I pulled into my usual spot- the McDonald’s Drive through-line. I ordered my daily soda and pulled forward. As I searched for my wallet, I realized it wasn’t in its usual place because I had re-organized my car & work bags in anticipation of my daughter borrowing my car for a few weeks.
I desperately looked for some loose change to pay for my dollar soda. I found 35¢. I looked up. There were 2 cars ahead of me towards the pay window. Panic ensued. Should I pull out of line? Would they take 35¢ since I’m a “regular?” Of course, they wouldn’t.
Such a first-world problem, I know.
But it made me realize how we take for granted the simple privileges of having money, a car. All the things we NEED to function daily and get shizz done.
So when we get frustrated with our people with substance use disorder, for not paying a fine or not returning an important call; we have to almost look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
As one treatment center states:
"When drugs and alcohol come first, the rest of your needs can begin to fall away, and you can find yourself neglecting your basic needs for food, shelter, and relationships. For example, some will allow themselves to be homeless to ensure they can continue using drugs or alcohol".-abtrs
When we find ourselves becoming so incensed at the behavior of someone else who doesn’t value the things we do; it can be maddening. However, if we can see the effect these drugs have on their priorities, it’s easier to understand.
I learned this early on when I was preparing for my son’s return from his first rehab. I knew he would probably be staying with me at least a few days while finding a job etc. I hurriedly readied up a room ‘manly style’ & when I presented it to him with explanations that the bed wasn’t very comfy etc, he said, “Mom, do you think I care where I sleep?” I took it then as he was just grateful to be back and “cured” & the bed was a minor thing compared to the wonderful life he had to look forward to. But looking back- he meant “I don’t care where or how I sleep as long as my mental & physical obsession is satisfied each day.” He lasted 9 days before those cravings took over.
His brain was not healed in the least. Turns out that 6 weeks of subpar rehab isn’t enough & although he wanted to fix things; without his usual coping skills, he was left with a confused hijacked brain telling him to retreat & not be responsible.
A couple of months after that, when he was in full-on active addiction, I drug him- literally- into finish his bankruptcy proceedings that we had started while in rehab. Outside the office, he was in such withdrawals that he was sweating and cold and thrashing around in my back seat. I told him it would only take a minute & I practically pulled him out of the back seat.
He only had on one shoe.
Afterward it was laughable, but at the time, I was physically and mentally exhausted. And so was he. Who knew trying to keep from getting sick was so exhausting.
My experience at McDonald’s is just one of many times when I am grateful that I can pull out my wallet and drive my car and snuggle into my soft bed at night. My son doesn’t even have a bank account anymore. It’s heartbreaking that someone can fall so low but even worse, is the shame and desperation which this leads to. I won’t even go into the finagling that a simple task takes when one doesn’t have a mailing address, bank account, or even a car.
When my son still had these conveniences but was spiraling fast; he carried around his faded visa card that had a big crack in it. Of course, it finally broke and he still didn’t get it replaced until the account was finally stopped for continual negative balance. He would joke that all the fast food people knew him by his broken card. This gives a little insight into the chaos that swirled inside his head which surprisingly, the drugs fixed.
As I study more of Gabor Mate’s work, the connection between the internal state of ADD and addiction becomes clear. Here’s one of his videos about pain and emotions.
My son, like all of us- just wants the loud buzzing in our heads to turn to a soft roar.
Addiction wants to take that buzzing & fill it with every insecurity possible.
It preaches freedom but guarantees slavery.
It whispers love but guarantees hate.
It splashes waves of euphoria onto a moving screen but keeps moving the screen away from you.
Addiction wants to take everything.
It wants panic.
It wants life. Any life. It wants bright, strong, committed, loyal, funny, driven, happy people.
It gloats and giggles when it leaves them in the dust like a used piece of bubble gum.
Addiction survives on hate, & stigma & shame.
It revels in families fighting & falling apart. It rejoices in little kids precious tears.
It pretends to wipe them away with empty promises. But like an evil stepmother in a fairy tale, it vanishes the child to its own attic of shame, self doubt, & abandonment.
Addiction despises wands. Wands of love.
Wands of prayer. Wands that fairy Godmothers hold dear. It hates the alchemist that can turn pain into power, coal into diamonds, & dull metal into Gold.
Be the wand it hates.
Be the love.
Be the fairy Godmother.
Be the carriage.
Be the prince.
Be anything that will hinder its evil path.
Contravene its power.
Hinder its lies.
Be anything that proves to your loved one that you are A CHOSEN one.
One who is chosen to not play a part in this evil scheme.
Be the one who stops the clock just before midnight- & help them believe there is still a glass slipper to be found.-©Samantha Waters
And so your loved one never has to look for their lost shoe again......