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It’s so Tough to be a Recovering Addict who Loves an Addict

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My heart is torn, it’s in two different places at the same time, and I’m not sure which direction to follow. This story is about an addict that I love who is surprisingly, with no reason or know-how, doing better today than he was yesterday. The problem here is that he’s done well so many times before, so I’m not sure which to believe. Is he really doing well or is this just a spurt? Do I believe who he was 5 years ago? An innocent, and mere child, to the facts known as life. Do I believe who he was last week? Broken down, stumbling to bed drunken with the smell of raggedy pot streaming from his clothes. Or, do I believe who he is today? Someone who clearly seems to be doing better.

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I don’t know how, I don’t know what’s changed, but maybe it’s a warning sign. Not a good sign? At this point in his addiction and my recovery, my mind plays tricks on me. I’m not sure whether I should even believe he’s doing okay today when just yesterday he was obliterated from consciousness. I mean yeah, his grades in school are picking up, but now what could be helping him? This has happened before. His attitude his heightened and he seems to be having more energy, as my mind starts to shift to, “He was doing downers, now is he doing uppers?” It’s that self defeating behavior that I’ve fallen a victim to, or maybe it’s just that addiction is way more than it seems.

He’s cut some ties with some pretty important people in his life recently, and I don’t know if it’s for good or if it’s just for now, but at least he came clean about the reason. That must feel relieving to him, right? And heck, it feels relieving to me knowing that maybe he tried doing the right thing, or maybe he just simply wanted to get caught so he could have an easy way out. I’m really not too sure anymore… I’m done trying to guess. But nonetheless, he’s doing better with less in his life. It seems to be a miracle, but what’s spurred me to write this is that he’s already gone back to see one of these people again, all too soon, and I’m not even sure if it’s a final farewell, or what… All I know is that our whole family doesn’t want this situation to change if he’s doing so good!

I asked him the other night after praising his good behavior, “What put you in this great attitude to strive for so much better?” He could only reply with, “What do you mean?” And the only reason I was asking was because when he get’s a mess he really tears himself down. He really beats himself up and says that our family doesn’t notice the good things that he does. So I tell him that when things get back, or if they do again, realize how much I’m praising the good behavior now. Although I hope I’m not enabling him? I just need to get answers from him as to why he’s doing so good so we can fix his negative behavior when, or if, he does slip up again… as I catch myself saying “when” instead of “if.”

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There was a time that I thought one day, or a couple of days, or even a week of “good behavior” meant that he was finally on recovery road, but he doesn’t even consider himself addicted. He’s not admitted he has a problem and that sentence, “I’m not addicted” comes when he’s done a whole case of dabs (90% concentrate THC/Marijuana) along with a bottle of wine. We’d attempt to videotape the shenanigans for the next morning, but that doesn’t do anyone any good either! One day doesn’t mean anything anymore until he admits the issue at hand. Or at least in my book it doesn’t? But what do I know? I only have 5 ½ years in recovery, and like I’ve said I can’t treat my own family the way I do other people I try to help… it just doesn’t work.

So what happens when the next bout of his addiction happens and he doesn’t realize it? We usually get one week of greatness, out of the whole two months of denial and then put it on repeat. So I ask the question to you again, “How can family ever truly treat other addicted family the right way?” We can’t! Emotions take grasp and we lose it all, just like they might if we don’t keep our cool. So today my heart is torn. Even though he is doing great, today, what happens next time? Will there be a next time? It makes me nervous just trying to think about it, even though my thinking mind should take it easy with those thoughts, too. Do I continue to treat him like an addict, do I treat him like someone that’s getting better, or do I just treat him like family (which may be worse)?

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What do you do when this happens? Because we all know this is the truth behind addiction, and there are good times to it as well as bad, and then there are the really bad times when the addicted forgets any praise or compliment we’ve given in the good times. So I’ll say it again, my heart is torn. But what am I supposed to do but just love him and be there for him? What do you do? Let’s stick together, and maybe you can help me. Give me a reply after reading this, because I may be an addict, but I’m new to this whole thing called, “Loving and addict…” I don’t know how to deal with it sometimes, and yes it makes me struggle, too. But I know there’s someone out there who may have the answers, and if this even gives you some answers or let’s you rely that you’re not alone out there with being an addict who loves an addict then this article has already served its purpose… I hope!

So I push on in my own personal recovery and try to hold in these good days just like I tell him to do. “Son, remember these good days for when the bad one’s come again. They will come, but by working on bettering yourself and remembering that better, the bad one’s will be further apart and less intense. But until you really start working that, just hold onto this feeling, just for today. You know I love you. Amen… my sweet baby brother in this journey, family, and life. Amen.”

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