Friday, February 24, 2012
When Prayers Aren't Enough To Save A Friend
When Prayers aren’t enough to save a friend
There is a person very dear to me who I see slipping into the jaws of addiction. Knowing the signs and games an addict plays is both a blessing and a curse. It's like you know the fastball is coming and you still strike out. The person I am speaking of is a beautiful girl. She is bright and intelligent and only 18 years old. She has her future mapped out and is only a few months away from graduating high school. But now, in the final stretch, she has found a new future with a dead end in the form of chemical dependency.
When I used "checking out" of myself was required. I had no choice. For over 20 years I continuously opened the door and let the guy with the sledgehammer beat my brains in. I lost everything from my self respect to my family. Those losses just added fuel to the fire and more power to the addiction's constant prodding that it was my only friend. It wasn't until I truly thought I was losing my mind and going to die that I got help. Friends, family, strangers and God Almighty can't help an addict until they get tired of the guy with the sledgehammer beating them to death. I was thrown life preserver after life preserver and my denial let me drown for years.
It is so sad for me to look at her and see the patterns I am so familiar with. There have been threats, sob stories, broken promises and I'm sorries. The patterns are all the same. Only the faces and places change. I see the pain in her eyes and the self hate she has for herself. The self hate is the ultimate master of destruction and obsession for an addict. As life gets more chaotic, the greater the drive is to escape. It is hell on earth.
As a loved one you can make threats, try tough love, beg, spoil and play every game you can think of to get an addict to see reality just for that one second. Sometimes it works. Other times it doesn't. Alcoholism and addiction are the only diseases that tell you you're not sick, that you can quit at anytime. An addict thinks they know all the answers and everyone else is full of shite! Prayers are important. Setting a good example is right thinking. Loving the addict who is suffering is vital.
The reality check is that all of the solutions, combinations of them, love, anger, compassion and punishment, may or may not work. It's a crap shoot. Some times you roll a 7. Sometimes you roll box cars. There is no perfect solution. All of us suffer from terminal uniqueness. You can do your best and keep the faith. That is all.
I am going to see this lovely friend tomorrow night. I can share with her my love, experience, strength and hope. I can pray for her. I can tell her the stories of living on the street or having cockroaches crawling all over my body. Maybe something will stick. Maybe it won't. We can control our actions but we have no control over the outcomes. When she walks away she will be left with my love and words of support and the knowledge that I will always be there for her. Once she hits the streets it's just her and her addiction. Until the scale tilts from misery to recovery I must accept I can only do so much except say "I love you, and I'm here for you."