Have you ever held secrets that weren’t yours? Have you ever hid the evidence of someone else’s wrongdoings? Have you ever covered for someone else’s destruction and chaos? I have. For years, I worked diligently to hide the proof of someone else’s addictions. I worked effortlessly to cover his lies, his failures, and his annihilation.
In taking a vow, “in sickness and health”, I never imagined the sickness that would find the man I married. The kind of sickness that no one understands, no one truly accepts, and one that everyone works fiercely to avoid and extinguish. Like a fire that suddenly sweeps through a house, quick and mighty, addiction is the same. If it’s not yours, you don’t see it coming. You can’t prepare or plan for it. It simply finds people, stealing the pieces that made them enjoyable, leaving nothing left that’s recognizable.
Eventually you’re left with nothing but a shell and broken promises. Surrounded by destruction, chaos, and legal matters more complicated than you ever could have imagined. Addiction is a complicated illness. One that silently creeps in abducting the person you know and love, and replacing them with something vile. Something mirroring evil. The harder you stare, the harder it is for you to recognize the person that once filled that same body.
Eventually you change too, even though you’re not the one with the awful habits and hobbies.
They lie, and you eventually lie for them too.
They deny, and eventually you deny for them too.
They make excuses, you eventually make excuses for them too.
They abuse relationships, you simply disappear from yours.
They beg, and steal and cheat, you drop to your knees praying fiercely that things change.
They are in constant withdrawal from the drugs, you’re in constant withdrawal from the life that found you.
There is power in recovery, even in the recovery of surviving someone else’s addiction.
There is power in taking your life back, even when it wasn’t your choices that contaminated it.
There is power in stopping the cycle, walking away, and demanding a life worth living.
You are more than the sum of someone else’s mistakes, even if they share the same last name. You are more than the addiction, especially when it was never yours to begin with. You are worthy of a life vacant of addiction, you simply have to demand it and work diligently to create it.
As hard as you worked to save someone else and to heal someone else, work as diligently to save and heal yourself. You’re worth the hard work too. You’re worth the happiness. You’re worthy of a life that’s filled with purpose. Purpose larger than living for someone else.
The beauty finds you when you start living for yourself. Start today friends, you won’t regret it.
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.