I can only imagine how difficult and confusing it must be for a non-addict to watch a loved one get smashed on their drug of choice. The incongruity and stupidity of an addict’s choices, behavior and statements have to be nothing short of mind boggling. That said, I think the hardest thing for a non-addict to grasp seems to be that logical ideas, comments and suggestions from them do not penetrate an addict’s mind. Those things do not make contact, which just infuriates the non-addict to no end because they know that their loved one would “get it’ if he or she was only sober. And this is totally understandable.
Submitting logic or common sense of any kind to the addict is a waste of your time. It won’t go anywhere or accomplish anything except cause you frustration.
I was an alcoholic. Nothing mattered more to me than having my wine. Get the fuck out of my face with anything else – that was my attitude. When practicing addicts are fully engulfed in the fog of addiction, we can’t see through it. We cannot see what’s outside it nor can we think or feel our way out of it. Being addicted feels very much like what I imagine drowning on the inside might feel like. Our entire bodies – not just our lungs – are filled to capacity with our drug of choice. And our brains are saturated with it.
When you ask yourself “Why the hell can’t he or she see what they’re doing to me, to the family, to him or herself?” It’s because that person is drowning and they might not even know it. And even if they do, it’s likely that they’re so engulfed and saturated with their drug of choice, they simply don’t care. That happens. The drug is so powerful that it becomes masterful. And getting a firm handle on it is no small feat. It’s a personal endeavor – getting a handle on it – and no one else can want it or do it for them.
It’s impossible for the non-addict to fully comprehend what an addict is experiencing when they’re either drunk, high, or “needing” their drug of choice. You can’t relate or identify. But what you can do is walk away. You can support from afar and still love from afar. You don’t have to watch, participate, or be dragged through the muck. All addicts quit for good when one of two things happen: they die or they decide they’ve had enough.
The second conclusion can be arrived at by numerous routes and one size (route) does not fit all. All routes are personal and mine just so happened to include living to see my last birthday. I turned 50 and I was shocked! I fully expected to kick the bucket well before then. Once I hit 50, I figured I might as well live to the best of my ability for however much longer I have left.
And while my family could only guess what it was like for me to be me when I drank – I can only guess at the enormity of their relief that I have stopped.