In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma.”
Today’s prompt was to write something about ourselves that no one else knows. Many know that I have a child and step child both who suffer from addiction. What you don’t know is the inner turmoil and tenacity I experience all at once on any given day as a result of these two lovely souls. My heart aches every time one of them acts out in a way that tells me they are getting high or drunk again; the guilt over comes my being in such a way that I could turn to substance abuse very easily myself (wouldn’t be hard considering all the meds I have to take for daily pain from arthritis and fibromyalgia). But I don’t turn to the meds for help; I pray, and pray, and pray some more. I used to talk about it; but soon got the feeling that burdening others with my problems was getting me nowhere and making my friends and loved ones miserable. So, I joined Al-anon and started the road to recovery for myself. Things were not perfect, but I was learning to deal with the state of my life in a positive way. Then my daughter made me so proud I could burst!
One month ago yesterday we brought her home from an intense 30 day rehab; this time she stuck it out and we just knew she was on the road back to being the daughter we knew before Heroine. She was interested in getting back to nursing school, getting a job, and getting her kids back. I worried that she was taking too much on too quickly but she assured me that the busier she was the better. Then she let a guy, a ‘wonderful-guy-who-cares-about-me-more-than-anything-Mom!’ stay with her; why care that she met him in re-hab? He seemed upstanding and smart, he was sober and really did seem to care about staying sober. They went to meetings together, even helped out at an AA/NA convention. Then I saw the changes-oh, I recognized them immediately. She quit wearing makeup, started sleeping in, didn’t care to spend time with her kids or with me, and finally the falling asleep. I mean, how does anyone fall asleep while standing in line at the grocery store? Oh, she tells me she is not using, but yes this guy is and she needs him out of her house because he keeps her up all night talking. I agree-he needs to leave. He admitted to me yesterday he had relapsed; and the girl shushed him before he had a chance to tell me that she was using too. He didn’t have to tell me, I know. I caught myself saying those tired old words ‘relapse is a part of recovery’. Bull shit.
What you don’t know about me is that I live the life as the mother of two addicts; the daughter is addicted to Heroin and the son an Alcoholic. I have run the gamut-been to meetings, talked to counselors, and read everything within reach about addiction. My conclusion? RECOVERY IS RECOVERY; RELAPSE IS NOT PART OF IT. Saying this trite little comment “that’s ok, relapse is a part of recovery’ simply allows the addict to feel better about slips-but that is it; there is a big difference between a slip and a relapse. A slip makes a true, committed addict say ‘oh, shit, that was stupid’ then call a sponsor and attend a meeting, or do whatever it takes to safe-guard their sobriety. A relapse is going right back to their comfort zone, using drugs to numb whatever feeling they are trying to escape from. A relapse tells me that the person has not taken the new problem solving tools they have been taught to heart. Don’t tell me this is too hard, that I am being cruel and closed minded. What you don’t know about me? You don’t know that I have faced this reality square and taken the bull by the horns; I have embraced my heartache and worry and owned it. I cry every day because I do not get to see my grandbabies; I worry with every siren or story on the news that my child(ren) has been arrested, found comatose in a ditch or worse, found dead. I have every right to expect my kids to embrace their sobriety and guard it like a newborn baby, and I have every right to my anger when they treat that sobriety like a fad-something they can play with for a day or two and put away when it suits them. What you don’t know about me? I smile on the outside, I counsel others, I carry on moment to moment, and I fake it brilliantly. What you don’t know about me is that I die a little inside each time I see an addict because I know what that addiction does, how it is a cancer that infiltrates the victim and makes victims out of everyone else involved; especially the mother. Especially me.