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[Drug] Addiction: Life as A Non-Addict. Sister. Daughter. & Can’t Keep Her Mouth Shut Blogger.

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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.

Drug Addiction.

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.

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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.

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22 Responses
  • Debbie Mitchell
    October 25, 2016

    Great read Crystal. I was the daughter of a man that suffered addictions. He used alcohol as a means of finding normal in his life as he suffered from undiagnosed mental illness. It wasn’t until he and I (mostly I) reached the age of wisdom, that I was able to understand what he was going through, with the help of medical professionals. He passed 3 years later. It sounds like you have already reached the age of understanding and compassion and may be able to stop some of the anger and resentment. Never lose hope. The best values my father taught me was forgiveness and compassion. It makes a difference in life and how you approach it and how you deal with things. I’m glad that you find solace in running as I do and I always look forward to seeing your posts on Instagram. This is the first time that I read one of your blogs. You are real and have such a beautiful soul. I’m happy to find myself in your circle, if only on the electronic highway.

    • Muscles & Miles
      October 27, 2016

      Thank you for sharing your story, kind words and wisdom. You are right – we can all benefit from practicing a little more understanding, compassion and forgiveness. There is a whole lot to every story. Thank you for reading and supporting – it’s the reason why I see the good in the social media world. The inspiration goes full circle.

  • Jessica
    October 25, 2016

    Thank you for sharing your story. I love seeing your posts and it encourages me to just get workouts done and to feel like I can resonate with someone who is so down to earth. I’m thankful for your writing today because I understand what you’re writing about- my twin brother is lost in drug and alcohol addiction. It seems as though the end is no where in sight, but I’m choosing to remain fully hopeful for him and for your sister too. I hope you’re encouraged to fully believe in the goodness to come, and by fully having faith they’ll find recovery and a restored life. My best to you and your family.

    -Jess

    • Muscles & Miles
      October 27, 2016

      THANK YOU for sharing a big part of your world. Always remain hopeful, and always know that there is nothing wrong with all the other hard feelings that come with this too. It’s not easy, for anyone. Keep doing what you do, make the time for the things that fill your cup and always remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. Best wishes and strength to you, your brother and family.

  • Kim Donovan
    October 26, 2016

    So well written! Open and honest and YES..these are the things that matter. I’d say most of us are touched by addiction in one form or another…some people may even need to open their eyes a little more to see it (and that can be said for those that suffer directly and those that love them!).

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Muscles & Miles
      October 27, 2016

      Thank you for the kind words. As, I wrote that post, I knew that all too many people could relate to this. It’s a harsh and sad reality, but it doesn’t need to be something we just don’t talk about. Open eyes and open heart right?

  • Sandra Laflamme
    October 26, 2016

    Thinking of you and your family. I am sure this is hard for you to write about. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and what you and your family are going through. So many hugs!

    • Muscles & Miles
      October 27, 2016

      Sometimes you just feel better after you write right? Because sometimes we really don’t need to leave things left unsaid. Put them on the page to clear space for more. Thank you for the kindest words and big hugs 🙂

  • Crystal, I’ve got to give you a lot of credit for getting this out there. So very well written, honest and raw. Thank you for opening up to us. I can’t even begin to imagine how this must feel but can only offer support and non-judgement to you and your family. I pray that someday ya’ll can find peace and be able to live without all of the worry.

    • Muscles & Miles
      October 27, 2016

      Your words put a smile on my face. And, believe me, I always smile, even at the hard. Because life is real – it is hard, it is crazy, it is wonderful. Because it doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. Many thanks for the words of support and encouragement. XO.

  • Dani
    October 27, 2016

    Thank you for sharing. I understand all of this too well but have never been able to put it into words. You are definitely not alone even though it feels like we so often are!

    • Muscles & Miles
      October 27, 2016

      Thank you for reading, supporting and being you. This is probably the one time I wish no one else said, “I get it.” But, I knew that would not be the case. You amaze, you inspire and this just says a whole lot more about you. XX.

