A photograph paints a picture of a 1000 words, I say it depends how you look at it
What do you see when you look at these photos?
I see a man that has just run away from Rehab to spend Christmas with his family, he is clean but he isnt in recovery! He has justified running away from rehab with the excuse that he missed his child, truth is he is no good to his child like this! His appearance shows the affects of living on the street. His smile is fake and behind it, he is still living in hell.
I see a man that has made his way to rehab, after weeks on the streets (again). In 3 short months he had spiralled out of control. The progression of the disease is a scary thing to watch from the sideline. Here he started taking just one micro step at a time! A step in the right direction, regardless how small, is still a step. His pending court case was weighing heavy on his shoulders…. he was still very close to his rock bottom!
I see a man that has told me that he wants to stay where the recovery is… that he wants to live in recovery. This is the day he told me that his recovery has to be first! At first I felt a pinch in my heart but I knew that if he doesn’t put his recovery first, then he isnt able to love us they way he wants to. He isn’t able to be there for us. If he doesn’t, then he cant live, only exist. Recovery first, so his loved ones aren’t last! It was also the day he said “even though my recovery comes first, it doesn’t mean you cant be apart of my life”. Honestly, that is proving to be harder than I imagined.
To love an active addict is hard, stressful and extremely tiring; but I didn’t imagine that trying to support an addict in recovery would be equally as hard, in different ways. Go figure!
The night of my 21st… when our Connor was a tiny little seedling that was still a secret. This is night Chris proposed to me in front of all my family and friends. Chris was high (I didnt know at the time) and drunk and ended the night off with a scene. I was so naive back then and had no idea what was happening right in front of my eyes! Looking back at the photos, I have see how the drugs were controlling him, wearing him down from the inside out… active addiction has many faces but they can all be spotted a mile away (If you know what to look for)!
When we took this photo, we had no idea that in a few hours he would be running away from his father to go ato use “Just one last time” and by the end of the day we would be taking the first drive up to the rehab, a road I have traveled quite a lot as Chris has spent time there, over the years.
Reflecting on my younger self, I had no idea what was really going on in front of me, but if you spend enough time close to the disease and living with someone who is in active addiction and you will quickly be able to see the signs. I learnt the signs, over the recent years I could spot if he had used by just one look at him; his eyes changed from a crisp light blue to a murky blue, pupils were the size of pin drops, he used to do this jaw clenching thing with his mouth, he couldn’t look at you in the face and was sooooo over talkative, as if to try and mask the fact that he was so high. All the warning signs were flashing but I was always shut down, every time I’d ask the addict for the truth. They can deny that the sun shines in the day and sometimes they are so convincing; that you might just believe them, or you might just accept it because you can bother to beg for the truth anymore – when you can already see it all over their face!
This is were the addict in recovery has to work really hard to gain that trust, after years of being lied to and manipulated, you cant just easily toss the trust out again… there are other ways that trust exist but it terms of anything related to the disease directly, well that is something that is earned back… As I have recently found – it is equally as hard for the addict to trust us with their deepest darkest fears. For so long, they have lived in a hell that many don’t understand and are more often than not, judged for being an addict. So they bottle everything up and it just makes things worse, It’s work in progress.
The truth is, I can now see right through him, I know him so well that I sometimes think I know him better than I know myself. I don’t even have to see him to know something isn’t right, all I have to do is hear his voice… perhaps that is what happens when you love someone so much!
Here is a man that is working a program and living in recovery. His smile is true and his eyes are actually smiling as well. There is no longer just an empty shell of a man, he is slowly finding his feet in the world.
So I guess my point is, you never really know what people are going through, or what happens behind close doors. Although there are perfect moments in life, there is no-one with a perfect life. Don’t be so quick to judge a person, unless you have walked in their shoes and worn their struggles.
To my babe, just keep doing what you doing. We are so proud of you! Congrats on 5 months clean today!
Disney Mom (An Addict’s Wife)