A middle-aged man bends slowly down to pick up a pair of well-worn sneakers from the bedroom floor. His greying hair is dangling slightly and gently brushes against his forehead as he places the shoes in a white ‘hefty’ bag. He looks up. Twenty-four hours ago he couldn’t have imagined he’d be in the center of this room and in the middle of the worst day of his life. His wife is no more than three feet away from him. Her eyes betray a suffering that is unfathomable to all but her. Her baby, who she carried, nursed and loved beyond all measure, is gone forever. The sound that she made, that they both made, when they first heard the horrific news is practically indescribable. It was neither a scream nor a cry, but somehow a more guttural and heartbreaking combination of the two.
His parents will never be the same, and his siblings won’t either. A hole that big in any life can never fully heal. The holiday gatherings won’t be short by merely one. He was a son and a brother twice over. He would’ve likely been a husband and a father as well. They’ll all be missing from future family celebrations. The entire family will miss his children, who now must remain unborn. All of the family’s hopes and dreams for him have been crushed. Eventually, the stabbing pain of this tragedy will probably subside enough and the family will carry on the business of living and loving each other. They will all create new memories and a new life, without him. But the memories of his life and death may remain persistently and painfully pervasive.
Of all of the multitudes of lies that an addict tells themselves and others, the most egregious is: “It’s my life and how I live it only affects me”. It’s easy enough to understand how some addicts can end up feeling that way. After so many broken promises and horrible drama, the addicts loved ones get upset and let them know it. Many addicts become estranged from their families because the family can’t bear to watch the addict’s slow-motion suicide any longer. Rather than seeing the depth of the pain they are causing, the addict chooses to play the victim and decide that his family, friends and even the world at large are all conspiring against him or her. Then they can feel justified doing whatever the hell they want because ‘nobody cares’.
If you’ve ever heard the shrieks of despair, watched parents pack the shattered remains of their family into bags and have seen the anguished looks of suffering on inconsolable faces, you know exactly how delusional an addict can be.