What a luxury.
This past week, I was blessed to spend several days at the Jersey shore. But that wasn’t the luxury. At the week’s end, I realized with a start that I had completely forgotten to write my column on dealing with addiction for this coming week. And while the R & R at the beach was amazing, it was the forgetfulness that was truly a gift.
I had forgotten to write about my experiences in the world of addiction. Which meant that addiction wasn’t the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night.
But I remember a time when it was.
When my son was in active addiction, there wasn’t a single moment when I wasn’t aware that addiction was a part of my life, except one: that split second when you wake to a new day in the morning and everything seems wonderful until you realize with a crushing awareness that your son is a heroin addict.
I still can’t say how it happened. I don’t think David could explain the details of how we ended up where we did either, with him thinking always of his next fix, and me thinking always of how I could save him.
We are on the other side now, with David approaching nine years sober. And I suppose the biggest lesson I can offer given my forgetfulness is that there is hope. It is a terrible struggle—unrelenting when it is bad, and only slightly less terrifying when sobriety is new, as you hold your breath waiting and praying that this time, the sobriety will take hold.
But if your loved one is willing to put in the hard work, and you can offer support while taking care of your own mental and physical well-being, there is a chance that you will also be able to wake one day and not think about the drinking or the drugs. A chance that you will be able to make your day’s To-Do List and actually accomplish most of your jobs without being stopped in your tracks by another crisis, another scare.
The work is the key. Make a call, get your loved one into treatment, find a therapist. If the addict isn’t ready to let go of the substance abuse, you can at least begin to free yourself from spending every moment of your life gripped by fear by getting counselling, attending a support meeting, or simply talking to a trusted friend.
There is hope, and I pray that you will one day find yourself at the shore, or wherever your happy place is, and find that you, too, have forgotten the pain.
Mary Fran Bontempo is a 2x TEDx speaker, author and humorist. Visit her at www.maryfranbontempo.com. Her latest book, “The 15 Minute Master—How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time,” can be found on Amazon.