Addiction is a disease that breaks bonds and hearts and all the rules. A misunderstood tragedy too often hushed up.
Well, no more secrets. Not any more.
For almost ten years my son has been dying a slow death, enticed as a young teen to drink and do drugs by the very same culture that now looks (with shock) upon his addiction as a moral failure. Shame and blame and disdain.
Addiction. Never could I have imagined an illness so cruel.
Loving Joey is like grieving his death and fighting for his life at the same time―all while hated, judged, helpless, and alone.
It’s hope and belief that don’t dare come out to play. It’s a one-way street of trust and open arms. It’s empty words, broken promises, shattered dreams, and tarnished memories. It’s watching as a ship slowly capsizes in a storm, and then waiting anxiously for it to right itself. It’s nudging the baby bird out of the nest only to discover it can’t fly. It is heartbreak beyond description.
I’ve never felt so incapable, so sad, so lonely. Such fear.
If Joey were dying a slow death from cancer, the world would reach out with comfort. (I need that. Comfort.) But stigma gets in the way.
When addiction is understood as a disease, it will be treated like a disease ― but this is an understanding that will happen only when those of us who love an addict stop hiding addiction as though it’s a disgrace.
We can do this.
We’ll know we’ve succeeded once comfort is baked into bundt cakes (as it is for every other disease).
The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction is available in bookstores and libraries.