Tuesday, May 15, 2007

But that's not my REAL son

Earlier today I was talking with a family member about the latest crisis. It was similar to other conversations over the years: "That's not who he is REALLY. That's the Addict doing those things, not my son. My REAL son would never be so hurtful--he's caring, loving, giving. Not the monster out there today."

Not making excuses, believe me. His choices have brought him to this point. But I now understand more about the process that got him there.

According to author Craig Nakken (The Addictive Personality, Hazelden, 1996), the addicted personality is actually created by the illness of addiction and results from the addictive process that happens within a person. In Stage One of the three-stage addiction process, Nakken explains that the Self and the Addict emerge:

"The Self represents the 'normal,' human side that is consumed and transformed by the addiction. Eventully, the addicted person forms a dependent relationship with his or her own addictive personality."

So I wasn't crazy. It really is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation with the Self and the Addict arguing with each other at first, but the Self eventually being swallowed up by the Addict. It explains so much about their behavior, why they don't care about the people they actually love. They are truly not themselves.

The whole situation was different when he was younger and single. He hurt himself through the drug use--yes, his sister and I cared and felt the pain of the incarcerations, but ultimately, it was his life that he stifled. Our lives kept moving right on.

Now, after a stable period--marriage, a baby daughter, learning a trade and being recognized as a valued employee--something snapped, my REAL son is gone and the Addict is again fully in charge. This time, more dangerously than ever.

It's as though someone threw a huge rock into the lake--making the biggest ripples I've ever seen. The ripples created by that enormous methamphetamine rock now reach farther and wider, touching not just his family of origin but now, his own little family he helped create. How long will these ripples slap against our feet, taunting us with the questions?

One ripple whispers, Will this craziness ever end?
Another asks, When will his wife decide she's had enough, and walk away?
This one says, Will his little girl ever know the wonderful person he is inside--her daddy and my REAL son?
And I wonder, Will he even live through this episode?

It's a problem that has consumed not only my family, but families across our country. Read about the Methamphetamine Abuse Treatment and Prevention Act of 2007 recently introduced by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.

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