Read with Caution: This is as real as it gets.
I normally don’t write on topics like this. I talk running, balance and life. But, never this part of life. And, I wish I wasn’t the one writing this, but I am. [In fact, I wish there was never a reason for anyone to write on this topic.] Because I have lived it and I live it. And, I will probably live it for the rest of my life too.
It’s life as a non-addict who knows all too well what it is like to love a person who suffers from addiction. Note, that I didn’t label said person as an addict.
So, let’s back up so you understand where this came from. As I was driving home from Vermont on Sunday, I was thinking. I am a really good thinker – especially when I have time on my hands [thank you 3 hour drive]. First, I was thinking about why I started running, then why I started to and continue to run really long distances. Then, I was thinking about my love for Vermont, and how that has been masked with anxieties. Then, I was thinking, that these topics are worth more thinking and eventual pen and paper [okay, typed text is a good substitute] writing. That more thinking, brought me here, to this.topic.
So, what makes me “qualified” to write on this topic? I’ll tell you what – the look on my Mom’s face as I pulled out of the driveway on Sunday afternoon. The same Sunday afternoon that I spent a lot of time thinking.
I wish I wasn’t “qualified” to speak on the topic of drug addiction. This is not a community to proudly be part of. Many times, you might read my post and say, “I wish I could relate to this.” – but, this time you won’t.
I know what it’s like to love someone who suffers from drug addiction.
I know what it’s like to see that look on my Mom’s face. That look is the one that reflects love for a person who suffers from addiction [recovery period or not]. That person just happens to be my younger sister.
I know what it’s like to be mad. Like, REALLY mad. And, then feel guilty you are so mad. AND, then go back to being so mad that the only thing you want to do is shake your sister and say, “WAKE UP!”
I know what it’s like to call a cell phone repeatedly to try to find out where said person is. You are really just calling to hear that voice – to know they are still alive. I know what it is like to get the sound of no response – that the phone is still off.
I know what it’s like to cry yourself to sleep to only wake up repeatedly because the worry is just too much.
I know what it’s like to see potential, to want recovery, to offer support and alternatives and see it all be thrown away or unrecognized.
I know what it’s like to just shrug off the issue. [Of course you can’t shrug it off, but why let anyone else onto that?]
I know what it’s like to hear lie after lie. I know what it’s like when your sister doesn’t show up on Christmas because she had to work.
I know what it’s like to think that every phone call from your parents is THE phone call. I know what it’s like to fully believe that your sister would not make it to her 25th birthday. [She is 27 now].
I know what it’s like to read an obituary of another addiction sufferer in the local paper and think this will be what my family has to do someday.
I know what it’s like to avoid Vermont because this is what Vermont became. Frustration. Fear. Worry. Anxiety. [That’s not what this place is…!]
I know what it’s like to get another horrible phone call, sit in the parking lot for one hour talking to your Mom, and then put a smile on your face and walk into work, the grocery store, or gym. Present but mindless.
I know what it is like to hike to the top of the mountain. I know what it’s like to look at the photo just days later and think this was the last time I will probably ever see her.
I know what it is like to want to rewind time to take a relationship back to a place that it once was. Like when we were 3 and 6.
I know what it’s like to get a phone call at 3:00 AM to hear nothing but background noise of something that can only be classified as –no good-.
I know what it is like to be the blame for all of these problems. I know what it’s like to be told, “your life is perfect.” [It sounds perfect right?]
I know what it is like to search for all the pieces, look up everything on the internet, make phone calls to anyone – just to make you feel a little less crazy. [The control piece…]. These Sherlock Holmes antics are in fact, CRAZY.
I know what it’s like to be judgmental. No, I do not understand being the one who suffers from addiction. I understand being the person who loves that person [addiction didn’t change love].
I know what it is like to hear someone on the outside have all of the answers. If I wasn’t already angry, I know what it’s like to be ANGRIER.
I know what it’s like to watch your parents struggle with the balance between enabling and saving. I’ve done it too – it isn’t pretty.
I know what it’s like to keep all of this inside. I now know what it’s like to write about it.
I know one of the many reasons why I run.
And, I know I have no idea what it’s like to suffer addiction. But, after countless years, I know exactly what it feels like to be the non-addict in a family addiction scenario [because if you think addiction is a solitary, it is not].
So, let me bring this back to the beginning. I was thinking. I run because it’s my outlet. It’s my happy place. It’s the place that brings crazy into perspective. It’s the place where unfair is fair. It’s the place where I pull myself together. It’s the place I run head on into the hard and stop avoiding it. It’s the one place where I feel like I have control.
I run and write. I real life and should write too. Because some things really don’t need to be left unsaid. I used to try to deal with all of the hard alone. I used to hold it all in and avoid it all together. I used to make a lot less trips to Vermont. That was my choice. – I let life unfold, I let things become routine, I lessened expectations and accepted it all, as is. And, then something happened. I saw my Mom’s face as I pulled out of the driveway on Sunday afternoon. That face was the reason something changed. At the risk of being called judgmental, unqualified, and overly opinionated, I made the decision that I was going to put it out there. On that 3 hour drive, I built up the courage. I accepted the risk and once I fully wrapped by head around it, I sat down to write and share this very real and candid perspective on drug addiction. [the thing I like to call family addiction].
Because, unfortunately I know I am not the only one “qualified” to talk about this.
PS – This is not written with hard feelings, it’s written with acceptance and heart. These are the things in life that matter. The things that build character, that give reason to the things we do and fuel the why. Addiction does a lot of other things – there is no need for it to foster additional negativity too. This is real life, with real feelings and people involved. And, like I said, I think a lot…and, now I am learning to share a little more too. So, thanks for listening.5