OK, lets be honest, if you love someone who has an addiction problem there is also an element of hate in your relationship.
I am writing this blog in all honesty and openness, there is no reason to be false here. We are false in so many other elements of our lives. We share good news and smiley pictures on social media. We chat when we see acquaintances and behave very politely telling them that we are fine and everything is good. We do this of course because we are taught social rules of pleasantness and politeness. We also do this because it helps us by pretending everything is really fine and of course some of what we say is true and we are merely focusing on the positive. Sometimes though, we need to let it all out and tell it like it is. We do, of course tell a few selected friends and family, but we are careful not to say too much or talk about problems all the time because we fear losing these people with our constant flood of worries and problems.
OK I am not perfect. I will admit, I do feel negative feelings for my son while I still love him and worry for him. I even tell him now at times that I hate him. These are usually in heated arguments, but sometimes they are said because I cannot stand the constant element of addiction and substance use that is in ALL of our conversations now. If you would have asked me a few years ago if I could tell one of my children that I hate them , I would have said no. I know on an intellectual level that when I say "I hate you", I am saying "I hate the drugs, I hate the behaviour that is a result of the drugs, I hate the way our lives have changed" and sometimes when I say "I hate you" to my son I am also saying "I hate myself, I hate your father, damn it, I hate everything that is unfair and is somehow responsible for this." But, yeah, often now I do feel very negatively toward my son.
We have been having arguments throughout all this of course, but I know that something changed about a year ago. Until then after we argued I would cry and my heart would go out to my son and I would feel his pain and the frustration of my helplessness. Then the element of nastiness crept into the arguments. My son started to call me and his sister vile, filthy names. The language changed. The aggressiveness increased. I started to feel the element of hatred enter into my blood. When we went on a family holiday and this same nasty abusive behaviour was directed towards my 81 year old aunt who is like a grandmother to my children, well I was humiliated, ashamed and hurt. How could my son treat us all like this? Where is the respect, the love, the self control? I can't understand how addiction changes a person so much? How can I understand something I have never experienced?
Sure I had a few drinks well before I was 18. I smoked cigarettes and had a bit of pot with my friends. I had the odd pill too, but never did I feel the NEED. I never needed it and I never felt I could not stop. I never felt, like my son says he feels, that being intoxicated was the best feeling ever. To him, it is the best feeling ever...this is when the lack of understanding really hits me.
I want to understand, but really I want my son to understand and BELIEVE there is so much out there in the world to experience and to feel and that there is something out there that will make him feel WONDERFUL! I can't make him feel this or believe this or find what it is.....he has to do it for himself. How do I as a parent give him, or help him, direct him, guide him to feel strong enough to try? How can I help him try to break free off this dysfunctional, restrictive, unhealthy lifestyle? I thought I gave him a firm foundation. I thought with all my years of praise and pride I helped build his self confidence. I thought with my love and support he would feel strong. What went wrong? I am his mother, his parent, but now it is time for him to look within and search deep. As a parent I need to let him go. I want to let him go, but when he is over this. I am struggling with this notion that to help him I must put him on the street and make him go deeper into the abyss. Maybe I am just eternal hippie who believes in peace and love. I am again feeling this cognitive dissonance because while I believe inside in being supportive and peace and love on the outside my relationship with my son is all negative and volatile. I am also struggling with the idea that perhaps somehow I am enabling him to live the very life I hate him living. How do we start? How do we change? What is right and what is wrong? Can love really conquer all or is love sometimes not enough?