It has been over a year and a half since he has been trapped in this addiction. Here we are again, and I say we because I have not given up hope that he will find and hold on to his sobriety.
He was on the right track, going to work, coming home, and going to meetings. And then out of nowhere one day, he didn’t come home nor did he answer his phone. The lies, disappearing acts and the money lost started all over again. Relapse, relapse, and another relapse until he checked himself into treatment.
I didn’t understand how we got back to here. He was going to meetings; we were watching podcasts such as “Put the Shovel Down.” The host Amber is a master recovery counselor. We were watching Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT] podcasts. We were learning about childhood trauma from Dr. Gabor Mate’ The information he shared about the underlying issues causing and leading to addictions was enlightening. We even purchased copies of “What Happened to You,” by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey, which enforced the information we learned from Dr. Mate’. But none of that stopped the relapses and the need for intervention. Why?
Over the summer I attended several NA functions with him. I listened to some of the saddest situations people with addictions could put themselves through. No, I don’t believe it was on purpose, but it comes with the decision to use. There were young women with ankle monitors, young men supporting their addictions by being gay, there were working class women undetectable to drug addiction and then there were the grandmothers and grandfathers who had been struggling with their lifelong addictions.
They were all there trying to find the answer to, Why? Why did they open that Pandora box again? For some, they were there to tell their stories of hope and victory. They were there to encourage others to stay the course. For others, they were there working their 90 days 90 meetings program with the hope their addiction was going to magically disappear. Then, for some, such as myself we were there to support them but looking for the answers of Why? And what do we do now?
I listened to one counselor say he went through rehab once and never looked back. I wondered how long into the addiction he had gone. For most, that is not the case. At some of the functions, some had been struggling with addictions for decades. They had been in treatment again, and again, and again, etc. I listened to them share that you had to hit rock bottom. I didn’t quite understand that. What is rock bottom? I had a sister who was one year older than I. She had been involved with alcohol and drugs all her adult life. She had been beaten, set on fire, shot and homeless, but none of that was her rock bottom. A few years back her small decomposing body was found behind a trash dumpster in an alley. I never understood why she used when we had the same upbringing. I learned that has nothing to do with addiction.
I sit at my desk with more understanding today that it’s not that simple. I learned through Dr. Mate’ and Dr. Perry that most of these individuals have been through some serious childhood traumas and their issues/conditions have not been dealt with or at least not correctly through their addictions. The whole addiction issue has to do with trying to escape from the traumas, which in the long run is a horrible trap and far worse then dealing with the cause. I guess when you don’t know what’s going on with you, in other words, the WHY? It would seem simple to take the easy way out. Therefore, people get caught up in sex, gambling, shopping, working, alcohol, and drugs to suppress their pain.
For those dealing with addictions, it is a process of learning, finding out what’s your underlying issue and how to deal with it in a loving non-destructive way. It requires more for people addicted to substances then simply trying not to use. To paraphrase Dr. Mate’, you can be in recovery by not using at the moment, but you must be in sobriety to recover.
As a partner to someone who has an addiction the relapses take away from our closeness, the distrust increases and the space between us widen. I’ve heard that the person I love is not the monster It’s the addiction and to give that person love and compassion as he works his way to sobriety. For me, the more he’s in the addiction the less he is him. So, there is less of him to love, to hold on to. Now, do we do it again, and again, and again, etc., until we are there-Sobriety? By DeVine