The Secret Addiction

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On Saturday morning I will be getting ready to drive through to Hout Bay. I have driven there every Saturday for the last seven weeks. It takes me about one-and-a-half hours from my house.

The place I will be visiting is an addiction clinic.

I will be writing my name on a sticky name-tag and sitting in a room with other loved ones who will also tell their story. Not long into the sharing session I will struggle to keep my emotions in tact as I helplessly take on everyone’s pain. And I will remember the details of my parent’s alcoholism and the devastation it caused in my childhood.

This Saturday, when it’s my turn to talk, I will tell them how difficult it has been these past two weeks, to process the news that not only is it alcohol – but drugs too.

I will tell them how stupid, angry, sad and helpless I feel.

I will finish the session and wait in the sun for her to come to me. And then I will take her in my arms and hold her tightly. I will tell her that I am her soft place to fall on. I will let her know how proud I am of her for pushing through the 12-step-programme, which could take months.

I will acknowledge her pain and suffering, as she acknowledges mine. I will tell her how much I love and respect her. I will remind her of how talented she is and how lucky she is to still have the gift of life. I will also acknowledge her struggle to deal with deep-rooted emotions and traumas of her childhood and the struggles of a troubled relationship with her father.

I will wish that it is my body that is broken and riddled with eczema instead of hers as she is forced to sit uncomfortably and deal with her feelings through the 12-step-programme.

I will tell her how excited I am to start seeing snippets of the unique young girl whom I lost eight years ago. This girl that is beginning to love herself again. Who is beginning to understand that she is so worthy of love.

When we are both done crying, I will ask her if I can publish this article to my blog. I will tell her that I don’t want to hide this secret anymore. I want to write about it so that others, who may suspect something is wrong with a loved one’s behaviour, will not be afraid to confront them firmly, yet supportively. Who will be willing to help them help themselves, by turning to a specialist addiction clinic, that offers a 12-step programme.

If we can fight cancer, diabetes, alzheimers and other illnesses, we can sure as hell fight addiction in all its forms – before it’s too late.

Ann Warsop

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