Updated: Aug 24, 2018
This is something my sister and I did when we were little girls on our family road trips. We made peace signs out of the car window. We huddled in the middle of the back seat as we went over bridges to help overcome our fear of them. We also pulled our "make believe" air horns as we passed by large trucks and giggled with glee when the truckers honked back. We thought we were so cool!
We were only eighteen months apart. We were each others first, best friends. We chased lightening bugs, caught butterflies, and learned to swim together. We made animal sounds at bedtime to each others rooms, played tin can jimmy, rode bikes, skinned knees, made snow angels and did a zillion other things together. As all siblings do, we would fight and make up. Most importantly, we ALWAYS had each others backs.
That all changed as the years went by and addiction was in charge. Hers, my father's and everyone else's in our family that used and abused alcohol. Nothing was the same anymore.......... No more late night sharing, no more fighting and making up, no more play dates with our kids. Giggles and "so cool" and having each others backs became strained words and guarded hearts and silence. Blow by blow, addiction tore our family apart. We went from best friends to strangers. I went from the big sister who always had her back to "I can't do this anymore". After 40 years of struggling, I finally said NO MORE. That's how things remain today. No more us! Not without professional help for EVERYONE. You see, we tried getting help for her time and time again. Yet, as with our daddy, the whole family didn't get help, as recommended, and we all needed it desperately. You see, treatment for addiction isn't just for the addict. It's for the whole family. The longer the addiction remains, the more the pain grows. For everyone. Not just the addict.
I know. I have lived it firsthand. When addiction is in charge, roles are formed to keep the family going: Addict & Enabler, Hero & Scapegoat, Lost Child & Mascot. These roles help the dance of addiction continue. Each person plays their part and knows their steps in this complicated, painful dance.
Until finally, someone doesn't. Then, without a warning, the dance stops. Now what, you ask? For some families, everyone fights to keep it together. Treatment is sought and the family recovers. For other families, that's not the case. But the dance of addiction stops either way for the person who says no more.
When the dance of addiction stops, people come out of it alive. Alive is good. Alive is free. Free to stop playing a role and become what GOD intended for you to be. I know. Because its happened to me. Ten years of recovery from the painful dance of addiction and my life is fully alive!
What about the addict you ask? What will happen to them? That's a very good question. One many people are afraid to answer or ask. The truth is, every addict is on death row. The hope is recovery. The choice is theirs. You cant save them. By setting limits, the hope is they see they are continuing to lose. They are losing to addiction. Losing time, losing relationships, losing many other things.
The hope is they stop losing. The hope is they want something more than the thing they are addicted to. But it is still their choice and at least, you are coming out alive!
For me, this is where God comes in. Its to late for my dad. He died when I was a teenager. My sister, however, I pray for her. I put my hopes in Gods hands. I put my sister there too. For me, there is no better place for her or my hopes to be. In Gods hands.
If you want recovery today, please reach out. SAMHSA is a great resource for persons in crisis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Help is out there. Its only a prayer and a phone call away. Dial 1-800-662-HELP. Its a call you'll never regret. Not for yourself or your family. There is always help and always hope!
We are here too. Call anytime. Counselors care and are available to help!
Meanwhile, I leave you with this hope. What you see isn't all there is. God has great plans for you and loves you deeply. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart...". and again in Jeremiah, 29.11 God says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
God sees and God cares. He has plans for you. He gives everyone the same choice!
Free will. Its up to you to decide whether you want his plans or not just as its up to the addict to decide if now is the time for recovery.
Meanwhile, we can pray for you too! Just let us know how!