It’s a mental illness.
There is no cure.
There is treatment.
There is recovery.
They are powerless over their addiction yet…they have to choose recovery which involves exerting choosing recovery over addiction.
Being addicted doesn’t make them “bad”.
But they do very bad things.
Does doing bad things make you a bad person? If it’s not what you do to others, then what does make a person, “bad”?
Is anyone “bad” or is everyone just broken?
Does being broken make it acceptable?
Are you “bad” for choosing not to stay with someone with an incurable mental illness, who refuses treatment, hurts you, hurts your children, hurts others?
It’s complicated. The questions are hard. The answers are harder.
The nature of addiction and the way it impacts everyone it touches is never ever cut and dry.
If you are not equipped or able to stay, or if you simply choose a different life for yourself than a life of managing addiction and uncertainty - it’s okay.
THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL.
This is the only life you get. It’s the only life your kids get.
When we unravel why addicts become addicts and SOME of those reasons are genetic, trauma, addiction in the homes, codependent parents we have to pause.
We have to ask ourselves are we creating another generation of broken people and is there anything we can do about it?
We have to ask ourselves at what point is it enough? When are we done?
And NO ONE can tell you when that is.
We have to be brave enough to look at the truth. We have to be wise enough to educate ourselves about what we are up against. We have to have courage enough to defend our children who cannot chose for themselves and in the end we have to make peace with the reality that we did the best we could with what we had.
Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
It’s all we can do.
Live the Serenity Prayer.
It’s complicated and exhausting and we will doubt ourselves at every turn.
I just want to tell you, I see you. I’m so sorry you are having to ask these questions and make these impossible decisions.
I’m so so sorry. You aren’t imagining it. It’s heartbreaking and so hard.
Have courage friends.
Many people may not be aware that I’ve been involved with AlaNon and GamAnon and codependent recovery for 28 years. (These are groups for the loved ones, not the counterpart AA or GA for the addicts) Addiction colored my family tree, my childhood, my previous relationships and caring for loved ones impacted by addiction has become a part of who I am.
The 12th step is to try to carry the message to others. I manage online groups, serve as a sponsor for women recovering from codependent behaviors and help where I can.
I had been reading and learning about life with addicts for about 3 years in 1996 when I decided to change my life and to try, as best as I could to change my family tree moving forward.
I did. I’ve been happily and healthy married for 24 years in May and raised good kids. Kids whose yoke is lighter.
I’ve been hesitant to share about this deeply private, personal, difficult part of my life publicly. But this year, I want to have courage and speak more openly about how dramatically my life changed and was healed through this work and the grace of God.
If you are part of my story, part of my history. Please know I have nothing but peace and compassion. There is no ill will in my heart. I wouldn’t change a thing. God used every scrap, every wound and brought beauty I will never deserve.
In Peace, Robin