Friday, May 14, 2010

The Anger of Addiction

I haven't spoke to may son since his last relapse. His mother has talked to him a couple times about mail and court summons he receives here at our house.

It's easy to be angry with someone that is addicted. Everyone knows they give you plenty of reasons. Probably easier for parents more than anyone else because it is easier to drop someone that isn't your child and move on. Most of the time we just hold the anger slightly below the surface and the unconditional love makes it all OK.

Funny how at times I still refer to my 22 year old son as our child. Maybe that has some psychological meaning to to some doctor but to me it is just how I see him.

I have finally gotten to that point his problem is his but dealing with a loved ones addiction is like an octopus, any one of multiple arms can reach out and grasp you and try pulling you into their world at any time.

Addiction is a brain disease. It changes people, I can see it not only in my son but in others suffering from addiction and alcoholism. Who is that person? What happens to the entity that lived in that body before the drugs began to destroy their being? I do not see people coming out the other side the way they were before they ventured into that dark tunnel. The sorry thing is one person takes the lead into the tunnel and all of us family members follow that person unknowingly to be changed forever also.

The anger in which I speak is not at the addicted. They have a disease. All that can happen now is for them to work their issues and try to remain clean. My anger goes back to why do it the first time. It's not like nobody has never heard the phrase Just Say No.

How do you reach the kid that has all the opportunities in the world to use drugs and alcohol and enable them to pass on that thrill? I don't try to fool myself, I've never tried this crap before but it must be awful good. But I still say no. What is it inside of us that have the ability to say no and how do we articulate that message to the people in need? This is not a rhetorical question. I have spent countless hours trying to unlock that puzzle. I'd really like to hear any thoughts from others as to the mystery of this answer.

I know most all of us writing and reading blogs concerning addiction are overwhelmed with the results of that first time and the life of addiction that follows. Can the cycle be interrupted or are some people just predestined?

(sorry, if you read our blog you cannot escape my daily deliberations and philosophies concerning this life. if you have read this far you just been had)

19 comments:

sydney said...

You know what's strange... when I was a teen my mom encouraged me to "expirement" with drugs and alcohol to get it out of my system.. but I was always deathly afraid of doing so because I didn't want to turn out like her. It came to a point where I was TOO set against it. As a 21 year old I'd be the DD at my own party. My hard stance had become detrimental to me because I did want to be able to have a drink and not worry that I would suddenly become my alcoholic mother. What I didn't realize was that I was addicted to control.

I think addiction comes down to an unrest deep within you. That part of you that doesn't want to be hurt... so we push the pain down, we shove it deep down so that when it comes up it hurts twice as bad. For me, it manifests itself in controlling my life. Slowly I've come to a more peaceful place. I know that some things are not within my control, I feel more at peace knowing that I have to surrender to the universe as it IS, and to what life throws at me rather than trying to bend it to my will.

Karen said...

I have followed your blog for awhile, but have never commented...wasn't planning on doing it today, but I have come back and read this post 3 times...I can relate to so many things you mentioned...

Why do it the first time? Excellent question...if we knew a black and white answer...well, I imagine things would be done much differently...but gray answers abound...

I never had a desire to use any type of drug...was I just stronger at saying no than those that do use? I don't think so...because I have my own struggles with other addictions such as the one sydney mentioned...

My addict son has said many times that he is not as strong as his brothers in saying no...and with each person having distinct personalities, strengths and weaknessess, it makes sense to me that some have it harder than others with this...but predestined to abuse...my husband would say yes, but I say no...I have seen too many lives turned around when a total committment to sobriety is followed to say..."he will "always" be that way"...I have hope...and with that comes freedom...

Sorry for the rambling, but I just had to put my 2 cents in on this one....

beachteacher said...

I think that some people are biologically much more prone to addiction to substances.....you can see it in ethnic groups even....Irish, Native Americans, Eskimos(who are biologically related to Native Americans)...and it's not from a cultural basis,..but biological. For instance, in Italy, alcohol(wine)is commonly drunk at meals from a young age,...but there's not at all the percentage of alcoholism overall as in Ireland or in the other 2 groups mentioned above. That's just one example. Addiction is also highly correlated to ADHD,which is biologically/genetically caused...resulting in the impulsivity that's characteristic of it...the difficulty w/self control....and not w/only using a substance. How many of our addict kids were always the ones w/ self control issues already...or were the overly intense ones? I think that a majority of us have at least tried alcohol, if not any type of drug....but at the initial experiences,didn't think....wow, I've found "the answer",...as our addict did. I think that the author of the Lost Years explained that feeling very well. And of course, sobriety can be had (thank God !),,,but for an addict,...it takes a lot of sustained effort that isn't required by the rest of us.

