How Do You Explain Addiction?

How do you explain what it’s like to have a family member who is an addict? I tried this the other day without any luck. People are so blind to addiction, and they can’t see past the stigma that has been attached to it all these years. They say nothing to the people who are alcoholics. It’s the addict that gets the bad rap instead. I guess everyone has accepted alcohol socially as being an acceptable disease.

So how do you explain addiction to someone who knows nothing about it but thinks they know it all? Us mothers, who’ve been battling it in our children for any length of time knows what it’s like to live a life of broken promises and constant conflict. We know that our kids are decent people we just can’t find them in that body of theirs. It’s as though someone has snatched that little boy/girl away from us in the blink of an eye. Everything we once knew about them is gone. Their personality changed. That has to be someone else possessing my child’s body because that’s not the child I once knew.

When the addict dies, how do you explain their death to those who don’t understand addiction? You didn’t do anything different as far as raising your child than they did. Why are you suddenly the bad parent? You made your child do the school work, disciplined them when they needed it, you were there for all their bumps and bruises, and when they were sick. Why are they suddenly looking down at you and saying such things about you behind your back?

How do you tell people that addiction is not fair? It knows no boundaries. It takes the lives of the poor and the wealthy. Even the families who are close to their children. Those who have taken part in sports, or other activities, just to keep them busy and out of trouble have fallen victim to addiction. Smart kids and slow kids, it doesn’t matter, addiction can find them regardless.

How do you change the stigma of addiction when so many people are ignorant about the facts? Many mothers are embarrassed by the fact that their child is an addict. They can’t believe that it has happened to them. Why would they deserve this? But, addiction doesn’t care about how you feel. It happens. When you let go of being embarrassed by your addict, you learn the feeling of hope. It doesn’t come to all; it dangles like a tiny thread before you when you hear the stories of recovery of other addicts. Hope can grow stronger with understanding what it’s like for the addict, why they do the things they do, why they think the things they think.

How do you explain how to see life through an addict’s eyes? Your child is gone. Dead or alive, they are gone just the same. You either learn to see life through your dead child’s eyes as a memory to keep their spirit alive, or you learn to see life through your living addict eyes. But remember that little child is no longer the one you see. They are gone forever. Alive or Dead – living with an addict is a complicated thing to explain. Until you’ve been there, you’ll never understand what it’s like to love an addict.

Reflections of 2013

The year is just about over, and many people will be working on New Year’s resolutions – goals for the coming year. But for now I want to take the time to look back and remember where I have come from.

How and why did I begin writing?

It all started for me back in 2008 when my daughter said, Mom come check out My Space. I looked and saw all the blogs on the site and began reading. It was a neat way to keep a kind of journal of some sort to share with others. We left comments for each other, made friends, and left lots of Kudos.

Do you remember Kudos?

Then my daughter turned 18. Ah – the proper age when the child is supposed to leave the nest. The only thing was, she hadn’t finished High School. Ugh!

Yep – she left home – no rhyme or reason. Quit school too.

I was mad. What kind of sane mother wouldn’t be? I went through life trying to help her make it from point A to point B. One grade to the next – it wasn’t my fault that she needed to stay back in school a couple of times. The first time was absolutely all on her. She wanted to be obstinate while in Kindergarten. She is my stubborn child.

So, when she left home in 2009, of course, I was mad. That was the year I wrote Friends of Choice. I put all my worries, fears, angers, and everything into that story. I also wanted her to know that I was actually listening to her all those years. I got her. I knew how she felt, by feeling out of control because we had to move when she was finally in a school that she truly was accepted into.

By the time, the book Road Salt came about my son had entered back into the picture. We had an on and off relationship for the past ten years while he lived with his dad. Most of that time he spent getting into trouble with drug addiction related crimes.

2010 was the year my Granddaughter was born. She and my daughter now reside in upstate NY. That was the year that I published Friends of Choice.

In 2011, my son entered a residential rehab and remained in that program for just about a year. While he was there, my writing began to take on a different meaning. I no longer felt as if I were writing just for myself. I was now writing with a purpose. I wanted to help the public learn about drug addiction and how it can find its way into all walks of life. No one is immune to the disease of addiction.

Road Salt was a hard piece to write. I wanted compelling facts for this fictional story, and without the story sounding too preachy. Besides, the designer drug bath salts is a terribly scary substance.

By the time, I was half way done writing Road Salt, a good friend of mine introduced me to Romance Writers of America. Now I had a new element to add to my writing. This was a new challenge for me.

To many times drug addiction ends in tragedy with the user dying from their drug usage accidently.

In Along Came Neil, I not only sought to write a story about romance, but I wanted to learn how to write a story with a happy ending. When I accomplished this for the first time, it felt fantastic.

Everyone desires to have Happy Ending no matter how much they have screwed their lives up over the years. There is always that small chance that they might make just one single choice that might lead them to recover their lives and live. It does happen. Not as often as it should

If only there were more residential rehabs out there like Delancy Street or the Phoenix House maybe more people would be able to find the strength to stand up against and fight back substance abuse. If the government were to spend money as they spend on the incarceration of an addict, on recovery programs where solid communities are made, maybe more of these addicts would become active community law-abiding citizens and survive to live more than just another day.

Yes, I write fantasy too.

Will I stop writing stories like Road Salt?

No – I can’t. Stories like Road Salt give me a compelling reason to write.