A Letter from an Addict to His Family...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Toomanytears, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Toomanytears

    Toomanytears Member

    I thought this letter was well written and very informative. It’s shared from the Addict’s perspective and is brutally honest...


    A LETTER TO MY FAMILY
    I want to introduce myself to you; I’m your qualifier and the reason you’re here. You believe just because you gave me life and raised me that you know me…but you really don’t. I’d like to use this time to introduce the real me to you so maybe you can gain a better understanding of why I am the way I am, why I do the things I do and why I’ve done some of the things I’ve done. I don’t know if I was born an addict but I do know the first time I got high an addict was born.
    First of all, you have to accept the fact that I think differently than you do. Some of this will make sense to you and some of this will sound like excuses that you’ve heard before, but just know that the ones that sound like excuses are based on my fact, my perspective, and the knowledge and experience of the people who are trying to help me get clean. These are people I have placed my trust and faith in because all they want from me is to succeed in my endeavor to stay clean for another day.
    You have your own goals for me like going to college, getting a job, getting married and finally having kids so you can have grandkids and can show all of your friends their pictures. See these are your goals for me and not necessarily my goals for myself.
    Let me try to explain how I see things. See, you think I have a drug problem but I don’t; I have a living problem. You think I use drugs but the reality is that drugs use me. Drugs are for those of us that can’t handle reality, and reality is for people like you that can’t handle their drugs. To me, reality is a nice place to visit but I really don’t like living there. I live in constant fear of letting you down; of not living up to your expectations. I put off doing things out of fear and you call me a procrastinator, but procrastination is just a 5 syllable word for fear.
    Drugs make me feel alive and normal, but they also make me paranoid, incoherent and both destructive and pathetically and relentlessly self-destructive. Then I would do unconscionable things in order to feel normal and alive again. Drugs gave me wings and then slowly took away my sky. I looked to drugs for courage and they made me a coward. You say that I had always been a sensitive, perceptive, joyful and exceptionally bright child, but on drugs I became unrecognizable. You should try looking in the mirror and not knowing the reflection looking back at you. I long for the day I am able to look in the mirror and be OK with the person I see looking back.
    Like all kids, when I was really young I used to think there was a monster in my closet and under my bed and you would come into my room and reassure me that there wasn’t one by opening the closet and looking under the bed. Now that I am older you can’t convince me of that anymore and it’s not your job to. But since I found drugs I’ve come to the realization that there is a monster; but it’s not in my closet or under the bed but inside of me, and that if I can’t learn to ignore it, it will destroy me.
    When I first started getting high it was pleasurable for awhile; I had finally experienced nirvana, and then the euphoria wore off and I began to see the ugly side of my using and I experienced hell. I found the higher the drugs got me the lower they brought me. After awhile I faced 2 choices, either I could suffer the pain of withdrawal or take more drugs. I did the withdrawal thing more times than you’ll ever know and it’s not pleasurable at all; in fact it’s just the opposite. If you remember there were times where I said I couldn’t go to school or work because I had the flu, but more times than not it was because I was going through withdrawal.
    I guess the best way to describe withdrawal is insuperable depression and acute anxiety — a drawn-out agony. Some of the times I choose withdrawal because I didn’t want to use anymore, that I hated who I had become, but for the most part it was because I didn’t have a choice in the matter…I had run out of drugs. You would think that after experiencing the emotional and physical pain of withdrawal that I would never let myself go through that again…right? See that’s how you see it, but to me it just became a part of my using and a consequence I was willing to pay. You may call that insanity…I call that life.
    I’ve been to enough meetings to know the readings by heart and one of the phrases that jumps out at me every time I hear it, is: “when we use drugs we are slowly committing suicide”. I never thought of it that way but now I totally understand what it means…but still I use. I’m sure you remember the show Mash; it was pretty popular when you were growing up. The theme song is actually titled “suicide is painless” and in its context, I’m sure it’s true. But the slow suicide of my using is not painless in the least; I feel the pain and can see the flame of my life getting fainter every time I use.
    All those times you yelled at me for my using you gave me exactly what I needed to feed my addiction. You thought you were doing it out of love but you were actually justifying to me what my mind had convinced me I was a long time ago. I look at myself as a failure; as a complete waste of space. There is a line from a song called Southern Cross and this line defines my past and it goes: “I never failed to fail because it’s the easiest thing to do”. When you yell and scream you just confirm to me that I am a failure and after awhile it becomes common place; not to mention expected. It is one thing if I think of myself as a loser or failure but to know that’s how you see me as well makes it easier for my mind to convince me to use. My basic problem is that I flee from those who want me and I pursue my rejecters.
    There are a few things you can do if you really want to help me. I know by telling you these things I’m actually cutting off my main money source…you. I will never stop using as long as you keep giving me money or supporting me. I can only stop using when I hit my bottom and only I can put down the shovel and quit digging. When you bail me out, buy me a car, pay for my rent or give me money you aren’t helping me at all; you are only handing me the shovel again and telling me to keep digging. You keep letting me come back home to live because you think you’re helping me out but if your honest, you’ll realize that you are doing it for purely selfish reasons. When you know I’m in the room next door you sleep better. The last thing I’ll confess to you is the real reason I steal from you. I steal from you because I’m counting on you not calling the cops on me. I count on you not wanting me to go to jail; to have a criminal record. I steal from you because you keep letting me move back home.
    You make the mistake of thinking that recovery is simply a matter of not drinking or using drugs. And you consider a relapse a sign of complete failure and long periods of abstinence a complete success. But these perceptions are too simplistic. My life is anything but simple and I’m not just talking about my using drugs. The way my mind works, nothing is as easy as just doing it because my mind tries to convince me not to do it. It doesn’t matter how simple of a task it is…even unloading the dishwasher is a mind struggle for me. My mind also loves to make every little thing that goes wrong a major crisis. Let me try to explain this in as simple terms as I possibly can. Let’s say we both go outside in the morning and our cars don’t start. You go in and call a mechanic and I go in and call suicide prevention. I’m what they call a W.C.S person; which stands for worst case scenario. They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste; well my mind is a terrible thing to listen to. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be…mine won’t let me be happy. My mind keeps reminding me that there is only 18 inches between a halo and a noose.
    Relapse isn’t a requirement but it does happen to quite a few addicts. The hard truth is that if there were 50 addicts in their 1st meeting together, more of us will be dead in 5 years then will have 5 years clean. The last time I relapsed it was because the bottom fell out faster than I could lower my standards. It’s really difficult to solve a problem with the same mind that created it and God knows I’ve created a lot of problems for myself…and for you. I hope someday you will realize that I am not a bad person trying to get good; I’m a sick person trying to get well. I suffer from the disease of addiction. If you believe this you won’t be so critical of me. For a critic is just a person who goes onto the battlefield after the battle has been fought and shoots the survivors. Believe me when I say this; I don’t want to be an addict as much as you wish you weren’t a parent of one.
    I love you.
    Sincerely,
    Your loved one battling addiction.
     
