When love does not work

What do you do when love doesn’t work? We’re talking about saving your child, a family member or friend from drug or alcohol abuse. Love can and does work, but it depends on the kind of love you give … and keep in your heart

With the headlines in recent days and months, it’s clear many families throughout our region are struggling with a loved one using and/or addicted to life-threatening drugs or alcohol.

Unless you have your head in the dirt, you or someone you know has been or is being affected by drug or alcohol abuse.

The sad yet challenging part is, many families feel helpless, especially when the abuser is an adult, giving them less control.

You can love someone so much that you believe that love will help your at-risk child or loved one make good choices, that they’ll recognize and appreciate that love and it will help them heal.

What you may not understand is that the person you’re loving, the one you’re trying to protect, trying to nurture and guide likely isn’t who you think … not even close.

They’re not who you think because they are addicted to alcohol or drugs – prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, crack – that consume their hearts and minds … their decisions and choices, every minute of their lives.

They are evasive, moody, have low energy and appetite.

They stay up all hours of the night.

They are desperate.

Most of all, they hide and they lie.

They hurt the people they love the most.

Why are you afraid to intervene, to face that ugly truth?

Does your love enable them? Do you see that?

We want to share with you a letter written by a person in a drug rehabilitation center. Writing about their addiction was part of their therapy, a way to help them understand the grip drugs have on their very being. It’s meant to help them confront and heal. Get ready. The first sentence is powerful and profound. It goes like this:

Dear Disease,

You say you’re my friend, my love, my everything, yet you want me dead.

That is your ultimate goal. There was a time when I turned to you for help. Every ache, every pain, every tear shed and every smile, there you were. You showed up in my desperate times of need and took care of me. And you showed up when I got a little better, a little happier. You knew I needed you, that I couldn’t live, breathe, function without your presence. I thought I could depend on you. I was wrong. I thought you loved me, but you used me. You filled my needs for the time being, but you always left me. And because of you, everyone and everything followed. You kept showing up, making sure nothing was left. And if there was, you took it. You made me come to believe nobody cared but you. You were sure to show up when I was feeling remorseful, shameful, like (expletive.) And once again, our toxic relationship fooled me. You’re a deceitful piece of (expletive) and I hate you. I loathe you. I was left with nothing, absolutely nothing but a shell and you still found more to rip out of me. I hope, I pray, I wish … I know you are up there angry because right now, at this very moment, you are not winning. I hope you’re suffering. Like I did. You get pleasure from my pain and I won’t let that happen ever again. You will never take from me. You will never use me. You will never take away my will to live. I could tell you all you’ve taken from me and all you’ve done, but that will only make you pleased, knowing I’m dwelling in that. I don’t need you. I thought I did, but I don’t. I’m learning a new way of life, one that was always there but felt like it was beyond my reach. Now that I have a taste of it, I want it. One thing and probably one thing only that you didn’t take from me is my heart. I know what my heart is and I want this new way of life with all of it. So just for today, I don’t need you. Just for today, you can go (expletive). Just for today, I won’t use and you won’t win.

This letter can help you heal; it can help you understand the devastating hold of drugs.

For those you love who are heavily addicted, be thankful they’re alive.

Help keep them alive. Help them heal, and you will heal in the process.

Reach out to your other loved ones and to drug counselors and get ready to love even more those who desperately need your help. Talk amongst your family and friends. Stay united. Be strong.

Save your loved one with your love … your tough love.

-The (Lock Haven) Express