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Love and Understanding

Addiction or grief - which do I want to write about? This is the other mental roadblock that has prevented me from actually putting words onto my screen. After thinking about it, the two topics are so closely connected that writing about both seems not only appropriate but natural. Even when Ian was alive but in active addiction, we were grieving the son who we lost to addiction.

I used to think that the only thing addiction couldn't take away from us was "hope." Hope for recovery, hope for Ian to get his life back on track to what he wanted to be important. Once Ian died of his accidental overdose, I realized that addiction not being able to steal away our hope was just a mirage. Because in the end, the addiction took hope away when it took away Ian's life - we weren't able to hope for that recovery anymore. We weren't able to hope for a semi-normal life for Ian anymore. The only true positive emotion that addiction can't ever take away from us is love (although I suspect this may not be the case for some families and friends of some addicts).

I read a letter this week that Ian wrote to himself while he was in his 30-day recovery treatment facility. He wrote about wanting to be successful in his recovery and was so hopeful that he was going to do it. He sounded like he was GOING to do it. It gave me great joy and great sadness reading that letter. He sounded like my son whose addiction didn't have its hold on because, at the time, it didn't. I grieve for that for Ian. And us. The letter also read as a love letter to himself. For addicts that is a hard thing to get to because of the self-loathing that they can't shake the addiction and everything that comes along with the disease. I had great joy in reading that he was being kind to himself at that moment and giving himself a pep talk. You have to believe in yourself in order to even truly start the recovery process. He was there, but addiction is a very powerful disease.

I am now hopeful that people learn about addiction and what it does to a person's brain. So, yeah - addiction and grief. Hope and love. But really just love. And also understanding.

~ Ian's mom

Originally posted August 13, 2019

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