I haven’t posted anything in 2 weeks because I have nothing to say. What can I tell you? I’m depressed? I am. I know I am. I’m not going to swan dive off of the Tobin Bridge but I’m not exactly pleased with how things have turned out. And in some ways, documenting it hasn’t been any easier. It’s a constant reminder that I am in the same place right now as we were 1 year ago and 2 years ago and 3 years ago. I know many families struggle with addiction for so many more years and have multiple family members so it makes me feel even shittier (more shitty? Shittest?) that I am complaining. I shouldn’t complain. But then I sort of think, eff that… I have a right to complain. People have a right not to listen, or to form their own opinions about my complaining, and to them I say whatevs. I don’t care about that either.
I can go on and on and wax poetic about all things and plans and ways I anticipated my child’s life to be different. But it’s not just her life that is affected. It’s all of our lives. In so many ways. My youngest just started health class. One of the things he covered in health so far is drug addiction. He came home to tell me all the things they talked about in class, but he went on to say, but they don’t even talk about the way it really hurts a person. Then he used poor attitude, laziness, disregard for one’s self as examples of that. It depresses me that my 14 year old son has that kind of insight. Granted, he is a very bright kid, but he still shouldn’t know that. He shouldn’t be that well versed in this bullshit to be able to identify the real hurt in drug addiction. Some know-it-all-do-gooder can write in a text book that drug addiction breaks down the neuropath ways or doesn’t allow for emotional growth or slows the respiratory tract to the point of paralysis but those are facts. They aren’t the things that a mother thinks about when she is staring at the ceiling at 2am. They should talk about how it takes families and stuffs them in a glass jar, shakes the living shit out of it, and then dumps them all on to a table to see who survived, and who is tarnished for life. Talk to me about guilt. Talk to me about suffering. Suffering in a way that you think the only possible way to end is to end. Talk to me about how there are times when I think that I am so certain she is going to die I just want it to happen because the anticipation of it happening is killing me as bad as the pain will when it finally happens. Talk to me about the bone-crushing self-hate a mother feels after she thinks about that, the agony and shame so great, she can’t look at herself in the mirror, never mind anyone else in the eyes.
I can tell you I hate addiction. But that statement is not strong enough. The word hate does not resonate to the level of disdain and contempt I have for addiction. There is not a word or an emotion that can equate to the feeling, in a way I could best describe it. I can only say to imagine the love that a person feels for their child- it’s the opposite. If love was my daughter, the opposite end of the pendulum would be addiction, resting on all that is bad in the world. But no one really cares. Who cares? Addicts are worthless. They are no good and never amount to anything. They abandon children or kill them and stuff them in a fridgerator. They don’t give back to society, or make the world a better place. They take, and steal, and use, and abuse, and fill the world with a hate so great that society at large makes unfounded and discriminatory judgments about them. Until it happens to their family. Everyone understands then.
When a person first finds out that someone they love is an addict there is action. Even if it is meaningless and ineffective, it is still action. It is a distraction from the truth, being your person is an addict. Instead of focusing on why someone became an addict, how it happened, what drove them to it, we spend time finding detox’s, chasing recovery, finding meetings, searching for a runaway, fighting insurance companies and ignoring the rest of their life and what is happening around them. By the time enough addiction has gone on, and all the dust has settled in a way that feels like a soaking wet, wool blanket on top of you, too much time has elapsed. Birthdays, Christmas’s, Halloweens, sports events, graduations, time missed with friends, deaths, births, have all gone by without you, unnoticed. You wake up one day looking around frantically for the life you once had only to find out it has gone on without you, as it should, but you didn’t notice, because addiction, heroin, steals from everyone in arms length. You let yourself be a victim too. That is when the depression sinks in. You realize you can’t go back and enjoy those times that have passed and you can’t make up for the time you lost. You can only try to move forward but you have to do it without your addict. Even though they are still alive, you have to act as though they are not. So you suffer while they are alive, and the only relief you think you will get is when they are gone but that is a mistake, because you will only suffer more. So how does a person make themselves get out of bed and participate in life when there is no end in sight? There will never be any relief. There is nothing. But the same routine. With the same ending. In the same space. Over and over and over and over and over until over doesn’t even sound like a word anymore.