If you love someone suffering from addiction, you might feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride. One minute you feel angry, the next guilty, and then maybe you’re worried.
It’s a constant cycle that’s never-ending. And all the chitter chatter in your head never shuts up.
Even when you’re standing at the stove stirring the pasta you’re making for dinner, in the back of your mind you’re really twirling about how to save the one you love.
Being present in the moment feels close to impossible because of the trauma to your soul. How can you shut off the painful idea that the one you love is being taken down by this disease?
I often felt like I was on a boat that was sailing in the middle of the biggest storm of my life.
How do you find joy in a moment when your family’s boat has sailed through so many storms that it’s battered and broken?
And it’s slowly sinking.
I felt like I was the only one who was endlessly bailing out water so our family wouldn’t sink. It was exhausting work. And every time I thought our boat was fixed and we were in safe waters, an addiction storm would approach.
Pretty soon, I just learned never to put down the bucket. I was always so worried about the next storm that I was always on guard.
Never trusting the moments of calm seas.
My normal became a feeling of constant anxiety.
And I wasn’t a saint either. While I was busy trying to bail us out from sinking, gripping the bucket and throwing the water overboard to save us, I was screaming or crying or swearing.
There came a time when I knew I could no longer save our family. So I put life jackets on my kids, one for myself, grabbed their little hands, and jumped off the boat into the shockingly cold, rough water.
I made this decision because I knew I was being called to leave the boat and head toward calmer waters. I was no longer under the illusion I could control it. And I wanted a better life for my children.
For me, jumping off the boat was the best thing I could have done for myself and my kids. But it’s not for everyone.
If you’re concerned that things will never get better, the Love Over Addiction program has a special section called “Should I Leave or Should I Stay?” Listen to it and see how you feel. You’ll know if it’s time to get off the boat or hang tight and ride out the storms.