How do you love an addict? And why love an addict? Because we do not choose who we fall in love with. Who our children or loved ones turn out to be are out of our hands. We do NOT in fact love the addict. We actually HATE the addiction! We love who the addict once was, who we thought they were or who we would have liked them to be. We love the goodness underneath all the destruction that addiction has created upon their very being. We love the potential of who they could be if it were not for addiction sucking all the motivation and ability out of them. We love them, who they really are and they can no longer see under the darkness addiction has blanketed them in. We can not stop loving them regardless of the fact that they believe they love their drugs more than anything else, when in fact their drugs are tricking them into and not letting them see how much there is for them to love without drugs!
I spend quite a lot of time with my son, but it is not the kind of time I would like. Time taking him to appointments. Time calling him and ringing sometimes over 30 times in succession to make sure he answers so I know he is alive. Time cleaning and caring for him. Time making sure he has food, electricity etc.. Time being out with him trying to run some errands and having members of the public look at him oddly. Time arguing with him. Time listening to him talk to me like no good mother should ever be spoken to. Time watching him do drugs. Time listening to him talk about drugs. Time listening to him about his plans for the future which consist off stocking up on drugs, making drugs, tying new drugs. Time listening him complain about how he has nothing and no one in his life but drugs (and me). All the quantity, with very little quality. But I still love him.
I have watched painfully a "life" no mother ever wants for her child. I have watched while the one life addiction possessed knock all the lives of those involved down, like evil dominoes. I have watched, paralysed with fear and depression, being helpless to the intoxication and toxic affect drugs have on my beloved son. I have tried to fight that demon and tried to show my son that life is good and he is worthy of a happy life, but time and time again, the drugs win because they give an immediate gratification which hide all the pain, living in reality is incapable of hiding pain. Promises of a bright future with love and education, career, travel, dreams fulfilled, all require time and the belief in oneself and the dedication and motivation to make it possible. Addiction takes all that away and falsely tells the addict they "she"will make it better. And so the cycle continues and continues and continues. We all suffer, we all feel defeated.
On top of it all, as if watching my first born child, and my only son be seduced by addiction isn't hard enough, I fall in love with a recovering addict who has shown me that no matter how well you overcome the dysfunctional cycle of addiction and successfully create a "better" life, addiction will ALWAYS own you. You will always be fighting it in times of stress and unhappiness as she whispers to you to come back to her because only she loves you and only she can make you happy.
Falling in love with a recovering addict who eventually turned back to drugs, cunningly with prescription medication, but also using more and more recreational drugs until his life was in utter chaos, showed me another one if the pitfalls of loving an addict: they learn to become masters of deception! Addicts lie all the time! They lie to those who love them, they lie to professionals involved with them, be it probation, doctors, drug workers, whoever is involved with trying to help them. They lie to landlords, school or work colleagues (if they are fortunate enough to be in education or employment), but most importantly they lie to themselves! And sometimes they get a glimmer of the truth and feel shame for the lies, so they take more drugs to hide away from that horrible realisation.
So yes, addicts become very skilful liars and manipulators. In the case of the man I fell in love with, his lying became so ingrained in him that he became, and is, a compulsive liar and I sometimes wonder if he even realises when he is lying. He has told me so many lies that I do not know any
more when or how to ever trust what he tells me is the truth. My son, thankfully, oh yes so thankful for little things, still tries to lie to me, but often says, "Oh what is the point in lying to you" and then I get the truth. Ironically, when I get the truth (which I already knew but was not spoken out loud) I am then sorry to know the truth because my son will go into great detail of all the ins and outs of what he is taking, how he is taking it and so on.
This is what loving an addict looks like, this is a typical day.
My son and I made a plan that I would come over. We would do some unpacking and tidying up together, then exploring his new neighbourhood, look at a few shops for things for his flat and then go get something to eat before I would have to return for the school run, When I arrived it was clear things were not going to go according to plan as my son had already indulged. I decided to start cleaning in hopes of making him feel better whilst improving his state of mind giving him a less chaotic environment at home. He sat there and he took drugs with me in the room and I felt defeated. I watched him slowly collapse and then briefly pass out.
Another day when my son was at my house and looking through my medicines to see if I had anything "good" and talking once again of drugs, drugs, drugs I could not help but get fed up and say the type of thing I feel I should not say: " Oh how I wish I was sitting here with my son having a "normal" conversation about how uni or work is going. We could be laughing at your stories of what happened when you went out with your friends. You could be telling me about how things are going with your girlfriend and how your flat is coming along as you set it up as your home." It was very upsetting for my son to hear me say such things because it feeds the self fulfilling prophecy and vicious cycle that he is in:
I feel low and bad about myself > I take drugs > my mother thinks I am a failure > I am a failure > Lets take more drugs >I feel low and bad about myself and so on!
Then I feel bad for saying it and feel more frustrated and get more agitated, it keeps feeding the negative fires we have perfected living in!
But when the day is done and I drive away from my son, or hang up the phone, it is irrelevant that I am angry or sad or frustrated by how my son "lives" his life chained to what controls him, drugs and addiction, because I remember that I love him and I worry about him! Sometimes, actually often, I see the little boy behind all the messy unkept hair, scraggly beard and dazed and often vacant eyes, and I miss him. Other times I look at him and see how he can still turn things around and he still has potential, yet the drugs are slowly killing his brain and his soul.
As far as the man I love, I still love him but I have my eyes more open now and I will not let his lies empower him to take advantage of me any longer. If he needs or wants my friendship, love and support to help him if he should ever make those decisions then I will be here for him. Loving two addicts and two emotionally stunted and manipulative people is very challenging to my mental health and extremely draining. At the end of the day my son is my son who needs me more and the man I love is a friend who has not committed himself to me so therefore I must try to let go because I had made him an emotional priority for too long. This man did not choose for all the horrible things in his life which lead to his addiction. You can not choose who you fall in love with, and I must say I still do love him. However, I can choose how I react to him and he can indeed choose to be a real part of my life or not, and what that would entail.
So we do not choose to love addicts just as much as they have not chosen to be addicts. The drug is not the enemy, when you think about it, the enemy is emotional pain or damage that has created a need to use drugs to make life "better", that is why not everyone who has tried or taken drugs turn into an addicts. If that were the case most of use would be addicts! There needs to be healing before the addiction can end, but it is a very painful process to begin the psychology dissection of self whilst trying to identify the source of that emotional pain!