Addiction in its simplest terms is an activity that has become a major focus for a person’s life, even to the point of obsession. My addiction was obvious to everyone except myself, anger. Anger usually results from fear.
After a second son feel victim to drugs, I decided to devote myself to understand all that I could about user disorder. I proposed that I keep a journal of my own movements towards learning all that I could. With the second son’s addiction, he moved to the top of my list for help, forgiveness and understanding. For years I was full of hatred and anger living with and around my other addicted son, who finally succumbed to alcohol and drugs. He spent more than eighteen years lost in any real joy in his life. At age forty-two his life ended. I could only see the destruction of the rest of my family and the damage he brought to himself and so many others.
Revisiting his story now only brings sadness rather than anger as I am starting to understand what addiction is and how helpless I am or anyone is to do nothing more than attempt to keep the addict alive. We continue to deceive ourselves by enabling. I’ve learned through listening to so many horror stories that I am so limited in doing nothing more. It is very difficult repeating all this once again in my life. It seems much easier to speak in a different tense outside what is reality and that I have once been there before. The fear is more difficult. Really everything is more difficult. The major thing is that I’ve found an understanding and hopefully it will continue to give me strength. I don’t want to revisit and hear all the stories but I find it makes me go back and see how all my anger came to being. I did as much or more damage to myself than both sons by not understanding. It is a sad thing to live with myself and realize how much life was wasted on my part. With his death, his pain and soul searching are gone forever. I live with mine because I was blind to what his suffering was and what my current addict has at this moment and will as long as he lives. I think my biggest fear is to leave this earth not knowing or believing he will be okay and recover from this disease. Thoughts like this keep my life in a holding pattern as I continue through my own recovery.
One of the hardest things to do is release them from our care. However, you choose to make this happen, it will drive a huge stake into your heart then and even deeper later when you become more knowledgeable about addiction. I’ve felt this twice in my life. The first was out of love and anger. The second was out of love and sadness. Leaving our son for the first time in a strange place far from home, alone to deal with this horrible disease was frightening for him, his mom and me. As I said goodbye I thought how hard this is to say goodbye but to say goodbye forever as with the other son, will never remove the pain and heartache. No matter the question you ask, the answer will always be nothing, absolutely nothing. You are helpless, yet you believe you can save someone so precious to you. We seem to indulge in this self-deception that there is a way. Maybe the best way to at least help the addict is to help you. I cannot read into his mind but in some cases, it seems the addict finds comfort in knowing that you are looking for help just as they are. This removes some level of anger for both of us. We each are seeking recovery in the best way we know. We can sense this more as both of us understand
What the most important thing to us is this moment. It is recovery for both of us. I’ve seen many of the members of the NAR-ANON group and actual addicts themselves change for the better. There is a definite link in some way that as the addict sees those they counted on distance themselves and no longer enable but continue to love the addict. It may seem slight at the beginning but as those who loved and cared regain a life again, the addict seems to follow. This is just one of many things I’m learning from attending meetings.
The time I spent thinking of the addict’s success or relapse had no value. What will happen to me if he were to relapse? There will be so much hurt and sadness rather than hate and anger now. This is what NAR-ANON and other meetings has done. I understand much more of what he is struggling with today and will for the rest of his life. I can only pray that he is able to continue his way through recovery and has a chance to know some level of happiness and gratefulness that he was able overcome such overwhelming odds. It’s so important for me to remove or minimize my own addictive behavior and find understanding instead of anger.
I have realized through the meetings that I am only able to keep him alive and no more. This is no way meant to be harsh or unforgiving. It is that I have and continue to learn what his role is and what mine is. We can forgive and love one another and each of us realize where we are and what we must do to succeed or at least continue through life with some degree of satisfaction that we are doing the best we are able. Addiction seems to drain a parent, spouse or loved one of any clear meaning or vision of what health and happiness are. Everything is blurred by a daily battle trying to survive. The addict world makes one seek any help possible for all involved. There are no clear answers.
You understand but it does not make the question go away. As one addict learning from another, I find there are two primary things I need to concentrate on: First, NAR-ANON, NA meetings are a must for me. Second, my son and I continue to exchange conversation on our plan for recovery. I feel we are aware of our addiction and the actual problem that we each suffer from. It is important for us to address what we are. We frequently discuss the deceased son and the suffering he experienced and how this son understands what I felt. This exploring of all three of our lives seems to keep us focused. We are in a good place.