Loving An Addict
The fallout of a loved ones addiction reaches far and wide. We could argue it’s the mother and father who suffer the most, though there’s an edge for that momma who carried a baby in her womb. It does not end there. We have children, spouses, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, every person who loves an addict feels the pain of addiction.
I sit here tonight, enjoying a quiet moment (in a spa bath with the bathroom door locked) and one thing flutters through my mind,
You never know.
You never know if one last time is the last time. Or if their new bottom in the darkest pit you’ve seen has a trap door waiting. You never know when one temptation leads to one choice, and they disappear again. You never know if today will be brutal or last night was vicious.
We sit trying to weave pieces of half-truths together. Elements that do not even go to the same puzzle. Our minds have spent days, weeks, months, years, and decades playing catch up in a game we never wanted to play. Through deception and manipulation, we begin to recognize patterns and behaviors, and one day, we trust nothing. It may take a long time, but we eventually get there.
There came a point where I had to stop. Not knowing was accepted, and discovering what I do know became the goal.
What I Do Know.
I learned I am not perfect, and therefore, by default, there was no perfect parenting in me. However, that did not cause addiction. I discovered the brain and mind are two different parts. The brain cleverly captures our thoughts and memories, builds its framework on the posts of the mind, and uses it for future survival. I know I cannot control the mechanism of brain function in another human. I am not that powerful. I also can not own any person’s thoughts. Therefore, their mind-brain connection has zero do with me.
Acknowledging this truth set me free. Free from guilt and shame. The overwhelming source of ‘sin’ being laid on me by Satan himself was a sham. He used my compassion, empathy, and sorrow against me. The devil wanted me to soak in the loss of His game. He was happy watching me suffer for something I did not do. Even my anger became his play toy. Justifying it just as he did depression, sadness, remorse, and every other emotion and feeling I used to batter my soul.
I know I can love in the ugly moments. That’s who I am. I know I can speak truth, because God gifts us to do so. I know I can encourage, and pray for those fighting the demons of addiction. I know my boundaries and what I will choose to accept in my life. I know I can support an addict in recovery, but there is little support I will give in active addiction.
Living In Truth
Above all, I know God loves me more than Satan hates me. I firmly believe that love is capable of significant growth and discovery within. His Word is the truth and bears nothing false. If God says so, it is to be.
Every thought must be captured for the Lord. His will must prevail over our savior mentality and reaching for the furthest hope to save our children. Their addiction became my idol. It went above God. Every moment of my day was intertwined with thoughts of “what can I do?”. I functioned in my daily life without functioning in my soul. When something rises above God, we become stagnant to His purpose and will in our lives. While they are lost we are busy losing ourselves.
I know addiction breaks the hearts of those who love an addict. But I fear they will never understand the depth of anguish a mother’s heart endures. The tangled emotions we fight, often alone in the spa, locked behind bathroom doors. Many will never know how close we come to the point of giving up, over and over again. Our loved ones will never fathom how hard we fight to look death in the eye and turn around, just to do it all over again.
You never know what tomorrow may bring. For the mother of an addict, we never see tomorrow because we take the knowledge that it’s not promised very seriously. Our children are dying every day to a killer on the street that seems to gain ground every second. The temporary high is consuming one soul at a time, and we sit around talking about research while offering $40,000 clinics that no addict can afford. We scream something needs to be done, yet, nothing is being done.
You never know if it will be your child. You could never guess it may happen to you. Moreover, when it does, you will spend time boiling in denial. When the truth hits and finally breaks you down, you will say,
“You never know.”
If you are stumbling through this journey with a loved one in addiction, please reach out for help, email me, seek counseling, find a support group. You are not alone.
Lisa, a mother in their journey