Lessons I learned from loving a drug addict

February 2, 2016

(This story appeared on WCNC.com, Charlotte, NC)

jessica-cook

Jessica Cook died of a drug overdate at age 19. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Cook)

by Alicia Cook

EDITOR’S NOTE: Alicia Cook, 29, lost her cousin to a drug overdose when they were both teenagers. She regularly writes columns detailing the gut-wrenching journey in hopes that her story can save at least one life. Today, she writes about what it’s like to love someone who’s addicted to drugs.

I am not an addict.

But try and love one, and then see if you can look me square in the eyes and tell me that you didn’t get addicted to trying to fix them.

If you’re lucky, they recover. If you’re really lucky, you recover, too.

Loving a drug addict can and will consume your every thought. Watching their physical deterioration and emotional detachment to everything will make you the most tired insomniac alive.

You will stand in the doorway of their bedroom and plead with them that you “just want them back.” If you watch the person you love disappear right in front of your eyes long enough, you will start to dissolve too.

Those not directly affected won’t be able to understand why you are so focused on your loved one’s well-being, especially since, during the times of your family member’s active addiction, they won’t seem so concerned with their own.

Don’t become angry with these people. They do not understand. They are lucky to not understand. You’ll catch yourself wishing that you didn’t understand, either.

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