Nightmares. A frightening or unpleasant dream. A terrifying or very unpleasant experience or prospect. A person, thing, or situation that is very difficult to deal with. Addiction is a nightmare. It is the full definition of all things nightmare. It feels like a nightmare when I am awake and it feels like a nightmare when I am asleep. The true feeling of a situation that is difficult to deal with is addiction. When I have a nightmare about something, typically involving my children, I wake up shaken and disoriented. And many times it takes a while to get rid of that feeling. Throughout the day, I can feel the reminisce of that nightmare. I often replay the nightmare in my head to find the hidden meaning. If I dream about my children or I being murdered or slaughtered or harmed in any way, I will obsess over it all day wondering if I secretly want something to happen or is there someone in my life I am afraid of or are there things we are doing that I subconsciously think are unsafe or can cause us harm.
As addiction evolves in our life, so do the things that I would classify as nightmare. Originally I thought that if JoDee had to go to treatment after detox that would be a nightmare. I didn’t know how to find a place for her to go, or a place that would actually help her. I thought that if anyone found out she was an addict it would be a nightmare. I was horrified that people would think bad of her, or that they would disown her or not trust her. I was never embarrassed. It wasn’t until much later when the shock wore off did I realize that people would judge me as a person and a mother that my child was an addict. For a while I worried about that. I felt like I had something to prove. My worst nightmare was that people were gossiping about us, and ridiculing both of us. Then, I realized, that was such a pile of bullshit.
The real nightmare is the actual. It’s a nightmare dealing with addiction. It’s an abhorrent nightmare watching my child suffer, and isolate, and live like a nomad. It’s a nightmare speaking to her with her sluggish voice, and lack of ambition. It’s a nightmare to tell her that we miss her, and she should go to treatment. And it’s a nightmare to hear her say that she doesn’t want to go to treatment, but she wants to see her friends, and not stay a shut in forever. I can’t convince her that there is more to life than having a friend give her a ride to the train station or figuring out how to use enough to not get sick but not too much so she can still function. But the opposite is also true. I don’t want to wish for a change because I may be sorry if it’s granted. Wishing for her to not be like this may mean she is gone. Gone is worse but this is bad.
It’s a nightmare to hear her say that people blame her for someone else’s death. Something I find really ironic. I have been told often, over and over, by family members and users alike the addict is responsible for their own actions. I have been told that there is nothing I can do to stop her or make her use. I shouldn’t blame myself when she uses because it isn’t my fault, it was her choice. I shouldn’t blame myself for her not being able to stop because it is her choice and nothing I could do will make her stop until she is ready. If all of that is true then how is she responsible for someone else? It’s a nightmare to know that she is not to blame, no matter what any other asshole says and not be able to convince her of that. It is a nightmare to hear the suffering in her voice and to know she has given up. And given in. This is going to be her life now. Just floating around, using when she can, living a quarter of a life until her life is over. And it’s a nightmare to know that I cannot do a single thing to change that.
It’s a nightmare to feel hate and rage. To have to live with the feelings of bitterness because it is impossible to enjoy life when one of my children can’t enjoy anything. You want to know what a nightmare is? A nightmare is not wanting to call your daughter because she sounds high and sad and hollow and feeling relentless guilt for not calling her because you are her mother and should be available to her when no one else is. A nightmare is wanting to say come home, even is you are high or are using, please come home. But knowing you can’t say that because it is summertime and with all the other kids not in school the terror of one of them finding her dead instead of you is soul crushing. A nightmare, for any parent, is having to choice the wellness of all the kids over the sickness of one. A nightmare starts in my sleep and graduates to my reality.
My life is a nightmare. You can’t wake me up. You can’t make it stop. You can’t help me and I can’t help her. That is a nightmare.