Pat N. said...

I recently purchased a new DVD on the disease model of addiction called, "Pleasure Unwoven" by Kevin McCauley, MD The information present is understandable by parent's and I have neer seen anything that explains the disease better than this. I gave it to my counselor for his review and he agreed and he ordered a copy for all his staff. http://www.addictiondoctor.com

Barbara said...

I've been had! :)

Actually, you know how I feel about your blog, its been helpful me from the day I found it.

I agree with Pat N. and say THAT DVD IS REALLY GOOD. I saw it at Phoenix House and walked away convinced that its is a brain disease, but still no answer as to why. Why do some people get cancer and others don't?

I did lots of drugs as a teen young/adult. I would say I was treading in dangerous waters but my brain isn't wired that way so I lucked out. Unfortunately my son didn't.

Why do it in the first place after a lifetime of hearing "don't do it!" Some teenagers are rebellious by nature and will do it just because they've been told not to or to LOOK COOL. If that weren't the case we would never see a person under the age of 50 with a cigarette. All teens know smoking is BAD but they don't care....Lastly, curiosity. I did drugs to see what they were like. I was a daredevil with drugs...not unlike my son, but I knew when to quit and was able to. Sigh.

Fractalmom said...

Ron, I don't know. As you and Mom,, I have raised a number of children, all the same, and one is an addict. Why? We will never know.

All I can do is break the cycle with the littles. I am doing it via counseling and uber education. Will it work? I don't know. I can only pray.

I warned all my kids about drugs.We talked about peer pressure, drinking, drugs,peer pressure, losing control, acid, pot, speed, etc. But honestly, it never occurred to me to warn them about heroin.

Now, of course, it does.

Gledwood said...

You haven't spoken to him... but what would you say? What can you say to someone whose brain has been hijacked by drugs? Getting to the actual person is sometimes very difficult. It's like they're confined, David Blaine style in a bulletproof glass cube. You can see in, but not reach in...

Gledwood said...

Fractalmom ~ everybody knows about heroin. The only thing you cannot explain is how addictive it actually is. Messing about with heroin is like smearing superglue all over a tabletop. You can slap your hand down, snatch it back and say "it's not that sticky"... but keep doing it time and time again and you will lose your caution and the inevitable will happen.

Also:
Smoking cessation experts claiming nicotine is "more addictive than heroin" don't help. I've never seen a withdrawing smoker with their head down the toilet. Or crying and screaming. And I've never heard of one trying to hang themself, either...

Gledwood said...

Fractalmom ~ By "everybody knows about heroin" I meant you didn't NEED to explain. Wasn't trying to imply you were stupid

Syd said...

As you said, it is a disease and sometimes there are other problems that trigger the first drink or drug--bipolar, ADHD, depression, etc. Reading Bill's story in the Big Book helped me to understand. Now scientific evidence shows differences in the brains of addicts versus those who are not.

BMelonsLemonade said...

There sometimes is a light at the end of the tunnel...it just takes a long, long time to get there. I was once a heroin addict, and now I am in recovery. I have been clean for four years, but I am also now 35 years old. I used for a lot of years, and I had a lot of ups and downs. The cycle of relapse, addiction, and disease took a long, long time to break. It took me a lot of tries, but I have finally made it out the other side. I am not the same person as I was when I went in the tunnel, but I am a more enlightened one for having gone through my life as I did.
One thing I told my mom, and I like to remind parents of addicts...there is probably nothing you could have done to make this situation any different. I would have still started using no matter what my parents had or had not done. It took me a lot of years of blaming everyone else for my shit before I got well enough to realize that it was all my doing. There is nothing anyone could have done to change my collison course. And also, is nothing anyone else could have done to make me finally get the help I needed. I had to get there on my own, and because of that...I am still clean.
My parents had pretty much cut me off years before I got clean. And now, I am thankful that they did what they did, or I could be dead now. I certainly would not be clean right now if my parents had not detatched.
Once in this cycle of addiction, especially opiate addiction...it is hard to see anything else. An addiction does forever alter our chemistry...it will never again be just as easy as saying no (and for most addicts, it was never just that easy!) It takes trial and error to learn the hard, fast rule of NO USING AT ALL! It took me a couple of tries to learn that I could not touch it, even just once. Everytime I did use again after a period of being clean, it always ended the same. After enough tries, some of us finally get it. Hang in there...

maybe said...

like ur writing style..it's the real deal. just keep on writing...

