It’s been said every human has one, but there’s a difference between knowing of addiction and seeing it virtually every day, in different forms.
Addiction could have led Pistons second-round pick Peyton Siva to succumb to what swirled around in his own home and to violence outside his door in one of the worst gang areas of Seattle.
Instead, he learned to function in the midst of chaos, a coping mechanism that soon turned Siva to faith and developing his own addiction — to sports — helping him climb out, reach back and emerge to where he is today, as a member of the Pistons.
The world was introduced to Peyton Siva Sr., aka “Big Siva,” by the CBS cameras during the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta, when Siva’s Louisville Cardinals defeated Michigan for the national title. Viewers saw an energetic, passionate and likable parent supporting his child in the most vocal and visceral manner possible — wearing a spray-painted shirt with injured guard Kevin Ware’s No. 5 on it, being animated after every big play.
It didn’t show the gradual steps their relationship has taken through the years, where the son had to teach the father, helping pull him from the depths of pain and self-destruction of alcohol and drug abuse.
Whatever his father did, he jumped into it full force, and those traits carried through the Siva household. Siva’s older brother and sister spent time in jail for crimes related to drugs, alcohol abuse or shoplifting.
He never thought it was anything unique, though.
“By no means did I have it rougher than anyone else,” Siva said. “Growing up in those type of situations, I had friends that were in that situations, who had to take care of their families, who grew up with their mom and did what they could to provide for their family. You definitely had to grow up quick.”
Siva was often around to see it in its rawest form, and instead of believing he’d follow a similar path, he made a conscious decision very early in adolescence to take a different one.
“Honestly, I learned from other mistakes,” Siva said. “Once I seen what alcohol and drugs did to my dad and brother, I told myself I’d never do those types of things.”
After watching his father battle his demons, even once stopping him from committing suicide as a 13-year old by driving to a drug house to find him and talking him down from using a gun on himself, it gave a glimpse of the power he had in his words and actions.