Word Prompt~March 18, 2023

What makes you most anxious?

I’m the mother of an addict. My eyes burst open daily with one anxious thought, “Is she dead or alive?” It is the painful reality of addiction. There is nothing in the world that makes me more nervous. Fear and sorrow hide in the background of my being. I put on a brave face not to mask my turmoil but to move forward while experiencing it.

I am not alone. Parents all over the world are living in the agony of the effects of chronic substance use. The judgment swirls around us like a hawk. “What did you do wrong?” “ Why is your kid such a mess?” Or, pity, “That poor lady, I can’t imagine the embarrassment.”

Yes, pictures are plastered in papers, mugshots can be found, social media reveals the secrets. But none of that matters. I’m not hiding in a closet, fearing the shame and ridicule. I’m screaming from mountain tops for help. I stopped living in guilt and shame long ago.

Once I leave my bed, I get the grandkids ready and off to school. Once again, I am alone with my thoughts. Reruns of my decisions replay throughout the morning. Each one attaches a reminder of their choices along the way. Like a scale keeping score, my thoughts can be the enemy.

How do I combat the trembling fear from my throat to my toes? I fill my ears with fresh encouragement and hope. I constantly play uplifting music, scripture, meditation, or prayer as I prepare for work. I allow myself to surrender and listen to something other than myself. It is refreshing.

By the end of the day, I cycle between focused busyness and unrelenting intrusive thoughts. The day-long battle leaves me exhausted and weary. My nights revive around extracurricular activities, chauffeuring kids around, and afternoon chores. Though tired, I appreciate the gift of a full plate.

I blink and the night falls. Bedtime rituals are performed, and once again, I am alone with my thoughts. The rising blood pressure is felt with each palpitation. I write, read, and pray. Sleep is interrupted by a startling awareness that something is off. Sitting up abruptly, I check my phone for messages. When all is deemed okay, I settle in bed. Wrestling with my anger, I listen to sleep meditation and head back to dreamland.

Anxious feelings haunt me day and night. I live in grief that many will never understand. They shouldn’t have to. Grieving someone who still lives is wrong. The process of living in the unknown is a tragedy. Yet, it’s becoming all to common every day.

Pray for families living in this earthly hell. They are lost, broken, and in need. Your listening ear may be all that keeps them sane. They’ve poured their entire being into a loved one who empties their tank. We don’t need much. Just the comfort of a friend.


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