The Other Side of Addiction

A very good writer, the person who inspired me to join this site, wrote a blog last week about alcoholism. I wrote a message on his post, detailing how the alcoholism of others has affected my life.

More recently and more directly, it was prescription drug addictions that affected my life. Not my own, but that of someone in my life.

Nine years ago, or so, one of my sons brought a young woman home.  She was beautiful, petite, and fragile. None of us knew how she would affect his life, and certainly not how she would affect our lives…especially mine.

I am not sure whether to write this from the view of innocence…as we all began to realize what we were dealing with…or from today’s view looking back…

I guess I shall just begin with some facts.

He knew she was an iv drug user when he got involved with her. He told me years later he thought he was going to save her. What actually happened was the opposite. He ended up in her world. Three children later…several arrests, seizures, physical attacks on my son, DCF cases involving neglect accusations, the removal of the oldest child by another grandparent, me spending long days with her at the ER, deceit, theft, lies, broken promises, more lies, money owed to everyone in the family, tears and worry over the children…she is currently in jail and the two youngest boys live with me because I took them just before they became homeless. Now my son sleeps here too because he would be homeless otherwise.

I take full credit for getting the boys in school programs they needed; having the middle boy tested for problems – both learning and speech (turns out he blew the score off the charts academically); getting them into a summer program and thereby teaching them self-respect. Another family member pays for the co-payment for their subsidized daycare.

This description just skims the surface of what has happened. I’ve faced down a drug dealer and called every law enforcement agency that would listen in order to severe the ties between my son and the man I blamed for giving him the tools to destroy his family.

I stepped in as a surrogate mother over the past four years, including taking the little guy to the hospital and holding him down while doctors lanced a boil on his leg, insisting my son take the same little guy to the hospital when I heard bronchitis in his cough…

This sounds like I’m bragging about my involvement. I’m not. I’m attempting to demonstrate how deeply involved I am in their lives.  I’ve heard the stereotype of the meddling mother-in-law as often as you have, but that is not our circumstance. I was thrust into this role by a woman whose drugs were more important than her children. Her uncontrolled depression was self-medicated and her addiction spread to my son. It is not a matter of what might happen to the children if I did not step in – it was a matter of what happened to the children before I stepped in. Nothing would bring me more joy than to see their family together and functioning.

Right now, as I write this, I can hear the boys playing in my daughter’s room. They sound like every other normal child playing and making noise and laughing. They are oblivious to all we have been through. It is my goal that this normal happy life they have now will fill their memories while they are little and replace any feelings of abandonment or neglect they have suffered.

If you read my earlier post,  you know my financial situation.  The addictions I have spoken of here are a direct reason why we are suffering so. I’m not ready to share those details yet, but I will tell you a person who is addicted will steal, lie, deceive, and make excuses to those he loves. He will put his need first, ahead of everyone else – including and especially those who love him because it is nearly impossible to believe what we are seeing.

As a mother, next to the death of a child, the pain he has caused me is unmatched.  I suffer when he suffers, I suffer when his children suffer, I suffer when he hurts my other children. I lie awake at night when he does not come home. I cry when he lies to me, I cry when he begs for money to satisfy his addiction and stop withdrawals. He has destroyed my trust, and the trust of everyone else in this family.

But he has not destroyed my love or faith in him.

As of today’s date, he is doing much better. The addiction I described is under control, but the behaviors that came along with it, linger. All I can do is make sure the children are safe, continue to love him, pray for him, and have faith.

When I read the words of my co-blogger here, about his alcohol addiction, I read between the lines. He wrote about his own actions and eluded to pain he caused, but one really must live on the other side of addiction to feel the overwhelming sadness, frustration, anguish, loss of communication, and shock in the actions of a person who was trusted beyond reproach and loved beyond words.

The words to describe the pain and destruction caused by these actions truly fail me.

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