Guest post by Anonymous
Once upon a time there was a lovely young girl. She was very smart and quite lovely. She spent too many years knocking around with the wrong men but was pleasantly surprised to find the right one after so much time wasted with those not worthy of her attention. Mr. Right soon became her better half and in short order they bought a home, planned their family and had an essentially fun and satisfying life.
They were blessed before long with several children in rapid succession. The lovely girl was a terrific and caring mother. She made parenting seem second nature and anyone looking in from the outside would have believed her to be born with a babe on her hip. She was an amazing parent and rarely lost either her temper or her enthusiasm for raising her children.
The lovely girl though had a history of back pain predating any of her pregnancies. Having several children with little relief for her body exacerbated the inflammation. She went the the Doctor, several even. Living though in a place were medical care was scarce as the condition worsened was really unfortunate because instead of ever being examined, the Doctors addressed the pain with prescriptions. Many, many prescriptions.
The lovely girl then moved to a place where medical care was thankfully more thorough and found a neurologist who discovered what she had actually been dealing with was an extremely compromised and damaged disk. The kind Doctor was easy on the prescriptions, heavy on recommending physical therapy as corrective action. Sadly, as thorough as was his attempt, he didn’t ask all of the right questions. Or possibly he did and was lied to; of that I can’t be certain. Because as sure as they breathe, addicts lie.
My sister is addicted to pain-killers. My sister is currently in a methadone program wherein she drives thirty miles from home every morning at 530am to get her daily dose. She then returns home to the suburbs and attempts to resume her life as an awesome mother while at the same time living with the crushing guilt and shame of being an addict.
My sister is an addict. My sister takes methadone. My sister was spending a metric ton of cash and fully half her days scoring her fix on the street. My sister is a mother. A wife. An otherwise productive and contributing member of society. Nobody you would fear leaving alone in your home, with your kids or with your medicine cabinet. The only significant distinction between my sister and a crack-head is that she is living in a suburban home and there is viable medical treatment available for her drug of choice.
I’ve long suspected something was wrong. I questioned, I shouted, I guilted. I cast aspersions on her parenting skills, looked askance at her husband for not helping more, for not being more supportive. I blamed. I yelled. I insulted. I accused. But, like the Doctor, I didn’t ask the right questions. I didn’t get the right answers. I didn’t suspect what, in hindsight, should have been obvious. With addiction and recovery comes shame, embarrassment, worry, anxiety and none of that is exclusive to the person driving to get methadone every day just to survive.
I’m not petty or self involved enough to make my sister’s addiction about me. It’s not something I caused, something I can cure or something I can even speak to with any convincing degree of knowledge. I only just found out today. I had to tell our parents (with my sister’s permission but with the caveat they cannot mention it, ask about it, inquire about it or make reference to it until my sister brings it up). I may not be able to control her behavior or the addiction but I can find out as much as I can, fortify myself with facts and resources and focus on being as supportive and kind as I have been suspicious and callous.
I want my sister to recover. I want my sister’s kids to be not robbed of their fantastic mother. I even want my brother-in-law to have again the wife he loves so dearly that he lived the torture of being aware of the problem but being unable to speak of it or ask for assistance. As is usually the case, he wanted to protect my sister and her secret. As usual, the exposure of the secret was a great relief to all involved; my sister had the weight of secrecy lifted, her husband had the weight of being sole support and caretaker lightened and my family had the salve of questions answered. Addiction is mired in shadows of deceit; recovery should be out and proud and broadcast to the world. There is no shame in being an addict seeking treatment; the shame of it is when treatment isn’t available or sought and the addict feels hopeless, helpless and strapped with desperation.
Once an addict, always an addict, as the saying goes, right? I prefer to think of it as once my sister, always my sister. And we will, eventually, live happily ever after.
If you or someone you know is facing a problem with addiction. Please call 866-575-8188 or visit TreatmentFinder.com.
Guest post by Anonymous