt like I was over indulging, I quit cold turkey. Since I’ve decided to live a sober life my relationships with loved ones have improved, also my physical and emotional health has improved drastically and, in doing so, focusing on the things that truly matter became a lot easier. Encouraging others who may feel trapped to free themselves from the grasps of addiction and seek help in getting sober has always been important to me because when you look at the world with sober eyes again in all its beauty, you’ll realize why becoming sober is better than staying an addict.
S: Is there any advice that you’d give to someone who are seeking to become sober?
I: The first thing I’d tell someone seeking to become sober is, “your addiction does not define who you are”. They are going to hit a lot of bumps on the road to sobriety and may even relapse, but they need to face these issues head on in order to build perseverance and discipline.
S: Do you have any advice for individuals dealing with loved ones who are struggling to obtain sobriety?
I: [It] would be to be very patient and empathetic when dealing with certain situations. Addiction is a mental illness that needs to be understood and handled with care.
S: Can you recall of a success story from a person or people you’ve touched through your music?
I: I’ve had the privilege to witness several success stories from people who were inspired by my music but there’s one in particular that stood out to me. A friend of mine who gave the prison system 6 years of his life due to making poor decisions and came home to make a few more bad decisions, heard a song I recorded called Road of Life, where a line in the song says, “I did some time for all the raw that I would sell, we would tally up the days on the wall in our cells / Genetically built to survive it’s all in our cells, so we never really change we become more of ourselves”; that resonated with him in [a] way that sparked a revolution within himself. He went from stick-up kid to paralegal and is now a productive citizen in society and an immaculate father to both his children. If that’s not a success story, I don’t know what is.
S: What experiences/knowledge did you take from going through rehabilitation and watching others go through rehabilitation that you utilize to connect with others?
I: Some of the knowledge I’ve taken from rehabilitation and watching others go through rehabilitation that I utilize and implement in everyday life is how to deal with triggers and challenges, how to determine when I’m in a high risk situation and how to avoid it, and how to build my life day by day. This builds good character and great forbearance towards the obstacles life throws at us.
S: Do you wish that you grew up in a different environment, or has what you grew up through made you into the person you are today?
I: I don’t wish I grew up in a different environment; on the contrary I’m glad I did because it molded me into the man I am today. Growing up in the environment I grew up in gave me the ability to better deal with stressful life situations without losing my sanity. I handle anxiety and pressure without cracking under it, which makes me resilient to difficult conditions.
S: What do you see in the future for your music and the issue that you are shining light upon?
I: What I see in the future for my music and the issue I’m shining light upon is a way to inspire people who may be going through hardships in their lives, to keep pushing towards their goals relentlessly, no matter what those goals may be. I want to motivate others to find their sobriety and lead healthier, more productive lives, so that we all can focus on becoming the best version of ourselves.
S: What made you overcome that fear of not wanting to be open with people about your background and the hardships you had?
I: What made me overcome my reluctance to open up about my background and the hardships I’ve had is the realization of the amount of people who’ve went through the same or similar experiences all around me. I feel most comfortable opening up about my past through my music and it still catches me by surprise how many people come up to me and tell me how my music is extremely relatable to them; listening to the lyrics to my songs has helped them get through their own personal hardships. That gives me a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment as if I’m accomplishing what I set forth to do. Brings me joy to say the least.
S: What do you think needs to be done in order to successfully help children who have drug-addicted parents?
I: What I think needs to be done to help children with drug addicted parents is we need to help them understand the disease because that’s what it is: a disease. Dependence weakens the body, mind, and lifestyle of those who suffer from the disease, and unless you’ve experienced it personally, it can be hard to understand so it is imperative that we educate the youth about this disease that not only attacks the body, but the brain as well. We need more programs for children dealing with these issues to let them know that they are not alone and there are people who’ve dealt with the same or similar situations that can help guide them on how to cope with these hardships. This is what’s most important in my opinion. Period.
His vulnerability is what makes him strong and passionate. Children who have drug addicted parents are going through pain that most people can’t even imagine, and others don’t even talk about—Illanoiz is here to get conversations started. His story and his music should always remind us to learn more about addictions, care more about addictions and do all we can to help those who are dealing with it.
“I didn’t really have anybody to talk to me—I didn’t feel like there was anybody that understood my situation. So, I just want to focus on the youth and let them know that there’s other people like them and we’re all here to support each other. These young kids, they don’t understand [addiction]. They just feel like their parents don’t care about them or they don’t love them anymore, but that’s not the case. So, I feel like I gotta start touching on these topics and start raising more awareness on them, ya know?”