Saturday, July 23, 2011

Something Personal: My Journey with a Drug Addict

July 23, 2011

Dear friends,
I have always tried to keep this blog about nail polish and product reviews.  But every once in a while, I will see or hear something non-beauty related, that I think is important to share.  Today is one of those days.  If you are looking for a post on polish, today's post isn't for you.  If you have a loved one with an addiction, then I hope this post helps in some way.
Amy Winehouse passed away today and some of the things I was reading on Twitter not only broke my heart, but made me sick.  My very best friend is a recovering addict and I have known him for over 11 years.  He has been clean for the last 6 years.  In May of 2000, I met a man who was charming, funny, good looking, tall, and loved great music.  Perfect, right?  Not really.  I was quickly introduced to the world of addiction.  Drug addicts are cunning, sneaky, and manipulative.  All they want to be is numb from their pain and they will do what ever they have to do to get there.  They will lie, steal, and run through you life like a train wreck.  At the same time, co-dependents are addicted to their addiction.  Apparently I am a co-dependent.  I struggle with that 'label' constantly.  I don't like being labeled as anything, much less a co-dependent.  I thought co-dependents were weak.  I wasn't weak, I stopped being his friend every other day.  I didn't have a past of befriending addicts-I didn't go looking to save someone.  I quickly learned that and addict is the ONLY one that can save themselves.  But looking back, I had an excuse and justification for all of his actions.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard, "this is the last time" or "I am going to stop in the morning", I would be rich. 
My friend's addiction didn't start when I met him.  He had been using drugs since he was 10.  When he was 15, he was introduced to heroin and it quickly became his drug of choice.  He overdosed on heroin 3 times during our friendship, twice I found him.  The last time I found him was a total fluke.  I would get these feelings that something was up or wrong and usually they were dead on.  That day was no different.  I just knew something was wrong.  I went to where he was staying and sure enough, there he was-again!  I really didn't think he was going to make it this time.  I went to the hospital to see if he was still alive, gave them my phone number and left.  I was done.  I simply didn't have it in me to nurse him back to health and stand by his side while he got clean, only to be disappointed once again.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for him) he called me and I went to the hospital.  And, I gave him one more chance.  That was April 23, 2005, six years three months ago, exactly.
Why did I stay?  I don't know.  I just don't know and I wish I had some profound answer, but I don't.  I am a firm believer in the Universe and it putting people in your life for a reason.  Some people would say I was week, insecure, or just plain stupid for sticking around.  While others would say I was compassionate, a true friend, brave, & patient for sticking around.  You opinion is your opinion and at the end of the day things worked out for me.  Today he is a husband, a loving father, an amazing best friend, a hard worker, clean.  Oh and his wife, well, she is pretty awesome too ;)
There is so much more to this journey, but I don't feel like writing a novel today.  These re a few things I have learned over the years. 
~you can't fix someone who doesn't want to be fixed & you can't fix them anyways
~you can't wish, hope, or pray an addict better
~detox/rehab is just the beginning of a life of recovery
~the addict must be willing and want to change
~you, as the friend, family member, loved one, need to heal too.  Find what works for you

Thank you for taking the time to read this and my wish is that one person reads it and learns she/he is not alone.  I don't feel comfortable with posting resources, but if you would like some help I can do that privately through email.  Plus, not every program works for everybody and I don't want to point anyone in the the wrong direction.  If you really have no idea where to start looking or would like to chat privately, please email me ( and we can to it there.

I will close with two of my favorite quotes. 
"Hearts understand in ways minds cannot"~ Lois Wilson

"When the world says, 'Give up', Hope whispers, 'Try one more time'"~Unknown


Natalie said...

Lovely post. Alcoholism and drug addiction run in my family, so I unfortunately have way too much experience with such things. The hardest part is learning that no matter how much you try, YOU can't make someone else better. They have do to it themselves.

Brenda said...

Thank you for this post, my dear. My daughter is an drug/alcohol addict. I have been dealing with this for the last 10+ years. This past week she made an appointment to get on Siboxone to try to get off of everything. I drove her to the appt. keep us in your prayers. As a mother of an heart has been broken & continues to break. I am so glad things worked out for the best for you. xoxo

Nicole said...

Cindy, this was a hell of a post, and I admire you for doing it. Amy Winehouse's story just hurts my heart. I wish her peace, and I would never sit in judgement on her.
In my twenties, I was very close to being an alcoholic. I found it as an out to all of the pain I was dealing with in my life. I actually started drinking in my teens, but it was spiraling out of control in my twenties. I made a decision to stop. I don't know what it was that triggered my wakeup call, but I do know that I did it on my own - I wouldn't have listened to anyone about my problem until I was ready to.
Your story is amazing. It really touched my heart. You both are very strong people. ♥

opallinestar said...

Hear, hear. I've felt sick over some of the things I've been reading about Amy's death. She made some stupid choices but that doesn't give anyone the right to say she deserved to die. People are too judgemental... they make nasty statements without knowing the whole story.

Hunter87 said...

I respect you for posting this because not alot of people are able to just speek up. I have a few friends that have gone that path and it makes me sad. Im a nurse and I like helping people feel better and I can't do anything for them. God bless you doll =)

Jen said...

Thank you for this post. A close friend is also an addict and almost a year clean. He fights himself daily to stay clean. Not only has he dealt with this, but so does his girlfriend and brother. He is bombarded by these problems daily. People don't often realize this is a daily struggle for him.

Good to know there are other people out there dealing with the same thing. Thank you.

Polish'd Cindy said...

Thank you all for your sweet comments.
@Natalie addiction is so baffling to me. I still can't wrap my hear around it at times.
@Brenda, as a mother of 3, my biggest fear is that one of my 'babies' will have an addiction. My heart goes out to you and I hope things work out for you and your daughter :) Hang in there.
@Nicole you really have a beautiful heart and a sweet soul. Love you to pieces.
@opallinestar I really couldn't believe some of the things I was reading. They were completely out of line and the sad part is they were coming from bloggers I tought I respected.
@Hunter87 It's nice you have compassion for addicts & actually want to help, I met a lot of nurses who didn't.
@Jen it really is a daily and sometimes hourly struggle.

Alice @ NailsbyAlice said...

I think that you did a great thing writing and posting this...because people usually don't care or don't want to see...
My best friend was addict to alcohol but she suddently stopped when she was carried in hurry at the hospital due to too much drinking...