There are two things I know for sure about addiction.
The first is that once you have it,
it follows you everywhere you go.
As you grow up,
into the community,
when you are seeking employment,
until your death -
It sits in your throat like an insatiable thirst
and dares you to stray.
I know about it because of my father
and my brother
and my sister.
I’ve watched it define them
and then destroy them.
The second thing I know about addiction is that it is familial
and the ability to become addicted lies strongly within the genes.
There are traits you notice,
small at first
but soon it’s undeniable.
He is a good kid
but his parents are both addicts
and he has been off his face drunk twice this year.
Out of control.
Both times while Ivy has been in the hospital.
The first when her artery was hit while in surgery
and the second when she was septic.
Both times I found out through the community grapevine
for the love of all things holy -
because I wasn’t there.
Fool me once,
shame on you
Fool me twice,
shame on me.
I will never turn my back on him again.
He has all the excuses under the sun;
that it’s the done thing in our small, rural town
all the kids are doing it
and the parents condone it, willingly breaking the law.
We are the uncool guardians who won’t allow it
but I am wary of addiction crouching in the shadows.
I don’t want it to chase him down too -
He says he is not his mother
and yet when asked why he did it
I heard her voice spilling from his mouth.
The very same words.
‘I wasn’t coping and the alcohol helped me to relax and forget’.
That’s how it starts.
That’s where the rots sets in.
I so want to break that cycle.
I know some of you will think that I should cut him some slack -
he is sixteen after all
and I am being unfair and unrealistic.
His life is not ideal with a sick person in the family,
it’s peer pressure,
the poor sweet boy has had to live with his horrid Aunt and Uncle for the majority of his life -
that he hasn’t had his mother.
I will have to disagree with all of that.
I’ve already heard it before from the boy himself
and it just doesn’t fly.
Life is all about choices.
The other two sixteen year olds in the house deal with a lot too
but alcohol is not an issue for them.
Sometimes we make a choice that is less than ideal
and we have to own up to the ramifications of those decisions.
It might mean that you lose the respect of your people.
It may mean that you will never fully have their trust again.
Whatever they are, you must own them
but an addict doesn’t.
An addict plays the victim
and lays blame to absolve his actions.
An addict will always have an excuse.
I want him to own his choices
and I will own mine -
there is a party coming up and as much as he wants to
he won’t be going.
I will have to suffer the consequences of my actions
but I accept them because I love him.
I think this;
when he has left home and is a fully grown adult, able to make his own decisions in this life,
when he’s making his own rules
if he wants to iron himself out with drugs and alcohol just as his grandfather and his uncle and his mother did
if he wants to ruin his body and his brain cells
then so be it -
that is his choice
and his right as an adult
but while he is in my care
I will keep him safe (as safe as I can)
from as much as I can.
That is my right as his parent.