There it is again… that itch… that need… that uncontrollable desire… It’s time for another hit. If you could only do it one more time, then all the pain would go away. You’re not an addict… you’re just a habitual user. It just so happens that this habit takes up a lot of your time and money. Matter of fact, it’s cost you your family, your home and your sanity.
You’re addicted. And you have lost control.
At some point or another, most of us have smoked weed or popped an extra pill or two, or, um… six. In elementary school, the D.A.R.E. (aka Drug Abuse Prevention Education) program taught us that drugs were bad and only bad people did them. At such an impressionable age, no little kid wants to be seen as bad. Bad kids make mommies and daddies sad! In middle school, we were taught that kids who used drugs were rebels and losers and would never amount to anything. So it is fair to say that by high school, we all understood drugs were a bad choice and we really should not do them. We should, at all cost, steer clear of anyone who did them, sold them or wanted you to do them. However, the message was coming from adults who (we thought) didn’t remember what it was like to be in high school. They weren’t there to see that it wasn’t only the bad kids who were doing drugs but the good ones too! What now, dad? What about that straight A student who smokes green because his parent’s don’t notice him until report card time? Or the school slut who pops pills so she doesn’t feel the sting of yet another guys who’s taking her clothes off but she knows will never speak to her again? Or better yet, what about the kid who is smoking crack for the first time with his mom and dad?
Addiction is a choice but I cannot agree that it is a willing one.
No one wakes up wanting to be an addict. Most of the people who become addicted do so by (what I call) accidental practice. I’ve never met anyone who woke up and said, “Hey! I want to be an addict today! I want to wake up every day for the rest of my life and play Russian roulette with heroin!” That’s not how it happens. Somewhere along the lines, the drugs filled the emptiness and clouded the problems. Somewhere along the line, the choice became involuntary.
Before I came face to face with a real addict, I always believed that doing drugs was a choice. I smoked pot and I quit. Even had a brief affair with the white lady and I quit. And that was it for the most part. SO, why couldn’t other people?
My outdate opinion, was this: No one made you put the drugs in your mouth and take them. YOU got up and called the dealer. YOU drove to the ATM and pulled out the last bit of money. YOU went to the trap house and put the crack in the pipe. YOU chose to light it up. YOU chose to escape instead of deal with life. But in that naive opinion, I had never seen someone withdrawal. I had never seen them shiver or twist in pain and cry because of the agony. Never smelt the scent of colds sweats or looked into the sunken eyes full of despair. By no means, could I have ever imagined how painful it could be to dry-heave when the stomach has been empty for days and the body dehydrated. Or worst yet, the way their voice sounds, spiteful and venomous, while they tell you how much they hate you because you won’t let them get another fix. All they want, no… All they NEED, is just something to kill the edge. Through blurry eyes and sobbing breaths, there’s nothing you can do, nothing you can say… except go and get them another hit. Now you have become the enabler. It’s a horrible feeling! But that’s how the cycle begins…
I have read on many websites that people cannot be ‘loved’ into recovery. I disagree… As a Christian, I am called to love and there’s no two ways about it. Yet, it is hard to love someone who is tearing your heart apart. It is hard to watch someone you love tear themselves apart. How do you apply love when all you can feel is disdain, regret and hatred? It took a while before I really knew how to love in the hard times.
Honestly, during these times I realized that I did not fully know what real love was.
There were times when I did not love that person into recovery. I hated them, what had become of their life and what they had done to mine. But my anger and rage did not help; it made it worse. There were times when I flew off the handle and screamed very ugly things. My character changed and I began to forget who I was. This didn’t help. I even did the “tough love” thing to no avail. All of the negativity I pushed out became more fuel to the fire. The evil words I returned only helped reiterate the rejection they already felt.
Side note: How did I become the guilty one? Why is it that I’m the one who feels bad while they are too high to feel anything? Important Detail: Don’t play the blame game! It’s silly and ineffective when it comes to helping the situation.
Well, after extensive research I began to understand this addiction thing. That is when I understood that it was a sickness. This was a major discovery for me!!! I realized that I could not force them to change. I could not manipulate the situation or circumstances. It finally settled inside of me that I needed to let God open their eyes and hold on to hope. Even when I felt no hope. Even when I was so distraught wondering how I was going to pay the light bill or feed the family. You’ve heard the cliché, I let go and I let God.
So, I decided to love them no matter what. No matter what ugly words they said or how many times they lied about being high. No matter how broken their words made me feel. I chose to love them because when I was wrapped up in my evil ways and couldn’t get out, Jesus loved me.
Remember, addiction is a sickness and love is an action word.
Disclaimer: Although you cannot manipulate the situation to force an addict to get help, there are times when drastic measures are necessary. If you feel your addict is endangering his life (keeps talking about ending it all, ending the pain, too tired to keep trying, etc…), you may want to look into the Baker Act or the March Man’s Act.