Two days ago Canadians celebrated Canada Day. Tomorrow our neighbours to the south in the USA celebrate their Independence Day. There are fireworks and banners and people waving flags. The country as a whole seems to be in celebration mode.
Sadly, in far to many homes the world over, there is no celebration happening. Instead worry, heartbreak and devastation persist because you have a loved one heavily addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Lives with potential seemingly lost. Once beautiful children with goals and dreams now broken. And as their Mother. As their Father. As their sister or brother you are devastated. You so desperately want that loved one back.
They are struggling with a disease that is holding them hostage. That disease is holding you hostage as well. The collateral damage of addiction is immense. As parents, as families, our lives are changed. And each member of the family will handle it differently. From fear, to frustration, to indifference, to anger or hatred, perhaps to enabling, being willing to do whatever it takes to get our loved one back, and loosing control. There is not a single “nice” thing about addiction.
I know many people who struggle with addiction and mental illness from working amongst them. I can tell you, that the goodness, the love and the lessons you have raised your adult children to know are not lost on them. The light has not completely gone out. Their lives have a great deal of darkness, but those memories are still there. I see it every day and it touches my heart.
Society for the most part ignores and looks away from them.
People walk down the street, stepping over them, never really seeing the actual individuals there.
For God’s sake people, open your eyes. Please see, this is someone’s son. This is someone’s daughter. This woman has children in foster care, hoping that one day she will come and pick them up.
They are our sons and daughters, and we love them and would do anything possible to help them get away from their addiction. But they are just not at that place where they will allow you to help . So, you continue trying to convince your loved one to accept treatment. To embrace recovery, to believe there is a better life for them. But ultimately, they have to walk the walk. It is a journey only they can take. You can be their greatest supporter. You can be the one encouraging them every step of the way, but in the end, only they can choose the path they will follow.
For the most part, they carry tremendous shame. They don’t want the life they have thrown themselves into. But they are stuck. And as much as we don’t want to accept it, there really is nothing we can do to help them make the changes until they are ready to grab that lifeline we have been throwing them.
It took my son twenty-three years. He endured some of the most horrific abuses imaginable at the hands of dealers and traffickers for twenty-three years. And for twenty-three years, as his Mom, I kept trying everything I could think of to pull him out of the trap of addiction that was holding him captive.
After twenty-three years, this son I love so much did what I could never have done for him. He did what no treatment centre had been able to do. What no recovery program had done. He did what no one could have done for him. He decided he’d had enough. On his own. With no intervention. He decided. He told me there was absolutely nothing I or anyone could have done for him. He had to decide – enough. After twenty-three years of hard-core addiction, my beautiful son started his climb out of his addition and out of the bowels of hell.
I cannot even begin to imagine the strength he pulled out. The inner demons he had to battle. The utter commitment and desire to be well and healthy. The absolute will to come back.
I cannot imagine a physical and psychological hold more powerful than that of addiction.
Today Nathan is two years, four months and sixteen days clean. My son began his “rebirth” on February 17th, 2014.
Is every day a struggle? I am sure in some ways it is. But he is winning a battle he did not think it possible to survive.
This wonderful, kind, loving, generous,reliable, responsible and caring son fills my life every day with joy. He laughs at those descriptive words of him today!!
Please let this give you the hope you need to keep going. As long as there is life, there is hope. The nightmare you are living is horrific. I know your pain. I believe only a person who has walked this journey with an addict they love can truly understand the journey you are on. It is a journey of heartbreak and devastation.
My hope for you is that your loved one will grab that lifeline and begin their “rebirth” in a life of hope and happiness. They deserve that life. You deserve that life. Until that time, know you are not alone. I truly care.
Today, please do one thing nice for yourself.