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Did an addict actually write this to a parent? Its not something that a parent wrote from what she felt her son's perception may be? Its real? If its real, wow.

    It is both a little hopeful and extremely scary and this young man is brutally honest and tells his parents what to do to help him. It is spookily what we have been telling one another. Incredibly so.

    This, if truly written by an addict, was not written to comfort. And I got chills reading it, even though I never had a child that was that addicted and could not quit. So I can imagine how it affects others.

    Of course, all addicted young people would write a different letter, if they bothered to do so. I suppose they all have different perspectives.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I don't like the letter. I think it makes excuses to keep using or to explain why somebody is not quitting. I have seen all kinds of addicts quit. It is not impossible. But many people want to use drugs more than they want to do what it takes to quit. Or they don't do what it takes to sustain recovery.

    And many people lack the support they need, either housing, therapy, treatment, support.

    Every child of those on this board has or could have these things. In spades.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  4. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    I can't help but think that most addicts main addiction is that they are addicted to making excuses. All addictions have a result.
    Look at the number of addicts in this country.
    drugs, food, spending..
    The opioid epidemic is talked about constantly. It's awful. it is scary.
    To me the number of extremely over weight people is also scary.
     
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think every parent of an addict/alcoholic needs to read this.

    ~Kathy
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  6. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    "Drugs are for those of us that can’t handle reality, and reality is for people like you that can’t handle their drugs."

