Looking back on my life, I do not think there was ever a time that I did not live with active addiction. My father was an addict who my mother threw out when I was four years old. When I was eight years old, my mother married another addict. The only thing that I remember clearly was the never-ending cycle of fights, accusations, verbal abuse, and chilled withdrawals. Unfortunately, I did not learn from my mother’s mistakes and I also married an addict. For some reason, my blinders were on and I truly shut out his using.

The situation became critical when I had my third child, a mere fifteen months after my second. The stress of having two children so close together (both born premature and very ill) resulted in my husband using more until he could not hold a job. He was fired from two jobs consecutively. This all came to a head one day after a fight of all fights. He became physical and I was knocked unconscious. After being admitted to the hospital with a fractured skull, my doctor sat down and had a heart to heart talk with me. I divorced my husband but still sought help for me.

I joined Nar-Anon. I found love, support, comfort, and understanding. I found a program where I could learn the skills I had been lacking my entire life. Slowly, I learned to take life one day at a time, to let go, to realize I am not responsible for the actions of those I love, to face myself honestly, and to understand that I need to nurture and love myself. In finding my own self, I recovered my self-esteem. I adopted the Twelve Steps of the program and I have put my life back together.

Thought for Today: I am in a better position to offer love and support because I have learned to separate the things that addicts do from who they are. Through this, even though I do not always approve of what they do, I am still able to love them.

“We can only learn to love by loving.” ~ Iris Murdoch