Against every instinct

grief by elycefeliz

A powerful plea for compassion and understanding for parents of addicts:

We seek advice from those who claim to know.  We turn our backs on all our instincts and we let our children fall, and then ooze pain from our pores as we watch them suffer – dirty, hungry, helpless, homeless, hopeless – and when finally we can bear their suffering no longer, we reach out a hand to them only to be told that helping them is wrong and serves to escalate the problem.  We let them sit in jail; we bail them out of jail.  We turn them from our doorsteps; we let them in and wipe their tears.  We slip them twenty dollars and we hope, we hope, we hope that they will use it for a decent meal, while knowing in our souls that there is only one hunger that will be fed this night.

Then one day, someday, on a day that comes sooner or later but always comes, we realize that they will die.  It will happen.  We don’t know where, we don’t know when, but they will die.  It is the only end in sight.  So we prepare.  At night we lie awake and wait to hear the phone/the knock/the doorbell.  We write obituaries in our heads.  We plan a service and we plan what we will say.  Will we admit that it was drugs?  Or will we blame it on something else?  We think about the things they own; the few, the meager things.  Will we give it all away?  Is there something we should keep?  Is there something in there somewhere to remind us of the children we once knew?

And when it finally happens we are lost and shocked, bereft.  We wonder wonder wonder what we could have done and should have done.  We listen to the whispers and we know that we have failed . . . that we have failed to do the one and only thing that a parent is meant to do.  We have failed to protect our children.  There is nothing we could ever do to make up for this epic failure.  Nothing.  You can be sure that we’re aware of just how deep our failure runs.  You don’t need to remind us.  We remind ourselves each day.

I hope that you can find it in yourselves to remember all the parents of the addicts in this world.  I hope that you can see that ANY parent can have an addict as a child.  ANY parent can lose a child to this enemy that seems to have an arsenal against which we’re nearly defenseless.  Have compassion in your soul tonight for the parents of Amy Winehouse.  They did not want to lose her, and tonight they are in pain.

Not much hope here, but it’s this mother’s experience.

6 thoughts on “Against every instinct

  1. Every feeling I’ve ever eloquently written.

    The truth is no matter what parents read, or what experts say, no matter how many Alanon meetings you go to a our heart of hearts we will always blame ourselves.

  2. It’s a terrible double bind.

    The choices that we make about whether to give money or not give money, bail them out or not bail them out, let them stay with us or not stay with us, etc offer no freedom from the suffering you describe. Bad things are possible, maybe even probable, regardless of our choices. We have influence but not control and our influence fluctuates dramatically and how best to use it is rarely clear.

    All we can do is love them and look for opportunities to support recovery. AND, take care of ourselves mentally, physically, spiritually, etc.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. I am going to share this, it perfectly describes what its like. I have my son’s memorial service planned in my head, I just hope I don’t ever have to actually follow through with it.

  4. Parents of addicts are one of the lonliest and most isolated groups of people I can think of.

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