…and the damage done

“I’ve seen the needle and the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie’s like a settin’ sun”

Neil Young

Needle In and the Damage Done

Time, and meditation has softened this version of this blog; its origins lie in a very sad and discouraged place…….

If you love an addict in any form – family member; child; friend; lover; partner – there will be heartbreak in your life. No ifs, no buts or maybes; it’s just a matter of when…

The mantra of addiction is that it is a disease – cunning, baffling and ultimately has the potential to be fatal….

And while it is intellectually easy to know that, sometimes in life it is hard to separate the person from the actions caused by the disease… it is extraordinarily hard to love a person with an addiction.. I don’t mean to stay loving them; but if they are loved by you; it can be lonely and soul destroying….

Ironically, initially,  it is very easy to love an addict…

When they first arrive in your life. They can be charming; generous; their obvious “need” or air of vulnerability sparks the “caring empath”… we are drawn to pound puppies; stray cats and people who need love….

In hidden addiction they are cunning; they instinctually seem to know which buttons to push to get affection; trust; care; money; even the love that they may be seeking…

They are excited by a new person in their life; someone to entertain, to stimulate.

For a short time, you become their addiction – and its nice. We all love getting people’s attention. The part of us that needs positive affirmation, gets fed by their responsiveness and when you become the thing they need, they will do anything to keep you….

And they are generous with their compliments

extravagant with their gestures

earnest and believable with their promises


Addiction is selfish. Addicts are Selfish

Eventually you will take second place (or third or fourth) to the substance or habit that is their addiction…

They will lie

They will cheat

They will steal

They will be careless with you

They will ALWAYS choose The Fix

You will NEVER be the priority

The extravagant promises will continue – but they will no longer be fulfilled. But it won’t be sudden; you’ll drift for a while… thinking “this time they might deliver…” and sometimes they will surprise you, enough to keep hope alive….

And there are 2 scenarios

They will either acknowledge they “might have a problem’; which comes with endless promises to change – each doomed; with “bargaining” by you and by them

“If you let me do this; I will promise to stop”

“If I give you this, will you get help?”

And they will lapse


And again..

That “just one drink” will turn into months if not years of drinking; and secrets

That “just a flutter” will turn back into lying about money; hiding the truth; and secrets

That “work friendship” will turn into lying, working late; and secrets

That “I need this pain killer, just for a couple of days” will turn into getting family members to buy pain killers; to asking people to lie at the Drs to get another prescription; and secrets

Money disappears; electronic equipment is “lent to a friend” but is never returned; valuables are “lost”; credit cards are “Stolen”; behaviours change, there is secrecy and there is anger

Eventually the trust goes; but somehow the love stays… you remember the person you cared about. You tell yourself; that if they get help, this nightmare will end.

You know that that person is still inside, and you Hope.

And Hope is the ultimate shackle… It ties you inexorably to that person. It is sometimes the last tie…

Because the Love will eventually disappear. There might be affection, but even that will pass. But you forever hope that they will get clean and fulfil the potential of the person you know lies inside.. And even if you put them out of your life, you will endlessly worry that their addiction will bring them harm. That one day you will get the worst possible news. Out of sight is seldom out of mind.

The 2nd addiction scenario is that they are in denial….

And this one? You may as well wear a shirt with “doormat” printed on the front.

There is no hope; no saving grace; no acknowledging that their actions disregard you and hurt you. They will never acknowledge that any of the mess is their fault. Never own that they have contributed to how bad you are feeling… Never even see the damage they are doing to you and those around you.

And that is the most damaging, if you choose to stay, or you simply cannot leave. This scenario attacks your self esteem

“If I were worthwhile, they would accept responsibility at least; even if they don’t choose recovery”

“If I were better, smarter, braver… I would leave”

“Maybe this is all I deserve”..

“Maybe I’m too soft; too sensitive; too weak to make them choose me”

It is a slow erosion until 1 day you wake up and you’re at the bottom of the cliff too..

Too tired from making it ok; covering their errors; fixing their messes; keeping everything else running..

You wonder where it all went wrong.

You blame yourself….

Too stretched making all the plates spin..

Too embarrassed to ask for help

Too exhausted to change anything

Too sad to breathe…

Just looking for a way out…..

So sorry it’s over, so sorry it’s over
There’s so much more that I wanted and (so sorry it’s over)
There’s so much more that I needed and
Time keeps moving on and on and on (so sorry it’s over)
Soon we’ll all be gone
Let’s take some time to talk this over
You’re out of line and rarely sober
We can’t depend on your excuses
‘Cause in the end, it’s fucking useless
You can only lean on me for so long
Bring the ship about to watch a friend drown
Sit out on the ledge, begged you to come down
You can only lean on me for so long

Blink – 182 (Man Overboard)


In my life I am blessed to have a third type of Addict – those who are in Active Recovery – You guys absolutely have my respect… I’ve seen how hard it is to pull yourself out, face your demons, do the Mahi (do the work); and start putting your lives back together; as well as atoning for the deeds that active addiction caused…

I have learned so much from watching and listening to you. The steps you take to get sober and stay sober hold valuable life lessons for all of us. From taking life a day at a time; to reaching out when the going gets tough; to admitting your failings but celebrating your strengths. These are things we can all take on board and live the best lives we can…

I salute every single one of you; and wish you nothing but a fulfilled life…

I sat with my anger long enough

until she told me her real name was grief

Isaac Rowe

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