The Word of an Addict
Anybody who has lived with addiction, whether as an addict or with an addict, likely understands what I mean when referring to the word of an addict. Promises are made, then guarantees, then more promises, then more guarantees:
“I will do better.”
“I will stop during the week.”
“I won’t do this drug anymore.”
“I will only take it as prescribed.”
“I’ll get on that drug to help me get off this drug.”
“I can do it on my own. I just need to….”
“I just need to get away from that place.”
“It will be different this time, I promise.”
Addicts can be very convincing. Their lifestyle depends on their ability to protect their addiction at all costs, whether they realize it or not. Perhaps nobody takes the bait of an addict’s word more than the people who love them the most. A parent sees their child through the lens of love, and any parent who has raised their child, to be honest, wants to believe in their child.
“Perhaps nobody takes the bait of an addict’s word more than the people who love them the most.”
When I was knee-deep in my addiction, I was very adept at pulling on the right heartstrings at precisely the right time to convince my parents I could do this without help. “You must believe in me, I know how to do this,” I would say. “I’m on the right track, things are looking up.” One sob story after another, making one soon-to-be broken promise after another, all the while knowing I was utterly lost in the world. My words would come with the sounds of passion, conviction, and emotion while being completely void of any real substance. As soon as I had my parents back on my side and believing in me once more, I was off to the races to break their hearts all over again.
One of the key reasons I was so convincing is because a part of me believed what I was saying. I never had any real intention of doing it right there and then. That was reserved for my drugs. But I believed I would do something about it “tomorrow”.
This would continue until I had to come up with a new story and a new plan to tell my parents or girlfriend or whoever I was out to convince that day. I would put a new spin or shine on the same old fantasy. “I’ve got this. I’m going to do better. Things will be different this time. You must believe me.” And because my parents loved me unconditionally, they did. They took the bait over and over again. I can’t imagine anything that feels much worse for a parent than being lied to and manipulated by their now-unrecognizable child. They didn’t raise me to be that way, and they certainly didn’t understand why I never kept my word. But I did. I knew why. My addiction was doing the talking, and my addiction was acting for me.
Fortunately for me, my parents eventually stopped taking the bait and realized I couldn’t be trusted anymore. This is the hardest reality check I’ve ever seen my family go through. The pain in my parents’ eyes every time I made a promise—one in which they knew they could no longer believe—is something I’m unlikely to ever forget. This had to stop, the lies had to stop, the manipulation had to stop, the pain had to stop, the addiction had to stop.
“Today they no longer have the burden of enduring my empty promises because my word is no longer driven by addiction—it’s driven by me.”
This is all a reminder of just how bad my life had become in the grips of addiction. It’s also a reminder of how far I’ve come since I put a stop to it. With the help of my family, I got the help that I needed, I handled my addiction and today they no longer have the burden of enduring my empty promises because my word is no longer driven by addiction—it’s driven by me.
If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.
Justin P—Narconon Suncoast Graduate