When they don’t get it

When they don’t get it

Recently, a family friend – not a man I see often, but someone I’ve known and respected for his intelligence and wisdom – posted THIS on my blog:

Your story makes me feel so blessed that I have never been cursed with a child’s addiction.

After my initial shock, I carried his words around for weeks, sorting out what they meant and what he meant and why I reacted so strongly.

Even in my most dire moments during the ugliest years of Jacob’s active addiction, I never felt “cursed.”  Perhaps others have.

Sadness, anxiety, depression, isolation, and shame – Oh yes, plenty of shame – but never cursed.

It made me realize and recall how common a reaction his must be.

His one-liner also held a tinge of pity. Throughout the most trying moments of living with a son with addiction, I bristled at the slightest whiff of pity.

After more than a decade of learning about addiction, of celebrating my son’s recovery, and speaking with him at countless meetings, I feel pity for those who do not understand addiction.  What’s more, they have no concept of recovery.

It must be hard for them to conceive that anything positive or life-changing might follow once recovery – if it does – begins…

Like learning tolerance – for all manner of humanhood.

Or empathy – for anyone suffering with a life-threatening or chronic condition.

Or learning to let go.  Accepting I cannot control anyone but myself.

And patience – for those who do not understand.

Most of all, in this time of giving thanks, there is gratitude. Today my son is healthy and whole.  So are many of his friends, and many other men and women I know with decades of sobriety. They are some of the most profound people I have ever met.

So was I cursed or blessed by my son’s addiction?

And do I feel pity?

Certainly not for me.

But maybe for those who don’t get it.


6 Replies to “When they don’t get it”

  1. Lisa, I get it. It’s helpful to clarify and tease apart implication from (perhaps) intention. Plus, I’m beginning to think everything is a blessing. We just can’t see that from here.

    1. Hah! I love that Laura…that “everything” is a blessing. You would say that.
      Always welcome your reactions – to just about “everything.”

  2. Recovery—but also reconciliation, restoration, and always hope—not pity or condescension.

  3. The stigma attached to people whose loved ones used drugs or passed away from drugs is monumental.

    1. Sherrie, thank you for saying that. The stigma even when a loved one passes away.
      Pity the ignorant.