Thank you. Thank you for your support and for loving our child and for trying to be helpful. I want to thank all of those that have offered support and kind words knowing that my daughter could be dead any day, at any time. It is with the utmost respect and gratitude that I say please shut the hell up. Please. On behalf of all parents dealing with addicted children, I say to you, stop. Stop offering advice to things of which you know nothing. Stop pretending that distance gives you insight on a situation that you cannot possibly understand. Stop convincing yourself that you know what needs to be done better than I know what needs to be done because the reality is you don’t know jack about shit.
I know this may come off as sharp and snide. It is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings or take away from your desire to help, because believe me; I know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But as a parent of an addict I want to let you know what the real story is. The truth that no one seems to understand, or is willing to see. Blindness is really only blocking out what you refuse to see in front of you. So that no one can claim ignorance any longer, this is the facts.
The fact is that a parent that held a child in their arms, and happily cherished midnight feedings because it allowed you to soak in and absorb the beauty of your infant can fully grasp the agony of addiction. Only a parent that has poured blood, sweat and tears to make a child made it to every gymnastic practice, ballet class, doctors appointment and worked to put braces on her teeth can understand the agony of watching the same child kill themselves slowly. The absolute horror of the disregard that child has for a life you, the parent, have enjoyed, treasured and loved is immeasurable. When the denial wears off and the reality of the life you have been thrown into, like or not, becomes clear it is a bleak moment. It isn’t sad or makes a parent mad. It’s terrifying and makes a parent livid that drugs can alter their entire perception of life, their life. Their precious, beautiful life. For what? For us to have to watch them die, every day, every relapse losing another piece of themselves?
On top of that, if that weren’t enough, we have the well-meaning bystanders who offer all sorts of advice based off of Intervention, Drugs, Inc and Dr. Phil. These armchair quarterbacks believe that they have the knowledge and right to tell me, or you, to kick them out, let them stay, cut them off, give them money, help them or don’t. This is said with love and caring, not with malice. But if you are such a person, please know this. You are not helping. You are not making anyone feel better but yourself. You may feel good that you helped out, even in a little way, but you have only succeeded in making us, the parents, the casualties of addiction, feel worse. Your advice is like saying you don’t think we are doing it well enough, or right. You are sending us the message that we have done something wrong, and you, the all-knowing, are better able to make hard decisions for us. You are delusional. Because every single piece of advice you have given us, we have tried. When you go behind our back and give the addict money, or shelter, when we are trying to take a stand to make it harder for them to stay high, we know you are doing that. It might help you sleep better to think that you have helped in some way, and congratulations on that. But what you are really doing is helping the addict die. And congratulations for that, too.
If a parent of an addict says that the addict needs to be on their own, it’s because we have exhausted all other efforts. Anything given to the addict at that point is only helping them stay high or get high. The addict is conniving and cunning and manipulative. They know how to play you, something we already learned the hard way. We have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. So stop. Stop and ask yourself, why wouldn’t the parent be doing what you are doing? The answer is probably that they already did. No person can “fix” an addict except the addict. The only hero in the story is the addict. They can get help, and participate in life. They can get their shit together and live for a better tomorrow. They are using you for anything and everything they can. I’m sorry about that. It’s a terrible feeling once you realize that’s what has happened.
So, while I know you love the addict, and you want to help, and be part of the success that brings the addict back into the real world, the only way you can do that is by doing nothing. Instead of offering the parent advice that is useless, offer to listen to them vent, or buy them coffee or offer to pull weeds in their garden on the days that the depression is so bad they can’t get out of bed. Don’t remind them how badly they suck as a parent. Unless you want them to stop talking to you because they realize how much you suck as a friend. Be a friend. Not a suck bag. When you are a suck bag, and you don’t even know it, we pull back and isolate. We find it emotionally exhausting to listen to you tell us all the things we should be doing and have us tell you why we can’t or that we already did. This exercise only serves as a reminder of how sick our child is, which makes us more depressed, and want to punch you in the face repeatedly. Then we feel bad because we know you love us and are trying to help which makes us more depressed and want to punch ourselves in the face repeatedly. Do you see the pattern? When a person watches The Walking Dead thinking that life would be so much easier if the dead tried to eat the living, there is something wrong.
Please, from all of us suffering through addiction via our children, please, just pick a damn weed, and remember the silence is the essence of eloquence.
A Mother of an Addict trying desperately not to throat punch the world with a pickaxe
****This is a general letter to the public. No one person is the intended recipient. However, should you wonder if I am @ you, then most likely you have done some of the things above. No worries, I still love you. Suck bag.*************