When I sit here and think to myself how much my addiction affected everyone it can be quite overwhelming. What do I mean by everyone? I don’t just mean my family or loved ones. That was clear as day. Even though at times, I didn’t realize how bad it was. There really wasn’t much doubt what I did to the people that loved me. While under the influence obviously it is hard to see, and along with self-pity it makes it even more difficult.
What I am talking about is a different group of people that made me realize how strong this disease really is. My hope is that you see how this crippling chronic disease spreads like wildfire through everyone you may or may NOT know.
When I was sitting here thinking about writing on this topic, I was trying to think of that group of people that you typically do not think about. My mother and father were affected the most by my addiction, other than me obviously. So, who close to them were affected? The emotional distress I caused my mother on a daily basis took a serious toll on her. She had to call in sick to work on many occasions because of me. Whether it was to take me to rehab or just a typical day in the life of addiction that chaos entered our home. So, this now affected her boss and coworkers because my mother did not show up for work and even if she did her mind wasn’t there. Though her job might have been understanding, her colleagues had to step for my mom due to my actions. See where I am going with this?
My dad was not as emotional. He kept it all inside. Which is the Irish in him. However, he did react in his own ways. He owned his own business and I know his staff suffered when I suffered. Whether it was like my mom, that he had to walk off a job or he would just lash out on an employee because he was so heartbroken by what was going on with me. When my mom and dad started to go to counseling, they got better… very slowly… but not everyone will reach out like they did due to stigma surrounding addiction.
These are just a couple of examples that show how wide and deep this disease really affects EVERYONE. Not once did I ever think to myself my parents’ coworkers would be affected by my disease. I had never even met some of them. This proves that you don’t even have to meet someone to affect them.
What about our girlfriend that we have that has been tortured by our addiction? Who else did it affect? When our loved one goes home distraught because we just got arrested due to our actions surrounding our addiction, guess who is also affected? Her parents and her friends. No one wants to see someone upset over their relationship especially when it involves addiction. You can affect your girlfriend’s friends even if you have never met them. See how deep addiction travels?
When I sat down to write this, I honestly never really thought much about outside the direct group I affected. I have been sober awhile too and believe that I should have probably considered this before now. I think we all know how much hurt we cause the people we love, but did you ever think about all the others that may be affected by our addiction in other ways like I just described? I know I hadn’t, but I am grateful that I now I do.