I know, I'm so very late. I have a horrible habit of starting blogs, saving them and re-visiting them later to finish.
With the recent passing of Amy Winehouse, the media spotlight has settled brightly on the topic of addiction. Sadly, it isn't her amazing sound or music that is remembered when her name is mentioned..just her troubles.
Recently, Russell Brand posted a blog entry dedicated to Amy - but not in the way you might expect. Many artists have taken to social media to talk about how wonderful her talent was, how tragic her passing is, or how much Amy would be missed. But Russell Brand chose to look at Amy Winehouse differently; through the eyes of a former addict.
If you've never experienced addiction - either as an addict, or a loved one of an addict - you don't really know what it's like. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I have lived life as the loved one of an alcoholic.
I know exactly what Brand means when he says that they look through you..as if you're not there, or as though they have something better to do. I think the hardest part is when you realize that you're actually an enabler. You're the one doing the things to help this person continue their lifestyle - and with your help, they may never realize that they need help. Talk about a guilt trip around the world!
It's hard, I think. To not help someone you love that's ASKING you for help. Whether it's financial..or a crash on your couch for a night or a week. You feel like you're letting them down if you refuse, and you know that if they weren't so sick..they'd do the same for you in a heartbeat. Because this person you're seeing..well that's not them. They're good at heart. Loving and kind..and you know they would do anything in the world for you - if it weren't for the alcohol or the drugs that had changed them. And if you remember the person they were before the alcohol and drugs got to them..? Oh boy. Then you're REALLY a sucker.
I confess that in my RL, I live with guilt of loving someone very much, but being unable to really help them because they don't want to be helped, and I am not strong enough to dole out tough love. I'm guilty of giving them $50 so that they can, hopefully, buy food or medication and not a bottle of vodka. I'm guilty of taking them in when they're too drunk to go home. Why? Because I know what that sober person is like. I know that with sobriety comes kindness, love and understanding. But it's the damn alcohol. It eats at a person like a cancer. And in the end, you can barely recognize them. And the things they do and say..that's a whole other story.
I'd love to say that with the passing of Amy Winehouse, maybe those currently afflicted with addiction will wake up and change their lives for the better - but that's not realistic. Some people need to hit rock bottom before they can wake up..and others don't ever wake up. There is something very honest, genuine and raw in Russell Brand's blog entry. His is the clarity that I think the loved ones of many addicts eagerly wait for in their own people.
I don't know what the answer is. I believe that everyone has the opportunity to get out of a life of addiction - but they have to want it. Some people are too high or drunk to see the opportunity, though. And their vision is too blurry for them to see the pain they cause in their loved ones as well. Those voices have long since been lost in the fog that addiction creates. Is the answer to be there? Is it to show tough love? Is it to act like there is no problem? I have no idea anymore.
My loved one has long since been lost to alcohol, and unfortunately, I know that final call will come one day too. I dread it, but I know that I must come to terms with it.
I highly suggest you read the blog entry..it's absolutely more eloquent than my blog.