There is a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because here is where you begin.” – from For One More Day by Mitch Albom
My story, my life, as the mother of an addict, is the story of coming to terms with life as it is, not as I wish it to be. Nothing in my life experiences prepared me for the horror of addiction or the devastation that it would visit upon our family. But, addiction would happen in my house, to my daughter, and I wouldn’t be able to punish it away, pray it away, lecture it away, educate it away, guilt it away or shame it away. While I was helpless to keep addiction away; to prevent or stop it, addiction proved more than capable in taking away from me.
I have learned that addiction is an eraser. It erases love, trust, hope, finances, relationships, emotional stability, physical and mental health, and so much more. It quickly became evident that I was as addicted to my daughter, as she was to the drug.
My daughter had the symptom of the drug, I had the symptom of her. She had illusions that she could control her drugging, I had illusions that I could control her. She stood in the way of my sanity, I stood in the way of her pursuit of the needle.
Everything she did to get the drug, I did to stop her; lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate. She couldn’t stop and neither could I. She feared life without the drug, I feared life without her. She was restless, irritable, and discontent without her fix, I was restless, irritable, and discontent with my inability to stop her. She was powerless over her obsession with the drug, I was powerless over my obsession with her.
Addiction has caused me terrible grief, pain, and anguish, BUT it has also offered me lessons in hope, love, joy, faith, kindness, sacrifice, and the power of community. I will never be able to say that I am thankful for addiction, however, I can say that I am thankful, even grateful, for the lessons that I have learned.