Dear Addiction Sufferer,
I want you to know that even though you are struggling, maybe even using, you are loved. That last time you relapsed, you think you saw disappointment on our faces.
But that’s not what that emotion was. It was not disappointment.
It was worry. Morbid fear. And helplessness.
We want to understand relapses are part of the disease and part of recovery. That’s so easy to say and we try. Emotionally we are crushed because we are afraid you are going to die. That fear never leaves us at any point. We watch friends of yours die. That is our absolute greatest fear as a parent. We will do anything to avoid it.
Then there is the helplessness.
We can’t fix this. In fact, what we need to do is less instead of more. That is so counterintuitive to being a parent. It takes a while to learn. And some of us never do.
When we are in emotional turmoil, we relapse ourselves–into old habits of accusation. I’m sorry, we’re just spent. And ashamed of ourselves.
You have a disease but it doesn’t look like any ordinary disease because you’re stealing, lying to us, manipulating us. We tell ourselves it’s the drugs not our loved one. It’s so hard to understand that.
Are you in there? How can we reach you?
This demon called addiction is holding your soul and your brain hostage.
Cancer is ugly but it doesn’t have a side this self-destructive. The behavioral part we can’t control. Then we question ourselves. Did we do something wrong? How can we lead you back to recovery? Will forcing you work?
We might throw up our hands, kick you out, seem like we are giving up and even taking a break sometimes because emotionally we can’t be in this chaos nonstop. Watching a child self destruct in front of you is the single hardest thing we’ve ever had to watch.
This disease is insidious. Unfair. Horrid. Devastating. Deadly.
We will always love you. Despite all the chaos, the stints in jail the absolute hell you and the rest of us have endured. We just want the real you back. We want you healthy again.
We know you don’t really want to live this way. Who would want to live every day wondering how to get the next fix? We know you hurt. We even know you love us.
We will never give up hope as long as you are alive. And good God you’ve beat the odds so far. If you can do that, you can find recovery. We hold onto that with the edges of our fingernails until they turn blue.
Even if we do love and let go, know we are there hoping.
Mom & Dad