Friday, July 16, 2010

When the Other Shoe Drops. . .

I have said in the past that I believe what people tell me. I think, for the most part, trusting others is a good trait. I think it’s a bad trait when someone tells me something, and when their actions don’t match up to their lip service, I blame myself for the “misunderstanding.” This has not served me well. It has served me even worse when dealing with a loved one who happens to be an addict.

And I hate that word addict because it sounds so dirty. I feel it doesn’t encompass what the whole picture is to me: a disease that one uses drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. I liken it to a diabetic: both are medical conditions, but there is still that personal responsibility to take care of oneself. The diabetic knows his body can’t process a stack of pancakes with extra syrup with a side of Dunkin’ Donut Munchkins, anymore than an alcoholic who can’t process alcohol. But either way you cut it, when being close to someone who is deep in his addiction, loved one live with holding their breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Well, the other shoe recently dropped. And this time, for me, is different. Usually, I go into panic mode and wring my hands and try to wave flags to get the people to see the severity of the situation. I feel like it’s my fault if this person doesn’t get help. I get frustrated and sad and drained when my words fall on deaf ears.

For the past 15 years, I’ve always been the whistle blower. And for the past 14 years, I have felt that no one has ever taken me seriously. The person in question has hated me for this, claiming I am a tattle tale. And everyone knows, no one likes a truth-sayer. The people most affected by this situation have told me it is not what it seems, that everything will be fine. But this time, I bravely accept that this situation is not fine. This time I stand strong that what I am seeing is not going to get better on its own. This time I don’t feel the need to scurry and rant and rave for others to see my point of view. Because, this time, I see the sad truth with kind of clarity only healing and time can deliver. This time, I have never been more grateful for the time and money that I have spent on my therapy. I am also grateful for the Don’t Get Drunk Friday posts by Stefani Wilder Taylor at Baby on Bored for helping me understand this disease. This post, and this post by Aunt Becky at Mommy Wants Vodka also helped me see the families of addiction more clearly. Thank you, both, so much.

I believe that although the other shoe has dropped, rock bottom has not yet been met. I love this person more than words can say, but I watch the situation from afar. Someone who is not well is unpredictable and lashes out; I am not ready for those emotional scars to be ripped open to bleed again. I can’t be drained like that again, not with two Babes, now one who is old enough to understand when something is not right. I help from behind the scenes, the person never knowing my involvement. And even though I know in my heart, these boundaries are the right and healthy thing to do, I feel guilty.

My hope is that one day this person will accept help and become the person he is meant to be. My hope is that he will want to be with his family and help create that special fabric only extended family can make. My hope is that the Babes will get a chance to know him. My hope is that I will get to know him.


Lindsey said...

I hate to hear about someone falling off the wagon. My father is an alcoholic and its affected the whole family. I am happy to say he is a year sober and hopefully has many more years to come.
It tugs at my heart to read about this and I hope they figure it out.
Hope you have a good weekend Spot On.

Kim Murray said...

Good luck. It's a tough road.

Aunt Becky said...

I'm just sorry. It's really hard sometimes, and I wish you the best of luck. Much love.

~Laura said...

Hang in there. This is a long, tough road. Beautifully written post.

Kendra said...

Very well spoken. It must be extremely hard to see someone going down a bad path, while recognizing that you can't stop them. But I'm proud of you for seeing that, rather than believing that you have the power to stop them, if you just do it right.

I hope for your sake and theirs that they can find help soon.

Mom et al said...

Beautifully stated, and with such clarity. You seem as though you at least are in a healthy place with regards to this situation, and I hope for your loved one that he somehow finds his way.

Are you familiar with the musician Tori Amos? Coincidentally I was listening to her song Bells for Her today, and it speaks of a woman who comes to the realization that she can not help a loved one in an unhealthy situation. The scenario is different but the end result is the same, the recognition that she can acknowledge what is and will happen, but not be able to control or stop it. It so very much reminds me of what you have just described. If you care to give it a listen you can find it on YouTube.

I wish you and your family peace.

Anonymous said...

Brent and I have a family member who suffers from terrible addiction issues: alcohol and gambling. He's lost everything because of it. He's even stooped so low as to steal from his friend's children to support his gambling. It's obviously way worse than rock bottom. But he refuses to get help. He won't acknowledge his sickness. Instead, he thinks everyone is conspiring against him. It's at the place where we can no longer help him. We just have to save ourselves. And he knows that when he decides to get help, we'll all be here waiting.

I SO understand your pain.

Amy said...

I so relate to your frustration and pain. My brother has caused my family nothing but stress and grief since the time he was 14. He's now 26.

Approx 7 years ago it got REALLY bad and he gave away 4 different cars in return for crack.

4 cars. for crack.


I couldn't (and still can't) wrap my head around it.

He seems to be doing better now. Went through rehab, etc. But he lives in New Orleans and works in a bar. Not the optimal place for an addict.

I don't have much of a relaionship with him, and he's never met my son, now 2 years old.

I wish you all the best. In the end you have to do what's best for your babes and your family.


Erin Janda Rawlings said...

I am touched by all your responses. I have tried to send each of you a personal email. For those that I don't have your email addresses and the address was a no-response blogger one, this is for you:

Brittany, thank you for sharing your story. I really appreciate it. "Saving yourself" - what a good way to put it.

Kendra, thank you for your kind words. It means a lot.

Laura, thank you so very much.