Exactly one month ago, we went to sleep and woke the next morning to find our lives forever changed. My 36 year old, little sister, was dead. Not so magical, I know. But I feel like this needs to be shared. You see, my sister, the one I knew, had been gone for years. This person, this addict, she was a stranger to me. I didn’t even realize just how long this stranger had been around until it was time to look for those cherished old pictures that we cling to after the loss of a loved one. That’s when I almost literally could feel my heart break.
They say addiction is a disease that affects the whole family. They say you’re supposed to love the person, hate the addiction. Separate the two, they say. They say and they say, and they say. But have THEY ever been there? I doubt it. Because it is almost impossible to separate the person from the addiction. I loved MY SISTER. This person, not so much. I watched her put our mom through the worst kinds of hell, again and again. I watched her choose drugs over her son, again and again. The girl and her addiction became one, again and again. She loved it. It loved her. To death.
I had no idea a person could feel so many emotions at once. But in the last month, I’ve experienced first hand the way anger, sadness, grief, guilt and relief can co-exist in one hot mess of mood swings. God bless my husband for never complaining, because it continues. I’m sad because my nephew will never remember his mom as “normal.” I’m angry because my mom is still going through hell. I’m relieved because deep down, I know she was sick. I get it. It’s a disease. I know she isn’t suffering anymore. I’m guilty for feeling relieved. There is no worse feeling than helplessness. When you have an addict in your life, you become very familiar with that feeling. You’re helpless as they self destruct. Helpless as those closest to the situation blame themselves over and over for not being able to reach her. But you can only throw the life preserver. Someone has to catch it in order for it to do the job. They won’t catch it if they are constantly turning away. My mom kept throwing that life preserver. My sister kept swimming away. An endless circle of push and pull.
I recently heard someone say that addiction is a demonic possession. I’d have to agree. What other explanation is there? What else could possibly steal your soul? You only have to look at the eyes of a person who is one with their addiction. No light. No life. Just darkness.
Maybe you’ll read this and think, “she’s gone crazy.” Maybe I have.
Maybe you’ll read this and think of someone you know or used to know.
Maybe this will help someone find some peace.
Maybe you won’t even read it to the end. But if you do, thank you.