If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction you understand what it means to feel that you’ve already lost them multiple times. An overdose, a moment when you don’t see the same person through their actions, or when their cheeks begin to sink into their back of their head, we’ve all felt the soul leave the body because of this awful disease.
I’ve mourned the loss of a loved one who isn’t dead yet. That’s the norm when you love someone who is struggling with addiction. We watch them, sometimes literally, die and come back to life. I’ve felt that I’ve lost my best friend and it hasn’t even happened yet and at times I feel so guilty for that feeling because it hasn’t actually happened yet. And at times I am in a disillusion that one day it won’t feel that way again. One day he’ll be sober, 100% healthy, and back to his old self. But the truth is addiction goes much further than a physical change that ends once sobriety is reached. Truthfully, the emotional drain that follows sobriety can be as daunting to relationships and well-being as the addiction itself. Self-doubt, self-hatred, disappointment, depression, anxiety, social pressure, and failure are just a few emotional tolls addiction can take.
So what is my job in this role that I have as a daughter of addiction? Truthfully there are days where I want to give up everything I have to ‘fix’ it. I think about if my job, my life, and my separation I’ve created from it is worth feeling as though I am betraying the most sacred thing to me — family. Some days the answer is truthfully, yes. I love so deeply and I care so much that to know that at the end of every day I’m not contributing to helping my loved one and I’m spending my time improving my life isn’t good enough for me. But then again, one of my biggest life philosophies is that we need to be our own strength and that you can never believe that someone else will save us, improve us, or change us. So how, as children of addiction, do we express love and support without being completely present and involved in the suffering so that it begins to take a toll on our own lives?
I hope that as I continue to blog, children of addiction understand that some days are harder than others. The balance of support and distance is possible and there are ways to show love and support without letting it take over your life. You have all the potential in the world to become anything you want to be and more. At the end of the day that’s what our parents want and sometimes we question that. No matter what your situation is, I’m always here to talk. Whether you’re a parent or a child of addiction please go to my website and send me an email.