Saturday, March 17, 2012

Answers -- Annette

I will answer all of the questions. So as not to make the post too long I am going to split them up and answers will follow on each day. I'm answering them in the order they were received. This is not a one time thing, if you have a question feel free to post and I will add it to the list.

Annette ask: How have you reconciled Alex's right to privacy as you blogged about his addiction and shared his story at schools? Did you have his permission, what about while he was in active addiction?

The privacy thing went out the window when his name was plastered across the front page of the paper of our little town. It was for some minor crimes here in our hometown but in a small town anything is news. It wasn’t like we were famous but most people in our community knew us. I was very active in local politics and with the schools. Darlene was in the schools all the time. His sister was a school leader and very popular. Alex was very popular when he was in school. Privacy for all of us was an illusion, at least it was in the beginning. In the beginning of his addiction and on my blog we tried to hide everything and that didn’t do any good.

Alex went with me once to talk at his old high school. He did great but he had been clean only about 3 months and he told me afterwards it was just too hard. For a while he tried blogging, he knew about my blog and he knew it had helped me. But he said writing wasn’t for him; that was a couple years ago. And, at that time he was trying recovery but relapsing.

In my mind all of those horrible things he did while he was actively using were symptoms of the disease. I've had many of my elderly relatives come down with Alzheimers disease. At times they have done things that would make your hair stand on end some even violence against family members. I was not ashamed or embarrassed of them, I loved them and they had a disease that had some very harsh and terrible symptoms. I have gotten to the point that Alex’s symptoms were nothing more than an indication of another terrible disease.

I compare the symptoms and stigma of addiction today to those that were HIV+ in the 1980’s. At times as a nation it seems we did all we could to destroy the person without understanding the disease. Remember Ryan White? No matter if it is addiction, HIV or any other disease some will choose to vilify the person and never seek to understand the disease, that is their loss.


Anonymous said...

What a very nice way of viewing the irrational and destructive behavior of someone who
is addicted - "symptoms of the disease." As someone who has experienced this with my child, I
too have thought that it's a type
of dementia. Both affect the brain, after all. What's difficult
though, is remembering this in the
heat of the moment - when this is
going on!

Erin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

In response to Erin's comment, I don't believe that someone suffering from the disease of addiction causes it to happen. Their choice is to try a drink. Many of the AA leads I have heard lead me to believe that it only takes one time for the allergy to unleash. While it may be a choice initially it soon ceases to become a choice, sometimes after trying something once. I think it is unrealistic to think that young people will completely abstain from drinking their entire life. JMO

Anonymous said...

You and I are on the same page about privacy.

Once I cleared it with my son, I'm going to be honest. Lies, pretending, and ignoring are what allows addiction to grow and thrive.

Annette said...

Well yes, I choose to live my life honestly and in the light. I am not ashamed or embarrassed....anymore. But I think where my struggle is is that I know H is not comfortable being discussed when she isn't present. So I try to keep the focus of my blog on myself, but every now and then I share my response to something going on in her life. Which means I have to share what crisis has just gone on. I do it for my own sanity....which takes precedence even over her privacy sometimes! lol

I do see your point though....addiction is a disease and yes, their behavior is a symptom, but does that give me the right to put it all over the internet? THAT is what I struggle with. My needs to process life with active addiction in it vs. her needs to not have her every move discussed and analyzed by people who have never met her. Her biggest complaint of my blog was that it was only my perspective. She told me to keep blogging but to keep in mind I am presenting only one side of who she is. True.....its my perspective. I just don't want to hurt her so I try to be careful what I say here...but I have a couple women who I email with and real life friends who I can bare it all to. So I guess I will just keep doing what Im doing. Thanks Ron for sharing your perspective.

Syd said...

I protect the anonymity of my wife. I believe in that as spelled out in the traditions of our respective recovery programs. Besides, it isn't up to me to tell her story. I say enough about our life here on the blog. But we still remain anonymous as much as possible. It is up to her to tell her own story. I do understand your thoughts here on being forthright.