We’re going to go from a super happy post to a super serious one. Isn’t that how life goes, you celebrate and then get a call and it wipes out the happiness thriving inside. When this blog was a happening place it was because I was blogging from my heart. Something you all said you appreciated hearing. So let’s start that again. Hi my name is Alissa, and my sister is a drug addict.
You wouldn’t know it if you saw her on a good day. Might not even notice if you saw her on an off day. Because Drug addicts don’t always look like the movies tell you. She doesn’t come from a broken family, in fact against all odds my parents are still together when the majority end in divorce. She excelled in school, she was on team’s, she had close friends. But someone asked her to try it and she did. That’s all it took, was saying yes. That was almost 10 years ago now.
Here’s the thing though, with most times you find your life struggling, in sickness, death, bringing home a new baby, moving, or other typical situations, people rally behind you. They bring food, they help clean up your house, they pick you up for rides, they give without thinking. But no one brings an addict dinner. More over no one wants to gather around the family and help at all. Cancer isn’t contagious, neither is addiction, but you would think it was. Don’t let your kids near the addict because they’ll become one too. And if that doesnt keep them away the judgement surely will.
Im sure I know people have judged my parents. They must have done something to cause her to reach for drugs instead of normal things. It’s an incredibly unfair thing to do to her, but more so her family who would give anything to have those 10 years back.
But here’s the other thing. We dont wish we could change her, we just want to help her. We can accept her and love her through this. Because we remember what she was like those 10 years ago, and we still see glimpses of that person in between dark days. In fact its easy for me to forget she is dealing with inner demons when she’s on a good streak. Those good streaks can last hours, days, months, or years. This is NEVER going to not be a part of our lives. An Addict is in recovery for the rest of their life. And thats why when those calls come in, they can catch you totally off guard.
Like that time I got a call on Christmas day. Only an hour after the last time I had seen her. I had been so mad because I knew she was using. I didn’t even say goodbye because I wanted her to know I was mad. And at almost midnight I ran through a house crying for my husband to watch the kids while I threw a sweater over my pjs on the way to the car. I drove out to my parents house, it was a 15 min drive, it was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Have you ever wondered if someone was going to be alive when you got to your destination? Its the worst feeling in the world, I was making plea deals with God to forgive me for not saying goodbye when I left earlier, but I couldnt lose her with that being the last time. It was just starting to snow, that Christmas miracle snow, the soft barely falling thick pieces of snow. It was beautiful. The image of that snow falling against the lights of an ambulance will forever be burned into my memory. And when I went inside we got to pretend everything was happy for my nephew who was awakened by the commotion. Too young to know, we all sat with him and smiled while tears ran down our cheeks.
Do you know what happened next? Nothing, no one rushed over to hug my mom as she sat with utter shock as my dad accompanied my sister to the hospital, and I left to go back to my own kids. No, she tucked that little boy into bed and cried herself to sleep in the early morning hours after Christmas day was officially over. No one made her dinner the next day when she couldn’t force herself to prep and cook food while entertaining a grandchild. No one calls her to ask how she is handling it now, no one asks what they can do to help. That’s the thing about addiction, it doesnt only affect the addicted, eventually it touches everyone in the family.
Why am I writing this now? Because I got that call again yesterday. And like so many before, I answered unexpecting the news on the other end. Now I go through the struggle of emotions. The understanding, the anger, the questions of why that will never make sense to her or I. A hurricane of emotion that can hit you when you least expect it, or leave you feeling empty and raw in the next second. There is no right way to deal with this and unless you have lived it you wont truly understand what I am talking about. And if that’s the case I truly hope you get to stay one of those lucky few who never have to experience this.
Do you know someone who is dealing with addiction? Please go hug them. If they are an addict, or a parent of one, a sibling of one, a friend of one. Show them some love, because for some reason in our society we’ve left them to deal with it alone. Which is probably the saddest of all the things affecting the families of addicts. For so long I have kept these stories to myself. Afraid I too would pass on the judgement on her behalf. And yes there is going to be those people who read these words and have that opinion still. But it might also touch someone who has dealt with a similar situation. It might make you pause and take the time to love someone instead of judge someone next time. We didnt think we were going to deal with this in life, you don’t get to pick and choose the trials you go through. But the conquering the unexpected hardships is what makes your family stronger. Get familiar with how big of an issue drug addiction actually is. http://luxury.rehabs.com/drug-abuse/ And this will definitely not be the last time I bring this up. Transparency is the start to healing and this is a way for me to heal, and hopefully help the person I love heal. And next time you hear of a loved one dealing with addiction, take them dinner and tell them you are there to support them with love.