Examining Both Side

Drug and alcohol addiction has become so widespread that it has risen to one of the leading issues of our society today. We search for answers. More and more groups are forming to help those afflicted by the disease. Organizations for the addicts themselves have long been in existence. Organizations for those afflicted by those persons they love and cared for that have become a casualty of the disease are now starting throughout the country.

I see two types of approaches to the problem. One addresses the addict and steps to recovery. The other helping those hurt to better understand addiction and how to regain sanity to their own lives. I have attended meetings with the addicts and those trying to help themselves and if possible the addict as well. Both have intention only to help and comfort. What I see though is that each group concentrates on the problems confronting those attendees looking for help. As part of the agenda is the underlying desire of each to help the afflicted and those affected.

When I became a participant with each group, I myself find a better understanding of the approach and methods for a solution. Unless somehow a connection can be established whereby each completely understands the feelings and struggles each has daily to recover all that was lost. This is no simple task. It involves much more than just understanding. Love as well as hope must be included in the mix to save each.

It almost seems that a new group be found that acts similar to an “intervention” but on a greater scale. There has been success where family and friends meet with the addict to express their feelings in hopes that the addict will seek help. Having gone to both groups and listening to both the struggles, suffering and misery each deal with daily, makes one keenly aware of how much help is needed. Listening to each side of torment gives you more insight that how much love must return to the family and addict. There is no room for hate and anger as I so often experienced. Hate and anger make you blind to any real solution. As a society we should be looking for a cure much the same as for cancer or any other disease. I understand full well all that is involved and can only pray that a cure is not too far down the road before we lose so many young lives. I can only speak to what I myself have found to give me strength and my son strength to survive. Each of us is following our own healing process yet we have been together from the beginning. We know each is working towards healing and know without doubt there is love and understanding that precedes us and guides our behavior towards each other.

Addiction brings out the worst of us. The anger and hate for those suffering because of the addict and the lying, hurtful and deceitful circumstances of the addict themselves. There are no good feelings or actions associated with addiction. We are talking about unacceptable emotion behavior that can only result in severely damaging or ending any relationship. Open minds during these hard times is so difficult. The addict’s mind has chosen to think only of themselves and the means to satisfy their habit. I’m not sure anyone can define or project desperation on the part of an addict to where there is a willingness to put aside the habit and seek help. It may never happen and as result those with hope a love will need even more support to survive.

Somehow it seems there is a need to look even deeper into those cases where success resulted. I believe you will see that love and support became the reason for success. The addict gained strength from knowing that his or her family has not abandoned them. Abandonment does more harm than good especially if the final result is death of the addict. With death the addict suffers no more but those who gave up love and hope will continue to feel great pain, possibly until they themselves give up life.

A question comes to my mind after my initial visit with my son and his roomate I have journeyed with these past two years. Are you happy? They did the right things and deserved a chance to rejoin society. Their life right now is financial hardship, adjusting to new people, places and things outside the environment they’ve lived in, spending the majority of their time working or sleeping. Entertaining themselves does not seem present. I have to wonder myself how difficult this might be to come from a controlled atmosphere where you must put everything into trying to regain your life only to see the payoff is hard work and little time to enjoy what you worked to attain. I sense there is no real happiness in their new life. I have to ask “Are you happy”? If the answer is yes, I would like to know why. It may be as simple as because they are no longer addicted and once again learn to enjoy the things around me the same goal that I had but without drugs interrupting my journey.

It’s so easy to go back to their early childhood and recall all the joy and happiness in their lives before falling prey to drugs and alcohol. We remember the laughing and funny stories and so much of happy times. Now they gave grown to young adults and have managed to put their lives back into some degree of order but you don’t see that same joy and happiness as before. Maybe it’s just the fact that they have grown up, but even as grown-ups we still laugh and find happiness in many things. It may come in time but for now the ability to stay clean may be the reason for happiness.

All parents want their children to be happy regardless of circumstances. Our son has worked hard to succeed in his recovery and his mom and I are proud of his ability to face and fight this disease. I think his mom is at ease that he is happy and will continue to be so. I guess I’ve gotten too close. I made the journey with him. I lost sight of his happy times when he started using and I seem to be looking hard for those same smiles and laughs as beforehand. No one wants him to enjoy life and good times than me. The strange thing is that my deceased son  with years of drugs and alcohol was happy and seemed to enjoy life. He was family oriented and loved to joke and tell funny stories. You could not knock him down. It was amazing that someone so hooked on drugs and alcohol could still enjoy things around him. I guess because he was able to still find happiness even in the worst circumstance, I look for my recovering son to be able to put this part of his life aside and remember the good times he loved with his family.

I may be expecting too much too fast. I want to see my son with his beautiful smile and his gentle laughter. My age tells me I want a fast heal to a serious disease. These are my own greedy inclinations. The picture of the three of us at his one-year celebration is special to all three of us because it shows the happiness in each of us at that moment in time. I look at that picture almost every day and it makes me feel good the look on his face says I’m happy and I’m going to be okay. What more could I ask?



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