To love an addict

my addict is clean. they are healthy- right now.  Yet in every addict I cross on the street, I see them again.  I begin to weep inside and am always picking up the phone to make sure they are still clean.  I am grateful beyond measure every day for this reprieve and pray it lasts.  I am just now beginning to express the pain of the active addiction and what it did to my life and my heart.  I am healing now, we are healing now.  But the past still hurts. and others are still in it.  so here are some thoughts on loving an addict:

to love an addict is… to let things so many small things go.  to give yourself grace and space to not be neurotic about the rules of society and instead to just breathe.  to manage one day to the next with a wall around your heart and still trying to love.  it is to feel like the world is shattering and yet you have to hold it together.

to love an addict is… excruciating.  like harry potter hexes that force screams and spasms of the body, loving an addict does that to the soul. even once they are clean, there is a wondering if they will fall back again and a desperate hope that they won’t because you don’t know if you can bear the pain again. it wracks your body, your mind, your heart and leaves you exhausted.

to love an addict is to know a pain that will never go away.  to welcome a terrorist into your home and life.  And you can either learn to work with them or fight- either way is miserable.  There is no easy out.

to love an addict is to be aware that life is too short.  that drugs steal.  but so does cancer, heart disease and AIDS.  But addiction steals more than life, it steals the things that make life precious- like memories, and hopes, and dreams.  it steals relationships and love.

to love an addict is… never ending.  it is a simultaneous hate and love that force you to lie to yourself that you don’t care about them anymore.  it is to lie to yourself and believe you are moving on. it is to crush hope and trust and if they pop up, to crush them again. viciously. and yet, with every signal of a turn toward health lets hope flourish.  Where does that hope come from and how can I stop it?  It HURTS.

to love an addict is to pray they get arrested or OD but live so they might be forced to get clean in a hospital or prison and you don’t care which one- because either is better than not knowing where they are.

to love an addict is to pray they die sometimes- because then their pain, your pain, all the wondering and worrying and fear and destruction will end.  Instead there will only be sorrow.  But life in full addiction means sorrow is only a condiment in a full buffet of life-sucking emotions. Either way, when you pray that prayer, it is full of guilt and horror.  and you want to take it back. and then you know you really meant it.  but only if this is never going to end.

to love an addict is impossible and unavoidable to choose. addiction hurts. it kills. it devastates.

it isn’t everything, but it feels like it.

and yet we hope for something more.  and sometimes, *sometimes* we get it.  Sometimes we get them back.  and then you grab on with dear life.

 

 

 

 

Author: mistressofdivinity

Pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Riverside, California; a congregation of the Pacifica Synod in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Even though the diploma reads "Master of Divinity," the learning continues and I have the wrong body parts to earn a "masters" so I claim Mistress. I lean into this pastoral role more each day, learning to balance vocation and family, life and passion, living and loving.

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