It’s hard to love an addict. Especially when the person they were warps into someone you would never normally let into your life. A sad, selfish person who most days you can’t even recognize.
Over 20 million Americans over the age of twelve struggle with addiction and more than a hundred people a day die from drug overdoses of some kind. To many those statistics, mean nothing. They are just a jumble of words and letters that they don’t have to worry about because they don’t love someone with an addiction. But to those that do, those words weigh heavy on our chest.
At night we pray that we’ll hear from those addicted tomorrow, to be reassured that they didn’t overdose the night before, drive recklessly while under the influence and crash, or get arrested. We pray that they will wake up one day and miraculously see the error of their ways and change their path but that’s now how this disease works.
And that’s what it is, a disease. Something that you never truly cure but simply manage. Which often seems impossible because it’s such a taboo illness that one can’t speak up about it even if they wanted to. If they did admit to getting help? Jobs could be lost, evictions could happen, and lives could potentially change forever, and not for the better.
Stigma is a horrible thing to exist in the world and no one knows better than those that fight addiction. Whether people want to realize it or not those addicted are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends. They are loved. Even when it’s hard.
Sometime glimpses of what they were like before the disease took over will come to the surface and you wonder what might have been. What would our relationship look like if you didn’t care about the substance more than me? How would they of grown or what have would they have achieved?
For a long time, I, someone who loves an addict thought I could not speak about it because how can I understand? But if I don’t then who will? Who will speak for those who need help? Who will pray for them at night?
I know the person I love; the one I miss is still living in the addict I know now. It’s not always easy but I can’t go to sleep at night without hope that the person I once knew will come back. For my own sanity I can’t.
If you or someone you love need help with a drug or alcohol abuse, please call 1.800.622.4357 for the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services or reach out to a local counseling center, therapist, or friend.