Seeing someone you love battle with addiction is something you can not rationalize or try to wrap your head around. It sucks them in and spits them back out this distorted, twisted, form of who they used to be and yet, it teaches you more about human beings than you ever wished to know.
I have toted the shame of missed daddy daughter luncheons, empty seats at dance recitals, and school assemblies for years. I have made up lies to friends that work came first when I knew it was drugs that came first. I have cried over pawned Christmas presents that were stolen in the middle of the night or over the constant non-stop ringing of our old landline phone, yelling at the voice on the other end to stop calling for money. I know what it is like to want nothing to do with your own father but to secretly want him better more than anything in the world.
I know those feelings and I know the anger that comes with loving an addict. The love that can not be reciprocated because their stupid, stupid, choices make them sick. Over and over and over. Then you are stuck with little the chains of broken hope that just seem to harden your heart a little more each time they mess up.
And I see how the mess ups hurt, how they have hurt me, and how they have hurt him, years after the fact. Addicts are addicted. They aren’t void of emotion even if it seems that way at the time. They are still that same daddy, brother, uncle, or son, but they are at grips with something much bigger than themselves.
I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who reminded me of this truth daily. Whenever I was discouraged, whenever I hurt so bad because I just wanted my dad, when I was so worried for that final phone call…She always reminded me that we could never change him and we would never be the ones to save him. All we could do is love. Love him, pray for him, have hope that he would survive, and if he didn’t make it out like so many, we could rest in the fact we loved him as close to unconditionally as humanly possible.
Yesterday, my husband and I took a day trip to Washington DC. My dad watched the girls for us to go. Ten years ago I would have never been able to leave my dad alone in my house, let alone with my two children. Today he is my best friend and one of my biggest supporters. I do not care how far gone a person may seem, there is no one too far gone for redemption.