It's a disease so why don't they fight?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Nancy, May 22, 2012.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've been in a funk lately. Some things have happened that took me on an abbreviated roller coaster ride but like always it ended up at the bottom. I almost wish I wouldn't hear from difficult child at all, but then when we go weeks without word I worry too. husband and I feel into the trap again beginning with her call that she was sick and ending with husband filling her gas tank and giving her $40 for food because she was hungry which she promptly spent at the bar drinking all night and passing out in a blackout at home. Anyway we once again learned our lesson, we allowed ourselves to feel sorry for her.

    So tonight I went to my parents meeting and the subject was expectations. Two of the women there are nurses and they both commented that they deal with patients everyday that have serious diseases, cancer, diabetes, kidney failure. They said these patients fight so hard to stay alive and to get better and if you told them there was a way they could get better they would grab it in a heartbeat and yet their loved ones have a disease and they don't fight at all and how angry that made them and they both said they don't understand that kind of disease. That really hit me.

    My difficult child has a disease. This disease is chronic, progressive and fatal if not treated, but there is a cure. And difficult child will not fight.

    I am sick of this disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. The one mom said to her son that she was sick of living with this disease and she had no expectations of him any longer and so he should just go and do whatever it is he is going to do because his 90 days sobriety just didn't mean much to her. It was raw emotion and yet I so understand what she is feeling.

    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Not every person with a chronic disease, is willing to pay the price to fight it. I've known diabetics, for example, who absolutely refused to "live by the rules", and died very young.

    But one of the challenges with addictions is that the real battle isn't in the body - like most diseases - it's in the brain, and the impact on the physical body is secondary. When the disease is running your brain... you end up feeling like you're fighting against yourself (my gfgbro's words). Which is the real "you", anyway? What are you fighting for? What will you get if you "win"? Unlike beating cancer, for example, the answers to these questions are not always clear and not always positive...

    But it really isn't fair to be the parent.

  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Awww, Nancy, you're heart break-- breaks my heart for you..... a boat load of hugs and hope sailing your way. It is soooo frustrating to watch loved ones self destruct when help is available especially. You are working so hard on all of this, you deserve great things to come your way.
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    My heart just hurts for you and your family. I remember last week when you guys gave her some money for food.

    I wish she would just hit bottom already (safely, that is...if that's even possible). Just a truckload of HUGS for your whole family.
  5. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    It is so very sad and confusing, isn't it! In fact, The more we try and love away this disease, take responsibility for them: emotionally, physcially, financially, etc...The SICKER we make them and ourselves.

    I know...It's hard to look at the addict as a sick man or woman. They seem able-bodied and capable. Yet the only thing that will move them forward in life and slow down the progression of this disease is taking a hard honest look at themselves, taking their own "inventory", taking responsibility for these things...making ammends, living a life of sobriety one day at a time.

    We can't do this for them...we get in their way and damage them (and us) further when we try.
    It doesn't seem to make loving sense at all does it?

  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hugs Nancy. It is so very discouraging. Our difficult children are so much alike!! I think I am coming to the realization that part of my difficult children illness is just this need to self destruct. I really think he hates himself and feels so worthless that he has this inner drive to punish himself..... and so he does these incredible acts of sabatoging any help he gets. So on the one hand he wants help but when he starts to get it he screws it up in some major way and he has no real understanding of why he does that. Until he can get help with that underlying issue I don't think he can possibly stay clean. I suspect that something similar is going on with your difficult child.

    I do think illnesses of the mind are different than physical diseases and it is hard in many ways to compare the two.

  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The comparison of the two people with a disease and willing to fight just wasnot lost on me. So many would give anything to cure their disease.

    TL I agree that the underlying issues are the key, I just don't think there is an answer or any real help out there for that. God knows you and I have been looking for it for years. It gets so darn depressing. It's hard to fight for them all the time when they don't even fight at all.

  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Yeah I know the feeling of not being sure help is out there.... I will let you know how this latest program works out assuming he gets in.... haven't heard yet. They have a program which works on compulsive behaviors which covers a lot of things that difficult child does and has been doing for a long time, including the sexual acting out. So I am hoping this one will help but at some point you just wonder if anything will help. I do think right now my difficult child wants help because he knows he has no other options
  9. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Nancy such raw emotion is hard to deal with.

