The Storm of Addiction

August 17, 2020 - Mary Fran Bontempo

We’ve had some wild summer storms in my area lately. Thunder, lightning, torrential rain and flooding. Frequently, they seem to come without much warning, aside from a few ominous clouds in the distance. The sky is clear with a little gray, and suddenly, WHAM! It’s a like The Wizard of Oz in real life.

That’s the way it often is in summer. Heat and humidity can make things unstable. One minute you’re walking into the grocery store and the next you’re racing to the car wearing a plastic bag over your head getting soaked to the skin and cursing yourself for not being better prepared. (Yes, that was me.) It seems there’s always a chance of a storm, no matter how the day begins. And after the storm, one of two things happen: the skies clear and the heat breaks, or the stifling humidity just gets worse.

It’s all kind of like what it feels like to deal with a loved one in active addiction.

When David was actively using heroin (which I didn’t know for certain at the time), I’d wake up hoping the day would be a good one, trying to calm the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, as every day had the potential for a violent storm. I’d steal a look at him to try and gage his mood, looking for a brewing outburst and praying for calm.

If it was a rare storm-free day, I’d exhale with relief, talking myself into half-believing that David was just going through a bad time, it wasn’t more serious.

But on those days when he raged, when the fury of addiction hit him and us full force, it was almost unbearable. He became unrecognizable, screaming through the house, talking in circles, relentlessly berating me for all his problems. He was a tornado, with no Emerald City at the end of the storm.

Unlike those summer storms that bring relief from the oppressive heat, there was no relief from addiction. Just a temporary respite until the next time, with the fearful anticipation of the next uprising never, ever going away.

It’s no way to live, not for the addict or those who love them.

Know this: Just as you cannot contain a summer storm, you cannot contain addiction. YOU MUST GET HELP. Make a call. Talk to a therapist. Reach out to a trusted friend. Do not wait until the next time. If you think something is wrong, IT IS.

The storm of addiction is a master of destruction. Don’t wait until it comes to destroy you.

Mary Fran Bontempo is a 2x TEDx speaker, author and humorist. Visit her at Her latest book, “The 15 Minute Master—How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time,” can be found on Amazon.

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