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Letters From Listeners

How Addicts Have Affected My Life


I have had several addicts in my life. I grew up with an alcoholic mother. I was an exchange student with an alcoholic host father. I had an alcoholic older brother and an alcoholic older brother-in-law. Statistically, it is not surprising that I married a man who, after we married and had two young children, I discovered also suffered from alcoholism.

The reason I am writing, is that all of these people are now sober and have been for years. It is really remarkable, and due to hard work and choices they made. So often the stories end tragically. All of these could have. I am not saying that these addicts did not negatively impact my life. They all did in a major way. I will not describe that here, since I choose to focus instead on the fact they are inspirational having transformed their lives. I am very grateful to my husband, especially, that he treated his disease before our children ever were aware of it or suffered ill effects from it. It took me a long time to be able to forgive him for the breaches of trust he made while drinking, but the more I focus on how amazing his transformation has been and how much effort that took, the more I admire and love him.

I hope everyone knows that addiction does not have to be a terminal illness. Addiction is not hopeless, but it does require the addict to not only want to change, but endure the hard work and discomfort it takes to change. They also need to know that as long as the addict is being enabled, they will not change. The loved ones of the addict have to recognize they are part of the solution, but not likely in the way they think. Letting go and allowing consequences to be suffered are often the best thing a person can do for an addict. I know that any one of them can relapse at any time, so I am very attentive to that. Although living with these people while they were drinking was awful and destructive, I celebrate the fact that they are now sober and we all survived.  And as a result, I learned so much about myself and others. I see the genes that predispose one to become an addict are not under our control, but the cure to the disease really is. I am grateful to each of these people for the choice they made.

Thank you for all you do.


Tags: Addiction, Bad Childhood-Good Life, Behavior, Marriage, Mental Health, Relatives, Values
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