  • Jay Andrews
    October 29, 2016

    I’ve lived this since I was a teen with my older sister as the addict. You are either the addict, the enabler or the enemy. I was the enemy and every accomplishment I made just just perpetuated more hatred. The more I tried to help, the more hate I received. To the point I would keep happy moments secret from my family. Then as if that wasn’t enough, I received an addict mother in law. Until one day I had to choose my own health over theirs, stopped helping and relieved myself of the burden. A difficult but necessary decision. Stay strong and thanks for sharing. It’s a painful learning experience.

    • Muscles & Miles
      October 29, 2016

      Thank you for being you. For your honesty. For the ability to share your story and live your story. These are the things in life that matter, and while we may not always share that or believe it – I know deep down it’s there.

  • Angela
    October 29, 2016

    You amaze me more every day. This matters. Sharing it matters. Love you, Crystal.

    • Muscles & Miles
      October 29, 2016

      Thank you for reading and the kind words. It hits all too close to home for so many. XO.

  • Skye
    October 31, 2016

    I’ve followed your IG for awhile but this is the first time I’ve read your blog, drawn to it because I can also relate. You accurately described the dizzying and contradictory feelings and emotions and in particular, the parts about seeing it take a toll on your parents and seeing your mom’s face really spoke to me. It’s so hard to watch and it’s often difficult to separate your own life from their struggles. I’m glad you have some positive outlets with your running, hiking, fitness, etc.
    Thank you for sharing so many parts of yourself with your followers. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but I’m certain your words were a source of encouragement and solidarity for so many people.
    Take care.

    • Muscles & Miles
      November 4, 2016

      Thank you for your kind words. The goal of the blog was to always be an open book diary, the things that are more than the miles. Unfortunately, I knew when I wrote this, that all too many people would relate. These issues are left unspoken and the silence can make the times harder. It’s hard to watch, it’s hard to be a part of it all, and it’s hard to feel like there is nothing you can do about it. I know you can relate. Sending you a big hug. Because life isn’t easy – but, it’s absolutely wonderful. -C

  • Janice
    November 4, 2016

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am the mom of seven and my second son ( I have 5 ) has struggled with alcohol and drugs and bi-polar. I have hospitalized him 4 times in a mental hospital. He is 36 and still struggling. My heart goes out to you. I totally understand why running helps. It’s also my way of dealing with hard times. I’ll be praying your sister will WANT to get well. And that you can just take one day at a time. It’s too difficult to look too far ahead right?
    💗 Janice
    @prayandrun

    • Muscles & Miles
      November 4, 2016

      Janice – Thank you for the sweetest words and for reaching out to share your story. Like I said in the post, far too many people would connect to this, but it’s the one time you wish you couldn’t. Big hugs to you for all you have done and continue to go through as a family. We can only keep our heads up and hearts open. Happy running – it’s well deserved. xx. -C

  • Hannah
    January 8, 2017

    Thank you for sharing! So much truth. You took the words out of my mouth. For 10 years, my older sister suffered from addiction to meth. I know what its like to be terrified of every phone call, every car crash, every gunshot and murder, every robbery, every arrest. I was the one with the “perfect” life in her eyes. I am 1 of 4. We were all raised the same, under the same roof, same parents. I never really understood where all of the hate came from. We both had the same opportunities. I lost a lot of trust, a lot of money and possessions, but I never lost hope. My parents and my family banded together and messaged SOO many people in February of last year, asking for the biggest prayers. A week later my sister was arrested and she called my mom and told her that God shook her in jail and told her he had bigger plans for her. She asked for rehab. She went to a Christian based facility for 6 months and is now living in a transitional home. February will be one year clean. NEVER give up hope for recovery. And pray. pray so hard, because recovery is possible through God. I’m praying for your family and your sister. I know the struggle all too well. <3

    • Muscles & Miles
      January 10, 2017

      Your words gave me goose bumps. All of this hits so close to home. We were raised the same, we were all far from perfect [even when characterized as perfect], and we all had choices. We can be thankful that our choices did not lead us down a path of addiction and while we will never understand that path as the “addict” — we do know it all too well as the one from the outside.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your story. The most positive thoughts for you, your sister and family. We are on another round of clean. Before this, it was five years. We can only hope for better and keep smiling. -C

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