I have the power.
The power to change the way I react to the disease of addiction.
The power to stop its destructive spread.
For too many years I was consumed by the poison my son was consuming. I snarled and yelled and argued and begged and cried; I re-negotiated the non-negotiable; I rationally discussed the irrational; and, at night, I either paced the house―holding vigil for Joey’s life―or dreamed of growing octopus arms to squash down all his problems.
There was no room in my head for anyone but Joey; that’s just what happens once an addict starts wearing a beloved child’s face.
So, while Joey was the one consuming the poison, the poison seeping into our household was passing directly through me, sneaking in on the umbilical connection. I was a carrier―the Typhoid Mary of addiction―spreading misery and destruction through our family. Helping the disease to do what it does best.
You see, for too many years, I was trying to change something that wasn’t mine to change: Joey.
The truth is, the only thing I can change is me.
(And that has real power.)
Addiction is horrible enough without me making it worse, so I’m done with that. There will be no more ripping apart of hearts and lives―not by my actions (or my neglect). Not by my words, thrown around like poison darts. I will not blame or argue. I will not get sucked into dramas or force issues that don’t belong to me. I will protect my boundaries, making room in my head for all the people I love. I will be calm not crazed. I will be positive. I will have reasonable expectations. I will change the tune and change the dance; I will change my family’s chance. This doesn’t mean I don’t care. Or don’t hurt. Or won’t cry. It just means I will fill the hole in my life where Joey should be with goodness, not badness. Kindness, not madness.
I will honor my son with my words and my actions―not the addict.
The destructive spread of the disease of addiction stops with me.
The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction is available in bookstores and libraries.