The Quest to Rescue Those in Addiction Part 2

“Let’s take a break for a few minutes.  Have a snack; try to get to know some of our new people.  You know how you felt when you first came here.”

Sarah glanced over to the exit sign and considered running through those doors.  This was all too real to her.  That boy was an addict too.  Anger filled Sarah as she thought about the lies and the deception.  She stared over at Bruce and questioned everything about him.  He looked so innocent and polite.   Sarah remembered that sometimes her daughter would sometimes still look that innocent and sweet.  That boy was no better than Michelle.  Sarah somehow knew that the boy was covering up, he was planning a relapse.  Michelle was always most vocal of her life and expressed pride in her sobriety right before a relapse.

“Nervous?”  Sarah looked at the woman who had earlier patted her hands.  The woman appeared to be about Sarah’s age but maybe a little younger.  Her bright red hair gave her a glowing appearance.

“Why do you ask?”

“Oh just thought that if you weren’t I’d get you some fruit since you are looking to chew your fingers off.”

Sarah realized that she had been tearing up her normally well manicured nails.  This whole day was simple foolishness she thought.  Sarah considered sharing her thoughts but maybe this Bruce guy was different.  Maybe those with addictions are all different.  But what if she was right? Sarah didn’t know what to do.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

“It all starts with taking it one day at a time.  They talk about that in most recovery groups but that may be even more important to the families.  We love those knuckleheads and they have to know that they are destroying their lives. 

“My aunt drank herself to death about fifteen years ago.  At the time I knew nothing about addiction.  The whole family had lived with an underlying fear that this would happen to her eventually.  But we thought, hey quit drinking, you know it’s ruining your life.   Over many years she did one month programs, six month programs and would usually do great for awhile.  She had always been a hard worker and was well loved by everyone who knew her.  I remember watching how quickly she would be promoted where ever she worked.  Most of us knew that eventually she would drink too much and lose the job.  You know, I believe she would have been a CEO of some type if she didn’t have to keep restarting her life over.  Anyway she would do great and stayed sober sometimes for months at a time.  Some family function would come up and of course there was lots of beer.  Typically she would simply drink soda or water for the first couple of hours.  As the crowd grew though eventually someone would ask her to pass a can of beer down the row of seats so others would not have to stand up and push through the crowd.  At first she would simply pass it down.  After a few rounds the can would take a pit stop as she took a small drink.  Sooner or later she would turn up drunk and someone would take her home.  She wasn’t typically trouble when she drank.  It was just that she couldn’t stop, once she got started.  Eventually she would have to call in sick to work and when you do that enough you lose your job.”

Sarah listened to all of this and was amazed at how transparent this woman was. 

“My name is Angie, by the way.”

“I’m Sarah. I’m here because of my daughter but I am not ready to talk about it yet.  I feel so stupid.”

“Honey, there is no reason to feel stupid.  Those with addictions are great liars and deceivers.  They would fool Einstein.  Don’t let that hold you back.  But it’s ok not to share, eventually you will be ready and you will learn what a family is supposed to feel like.”

Mike was coming back to the podium.  Bruce was nowhere to be seen.  Sarah noticed lots of folks had bottled water and little plates of fruit and was sitting down.  She could hear music coming from somewhere.  Sarah assumed that it coming from the church’s sanctuary but could not be sure.

“Bruce needed to take off so he will need to finish his story next time.  I hadn’t really planned on him telling you that much.  But I am sure that portions of his story resonated with some of you.”

There were many nods.

“Tonight I want to focus on natural consequences.  First this does not mean that you get to berate your loved ones when they are drunk or high.”

“Tonight I want to focus on natural consequences.  First this does not mean that you get to berate your loved ones when they are drunk or high.”

A few folks looked disappointed but let out laughing smiles.

“Let us say that they have been doing great.  Maybe three weeks of sobriety.  You are proud of how far your husband has gotten.  He is working on his problem and they even have a paying job that you approve of.  You decided that you are going to treat him and your whole family to dinner and a movie.  All of you have been looking forward to it all day.  The movie starts at 7:00pm so you plan to leave as soon as they get home at 5:30pm.  It’s 6:00pm and he is not home.  You try to call but there is no answer.  Now you are worried.  You figure though, he got off late and is driving so he can’t pick up their phone.  At 6:30pm you know that dinner is out the window and you are now certain that he has made a little stop at his favorite bar on the way home.  Now you have a choice.  The choice that most families make is to simply scrap the whole night and stay home.  They wait and panic for their loved one and when they finally do come home drunk or high you fight.  Everyone has a lousy night.  Eventually they pass out and forget it.  The kids are upset because they are hungry and scared and they didn’t get to see the movie that they bragged to their friends about seeing.  Option two is what I want to propose is the better option.  You still have thirty minutes to make it to the movie.  Pick up some fast food on the way, encourage the kids to eat it quickly in the car and get to the movie.  Have a blast.  They usually have so many previews you will most likely not miss anything.  When you come home he may be passed out.   Quietly get the kids to bed.  You take a shower, read a book and go to sleep.    In the morning he would have experienced the pain of not being with the family on their adventures.  Allow the kids to tell dad all about what he missed.”