    My friend was a heavy smoker. She had a terrible cough and we told her to get of the cigs and see a doctor. She continued to smoke & didn't have a chest xray. One day she passed out behind the wheel of her car and struck some parked cars. She was not injured but they took her to the hospital for a CAT scan because she had lost consciousness. Turns out she had lung cancer that went to her brain. She had treatment options but decided not to fight. She told me that she had been unhappy for a very long time. I suggested therapy and ADs but she said no. She actually seemed to embrace the cancer as a way out even though her first grandchild was on the way. It tore me up but I respected her when she said it was her choice and she didn't want to talk about it. BUT when she told me she wished she had fought harder right before she died, a part of me just screamed in silent anguish. I know that nothing I could have said or done would have made her approach her addiction or herdisease differently. She had to come to her own decisions. Unfortunately we who loved her had to live with the consequences of her choices. It sucks.

    Addiction in any form is a horrid disease. Depression fuels it. Your daughter needs tto learn to be happy without drugs.. Making her realize that and work toward that goal is not something we can do. I really hope your daughter finally starts fighting for her life very soon. -RM
  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it is very hard for those of us that don't have addictive personalities to understand how hard it is to fight addictions. InsaneCd was right that people with other diseases don't always fight to get better, either. My best friend died at the age of 49 after a ten year battle with diabetes. She was morbidly obese and was told that she had to lose weight to manage her diabetes but she just couldn't do it. She would drink cokes and then give herself an insulin shot to counteract the coke rather than skip the coke all together.

    My friend ended up losing toes and the ability to walk due to sores that wouldn't heal on her feet. She finally ended up in a long-term hospital facility and died of a heart attack. I remember asking myself why she couldn't lose weight and eat right to save her life.

    I was mad at her when she died. I know that sounds terrible but I just couldn't understand. I feel the same way about my difficult child at times. Why can't she just stop drinking? Why can't she see what she has lost due to her addictions?

  11. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest


    I think some people react differently to diseases, no matter what type, than others.

    I just posted on the DDD thread that I had a distant relative start chemo for stage 4 colon cancer yesterday. Her reaction and choices have been vastly different from how I reacted three years ago when I was diagnosed with stage 3c. She delayed getting her colonoscopy until she was 57, despite knowing that cancer runs in the family. When the results came back, she delayed again and went to a local doctor (hello....stage 4?). Even after surgery, she delayed getting her port in and selecting an oncologist. All the time, I want to scream at her - "You are playing with your life - wake up!!!"

    So....I think it happens with more than just substance abuse issues. :(

    One of the best moments of my life was the day I picked difficult child up from residential. He hugged me tightly, looked into my eyes and said, "Thank you for making me go to rehab."

    Addiction s*&ks.
  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child said almost the same thing. It didn't last :(

    I do understand about the difference between how some people do or don't fight with physical diseases. Those two moms/nurses were speaking about people they take care of every day, the ones who want to fight, and then they come home to their own family members who are dying and know there is a cure and don't take it. It was an ah-ha moment for me.

    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  13. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Nancy, that would have bee an aha moment for me too. I think it's a great analogy, and you're right - it's so sad that when our difficult child's are in the throes of addiction, they don't think about anything or anyone else - just their next buzz. :(

    My son said that all the treament in the world for alcoholism probably wouldn't have made him stop (though his rehab for drugs did, but then again, it being illegal made jail a huge deterrent, as my difficult child found out). For him, he blacked out one night, and literally woke up feeling so sick and NEEDED a drink so he didn't feel so sick. He said for him, that was it. He knew he'd hit bottom and literally couldn't crawl out on his own.

  14. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    They don't fight because, unlike conventional diseases, this one provides a temporary state that feels better (to them) than they feel in reality. In their minds, this disease is self-regulating ("I'll stop after tonight). In addiction, the brain chemsitry becomes altered and, even when sober, they do not think rationally. They don't fight because they think they're still in control.
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was listening to the therapist in my group talk to the parent of a young man who is in the throes of his addiction. The parent, in utter disbelief and misery about her son's choices was shaken to the core. The therapist said, "the brain chemistry is so altered by the drug/alcohol, that the substance use 'eclipses' life. The brain no longer chooses life, it chooses the drug."