Ever notice how purses are conspicuously missing at family gatherings?
….your lifelong friend is raising her grandchildren after needing to retire early from her career to do so?
….that having a restful night means that is because the addict in your life is either in treatment or is in jail?
These are NOT a few of our favorite OR normal things…..
……however….these ARE the new normal in our communities and families today.
Dedicated to my late friend, “The Junkie” (1955-2017)
The New Normal:
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016 about 948,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year,…and losing just one loved one to a self-injected overdose does nothing to stop the ongoing growing number of developing addicts. It doesn’t take long to become one of the ranks.
Today the average age of a heroin addict is 27 years old female and the sad fact is that 99% of Heroin addicts leaving a treatment program clean will still relapse within weeks.
Though the first heroin high might seem like a choice, this just is not true for addicts, because after that first few highs for an addict it rapidly becomes no longer a choice. The potency of today’s insidious heroin is so toxic that in just a few weeks of use the drug’s chemistry changes the brain and tells the body it needs the drug like it tells the body it needs food. When the addict’s body no longer has a level of heroin it begins to crave the drug and becomes dope sick. No one ever strived to be a junkie. Most say “it happened before I knew what hit me.”
If there was a formula to “cure” addiction parents would use it. The terrorizing life lived with an addict can feel like there is no choice for family and friends as well. It is said that the family and friends of an addict are addicted too. They are. We are. We are addicted to our Addict.
We practice our addiction by enabling. We practice our addiction by preventing consequences for the addict. We practice our addiction by making ourselves responsible for the addicts place to live, food to eat, fines paid to courts, money for gas….even paying for their drug….We keep the addict from rock bottom.
How that applies to how we practice our addiction to our addict is when we use “bail out” measures it massages the guilt we feel for blaming ourselves….and the guilt for blaming the addict. We try to fool our brain that we are in control, because it helps us to feel in control of circumstances that we have literally no control over.
But it’s a ruse.
Blame is pointless, except to keep us addicted.
But we can look towards a brighter future: TO FIND A NEW NORMAL.
We must find hope in education and awareness. The ugly truth, not scare tactics based on false information.
We must stop blaming, it only stigmatizes and alienates
We must educate addicts before they die, and educate the people who are addicted to an addict and who perpetuate the stigma and who enable.
Just because the addict is not allowed to live in our house, just because we will not give him the $40 when asked, just because we find the courage to say “No” and to not enable does not mean we don’t love the addict in our life. It does mean we don’t love the addiction substance, and it does mean we don’t love the chaos.
Finding A New Normal.
It does means that we address our addiction to an addict and draw a line where for us at least the chaos stops. It’s not a judgment of the addict, it’s about Finding a New Normal that isn’t invaded by a drug’s addiction and the practicing addicts behavior.
A New Normal that doe not enable the addict to die.