Sometimes getting out of bed is the biggest accomplishment I can make. Sometimes walking to the bathroom, stopping for a diet coke and returning to marathon episodes of Bates Motel are all I can do. Sometimes I stare out the window and watch the world go by as I try to survive the day.

Unlike other illness, addiction doesn’t have any sympathy. Addicts are dirty, worthless and are a stain on an otherwise unblemished life. Unlike other illness, no one seeks a cure. Unlike other illnesses, people in sickness are left on their own, to survive alone, because no one can help them. No one brings them casseroles, or cards, or get well flowers. Unlike other illnesses no expects them to survive the day.

Regulations, laws, policy and systems are not in place to help an addict. Insurance companies are not required to maintain a certain standard of care, like there is for a diabetic, cancer patient or even MS. I am allowed the treatment necessary to diagnose or treatment my illness. Addiction falls under mental illness which already is short staffed and underfunded. There is no urgency to pass regulations that would provide better care to addicts because they aren’t seen as worth saving. It will be a miracle if my addict survives long enough for her illness to be granted the attention and funding it rightfully deserves.

Voided eyes, blank faces, souls gone are the things we see the most. Vacant of emotion or feelings or thoughts until the high is gone. Then vacancy is replaced with urgency as the addict tries to survive until the next fix.

Irritation, inconvenience, irrational, invested, interested, innocence, ignored, incompetent. These are all words that describe how the parent of an addict feels during any moment of everyday that s/he is trying to survive living with a child who is an addict.

Vaguely I remember the days before addiction. Vaguely I can remember the girl that would lose her shoes in the backyard, and laugh uncontrollably about something only she found funny, and would pretend she got a joke that went way over her head. Vaguely I remember the person she was before she began fighting to survive addiction.

Acceptance is something that is foreign to me. Accept what? That she is an addict? That she will die before she finds recovery? That she doesn’t want to recover? Acceptance is necessary for survival. But what happens when you don’t know what you’re supposed to accept? How can I survive if I don’t know what I am surviving for?

Love is the only thing I know. I know I love her. I know she loves us. I know that she doesn’t love herself. I know that I can’t love her enough to defy addiction and stand strong on her own. If love were enough, she would have healed a long time ago.

Response to The Daily Post


9 thoughts on “Survival

  1. It has my sympathy. And empathy too. Been there, done that (addiction in general, not heroin though). Now 17 yrs clean and sober.
    So just wanted to be one person who learned that addiction is survivable and surmountable. And that loving an addict is too, my own mama was proof of that. Bless her soul and yours too. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers today.


  2. I know many people (but still nowhere near enough) are advocating for greater addiction awareness, but I just wanted to say thanks for this post. Even though addiction has only touched me peripherally, it was enough to wake me up to many of the attitudes surrounding the issue that are unique and toxic. Thanks for continuing to occupy that horrible and helpless position on the sidelines.


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