What It Feels Like to be an Addict From Someone Who Knows

I’ve been trying to get out more into the blogosphere and I’m amazed and totally psyched by all the great writing. There are so many awesome people sharing their life stories in ways that are both profound and poetic.

This week I was touched by Courtney’s posts at The “Me” Project. Earlier in the year, Courtney waded through some of her old journals and posted some entries about addiction. These are extremely poignant. One is broken into two parts and as I read Part 1, I thought about my sister. I could see her there among the words, particularly these:

At some point, you realize you are using now JUST to stay two steps ahead of your own terrible reality sinking in. When you are already so weakened, so compromised, so ghostly, it is terrifying to entertain the thought of actually turning around & seeing the path of destruction you left in your wake. It’s just too, too much.

Wow. Doesn’t this make your heart ache? Jerri has her own wake of destruction that even today she can’t bear to face. She’s left a canyon in her kids’ lives and wounded them in ways they will never get over. Jerri knows this. She didn’t set out to do it. She told herself as she handed them over one-by-one to our parents to raise that it was the best thing for them. Our parents could give them a life she never could. She tricked herself into believing each time that it was temporary. That she would get herself back together and then they’d be a family again.

But underlying the using was the untreated brain disorder and she couldn’t do it alone. And now, three of her kids are grown and she’s still failing the fourth because she doesn’t have money for the bus trip to even visit him. She’s still not at a place where she could bring her youngest son to live with her. She needs a job and a different housing situation. Even if she had these things, she’s emotionally unprepared to fight a custody battle with our parents and he’s been with them for 7 years. It would be traumatic to uproot him and what if he didn’t want to come? She can’t handle the guilt and the pain of it all so she refuses to think or talk about it. But she has to in order to heal.

In Part 2, Courtney talks about what it’s like to stop using:

When you wake up in the morning, you are excited about what the day will bring, and when this occurs to you, you press your face into your pillow and you cry. You cry because you forgot what it was like to feel excited about your life, to be glad to be alive, to have hope. You forgot what it was like to be free, except that all along you had tricked yourself into thinking you were doing what you wanted, partying it up. Funny, not one memory from the past eleven years could match, could even come close, to this eager, happy, hopeful, brand-new feeling you had now. And all you did today so far was open your eyes.

There is so much joy in this paragraph. I want this for Jerri. I really do.

Here are the links to Courtney’s full posts. I hope they speak to you as much as they did to me.

Part 1: Memory Lane in a BAD Neighborhood.

Part 2: As Promised Part 2

2 Comments on “What It Feels Like to be an Addict From Someone Who Knows”

  1. I am so honored that you used my posts in your blog- especially these, because I feel like those words may be some of the most important, most heartfelt I have ever written. I still get tears in my eyes when I read those words back to myself because I REMEMBER. I am so blessed and lucky to be living a different kind of life today. I pray your sister will find her way- against all odds, so many of us do. Thank you for putting this out in the light. No one would wish that lifestyle on themselves or the people who love them- we fall into it as innocently as people fall into all sorts of things, and often, we must battle our way out. I will keep your family in my prayers.

    • When I first read your posts, I knew I had stumbled upon something truly special and oh, so beautifully written. Your words are insightful, important, and powerfully written. God has given you a gift. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us. I look forward to reading more from you.

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