I have felt compelled to write this page for my blog for quite some time. I know far too many people who are either struggling with their addiction and/or recovery or parents and loved ones of an addict. I have seen their tears, hurt their cries, felt their pain, and sensed their heartache. I have seen the constant worry about that relapse that is always around the corner.
I have taken this long to write this post because I couldn’t decide how to say what I felt needed to be told without pointing fingers in a way that would single out anyone. What I finally have done, or tried to do, is take those many stories I’ve seen or heard and combine them into a somewhat generic account. My guess is some of you who might be reading this can, too, sadly relate. I don’t want it to be a downer, but the truth is, addiction is a downer. So, here goes the story.
My child was stolen from me. The sweet child with the heart of gold, compassion too great to describe, with a crooked smile that was so like their dad, quirky sense of humor and a joy, was gone. The thing that took my child left another person behind, a person I didn’t know, and certainly didn’t like. I was left with someone who didn’t know compassion at all, didn’t show love, didn’t care about the pain they caused. Left for me to deal with, was someone I was somewhat fearful of, someone who stole from me, cursed at me, lied so many times I lost count, watched me cry and didn’t care. The child left behind didn’t have my child’s heart of gold. This person had a stone cold heart. No, I didn’t like this person. I wanted my lost child back.
Opiates took my child from me. I felt like a failure as a parent. My mind was spinning out of control, screaming for it all to stop, and all the while, my heart was crying. I longed so badly for the cute and smart baby I had brought into this world. I missed their hugs. I mourned the loss of the hopes and dreams I had for them. I wondered where we had gone so wrong in raising them.
So much money was lost, either by my child stealing it or handing it over for their legal issues. If I’m going, to be honest here, I was, and still am, an enabler. I couldn’t handle seeing them go down a dark path I was afraid they would never come back from. I failed because I didn’t make them accountable for their actions. I shielded them from suffering the consequences of those actions. I allowed them to fail when I only wanted to help them.
For the first few years of their active addiction, I had my spouse/significant other help me carry the load. They seemed much better at dealing with all the drama than I was. But, then suddenly, the Lord called my support person home, leaving me to bear the burden and deal with the crisis myself. I thought losing that person in their life would bring back the child I loved and take the place of the child I didn’t like. It didn’t. I conversed with God, telling Him I understood if it was my support person’s time to go. I asked God why He couldn’t have fixed things down here before He took that support from me. I felt truly alone with this burden.
It would take years before my good child would come home and take the place of the wrong child. But so much muddy water had accumulated under the bridge that it still had a way to go before the flood of mistrust ebbs. I am always walking on eggshells, wondering if or when the subsequent relapse is coming. Sometimes it drives me crazy with worry. Every time I see them display any actions I experienced during their active addiction, my heart races, my mind goes into overdrive, and my fear resurfaces.
I don’t think anyone can relate to what an addicted loved one can do to a family. Granted, the addict is suffering their hell, but the family suffers because all they can do is watch helplessly as their loved one keeps digging a more extensive and deeper hole. You can’t talk to anyone about it because you are afraid of being judged for what you already blame yourself for. Embarrassment and shame are your daily companion. Tears are cried until you wonder how you could have any tears left. Finally, if you let yourself, you begin to admit you are powerless to change anything. At this stage, you know God is the only one who can get into the mind of the addict and change their heart, and lots of prayers are sent up pleading for God to take over. It took a lot from me to get to the point where I was willing to let God take over. I would ask Him to take control, but I kept trying to take it back. I have to keep telling myself that God has this.
I pray daily that my good child will stay, but I know the ugly head of addiction is always right around the corner.
I fear losing them again to the evil clutches of addiction
I pray daily they will reach out to God to help them when they feel themselves slipping back into darkness.
I love my child.
I need my child. I want my good child to stay.
I like the good parent, friend, and spouse they have become to stay.
I want to see the heart of gold, to feel the kindness and compassion, and to continue to be proud of how far they have come.
Their story is still being written, their journey is still filled with bumps in the road, and their recovery is always going on. But they are still my child whom I love with all my heart.
Opiates destroyed my world and opened my eyes to an ugliness I wish I had never seen.
I hope God will use me to help another family because being a loved one of an addict puts you in a club no one wants to be in, and no one but another loved one of an addict could even begin to understand.
All the above words were told to me in real-life scenarios.
These are real people experiencing real horrors.
Addiction is a disease that is stealing our loved ones.
I’m not sure any of these people know the answers to this problem, but they all have hope there are answers somewhere.
Even when these people have been pushed to the limit of their boundaries, and I know they have, they hold onto hope.
May God Bless us all and have mercy on us as well.
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