Four months ago I discovered that my kids’ dad had developed a meth addiction at 38 years old. This was right before Christmas, right before he usually flies out to see the kids. Suddenly, my child support payment started to slim down to nothing. Phone conversations and texts were bazaar and the timing would lapse sometimes for days to get an answer to a simple question. Even though he had excuses lined up none of it made sense. I asked him about drugs and he denied it to the grave. I asked him to take a drug test and he said “sure”. His confidence translated to me as a “no”. Also, to make things worse he had a new relationship with someone who had the means to support a comfortable meth addiction. A foreclosing house that she was not paying on and an inheritence.
In four months time I saw my ex go from holding down a good steady job for five years to being unemployed, losing his home, losing his car, losing his families respect and actually living in a tent on the days when he and his gf go through their manic tipping points.
I never wanted to try meth, heroine or crack. In all my partying I had been around those drugs, but the damage I saw alcohol do to people in a decade was only taking meth addicts a month to accomplish.
This has not made being clean and sober harder for me, it has made me stronger in my conviction because I’m watching the train wreck happen. I’m so glad that it’s not me.
However, I’m drawn into the disease by wanting to control it from the outside. All the character defects I have are drawn to focus on fixing his addiction. Even though I know I’m not helping and ACTUALLY I’m making it worse I’ve been verbally berating him for the shitty father he is. I’m battling with an illusion. The illusion that he has control over this. The illusion that he is stupid, that he is plotting and planning all of this and that he thinks we are all fools. Addiction is a disease.
The right thing to do in this instance, I’ve studied, is to let them know you care, that you will be there for them when they are ready and to close the door. You have to protect yourselves from becoming enabling or better yet disabled by the addict. When they are ready they will be clean and sober. Ready does not mean they are saying they are ready, “ready” is a series of actions they have taken themselves to show you they mean business.
I know it should seem like second nature that an addict would know how to treat another addict. We forget. Part of our very own cycle was marked by an inability to recall why we stopped in the first place. This is why AA and Al-Anon are helpful, to remind us of the why’s and how’s. Most of each meeting we remind each other of what alcohol and drugs did to our lives that would be keeping us coming back. Same thing in dealing with an addict, most of us want to cling on to the good times and forgive. There is a time for that when the addict is actively getting help until then even this interaction is part of their cycle that keeps them going back. As long as we are part of their cycle we will also feel the chaotic stress of the drug.