Cushioning our fall

When I created this blog, I did it because it was on my heart to share my story with others who might find comfort in knowing they’re not alone in the emotional turmoil that comes from loving an addict. I realized that we tend to hide our pain in shame. I believe it’s important to be transparent and allow myself to be vulnerable to be able to truly share with others. That being said, true transparency is SO HARD!

The last few days I’ve been feeling the need to share something and I’ve struggled with exactly how to do it. How do I come out and talk about some of the ugliest aspects of addiction in the family without opening myself up to judgement? I guess that thought is what prompts so many of us to keep addiction our dirty little family secret.

Recently we found out that Matt had been arrested again. He was bailed out after a couple of days and he doesn’t even know that we know about it. (I have no idea how the most recent offense will affect his probation) David’s heart is broken. He might not talk to anyone other than me about it but I see it. I see the man I love suffering with his own emotions because the son he loves more than anything has disappointed him. The dreams he had for his boy are crushed. Even if Matt turns himself around and chooses to be drug free, his life will never be the way David envisioned it when Matt was just a little boy. I’m not saying that Matt’s life SHOULD be the way David dreamed it would be. Matt’s life is Matt’s to live and sometimes God’s plans for our children are nothing like our own plans. That doesn’t stop us from wishing though. As parents we want our kids to be good people… Kind, selfless, generous people. Not only do we want that, but we want them to just automatically be that person without the pain and struggling that it sometimes takes to become that person. However, knowing that in my head doesn’t take the hurt away. The emotions that we experience are human and normal regardless of logic.

Years ago, as I was struggling with the roller coaster of hope and disappointment with Laura’s addiction, I had a thought that I did not verbalize to ANYONE for a long time afterwards because I felt so guilty for even having it enter my mind. I did tell Laura about it years later. My thought was this…. “It would be easier if she died than to have her relapse”. Now, before you judge me, let me explain myself. I NEVER meant that I wished her dead! That’s what I’m afraid people would think if I shared that thought with them. That is not at all what I was thinking. I just meant that, if she were dead, I would grieve her tremendously, but then I would begin to heal. When your addict child gives you hope and you begin to let your heart soften, when they falter, it hurts so much more. The process of addiction and recovery can have us hoping and grieving in what feels like a never ending cycle. Sometimes that cycle feels like more pain than we can bear.

David said something to me the other night of a similar nature. He said “It would have been better if Matt had never been born because he is not a good person.” He doesn’t really mean that he wishes his son was never born. He loves Matt dearly and would never want to give up the good years we’ve had with him. It’s just the heartbreak of knowing that our child is not contributing good to the world that makes us think such things. I understand the feeling of guilt for inflicting this child upon the world… A child who is out there causing mayhem. That statement really got me thinking about our emotions as parents though. I think we’re not the only ones who have felt such things and then felt guilty about it. I think knowing we’re not alone in such raw human emotion can be healing.

I do believe God has the power to turn Matt’s life around. I believe it’s completely possible for him to become a better person. Unfortunately, I know he has a LONG way to go. Matt is resistant to change. He refuses to admit fault. He continues to lie to everyone around him. He continues to lie to himself. I continue to pray for him but, to protect my own heart, I continue to restrict my feelings of hope and force myself to look at the facts and think realistically. What else can we do? It’s what David and I are both doing to cushion the fall for ourselves. Its self preservation.

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