Dr. Feelgood's Candy (Heroin)

I've been rocketed back to my childhood lately. Someone I love is dope sick.

I've found myself remembering my older siblings nod out and wander toward their next dope flu. Wondering when the fights would start - who would go to jail next. Watching as my nephews were taken away in the night. Listening to my mama try and smooth the big ugly "secret" in the center of our space - minimizing the tragedy. Like the family story about how my dad didn't actually shoot my sister and grandma - they were JUST hit with shrapnel.  One thing about my mama though... she always loved the person and wept for the addiction. She was a steadfast people-first Christian, and I still love that about her.

I am heartbroken for my loved one who is sick now, and for the family and friends most closely affected. I feel bereft for them all, especially the family children.

I have so many questions: Why, even though we know that addiction is a physical illness, do we not call it such? Why don't all hospitals have methadone programs? Why does Portugal have an answer, but America won't hear it? Why don't we ask for prayers as willingly as any other malady?  Does the silence cause stigma or the other way around? Why on earth should we feel ashamed?

How do we learn to rally around our dope sick loved one, while still caring for ourselves? Are children more prone to caregiver syndrome? Are NarAnon and AlAnon the only options for family and friends? What if there isn't a group close by? Is there help online? Chat? Via the phone? What about Celebrate Recovery? Are there resources for the family as well as the dope sick person? What about after the person gets clean again?

I've generated more questions than answers tonight, and renewed my commitment to AlAnon - regardless of the fact that how it works continues to elude my understanding. That it does work will have to be enough. When I attend I feel peace. When I don't, I don't. Easy peasy.

I have chosen not to pretend anymore. I believe that we are only as sick as our secrets.

No more secrets.