Yes, again. When addiction is a family legacy it rears it’s ugly head every time you turn around.
This time it is one of my nephews. No news here, in one sense. I remember an argument my mother began and ended with little help from me about how unfair it was to assume X was an addict. I countered that at 15, X was hooked on pot and cocaine, his dad was a drunk (“Omigod how can you SAY that?”), and on his mom’s side of the family there was alcoholism. Now X-wife was saying he was addicted to cocaine. Sorry, but the likelihood is that if it smells like it acts like it and has a history of it, then probably . . .
Wake-up calls X has had. Watching his own dad die of esophageal cancer while denying his alcoholism and still asking for a beer, his dying wish. Processing memories of his dad crawling home from a bar and the neighbors calling X to pick him up, the hurt his dad inflicted when he was drinking, the meanness of lost dreams, or him being unavailable for any kind of relationship with X. X’s own daughter has told him she doesn’t want X to die like her grandpa; all this was not enough.
Why it is effecting me is that I reconnected with X. I thought perhaps I might have some sort of relationship with this kid I loved so very much, now a grown man of 48. However, X is making it clear he doesn’t want to know me, though he said he wanted to have a relationship with me, that he loved me. X won’t answer phone calls, emails, funny things, etc. Shit, he won’t even put my name in the “copy to” place in an email about his mom being in the hospital. I asked.
Why? I have to speculate, as we have not had any bad words pass between us, and other than discussions we all had at his dad’s deathbed about our family’s propensity toward addiction, I’ve not spoken with X about his drinking. I think it is because I am sober and worked the program to understand what lays underneath the dis-ease of addiction. I see it in alcoholic friends, versus my drinking non-alkie friends. Alkies avoid people who are sober. Our very presence is a problem for them, a reminder of what they know they are, how they won’t stop, how they are slowly sinking in quicksand. Non-alcoholic friends might ask me once if I am bothered by their drinking. When they find out I am long sober and not bothered, they relax.
When you are the sober one in a family it doesn’t matter what you say or don’t say, whether you hound them or not, every time they see your face they see you as the one who is judging, the one who has their number, and the one who wants them to stop drinking. And yes, all that is true to some extent. I’d have to be crazy NOT to want him to sober up. I don’t want his daughter to deal with either his untimely death behind a wheel, or his killing someone with his drunk driving (yes, X drives drunk, a lot.) I don’t want her to be taking time off work and sitting by his bed in a hospital because he is dying of diabetes or cancer or no liver. I don’t want her memories of X to be confrontational over his beloved booze.
X is so damn sweet when he is sober; just like his dad. And he was one of my favorite kids. Being around him now makes me sad. I was horrified to see him drink his ass off and drive home from a family gathering (three hour drive.) His dad didn’t do that until he was in the last stages of drunken behavior. I thought to discuss it with X when I saw him next alone, but apparently there won’t be a next time.
I am coming to be okay with that as we speak; that final nail-in-the-coffin happened this week. I no longer have alcohol to shut down my heart; loving someone means that I feel the hurts that accompany loving and losing, and I choose not to drink to cut the pains of loss.
And, I am heading into my last phase of my life, passing through my Saturn return as we speak. I have had my rounds with addiction. I’ve dealt with myself, with my family history, with other family members. I lost my first husband to bulimia, one brother to beer, and countless stepchildren and friends to their drugs and alcohol. If someone comes to me with questions I am happy to discuss addiction with them. But I won’t intervene because another family member doesn’t want to lose their relationship with the boozehound, and I won’t justify my decisions to let go or walk away with any family member. I’m not going to their bedsides anymore when the drugs and alcohol or the control issues have taken them to the brink; I’ve done my stint. THEY ALL HAVE THE INFORMATION, AND THERE IS SO MUCH INFORMATION AT THE TOUCH OF A KEYBOARD. It is why I now write about it openly; perhaps it will touch you, or you, or YOU. If more people were open and direct it would not be the number one silent killer in the country, responsible for highway deaths and family members being beaten or shot, let alone the obvious diseases. My loved ones have ALL the information.
My last frigging wish for them, as I let go and turn THEM over to their gods or demons:
I wish they would sober up.
If they choose not to sober up then
I hope they not harm anyone else as they chose to drink or drug themselves to death.
And if they die of this crap disease, let their death be a wake-up call to others.
Finally, let this post help someone else deal with this disease.
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