My #NationalRecoveryMonth posts, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of my dad’s death, continue:
Today is about those touched by addiction, not the addict. I can’t claim to know what it’s like to be an addict. The words I share come to me through the pages of an addict but I may never fully understand the struggle. I DO understand the pain of watching someone you love slowly wither away because of addiction and I’m here to say, IT’S OK TO BE MAD AT THEM.
You will be mad at them throughout their addiction and you will probably stay mad at them even if they lost their fight. You are not a bad person. It’s hard to be an addict but it’s hard to WATCH an addict and the feelings you have will be complicated and messy and HARD. And that’s ok.
You can love them and miss them and see the good in them and still be mad at them. You can even forgive them…but you might always stay a little mad at them.
The key is to not let those feelings take over. Feel them. Own them. But don’t let them own you. Twenty years later, I am still sorting out my feelings toward my father on a daily basis. Writing has helped. Here is a piece I wrote that explores how his life colored my feelings on religion. I hope it helps someone else.