Relapse: An Example of How Your Choices Affect Others

Verb /rəˈlaps/

1. (of someone suffering from a disease) suffer deterioration after a period of improvement

My mom and I on Thanksgiving a few years ago

Relapse. The dirty word. I have to admit, I don’t have much personal experience on this because I’ve never been addicted to anything, but I did want to give my two cents on it since it is something that I have had to feel the consequences of.

I want to start off saying that I do believe that addiction is a disease. I think in many cases, the only way to get over addiction is through counseling, medication, rehabilitation, and/or intervention. Most disputes against addiction being a disease is the argument that addictschoose to start using drugs. That may be true in some circumstances, but it does not mean that it is true in all. Some drug users start before they are even old enough to understand what they are doing. Some are raised in households where drug use is normal and not expressed as a negative thing, let alone something that can be addictive and dangerous. I think this is how my mother started her relationship with drugs. As much as I am hurt by her drug use and the consequences of it, I don’t believe she started using with the intention of always using. If your mom told you something was okay, wouldn’t you believe her? There are too many details on this that I’d rather not share, and the purpose of this blog isn’t about how drug use starts, but how the cycle doesn’t end.

I can remember the day we were taken from our mom by DCFS, and I can remember a few short visits with my mom throughout my childhood, but for the most part, she was absent. Most times I wouldn’t know where she was, and a lot of the time the only reason I knew she was locked up was because of the internet. You can search anything and everything online, and most of the time I found out way more than I ever wanted to. I would break my own heart over and over scrolling through old newspaper articles, public records, and mug shots. I pretty much just always assumed my mom was in the pen because I didn’t know what to anticipate about the relationship between drugs and their user. I still don’t know many facts about methamphetamine and how affects the mind, but I do know that I was absolutely terrified of it and hated it for consuming my mom.

I would find out my mom was out of prison mainly by my family members telling me stories about running into her at Walmart and things like that. I remember one time my own sister said she ran into her, said hi, but she was so out of it that she didn’t even recognize her own daughter.

Those are some of the consequences of relapse.

She goes to prison and gets away from the drugs, but then gets out and has access to everything that got her into trouble in the first place.

I’m not saying I don’t understand- I honestly, truly do. I understand how someone can lean on substance to escape from reality. I understand how life seems impossible to carry on sometimes, and the only way to feel okay is to get high. I understand how someone could fall back into that trap again, especially if they don’t have the help to overcome it.

But my issue is when it gets pinned on me.

My mom has said time and time again that she always turns back to drugs because she doesn’t have a relationship with her girls. She is still very angry and hurt that we were taken from her. That is understandable, no doubt. I can’t imagine having my daughter stripped away from me. That is a hole way bigger than I could ever possibly understand. But I think she needs help understanding that all of this happened because of her addiction and refusal to take responsibility of it. I’m sure that if she ever reads this, she will have something to say about that, but everyone has a right to their own opinion. The way I see it, if she wanted a relationship with her girls, she should be more motivated to getting help and staying sober rather than staying complacent and relapsing.

Her latest comment on one of my blogs said, “Your blame and rejection is debilitating to me and ends in me relapsing.” I can’t explain to you how incredibly furious that makes me. Imagine sitting backseat during a car crash and being blamed for the car when it gets totaled. Our relationship is, and always has been, at the mercy of her choices. And to be frank, most times she chooses wrong.

It seems as though it will be a never-ending cycle of relapse. And all I can do is shake my head in disappointment and hope that maybe one day it will change. After all, I will support my mom (and anyone else, for that matter) in her journey towards recovery, should she ever choose that path.

If you are scared of relapsing, visit smartrecovery.org for tips, resources, and an online community.

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