Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dear Khloe

So there have been headlines in the news lately about Khloe Kardashian's husband Lamar having a drug addiction. He's not the only athlete/celebrity in the news regarding substance abuse lately.  And it's true it's hard to know what to believe. But suppose it is true?  Being that I've experienced a loved one with an addiction wondered what is going through her head.  And thought about what I would say to her or anyone experiencing it, maybe it would sound something like this....

Remember it's never about you.... the pain, constant lies, endless broken promises, infidelities, forgotten moments, hurtful words, mood swings, selfish ways, etc.....none of it.  They were broken long before you.  While they love you, they love their substance of addiction even more.  Can you imagine loving a substance more than another human being?  But it's true, that is the very nature of addiction.  Yes it's hard to make sense of but yet it can happen to anyone, yes anyone.  It's the one thing that does not discriminate.  Even taking a few painkillers for a procedure and one can easily get hooked.

Addiction is selfish, addicts are selfish.  Its all about them, their needs.  Though we see our loved ones unraveling before us, they don't see it.   Often times it feels as if the substance has taken their soul.  The person we love becomes unrecognizable.  It's true what they say,  no amount of help will ever work unless the addict wants to truly help himself.  Sometimes it takes losing everything to even comprehend they have a problem.  Even then losing everything might have to happen a few times before they get it.   Some may never come around.  Though there are those who do and go on to remain clean.  So be realistic, even a little suspicious but think positive.

Addicts are full of excuses as to why they don't need rehab, meetings, therapy and over all help.  They always think they aren't as bad as the next addict. They tend to blame everyone around them too.  And they never think they need to change.  Even when their lives are spiraling out of control they vehemently deny it all.

You yourself will feel a range of emotions anger, frustration, sadness, disgust, hurt, stress....oh the list is long.  Maybe you will choose to leave or maybe you will choose to stay, either way take care of yourself first.  Stop catering to their needs and cater to your own.  Make them take responsibility for their actions and behaviors.  Let them fall if they have to.  It's sometimes the only way many addicts learn or realize they have a problem. 

They are broken, and will take a lot of work to repair.  As it usually runs a lot deeper than just whatever they are addicted to.  That substance is an escape from reality for them. They hide themselves behind their substance. But why do they need such an escape becomes the bigger question.  Uncovering their true selves, dealing with life, issues, improving themselves, taking responsibility, etc., is only something they can do though therapy can help a lot.  But getting them to the help, and to stay with it can feel impossible. Either way it's a long road with many turns and an endless struggle at times.  Know there are plenty of people who are in both your shoes, who have conquered it or are at least trying. 

Lots of people will want to give you advice.  Everyone will have an opinion of what you should do.  But you have to listen to your heart, your soul....do what you believe to be right and true for you.  There is no right or wrong in such situations.  As for trusting again, who knows only time will tell.  It's something that will require a lot of effort as well.  Keep in mind every day is a learning experience when you have a loved one with an addiction.   Always focus on just today, don't try to predict or what if tomorrow.

Al Non and Nar Anon for the family and loves ones can help too.  At least read their literature as it's powerful.  There is a lot more I could write but it's not always easy to talk about, at times it still feels rather raw. All I know is that if one person can be helped by talking about it then it's worth talking about.  Remember their addiction has nothing to do with you. It's theirs alone to deal with, to heal and to overcome. You can help but only they can do the work that needs to be done. Remember that love isn't just about words it's about actions. Anyone can say they love you but their actions will speak even louder.

So surround yourself with people who love you. Focus on what makes you happy. Every second is a chance to turn your life around.  One day at a time. Stay strong.

And some words of wisdom that are great to print.....

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