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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Remembering: What the Addict Doesn't Remember, Those Living With the Addict Will Never Forget

It is always so frustrating when having conversations with my son, because he has trouble with his memory. As with anyone who has ever been drunk, or high, or been with someone while intoxicated, knows that there is quite often a substantial memory loss of events that took place while in such a state!


Unfortunately, for us sober recipients of the addicts fallout, we do not tend to forget quite so easily! When I speak to my son, he seems a bit clueless as too why his sister is so angry, or why I find it hard to trust him or why certain situations brings me such distress (because they trigger unpleasant memories, that my son does not share, because he can remember certain incidences as clearly).

Therefore, it is very hard for everyone involved with an addict to move forward at the same pace as each other, especially at the same pace of the addict.

One of the reasons I did not want to go on vacation with my son this year is because I have very bad memories of the last time we did go on vacation together! I remember him shouting and swearing at my aunt and keeping us awake till the early hours of the morning. I remembering how my son had panic attacks and became aggressive and embarrassing each time we went out for a meal. I remember my son ordering his poppy heads and sending them to my aunt's house so he could continue to brew his poppy tea while away. I remember him not being able to wake up in the mornings and keeping all the rest of us on bated breath. I remember horrible and aggressive arguments at the festival, causing strangers to come to my "rescue" and asking me if they wanted to get "this man" away from me. I remember my son being high and drunk and demanding money from me, to the point in which I was so frustrated that I grabbed the drink from him and threw it at him! I remember looking at him after that incident, and my daughter being angry and anxious that "he" was around and spoiling her vacation, and turning around and seeing him with a beer in hand, smile on his face and dancing around, all alone...he looked like a little boy, happy yet sad because he was alone...I remember feeling so sorry for him, yet also so sorry for my daughter who felt her experience of the concert was "ruined" and my complex confusion and pain that how did this all happen, how did we become so messed up????

My son, does not remember our last vacation in the same way. He does not understand the amount of damage he has done.


I tried to explain to him the other day. I tried to remind him that his sister is not simply a little mad at him. I reminded him of all the times he shouted abusive words at her and insulted her and degraded her. I reminded him how he would chase us upstairs at night in the heat of an argument. We would try to escape and he would come and bash on her bedroom door, while I was inside her room. trying with all my strength to hold the door closed. I reminded him of all the illegal activity in our house, we all needed to keep secret. I reminded him of so much and I could see he became a little agitated and he swore it was not that bad.

The fact that he can not remember the past as we remember it makes everything more difficult.I also believe he is also slightly emotionally stunted in as much as he became an addict at such an early age, he has not been through "normal" adolescent development and experiences to give him the emotional maturity to understand other's feelings.

My son wants to go back to "normal". He wants his family back. Sadly he thinks that he can accomplish this, not by becoming clean and earning our trust again, but by buying his sister a very special Christmas present! I was so surprised and saddened by his simplistic thought. He has obviously given this some thought and he wants to make amends, yet he has not been able to empathise with what his sister has gone through and can not understand the extent of her pain. Much of this, I feel, is because he was numb and emotionally absent throughout much of the dramas we witnessed while he was using many drugs in our home.


I am at a loss at the moment how to help us all deal, digest and develop ways to move forward to the ultimate goal (for me) of forgiveness and reconnecting as a family!