Addiction Is Not A Lonely Road

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I had a grandma who smoked herself to death. Remove oxygen mask, insert cigarette. Insanity.

I had a grandpa who ate himself to death. Surgery after surgery, bypass after bypass. His foot was amputated and still he couldn’t stop eating goddamn Italian beef sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I had a brother once. I never talk about him.

His death was not glamorous. Though he had more God-given, natural talent in him than I ever will, his life was not lived full of meaning or purpose. It was spent sleeping a lot and the endless pursuit of fleeting euphorias. And to this day I’m embarrassed for him and the way he went.

I had a childhood once. I never talk about it.

Because when you grow up in a family full of addicts the narrative doesn’t fit people’s expectations. And people don’t like to hear about unpleasant things or things they don’t understand. It frightens them. Makes them uncomfortable.

In the end, the addicts who weep for themselves are always hurting those closest to them, but they are too self-involved or too prideful to do anything about it.

Lucky for me, I was at least born observant. In my youth I saw the crippling effects of addiction on otherwise beautiful and gifted human beings.

I saw the steady, deliberate decay of amazing genetics. Attractive, symmetrical bodies, marred by sores and hacking coughs. Sinking cheeks and leathery wrinkles.

I saw rage appear from out of nowhere. Objects thrown, insults thrown, punches thrown.

I saw the cash in, cash out. The debt piling up. The misery of working for nothing and then the escapism of WHATEVER substance of choice was for the individual. Because everyone’s addiction is “not as bad” as some other “worse” addiction.

An addict usually doesn’t ask for their burden. And they think they struggle alone, but they don’t.

Right up until we put them in the ground, those of us who try to help them, struggle right beside them. And once they are dead and gone, we start a new struggle.

We struggle with the idea that we could have helped more. We could’ve tried harder. Like one more gesture would have made all the difference in the end.

Addiction is a selfish road. It might feel like a lonely road but it isn’t. It’s the opposite.

Addiction reaches out from its host and clings and grips and tears at anyone merciful and generous enough to try to approach and exorcise the demon.

Resources, time, energy. They have a finite supply. Addiction doesn’t care. It’s insatiable. And I hate it.

To this day I still have relatives and friends who pursue their addictions. But after every funeral, I can tell I’m just a little more cold; even less empathetic than I started.

I’m still angry at my brother. The band we’ll never start. The gym we’ll never open. The memories we’ll never share.

And I’m still angry at addicts. The life they waste. The precious hours and minutes that no one can ever get back. The talents and health they take for granted.

What should you take away from all this ranting?

Are you an addict? Think about the people you drag down. And don’t you dare take the easy way out. Don’t pity yourself any further. Get help.

Screw your embarrassment and pride. Everybody already knows, you aren’t that clever. So cast your ego aside, call a spade a spade, and get help.

Are you struggling with an addict? I’m sorry but…that struggle can last for life.

You can’t change the world. You sure as hell won’t save it. It’s hard enough to change even one person. All you can do is the best to take care of yourself. Lead by example.

You can hold yourself accountable for your habits and make them good, healthy, habits. Habits that promote your well-being and afford you the strength and energy to lift those around you up.

If you’ve fought through addiction and recovered, good for you. Share your story. Give back the time you stole from others. Times two.

Addiction Is Not A Lonely Road
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Addiction Is Not A Lonely Road
Addiction isn't a lonely road. In the end, the addicts who weep for themselves are always hurting those closest to them, but they are too self-involved...
About the author

Kyle Milligan

I'm Kyle Milligan. I really enjoy writing. I wrote a couple novels (The Hang-Ups and Hangovers series) and now I blog frequently on a bunch of different websites. I also enjoy lifting heavy things and and writing about it.

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