“Sadly, the millions who fail, despite what they might tell you, don’t really want to get better. They don’t really want to change. They are scared shitless to be honest. They are scared to recover and be happy. Happiness is a foreign language to addicts, whereas chaos and misery are our best friends. Failure sets the bar at zero, and then we never have to worry about disappointing people. We never have to worry about becoming too successful and dealing with the risk and discomfort of loss. Truly, we are cowards.”
Charlie, the author of this blog, speaks quite frankly about addiction and recovery. He is quite blunt and fearless about what he thinks and feels. I have found much of what he shares in his blog “The Privileged Addict“to be refreshingly “unconventional.” When I read the words in this post it immediately reminded me the impressions from conversations with my son when he was in his state of denial and justification.
It is hard to admit and commit to doing the work required to recover. It is a challenge to face the risks of failure or disappointment associated with recovery and relapse. It is difficult to accept the fact that change may be possible as the addict within fights for survival, coexistence, and maintaining the status quo. In summation, the battle seems much larger, more difficult, and less appealing in many ways than simple surrender. Surrender is much easier. Girding for battle is often too scary and very hard.
A person with an addiction has spent a large component of their lives feeling lost, dark, unhappy, and disappointed. Believing in something that is beyond what they know or have known or become comfortable with is difficult. Add to that the risk associated with making a declaration to do something they cannot really see as possible makes doing it even more challenging.
Put yourself in their shoes.
What have you given up that you love? Do you smoke? Do you drink? How about that morning coffee or your favorite food or dessert? When was the last time you made a commitment to do something that totally and completely terrified you, scared you, or put you in a spot where you had no idea how you could possibly accomplish it?
If you haven’t accomplished it, achieved it, or put yourself in position to do it – then, you don’t really understand this type of challenge in the first place. This empathy challenge is not about looking at what you have always done, it is about tackling something you have never done.
It is not a requirement to be able to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to justify your frustration with their unwillingness to save themselves from something that is destroying them. However, to truly understand what that struggle is like, can’t hurt.
Next time you say “I don’t understand why….?” simply look in the mirror and ask yourself “when was the last time I permanently gave something up that is not good for me?” If you haven’t successfully tasked yourself with an impossible or difficult challenge to make a permanent, positive change to your toxic or bad habits, that is why you don’t understand. You cannot comprehend the challenge or the pressures associated with a call to action like this. It may help if you did.
Recovery from anything is hard work. Quite honestly, I stink at giving up many of the things that would make my life better. Because of that, I never try to to understand my son’s choices. I know what it takes to make a significant and permanent change in my life. I have in some areas and I can honestly declare it is not easy. I only pray that in his awareness of the damage that heroin in doing to him in his life, he realize his life would be much, much better without it; and I hope that he finds the discipline, the commitment and the joy that comes from giving up what is hurting him.
Hope this gives you something to think about…
Every Tuesday, Dave Cooke hosts the Parents’ Support Network. This is a free, on-line chat room for parents and family members looking for love, support, encouragement on their journey with a child’s addiction. To learn more, click on the Parents’ Support Network link.