- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Hazelden Publishing; 1 edition (Aug. 26 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 156838999X
- ISBN-13: 978-1568389998
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.3 x 21.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Addict In The Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery. Paperback – Aug 26 2003
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About the Author
Beverly Conyers, MA, is an editor and freelance writer who lives in New England. She is also the author of Everything Changes.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Chapter 2 The Stranger You Love All addicts' stories are heartbreaking in their own unique ways. But if you hear enough of these stories, you begin to realize that they are also distressingly similar. They follow a predictable pattern of experimentation, addiction, and eventual loss of everything most of us hold dear, including family, home, job, and personal values. Addicts become estranged from the nonaddicted world and seem not to mind when they are reduced to circumstances that would be intolerable to almost anyone who is thinking clearly. My own daughter was a prime example. A heroin addict at age twenty-three, my daughter and her boyfriend, a fellow addict, were evicted from their apartment for not paying their rent. In the four months they had lived there, their apartment had become almost uninhabitable. The filthy bathroom contained a phone book that they used for toilet paper. The living room was a chaotic jumble of dirty dishes and soiled clothing and bedding. The bedroom floor was covered with animal feces from their cats and ferret. They eventually moved in with friends for a short time and then to the back of their car, a small station wagon. By that time they had lost or sold most of their possessions. Only a few items of clothing and some bedding remained. My daughter always wore the same long-sleeved shirt stained with sweat; the cuffs and sleeves were speckled with dots and streaks of blood. Her shoes smelled like rotten meat. Yet when I confronted her about her situation, she insisted that nothing was wrong. "A lot of people live in their cars, Mom," she said, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. "We're going to get a new apartment next week. This is not a big deal." She denied the addiction outright. As sickened as I was by her situation, I did not fully realize that I was dealing with someone who inhabited a different mental world than my own. Only later did I begin to see that we shared no common ground, that it was impossible for us to communicate because she had lost touch with everyday reality, and that my daughter had, in fact, become a stranger. Most families of addicts experience similar feelings about their loved one. They say such things as "I don't even know who he is anymore" and "I look into her eyes and it's like there's no one there." One mother of an addict said to me with tears in her eyes, "What a terrible disease this is. It takes away our kids." People sometimes claim that addicts have "lost their souls." What they mean is that the addicts no longer seem to care about anything but their drug of choice, that they have become untrustworthy, and that their value system seems bizarre or nonexistent. Families experience a tremendous sense of loss as they see their loved one, who once possessed certain defining characteristics such as a good sense of humor or a strong work ethic or an affectionate nature, lose these positive traits. Indeed, individuality deteriorates as the addict tak
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