Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tunnel of love

Things have been a little tense lately. Nothing like the holidays to amplify and magnify emotions and, unfortunately, the shit we go through in our families. Maybe it has nothing to do with the holiday season. In fact, it probably doesn't.

Addiction sucks, and one of the things that sucks the most about it is that it tends to run in families. I'm not going to get into the reasons for that here. It is what it is, and here's what it is:

My brother is an alcoholic, and it's getting worse. Actually, that's a moronic statement. What's it going to do? Get better? Not until he decides to get help, which he isn't going to do. Not right now, anyway.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a big, hairy, drug craving, full-blown addict. But aren't you sober? Yes, I'm sober. Have been for nearly three years. Then what the hell are you saying? I'm saying I'm a big, hairy, drug craving, full blown addict who has been sober for almost three years. Well, what the hell does that have to do with your brother? Christ! If you'll listen, I'll tell you.**

So having lived on both sides of the whole addiction gig, I'll say first hand: You can't help someone who doesn't want help. There's just nothing you can do. NOTHING. Do you hear me? NOTHING! You can be co-dependant, which means catering and coddling, and worrying and blaming yourself, and wondering why and trying to make things "all better" - in other words: you can get lost in someone else's shit. Or you can accept the fact that what's going on has nothing to do with you. You didn't cause the problem and you certainly can't fix it. There's nothing you can do, and that's an awful realization for someone who loves an addict. (As always, addict = addict/alcoholic)

It's the most helpless feeling, to have to sit by and watch someone you care deeply about as they destroy everything around them. It's hell on earth to watch someone die because they won't ask for help. And it's those drama-filled events that happen so often, the midnight crises, the tearful moments that give pseudo hope, the brief glimpses of sanity, that make it all so much worse.

I really don't know which is worse. Living as an addict, or living with one in your life.

It's like going through a tunnel where, with every move forward, what's behind you is erased. Your only option is to go through it. There's no way to avoid the tunnel. It's just there. You can get stuck there, in the dark with your addict, or move through it, leaving them to make their own way. The only thing you have any control over, is your own journey. And that sucks. And it's excruciating, because who doesn't want to double back for a friend?

Anyway, I've moving through my own tunnel, leaving my brother behind. I hope he gets off his ass and catches up, because I love him. And I hate him. And I miss him. But in the past couple of years, I've learned (well, I'm learning) to love myself. I've worked so hard to get where I am, and I'm not doubling back to help him anymore.

There's a woman in Hawaii (I think that's where she's from) who's daughter is an active meth addict, who e-mailed me the other day. She wanted to ask me a question, but wanted to make sure she had the right person at the right e-mail address. I e-mailed her back and verified that yes, I am me, but I haven't heard back from her. So if you're reading this - it's me, and I'm checking my e-mail, waiting for you. Please write to me again.

**I've learned to embrace my Inner Dialogue, and we're getting along much better these days.


  1. I haven't had the experience of being with an addict, but I do know what it feels like to watch someone you love self-destruct. And I agree-you can only exert control over your own journey. Knowing this doesn't make it less hard, though.

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your brother but you're once hundred percent right. You can't double back to help him. You have to take care of yourself.