Living with an addict, is hard. Living with an unrecovered addict is a bitch and half. I have done that and I don’t want to ever do it again. Blue Eyes is a recovering addict. He wants to be a better man. He wants to change what is broken. He wants to heal. He wants to recover. I believe it, and because I believe it, I stay.
When I hear others’ stories, I may be blown away by the details, or the abuse, but I try never to question, if they stay, why they stay. That is their decision and their decision alone. I know my parent’s story, intimately. I did not understand it when they started to really fall apart. I was five years old. I knew my father was a bully. He argued, he yelled, he hit, rarely back then, but he did it. He was more than twice my mother’s size. He never hit me or my sister.
By the time I was six, it was all out war with my mother being the country with no army and my father holding all the artillery. He had begged her to stay, and she believed he would work on himself. While she thought he was becoming that better man, that better husband, he was in fact replacing her. He was a coward. He never worked on himself. Both my parents had less than stellar childhoods. My father was abandoned when he was five months old and was adopted by a 70 year old woman who was poor. My mother’s family struggled with the death of her younger sibling, from pneumonia at the age of five. My grandmother never fully recovered. The surviving brother became a raging alcoholic and now that their parents are gone, he blames my mother for all his pain. My mother has no contact. My mother is the strongest person I know, hands down. She walked away from a broken marriage with her head held high. She created a nurturing environment for me and my sister. She then married the most wonderful man who has been in our lives for 46 years. We feel lucky to know him. My step mother, well, that’s a different story, but she has, in fact, been in our lives for 47 years. That would be my sister’s entire life, minus one year. My sister is not as forgiving as I am. She holds grudges. She lives with a lot of pain. My sister refuses to tackle her own demons, borderline personality disorder does not help.
I’ve done a lot of research on addiction. My sister was born with mental illness and addiction. She exhibited her vulnerability from a very young age. She started medicating with any number of drugs from adolescence. Blue Eyes also started self medicating when he was an adolescent. My sister reached for anything she could find. Blue Eyes’ drug was exclusively sex. It has not been difficult for me to understand Blue Eyes’ sex addiction. Sure, I fought it at first because my trauma wouldn’t allow me to believe that I was so unimportant compared to his drug. That other human feelings were less important than his own addiction. But that is sadly true, and that truth I have absorbed into every fiber of my being. It is still incredibly difficult to accept, but it is real.
There is one particular website that I think spells it out pretty clearly, easyread.drugabuse.gov.
What is Addiction?
When a drug user can’t stop taking a drug even if he wants to, it’s called addiction. The urge is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm.
When people start taking drugs, they don’t plan to get addicted. They like how the drug makes them feel. They believe they can control how much and how often they take the drug. However, drugs change the brain. Drug users start to need the drug just to feel normal. That is addiction, and it can quickly take over a person’s life.
Addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug can fill every moment of a person’s life. The addiction replaces all the things the person used to enjoy. A person who is addicted might do almost anything—lying, stealing, or hurting people—to keep taking the drug. This could get the person arrested.
Addiction is a brain disease.
Drugs change how the brain works.
These brain changes can last for a long time.
They can cause problems like mood swings, memory loss, even trouble thinking and making decisions.
Addiction is a disease, just as diabetes and cancer are diseases. Addiction is not simply a weakness. People from all backgrounds, rich or poor, can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.
Sex addiction is an addiction. Sex is the drug. It is the same as any other drug be it alcohol, heroine, prescriptions, food, gambling, shopping… addiction is not easy to overcome, but it is possible. Acknowledging the problem is part of the battle, as is providing yourself with an environment that believes in helping versus denying and ignoring addicts.
In my mind, the key to life is understanding yourself. Not giving yourself a pass for those things you may do that hurt yourself or others. Be it addiction, or the disease of being self absorbed, or the affliction of just refusing to face your own demons… it all leads to pain.
I know there will be commenters on my blog who will continue to question my choices. For all those people, I hope there are a thousand more who understand why I stay. The people in my life who know about Blue Eyes’ addiction, are proud of me for staying. They believe in him as much as I do. The happiest part of all of this mess, for me, is that Blue Eyes has been able to confirm that people do, in fact, love him. They love him for who he is and who he is becoming.
You better believe that the most influential person in my life, my mother, never ever told me life was easy, quite the opposite really. Truth is, I had to find it out for myself. That is the way life is.