For the past half an hour, Eric and I have been brainstorming things I could write about. I got up this morning, took the sheets off the bed so I could wash and replace them while Eric walked the dogs. I played on my phone, meditated, and wrote. Then I went to the gym for my Pilates equipment class. After that, I came home and ate, then went and got a massage. After that, I took a shower and got in bed to read. It’s been a nice, lazy day — but now I find myself 10 minutes away from dinner and I still haven’t made a blog post, and have no idea what to write about.
Eric’s first idea was actually a joke. He told me to write about D&D, his thing not mine, something that I don’t understand. After talking for a bit, he told me I could just come in and write for 10 minutes, call it a “brain dump,” but I told him that’s what I do in my journal in the morning and I’d never publish that. In fact, I hope nobody but me ever reads any of that — it’s junk, garbage, nonsense. It’s important to do, an essential part of the process, but not worth sharing most of the time.
So all I have is to tell you what I’ve been thinking about today, what I’m contemplating. I have been reading a lot of memoirs lately about addiction. I just finished one called Drunk Mom and then started The Lost Years: Surviving a Mother and Daughter’s Worst Nightmare. Someone in my life is an addict, and recovery is something I’m trying to figure out. How does it happen? How does it work? What can people in relationship with the addict do to help?
The books I’ve been reading haven’t provided an answer, or at least not the one I want. It’s an answer that requires patience, a whole lot of waiting and hoping and not being able to do anything to help. Essentially everything I’ve read so far boils down to: the addict recovers when they decide they want to, when they make the choice and seek out help, (and sometimes it doesn’t work out). Sure, I’ve heard that before, that someone can’t get better unless they want to, that they have to choose it for themselves, do it for themselves, but it’s hard to believe it could be that simple, that complicated. For example, one of the books I read recently, the addict was in bed, feeling crappy, and heard someone using a leaf blower outside, and that was the moment they decided they wanted to live, wanted to get sober. In another, it was just a moment, not that different from any of the ones that came before, but something shifted and the person decided.
Addiction is further complicated by the fact that sobriety doesn’t always stick. Relapse happens. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 40 and 60 percent of people recovering from drug addiction relapse. Some studies show that of people who are treated for alcoholism, less than 20 percent remain sober for a year. For many, they spend years of their lives in a cycle of jail/rehab, sobriety, and relapse. Rinse and repeat.
My response? I want to figure it out. I want to fix it. I’m frustrated that I can’t. I have no answers. I keep trying, don’t give up, continue to practice, hoping to ease suffering — in myself and in the world, when and where I can, and even when I can’t I hold that intention. That’s all I’ve got.