Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Not-So-Funny Post About Addiction

It's about 9 o'clock in the morning and my semi-collective family (Johnny Boy, my mom, The Boy and I) are making our way over the hill and through the woods to Miss Led's house we go.

Miss Led is my little sister.

Miss Led has two daughters.

Miss Led currently lives in a residential rehab for women.

Alright, I'll just say it. Addiction is not uncommon in my family. It's actually quite the norm. Think steak and potatoes (or orange juice and vodka); it's like it was just meant to be. What's abnormal, is somebody in my family getting help. And she is.

So we are making this three hour drive to celebrate Christmas a week early. The car is packed with gifts for her daughters and things to make her life in the Anti-Shangri-La more comfortable (and therefore maybe less likely for her to leave?). Pillows, cigarettes, tampax, string cheese and a huge bowl of homemade spicy peanut chicken with a bag of lettuce cups to wrap it in. Because I know that if I were in rehab, I would want spicy peanut chicken wraps. Who wouldn't? I might also want a powerful sedative.

But enough about chicken, let's get back to the meat and potatoes. The undeniable truth is that addiction has infected every branch of this family tree. It's our root disease. It's made grandchildren steal from grandparents, fathers smoke crack with daughters and mothers pass out at the kitchen table while their jeans darken with the release of urine that their broken bodies can no longer hold. Our boys have gone to prison. Our girls have abused themselves.

If you follow the word of Miss Spoken, you might be under the impression that I'm a genius. That I would naturally be immune to this bacteria. But for the record, I am not the better sister wagging a finger at the poor choices the younger sister has made and tsk-tsking her behavior. Instead, I feel nothing but empathy, a sort of soul-symphony.

Trauma. Abuse. Neglect. Exploitation. All of these things pretend to be buried when you're high so you stay high. But the addict knows that in reality, drugs are just a lay-away plan. Recovery means cashing out and getting it all back with interest. Which is why I love my sister even more for taking these initial steps and doing the work that will give her back her identity, her confidence, her children and ultimately her life.

Two months down and many more to go before I can stop holding my breath for her. Until then, I'll keep her supplied with meat that doesn't need to be refrigerated, canned white potatoes and whatever my heart can afford.


Kathy L said...

Just so everyone knows I am not the one sitting at the table wetting my pants. Miss Spoken's mother.

Anonymous said...

Kathy, I knew you were going to say that!!! Ha Ha. And I am concur and back you up by saying that Miss Spoken's mother was not the one pissing herself at the kitchen table!

Miss Spoken: You're writing is just so good. I hope you are working on your novella! So how'd it go? How does everyone look? How is Sahsa Bear?

This post almost brought tears to my eyes... it is so honest and such the truth! Sad... but over coming one's obstacles is always a great way to gain self-respect again. Let just hope Mis Led is staying put for another 10 months!

Miss Spoken said...

KLivesey - Mom, you are so correct! The pants-pissing mother I referred to was another mother in this family and not you. But I do remember a pair of thigh high suede boots, moving to the rhythm of "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" while my 6th grade friends and I tried to pretend we weren't watching you dance. That WAS you and for that you will pay!!

Miss Spoken said...

Anonymous aka Miss Dee - Everybody looks great but nobody looked better than Miss Led and I rolling in the grass like lovers ... I mean sisters.

toywithme said...

I truly hope your sister's recovery is successful.

Kristin said...

It's my first visit (I clicked from Aunt Becky's) and wow. Powerful writing.

I don't you or your family, but your sister's decision is a strong one and I'm winging positive thoughts to you all.

Aunt Becky said...

Breaks my heart for everyone. It runs as deeply in my family as yours.