Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Just about 3 years ago, a chain of events began that would impact my life in a way I had not prepared for. These events would force me to take on a whole new direction. Force me to look at life in a whole new light. Deal with life in a whole new way. Had I known what was in our future I would have made changes years ago. Would it have made a difference? I will never know, but I still think of the past almost daily and wonder what I could have done differently. Yes, hindsight is 20/20 and it sucks.
The guilt that consumes you is almost debilitating. How did this happen and what could I have done to change it? Why did I not see it sooner? How could I have been so stupid?
It is called 'denial'.
That ugly 6 letter word that keeps coming back to bite me in the ass.
Before I began my search for answers, I had no idea of the thousands and thousands of families and people that were haunted by addiction and fighting to save their child or loved one. So many family's. Different lives and upbringing, different genes and DNA, different race, different religion, different cultures, different traditions. But we are all the same. We are bound together by our love for an addict. The disease does not discriminate. It rears it head and attacks us all in the same manner; it then unites us in a way that others will never understand. These 'others' are the lucky ones. The ones that just nod at you and give that sympathetic look..... not knowing or truly understanding your pain and agony. They will never know how lucky they are to have escaped it. We are in a select group but a larger group then I would ever imagined.
It is hard to see it coming. It is hard to see the signs in the beginning. They are minor changes. When they do occur, as for our children, we assume or maybe hope it is a natural part of a growing process. We shrug these changes off waiting for them to correct themselves ....we know they will, cause this is just one of those phases. As things go from bad to worse we begin to feel frustrated, maybe even pissed off. The confusion and helplessness comes into the picture shortly afterwards. We turn a blind eye sometimes because we don't want to face it. We cant face it. But it is always there...lingering like a black cloud of despair. We start to feel inadequate and wonder where we went wrong. We feel guilty, ashamed and share our feelings with nobody. All the while hoping things will fix themselves. If we just keep helping them figure their life out. Clean up their mistakes. Make things easier for them so they are not so overwhelmed. This has to be the reason... they are just overwhelmed with life. I will help them get past it. A year could go by before you know it, maybe two....or even longer.
We are in denial.......
Our roller coaster ride has begun.....it may be anger one day and fear the next. Confusion and frustration, then anger again. The guilt consumes us once more and we sob, then we pray, trying to find answers as to where we went wrong. The answers never come. The frustration returns one moment then we find that we are angry again. We lose our ability to concentrate on even the small things. We eat, sleep and breathe frustration. We are being taken for a wild ride that we did not choose to buy a ticket for.
We become exhausted. We do not know where to turn. Then we see our child (or loved one) doing better one day...We are flooded with overwhelming hope and happiness, only to have it come crashing down soon after. We continue to 'try' to make things better. We know they want to do better.... we saw them try last week. We are now scared and feeling desperate to do something. This could go on for years sometimes.
We are now labeled "enablers".
I had this affliction for at least 2 years.......
Soon enough the feeling of helplessness, hopelessness and complete fear take over our lives. We now need a support group to help us undo all the natural normal feelings that we have. We need to learn to let go of someone that we love with all of our hearts. We need to learn how to step back and watch that person destroy their lives without trying to help. In some cases we are told to cut off that person because we will only hurt them by staying in their lives. It is all so unnatural. It is excruciating pain that is in a class all it's own. If we don't cut them off we could contribute to their death. It is time to except the truth and reset our brains to 'let them go'.
Let go and let them fall into the pits of hell where hopefully before hitting "rock bottom" they will learn all on their own that this is not the life they want. Or....
Let go and hope that they do hit rock bottom so they have no other choice then to seek professional help.
Let go and pray they do not die before they hit rock bottom.
All the while, we must except that what it may take before they see the light is............ death?
How does that work exactly...
Even now, I have to admit, I am still in denial sometimes.
Denial: n. The act of denying: the refusal of a request, etc. a refusal or reluctance to admit the truth of something.