    Nope- reality is hard for everyone. We all make choices as to how we deal with our problems and fears. I've been on opiates for pain and believe me, I enjoyed that feeling of not having to worry about anything. It would be nice to feel that way all the time, but I know I have responsibilities, people who care about me and just what I consider to be my "rent" that I owe the world for being here- making the world a better place in whatever way I can. I make the choice every day to get up and do the things I need to do. Is it always fun? No. Do I always feel like doing it? No.

    I applaud addicts who have gotten clean. I know how hard it is and that is something to be congratulated. Staying high is easy. Getting sober and staying sober is hard.
     
  7. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I keep thinking about this and I feel like I need to add a little more clarity to my response. I have a cat who's blind in one eye and has some neurological impairments. I got him as a tiny kitten and wasn't sure he would live. He was pitiful and I had to take special care of him when he was little. Now he's big and is the biggest troublemaker in the house, and the only one with any type of disability. He has no idea he lives with any type of impairment and enjoys life to the fullest. My point is, addicts have a disease to overcome. Does that suck? Yes. But I feel like people (or animals) who have issues to overcome rise to the level of expectation. If we expect them to have a full and happy life and let then know it's entirely possible then they are more likely to succeed than if we pity them and coddle them. It may be more difficult for addicts, as I'm sure it's more difficult for my cat to maneuver with only half his eyesight, but it can be done.
     
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Drug addicts have no problem.stealing, assaulting, driving intoxicated and hurting other people. To me this makes drug addiction different from other addictions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  9. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I finally read it and it was on point.
     
  10. mentalcase

    mentalcase New Member

    Thanks for sharing this letter. I didn't think it was giving excuses. I feel like addiction is different from other types of diseases because there is so much shame and guilt with it. and though, my son is doing all kinds of self destructive things that on the outside may seem "voluntary" and selfish, I can feel the shame he has. It's like he thinks he's worthless so what's the point? And that's where he gets stuck. The tricky part is still treating him as if he is worthy of love and respect but not enabling. I'm trying to learn how to do that.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • List
  11. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    My son is doing well now and this reminded me to keep giving him positive reinforcement.

    In fact after I read this yesterday, I sent him a text that I am proud of him for going to work and doing a good job every day. He replied "thank you". He had to be at work an hour early yesterday so was up at the crack of dawn. He takes great pride in making his lunch every day to take to work. I love it.

    I reminded his dad to give him positive feedback too. He said "I already did when he got the job". DUH. It has to be ongoing.
     
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear toomanytears,

    I have been watching for your posts and feel sad you have stopped posting. Please, please let us know how you are. Everybody here cares and wants to support you.
     
  13. Toomanytears

    Toomanytears Member

    Thank you Copa..

    I’m sitting here tonight with tears running down my cheeks, feeling like I want to punch something or scream to the heavens for an acceptable answer to this misery.

    Son is still not home. I had my 58th birthday yesterday .. my husband used that as “leverage” to try and get him on a plane.
    We thought it was working. He gets to the airport and no ID - wallet is gone with ID? Left it in Uber? Left it at girlfriend’s? In hotel? Missed flight got a credit ...
    He heads back to girlfriend’s home. That was last week.

    Newest saga...girlfriend “can’t take care of her kids any more ( 6 & 15 yrs). Apparently, while she was up here over Thanksgiving, her father contacted her ex-husband ( that’s not official yet either) to see if he wanted the children after not seeing them or paying support for the past year.
    Rumor has it he wants the house, the kids and she needs to get out. She has paid mortgage for the past year and is packing up to leave. None of this makes any sense - I am NOT an idiot!

    Re: son being 1100 miles away again..blame goes to both. I can’t argue the fact HE decided to up and leave. I also can not accept her excuse that she was “ helping him” & “ doing what was best for him”. I call BS. He had no way of getting there if she didn’t pay for ticket or an Uber to the flight.
    She’s losing everything and now... are you ready ??
    She wants to come back with him to be near us because she loves us and she has no one. He won’t leave her alone/behind for the holidays.

    I consider myself to be a very caring & empathetic individual... BUT I can’t and won’t be sucked in to this web of deceit. I have not answered her calls, her texts begging me to listen to her side or her texts to my husband saying how much she misses our conversations. She reminds us of all she has done to help our son because she wanted to. Also, the times she offered help without anyone asking and now she needs help and she’s asking for us to open our hearts. It’s tearing me up but at the same time making me so ANGRY.

