This may be a long and rambling post. It is time to get real. Just got off the phone with my amazing daughter and told her that there have been times the last few days when I thought about not doing this. Where do I draw the line? How much to share and since she is 100% a part of all this, do I affect her future by laying it out there? It has to be done honestly or it will do nothing in helping others navigate their way through the nightmare of addiction. And believe me, it is a nightmare.
The first thing I heard from Ashley about this blog was to do it. Then she asked me to change the original picture I had put up of the two of us. Of the picture, she said, “I was really high and it makes me feel gross”. I had no idea. I was visiting her in California and thought she was doing okay. That is the first thing to know if you have a loved one who is an addict. Sometimes, we just don’t see it. We think they are in recovery and we want to believe it and hope for it. They know this. They are so adept at hiding and lying and manipulating. That is the reality.
I can write all I want about the fire, about how I was so in shock over what happened. My head could not fathom that she would die yet I knew many did not expect her to make it. I remember pacing and pacing and praying and begging God not to take Brett. If she made it, how would she survive without him? How could a mother’s love be enough to get her through it? And then Brett was gone. After all we have been through, that is the one pain I don’t ever want to know. The loss of a child. An only child.
So, I am sure the fire will come up here and there. Yet, as Ashley so rightfully pointed out to me today, she had problems with addiction before that. Maybe that would have been a better beginning. Many of those events are an entire post unto themselves. For now, the fire was not the beginning, but from my perspective, it was what pushed her further into the dark abyss of addiction.
We have a bird house in our backyard and each year, it has occupants. Each year, the squirrels and chipmunks try to enter through the hole and they chew and claw trying to get in. I watched a squirrel jump onto the top of the birdhouse recently. The Mama Bird was there, body tight up against the hole protecting her babies. Wings spread wide as she rocked her belly back and forth in a fluid dance to keep the intruder out. Mama kept him at bay for the moment, but I knew the squirrel would be back. Or a chipmunk. Could the Mama Bird forever protect her babies?
One would hope, but the squirrels and the chipmunks are like the heroin and the cocaine and the pot that keep chasing an addict. I am the Mama Bird trying to protect and keep them away. But I can’t. Addiction is bigger than me. Or the addict. An addict will do anything, say anything, to get what they want. The next high. It takes over. I cannot say it better than in Ashley’s own words. Here is where I share from her in a response to a FB post.
So, at this point I have met every flavor of addict. The ones who were abandoned or abused, the ones to raise themselves, the ones who had lovely childhoods and then were traumatized by perhaps rape or robbery or a mugging or even abusive relationships. The ones that have had divorce in their childhood that they’d never quite recovered from , the ones that have had perfectly beautiful lives. Throughout it all, every single one of us has been viewed to have chosen this. Even me. And to an extent, it has been a choice. The one thing we all have in common is that alcohol and drugs worked to quench that hole within our souls palette. Alcohol and drugs saved my life. Like they’ve done for every addict I’ve ever met. Then they took over my life. Once that happened… it was a beast I had fed for so long it was stronger than me. That’s the story with all of us. I’ve met thousands of addicts. We are all the same. One key point you said is that the taxpayers are paying for this and that people are choosing this. I think the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for this. I think we should pay for better education within our school systems. I never once learned about the devastating effects of detox. They always just told us you’d become “addicted.” But what does that mean? Nobody told us we’d be INCAPABLE of choosing to put it down at a certain point, regardless of what we are losing. Nobody understands that it’s a mental illness for which there is no known cure or medication for. It’s not about the drugs and the alcohol. Do you understand that? Does anybody reading this? Probably not, unless they’ve had an addict in their life or they are one. We need better Healthcare systems for everybody, including addicts. 76% of homeless people are humans with mental illness who have been turned away for lack of health insurance and then turn to drugs to try and settle their brains. That’s appalling. And you asked about percentages of people who chose addiction rather than were thrown into it, like me. Those percentages don’t exist. Because the people in this industry, the doctors, the scientists, all of the research studies, they’ve all concluded that it’s a illness beyond our mental control and many people believe we are born with it. Myself included. I was distributing addict behaviors long before the fire. Ask my mom about the shoelace story. These are the questions people need to start asking, the ones you’ve asked or points you bought up. After all that said and done I’m just the same as the person, whom have had nothing happened in their childhood or life to pick up. I ask you, have you ever tried a drink or drug? Because most of us, myself included, picked up once and were unable to put it back down again. It could happen to anyone. It’s not a matter of willpower because, trust me, I’ve got a lot of that.😁😂 I hope this makes sense. Lets keep talking!!!😍
I love this recovering daughter of mine. There is more to say and I will keep posting but each time, I want to remind you that my daughter has been through more in her 34 years than I could ever imagine. Months go by when I wish I could take her place. Each day I am grateful she is here and helping others. Each day I wake knowing the story could change tomorrow. One day at a time. The trick is not to let that take over my life. It truly is like that.