“The Face of Addiction” by Quita Feeley

The face of addiction is disturbing
Lurking in the secret parts of society, in the dark and musky corners of big cities
On the street corners with torn cardboard signs proclaiming the desire to work
all along hiding the true agenda…..old withered undernourished facades
of what was once some mother’s child….
someone’s brother, sister ,
someone’s sweetheart or best friend.

Not daring to look on such a frightening semblance,
I looked the other way,and whispered up a prayer….
until one day unable to pass by anymore in my world of pretty things,
I was forced to look into the face of an addict.

It was an extremely close angle and I looked into the eyes
for much longer than I thought my heart could bear.
My eyes stung with tears I desperately tried to control but to no avail.
So many moments I was determined to look another way
to not allow this obscure outline of a human trapped inside an addict’s body to burn into my reality.
I could not ….
I would not continue to pretend I didn’t see.
I would look deep into the eyes though hollow and frightened ,
as harrowing as it was, I would look and really SEE.

I was not prepared for this moment, not in the slightest.
A fear consumed me trying to wrap its all too familiar hands around my throat…
Struggling to breathe or even swallow, I tried to take the image in…….
I wasn’t downtown in a dark and dingy corner full of odd sights and sounds…
it wasn’t by a deserted bus station, or on skid row……
not like the creepy people I had seen who looked like they hadn’t had anything but alcohol for days.
The odor I was expecting was not there.

Slowly becoming brave enough to open my eyes
with heart pounding, I faced the face of addiction…
There I was with tears uncontrollable
heart completely broken staring at my beautiful son as I put my arms around him,
completely helpless to free him from the monster’s grip.

As I embraced him, the shell of what was once my son,
I felt the warm and loving hands of God encompass both of us.
telling me that I needed to let go.
Some things even the love of a mom can’t resolve or repair.
I could love him, but I had to let go in faith.
that in doing so, he will return whole.

 

2 thoughts on ““The Face of Addiction” by Quita Feeley

  1. This really hits home , I too have a son who has the rotten disease of addiction. I thank people like you & Sandy Swenson who are helping by minimizing stigma and creating a climate in which people can talk about the pain and suffering addiction brings into a family & in addition hopefully encourages those who are addicted to drugs are less fearful of seeking and accessing treatment For years I cried in shame, hiding out from life. Feeling guilt in such a huge capacity it is hard to describe. Sandy does an amazing job in her book, I felt as if it was my life through her words. And I felt the same way as I read your post. My sons love of the drug started with an injury and progressed to a place I could have never imagined, it was a nightmare. I have held him so many times suffering and in crisis thinking it may be the last time I see him. We had him disappear wondering if he was alive or dead. Fearful to watch the news or hear a siren. Many many nights of lost sleep. My beautiful boy now sits in a prison cell, for drug related charges, he has never harmed another person, never used a weapon and yet he received a 13 year sentence at 27 years old.It is heartbreaking, but he is alive and I know God has a plan . Hopeful for an appeal , I try to hold onto my faith and I hold my head high, I am not ashamed of my son.I realize for many the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people,but it all turns out the same regardless, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted person’s self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs.” Addiction is a sneaky disease. Beginning as an escape from your reality, or yourself, and you become a slave to the next fix., and the next …and so on. The criminalization of drug possession is failing our people, our families, our community. We, my family, way to many families are victims of a system that is ineffective and inappropriate. Addiction is a disease of the brain that many people suffer from be it work, gambling, sex, food, alcohol, or drugs and the current trend in our country of criminalizing drug use and possession is doing nothing to curb drug use. Addiction doesn’t discriminate; it can happen to anyone’s family. I never thought this would touch my family as I am sure many others thought as we raised our children. Being an involved parent,loving every part of their childhood. From watching baseball from the bleachers, at a dance recital, or laughing on a family vacation. By sharing our experiences I pray changes will happen, where there is less shame behind a disease. Addiction is the only disease where someone screams at you for being sick instead of feeling compassion for the individual suffering.Chances are most folks know at least one person in their life who is struggling, now. Yesterday, it was my son– and it will be someones else’s loved one , tomorrow. I pray for your boy, and your family . I know “Joey’s Song “touched your heart and souls as it did mine. I commend you again for your courage to share and God bless you

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