    Son has less than 30 days to get home for sentencing. No suboxone. I believe he is going through withdraw as we speak ( a good thing before heading to prison) or is he supplementing with something worse? His choices, right?

    The saddest part, I took our grandson shopping and he picked out his gifts for everyone, we had a “ wrapping class”
    and he placed his gifts under the tree waiting for his daddy to open them. My heart is broken.

    I’ve lived through the suicide of my big brother ( my only brother) and taken care of both my parents at home with terminal illnesses and held their hands til their last breath (with the help of my daughter & husband).
    I have to say this journey of addiction supersedes it all ~ it has just about done me in.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I am tired now but beg you not to take this woman into your house. She can go to a shelter while waiting for Section 8. You dont know her; she may steal or even assault you and she needs her own place. She cant stay with you while son is in jail! all that time; she is not even able to work to keep custody of her kids. I doubt she will work or help you.

    Your grandson doesnt need her there. He needs stability. So do you. She is unstable, maybe on drugs and will drain you. Tell her NO.

    Please take care of YOU and grandson first! She is an adult. Let her take care of herself. There are many government services to help her out! Welfare, Medicaid, SSI if she is really screwed up, food cards and food pantries, shelters and community charities.
    .
    Love and light!!
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi tmt

    I am on the train and unable to post at length.

    Please, please, please don't get sucked in by this toxic woman. She has not helped your son. Her problems she has created. She will find a way out. And as you are well aware, she has multiplied his and your problems. She is making herself the star of that B movie. She could care less about your son.

    It boils down to this:. son will or will not come back. Period. She will sabotage as she wishes. Independent of what you do.

    If you would feel better offering to help her as a means to an end on a temporary basis, thinking this will bring son back, do it. (But I agree with swot.) She is an accident waiting to happen. As in time bomb.

    But this drama is beyond any control by you. Nobody can predict what will happen. She is a real wildcard. Either your son will or won't get a grip.

    You only have to do what lets you look yourself in the mirror. But you really have no control here. I hate this woman. (Sorry )

    But I'm pissed at your son too. How many kids need to be hurt along the way? He's not responsible for what she does to her kids, but still...
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  16. Toomanytears

    Toomanytears Member

    Copa & Swot..

    I think we are all tired... lol. Thank you for reinforcing what I know in my gut.

    I directed her last week (before our very last conversation we will ever have) to contact her local church for help, a woman’s group within that church, shelters and her extended family. Her parents are both living. Obviously, she needs to attempt to rectify past issues and mend some wounds with her family. Have no clue what that’s about and don’t want to know.

    Husband and I had our good cry tonight. We are trying our hardest to accept what is. We have tried EVERYTHING under the sun and more.. regretfully, I’m afraid that has been part of the problem.

    Good night for now ...
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 5
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Tmt. All of us have done too much. And still I have to hold myself back. 3.5 years here, under my belt and I still want to make it all right. It is all very sad. For us. For them. Meanwhile. We pray.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • List
  18. CareTooMuch

    CareTooMuch Active Member

    I am going to reiterate what everyone has said and you know in your heart. Please do not let that girl near your doorstep, because once you open that door, you will have brought in so much more trouble, sadness pain and hardship for yourself and family. Hugs.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Once she lives with you and msil for her comes to your address she is legally a resident even. If she pays no rent, and you will need to evict her to get her to leave. Dont. Dont.

    Do not!
     
  20. Toomanytears

    Toomanytears Member

    As of this morning not one thing has changed. The copy of his ID we sent ( last Thursday overnight express) has not been signed for and Post Office won’t pick up our calls. It is the busiest day of the year and calls are forwarded to a “call center.” We reached out to them last night, they took our info and marked “ URGENT” so someone would contact us ASAP. That was 16 hrs ago. [[[sigh]]]

    Uber payments are being declined on our end - coming up invalid date twice now. Can’t reach anyone there to discuss that issue.
    We were hoping to get him a ride to the post office then to airport but obviously that won’t be happening...

    Round and round we go, where this will stop no one really knows. (Sentencing day, one way or the other) .. 28 days to go...

    Oh... not to worry friends. I will have no contact with girlfriend. I feel very strongly about this situation. She will NOT be on MY doorstep.