It’s happened over the years. I suddenly receive a call, text, or message asking if everything is ok with my loved one.
Facebook has been great to stay in contact with friends and family. It’s also been a manipulative tool to convince others of a fabricated life that doesn’t exist. So, when a piece of reality leaks out, there comes shock at what they see.
That’s when they contact me. For some reason, people never ask the person who shocks them.
Unfortunately, addiction has a few routes and outcomes that are unknown until they come to pass-
-Admitting your substance dependency, getting sober, and working a recovery program that lasts a lifetime.
-Living in it to the point of losing family and children, homes, cars, jobs, and eventually everything. The final stop is homelessness.
-Jail due to behaviors you’d only exhibit in addiction to satisfy your craving of drugs and alcohol, or to survive the homeless situation you’re now in.
-Hospitalization due to the physical sabotage of long-term substance use.
The only one with a final outcome that can’t be reversed-
-The cemetery or an urn.
The living options come with desperation. People become desperate to change their life. Or, people get desperate to feed their addiction and lifestyle. It goes one way or the other.
Instead of getting help, they ask for help in ways that will continue to feed their addiction. Employment is not an option because sobriety isn’t yet desired. So, there’s no money for food or shelter- but there’s usually a few bucks for a daily high.
It’s often in desperation that blame and anger is displayed publicly for all to see. Family and friends who have lived this experience for years are the villains according to the addict. We are the liars and we don’t know how to ‘love’. We have abandoned and left a loved one behind. Our boundaries are hateful. Somehow, we are evil because we won’t provide for the needs (shelter, groceries, money) of someone choosing the streets over rehab.
I don’t know when desperation for recovery becomes mightier than the high. The brain and toxic habits of the mind are powerful. It is the toughest battle to overcome. Transitioning your thoughts to positive, hopeful, and motivating will be a challenge.
I can send a list of every shelter that exists in our area, every food bank, every resource for detox, treatment and rehab- but I cannot force someone to go. (and I have sent pages of all these options, multiple times) When they refuse, that’s a choice. They know they need food and shelter, but refuse to go because the addiction is in control. This can’t be carried on the backs of family. This is why donating to local shelters is helpful! (Yes, I know, getting a job is helpful, too. So is getting life straight. But many aren’t there yet)
If you’ve reached a place where society looks right past you due to homelessness, you begin to join them. You don’t see yourself as anything but a ghost. It will take a humble heart to say, “I matter. I deserve recovery. I am worthy of living.” That selfish desire in addiction will turn to selfish desire to recover.
In the meantime, families are left behind. We don’t matter, and love exists but is locked away. Addiction is vicious and makes itself the priority. We answer questions we dislike, cry alone, worry all night and day, fear a phone ringing or knock on the door. For many parents, we are left explaining hard things to young and growing children, caring for them, and loving them. That is our priority!
But we continue to live and pray, hope and wait.
It’s all we have left. We won’t stop.