“I woke up twice last night. And not to go to the bathroom. My body was sweating, heart racing, my eyes impossibly open. Normal nightmare body response. Except this was not a typical nightmare. I wasn’t falling, or being chased, or recycling scary bits from a ridiculous movie. This was real. I saw Sarah running up to my car window proclaiming that she had been discharged from the hospital, and asking me to buy her some cigarettes, that “she’ll owe me one.” I was so happy to see her. And then it dawned on me that she had run. That she wasn’t going to accept any help. And I was filled with anger, and fear, and sadness and anger and fear and sadness – I was spinning, and sweating, and desperate. And she was tying a long pink lace on a fancy hightop sneaker.”
Just another dream. But it is uncanny how the subconscious pinpoints the most fearsome fact of substance abuse: that the addict appears ignorant to the danger they are courting. The family, however, sees the train wreck approaching. It’s a well worn cyclical pattern. First you note the restlessness, the mounting body tension and the explosive language. Then comes the quiet storm of evasiveness brought on by late nights, sickness and lies.
This is the worst part of living with an addict. Seeing all the signs that they apparently miss. I have heard it said that the addict is a “selfish person.” A “liar.” And “hopeless.”
Addicts definitely lie to cover their tracks for as long as possible. And they are selfish – to a degree. But it is hard to think of someone who is self destructive as truly “selfish.” Hopeless? – yes, it often does seem hopeless.
Putting all labels aside; how in God’s name can you help someone who does not think they are in trouble? Who will sweetly tie a pink shoelace while contemplating where to score their next hit?
I am convinced that the addict has to slow down long enough to recognize the internal rhythms of their own bodies and minds. Not an easy process considering man’s natural tendency is to tread the well worn path – thoughtlessly.
Unfortunately the addicts behavior is so extreme. And the consequences of their behavior that much more obvious. What they really need is the space and time to redefine their relationship with their own patterned responses.
Insurance companies, in our experience, have offered ten days within which to make this lifestyle change. Ten days!