Thursday, May 16, 2013

Living With An Adict's Lies

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I never dreamed I would live with addicts--that wasn't my "happily ever after"; but in an odd way it has become my happily-ever-today.  I want to share the good and the ugly as I have watched my "addicts."

The Good

The best parts of living with an addict are the moments of candor and honesty.  The times when you can look into each other's soul and really connect and understand the pain the other is facing, the joy they experience and the hope they finally feel.  Watching another grow into the person they really, truly want to be is beautiful.

The Bad

Knowing you have been lied to.  Part of the web of addiction I have had to come to grips with is the network of lies told to protect and hide the truth.  As Edmond explained, the limbic system of the brain avoids pain and seeks pleasure.  Confrontation is pain; lies cover the pain; hide from enough pain and eventually you won't know what is a lie anymore.

Edmond was an exceptionally brilliant liar.  Like Snape of Harry Potter fame, Edmond could hide the truth deep down in his soul.  His cloak of goodness slipped occasionally and I would wonder what was wrong-- what was going on.  I knew that I wanted counseling, but had no idea why and what was really distancing us in our relationship.

Those years of struggle, wonder, and confusion pushed me to question who I was and what I wanted.  I was blessed to have dear friends challenge me to become a better person; not to ignore the issues, but to learn to love and forgive even when I didn't understand.  To open the boxes of pain, share the hurt with my Savior and ask him to take it for me, because I couldn't be the person I wanted when I was storing all my pain and hurt and never forgiving those around me.

Even in the bad, with the love of the Savior in my life, good things happened.  I grew and I loved.  Edmond's desire to change has been the icing on a cake baked in the crucible of hard work and love. (And really, while icing really compliments the cake, a good cake is nothing to turn up your nose about. My growth made the bad not so... well bad.)


Edmond is not the only addict I have lived with.  We hosted Fernand in our home for several months.  For the sake of differentiating the Bad from the UUUUGLY, let me compare Edmond and Fernand.

Edmond is at heart a really good guy!  His moral center is dead on.  He has known his whole life that the addiction that haunts him is a problem and not the way he wants to live. Edmond tried to fight the fight.  Edmond's lies were to hide his pain and suffering.  From what I understand, he lied as little as possible-- he really wanted to do the right thing.  (Note the desire was in the right place, even if the actions were not always following with that desire.)

Fernand was a different story.  Fernand lied to gain advantage and to get what he wanted.  Our communications were filled with stretches of truth, back peddling from statements, promises, blatant disregard for the promises made and lame excuses to justify himself.

I hate to make a distinction with lies-- some being better than others when they all stink-- but really there is a stark difference in the energy, peace, and joy in a home when this malicious kind of lie takes over.

Now, I don't consider myself a love light-wieght.  I can and have loved tough people.  I know that about myself.  Loving Fernand was INCREDIBLY challenging, draining and disheartening. I knew I couldn't control, cajole or force his behavior; all I could do was pray, hope, and watch him make poor choices.

Watching and waiting is painful.  I think WATCHING was the best gift Mary could give her son as He hung on the cross.  To watch with Him, stay beside Him and continue to love as He suffered and died.  Maybe that is the gift we can give to our Fernands.  To watch and love even when it is painful.

Ladies, we can LOVE, really LOVE as we focus on the Love our Savior has for us.  We will fail (been there, done that, doing it again tomorrow).  We will watch others fail.

But Love we can, through the Good, the Bad and the UGLY.

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