“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.