LisaC said...

If only we knew the answer...I agree with the presentations in Pleasure Unwoven (I went out and bought my own copy of the DVD once it was shown to me at the BMC). It provides me some theory and understanding of something I generally don't understand - addiction.

Through my late teens and early 20's, I experimented with weed, cocaine (which was the drug of choice at the time) and of course, alcohol (never smoked...didn't want to smell bad LOL), but I simply didn't get addicted. I tried it several times, mostly in social/party situations, and after trying it, I didn't try it again. Didn't go looking for it, didn't have to have it. Why? I think a lot of our children tried things the first time, or maybe five times with friends and those that become addicted to it are wired differently. I'm not a doctor and I'm not an expert, but this is what I believe. Yes, they should have said "no," the first time, but they didn't; and they also didn't want to be addicts. Just my thoughts on this.

Heather's Mom said...

I myself did drugs "that first time" (not heroin, but everything that was out there in the late 80's without a needle) and then continued in earnest for 5 years then - after the birth of Heather - did them "on occasion" for another 6. And I can't even tell you why I did it for the first time.
AND, even knowing what I did, I still feel ALL the same things you wrote about above with regards to Heather.
Praying for you, Mom & Alex.
God bless.

smallsteps2recovery said...

I never tried drugs, and I thought naively that my kids who had a much better childhood than either my husband or I would escape the addiction that runs on my husband's side of the family and mine ( Native American). I thought good parenting would overcome the odds. Well, it didn't. I know and understand it is a brain disease and still, I play the what ifs. It's so hard to accept that my daughter won't have the life she "would have had", the one I can still see so clearly at times and can't imagine at others. It's a painful game my mind plays on me. Thanks for your post and blog.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I have read yer blog and I quite enjoyed, I am a recovering addict myself (have 7 months clean tomorrow), am the manager/client at a recovery house and finally am enjoying the rewards of recovery, I am currently rebuilding the relationship with MY parents, I am 37 years old, divorced, with one son that is with my ex-wife. Speaking as an addict I would just like to say that heroin and all drugs for that matter are the devil, and like Gledwood said, he's never seen a withdrawing smoker with his head in the toilet, that is the truth. Fractalmom I'll tell you one of the things that helped me after being in and out of recovery for 14 years and some will disagree with me and that is their perogative. Methadone saved my life and it also gave me my life back, I know that others will say different and that's fine, this is my opinion and my individual case that's all. When I got into treatment this time, I told myself that I would do all the things that I never did before, all the things that I wouldn't do and then couldn't understand why recovery wouldn't stick, I got down on my knees and prayed for guidance and with that prayer came the realization that i couldn't do it alone and that i needed God's help with my disease. I have always had some sort of opiate in my body and I felt that i just couldn't make it without it. Once again i have to emphasise that this is my case, and my opinion, right or wrong. I did alot of soul searching as well as getting sick, and the rest of the horrible withdrawing and i came to the conclusion that i needed medical help (methadone). I have to say that it saved my life and gave me the ability to focus on what was needed, saving my life. Anyway i am going to just cut this short and say thanks for listening and I to am going to start my own blog because the healing i just felt talking to the air was amazing and the way that i looked at it was: If i am able to do methadone in the morning so that i don't do heroin in the afternoon, then i am having a great day...thanks for listening. Another greatful recovering addict..

Bristolvol said...

If the answer was out there, it would be worth a million bucks. My kids are 18 months apart, grew up together, were extremely close until high school when each started to have a different group of friends. One turned out to be a pastor, the other an addict. Go figure! I myself have never done drugs, even though I had every opportunity growing up in the 60's and 70's. To this day I cannot take a Sudafed and drive a car. I am so sensitive to prescription meds, that I can only take half of what someone else would need. I cannot stand the thought of not being in control of myself and that I would do something stupid or crazy.

Bobby said...

Thanks for sharing your feelings honestly. It really helps people deal with their own trials and tribulations in regards to dealing with addicts and their behavior. When they hear a story like this first hand they can relate it to their own situation and come to some sort of understanding that it is normal emotion to feel. There is a lot of guilt associated with feeling anger towards someone who is obviously in pain. However it is better to deal with the reality of these feelings than to deny them.

Kara said...
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