I follow a support group on Facebook of mothers battling their child’s addiction. Some mommas have adult kids, others have minors, but most are grown. Each day someone posts a cry for help, a call to prayer:
“My AD (adult daughter) is missing. Please pray.”
“My AS (adult son) OD’d tonight. I am heart broken. He’s on a ventilator now”
“I buried my AD today. Where did I go wrong?”
These posts go on and on. Many of the pained posts and comments are repetitive. We are living individual stories with a universal theme. We cry together, pray together, rage, and admit we are done, together. It is both a welcomed home and a place you do not want to be.
Additional to addiction, some of our kids live with the challenge of mental illness. So for that select few, we not only worry about one last high, we are confronted with suicidal thoughts, deep depression, bipolar disorder, severe anxiety, and other mental illnesses. The chaos of dual diagnosis is wrenching and exhausting for loved ones.
Moreover, some of us deal with these horrid lives while juggling the grandchildren left in our care. I have to say there is nothing like watching the hurt and disappointment of a child left behind. When a parent lives in addiction, the children are always left behind. When they are little, they do not know. As they grow, they figure it out. When parents ‘nap’ the day away, they know. Kids can identify slurred speech, mood changes, and misplaced anger. They are smart.
On top of our sadness and disdain, we must guide the sweet and innocent through things they should never know, see, or deal with at a tender age. Their childhood is gone as addiction forces maturity and a deep understanding. It is another broken piece in an already shattered heart. Answers are hard to come by, comfort is wrapped in hugs and words of promise to always be there.
I have never complained about fairness in life, but here is where I let loose. How dare anyone abuse the mind and heart of a child in this way. An addict wants to be angry, they’ve seen nothing yet. My blood pressure rises in typing this out. I feel the anxiety and frustration in my chest. I am constantly on the edge of boiling over. God help us when I do.
Addiction is a battle we fight within though it is outwardly instigated. As a mother I question everything I say, think, feel, and do because someone out there thinks, says, feels, and does whatever they please. The selfishness is astounding. It makes me physically ill.
We are told to love the addict, when they can’t love us. We are told to hate the addiction; but are never allowed to truly hate the monster, because there is no way to distinguish the active addict from the addiction. We are told it’s not our fault, while we feel fault, shame, and blame. Tired of this merry-go-round, I crave an end, but that’s not acceptable. So, we hide in our little corners, pretending to live while slowly dying from the choices of a child we love. I say this way of living is unfair.
May God forgive my honesty and lift me from this cavern of pain. May our Lord shelter and comfort every innocent child caught in the prison of substance ‘abuse’ disorder. It is a fate that no other disorder owns- imprisoning those on the outside. I need strength and a forgiving heart in the midst of an unrepentant rebellion..Lord, help me.