You all may recall that though many of my people have had their battles with booze and drugs, only one of us has managed to regularly get in and out of rehab. And in and out and in and out.
And this same relative recently was on the front page of my dad’s hometown paper talking about his battles with addiction. My dad has not read the article. As of five seconds ago, I have.
It’s exactly the kind of bullshit con-artist crap you’d expect from a lifelong drug addict who’s got no real desire to change. Shoot, it’s not even that, yet, it’s still all about how he’s working on being able to forgive the people who’ve done him wrong, and not one word about the marriage he wrecked, the kids he fucked up, or the terrible things he put my aunt and uncle through.
He claims to be adopted. He was actually taken in by my aunt and uncle after his parents (my other aunt and uncle) divorced. He claims to have been given drugs by a family member. Considering that he’s among the oldest of my cousins and that no one in the generation above him even drank, this is on its face laughable.
He also claims that until this program, he never spoke about his past, which again, is laughable since he’s always trying to get money out of my family by throwing giant pity parties for himself in which he goes on about how poorly he’s been treated and how rough his life is.
Well, I will say this, if he’s going to lie, thank goodness he’s telling people he’s adopted.
Heh, you know, it’s kind of funny in a sad way that he can’t just be honest with himself and the rest of the world, because he didn’t have that great a life and if he’d just talked honestly about his parents and their divorce and his troubles, it wouldn’t make his battle with drugs any less understandable. But instead, he’s going on about the hippies (I should point out that his dad was born in the 30s. The closest my cousin ever came to a hippie family member was my dad, who, bless his heart, could not identify the smell of pot if it were lingering on the clothing of his own children, let alone doing drugs with his nephew.) and how shitty his family life is and having lived in a group home before he was adopted (which I’ve never heard of before now. I’ll have to ask my dad.)
I guess the reason it pisses me off so much is two-fold. One–my parents were his hippie liberal relatives and my parents don’t even drink. He came down and spent summers with them from the time they were married in ’69 until after I was born. To insinuate that his hippie relatives introduced him to drugs is a lie about my parents. And two–he’s a nightmare of a person who has ruined a marriage and his children. For him to have the guts to talk about how recovery is all about him finding ways to forgive the wrongs done him?!
Get thee to an NA meeting jackass and work on begging the forgiveness of your poor kids.
Junkie relatives are one of the biggest curses on a family. Your family code says "we’re family, we have to love them no matter what." But the junkie relatives take advantage of that and keep bleeding the family dry financially, spiritually and emotionally. Nothing makes me angrier than the status of nobility people often confer on junkies (see under "Frey, James"), as though their ‘problems’ aren’t of their own making. As though the junkie hasn’t lied and betrayed and stolen to get where they are. As though the junkie hasn’t emotionally abused _everyone_ close to him or her.
Don’t envy you dealing with that. Been there, done that with the addicts and alcoholics abounding in my life by the dozens. Taking the lying to that scale is pretty out there though, and to the paper no less – I’d be royally pissed too, don’t blame you a bit.I tend to joke a lot about addiction so if you ever see such from me, I hope you won’t be offended by it. It’s kind of a laugh to keep from crying kinda thing with me – underneath the patheticness and pitifulness of it all, I try to find the humor whenever possible.
Many junkies have gotten that way because they fundamentally can’t cope without altering reality. That truth-distortion is at the bedrock of the habit and the lies are the last thing to go.Anyone with personal experiences with addicted family members (which is to say, nearly all the readers of the home-town paper) will know the drill — lies, followed by blame-assigning/guilt trips, followed by tall tales, followed by half-truth, with a touch of the real thrown in to con the gullible, then back to the lies.
Aww. That’s… really unfortunate.Thankfully, that’s one thing my immediate family hasn’t been touched by. I do, however, work at a Drug Abuse Program, so it’s something I’ve a bit of experience with. Even though that’s a stupid, manipulative stunt for him to pull (putting that in the paper, saying those specific things), I do hope that whatever he is doing is helpful. And if nothing else, ship him off to California, and we’ll deal with him.For Coble – I don’t know about this ‘nobility’ thing. I think it may have something to do with my context (mother who works for/with the DMH, my working with a drug abuse program, etc.), but the nicest thing I generally see people say they feel for (non-functional*) junkies is pity. That does tend to involve a lot of discussion about whether or not the person could have helped their addictive/abusive behavior in the first place, but even the kindest people I’ve known, who have been all tarumatized and ‘it’s not their fault’ have eventually gotten to the point where they end that sentence with ‘but it’s hurting [us/them/everyone/their children/etc.] and they need to clean their shit up, because [we/they] can’t do this any more.’ The problem is, of course, that it takes some people a lot longer to get to this point than others, and that once they’re there, people tend to react in ways that might be counterproductive (simply ignoring the family member/cutting them off without explanatio;, drastic ‘interventions’ without planning; having dependents committed, rather than admitted to treatment programs, etc.).* I know, that seems like an unnecessary clarification, but I’m fond of precision of language, and people’s thresholds for (substance) abusive behavior vary wildly. It is possible for a person to use significant amounts of (certain types of) substances without addictive or abusive behavior, and not all addictive behavior turns abusive (though the vast majority does, if untreated). For the purposes of this discussion, a non-functional junkie is someone whose behavior is both addictive and abusive, hurting both that person and those around them.
I *think* Katherine is referring to the "junkies are just too sensitive to live in this cruel world" myth. It isn’t invoked by families but by fans. Think of the cults of Kurt Cobain, Gram Parsons, Lenny Bruce. I’m showing my age, since I’m sure I’m blanking on some 20- or 30-something idol who’s out there (or recently dead) just now. This is just a doomeder variant of the suffering artist myth.
They lie. They lie when they get up in the morning, when they go to lunch, and when they go out for the booze/drugs in the evening. Once you know that, actually it’s a kind of defense.
nm is correct. I am referring to the whole "Shine On, You Crazy Diamond!!" worshipfulness that surrounds the Junkie Artiste. It frustrates me to see people elevate irresponsibility to a chic status.
Ah. I don’t really get out all that much. That is to say, I know the phenomenon, but I haven’t really spent much time with people endorsing that particular belief.I think that’s also a distance thing. The junkie artist is far away, brilliant and untouchable. Of course their problems aren’t really so bad… they’re just misunderstood. How could they make something so wonderful if they were really such jerks? The junkie relative, on the other hand, isn’t far away at all. They can be brilliant, and they should be loved, but it’s a lot harder to say "the rest of the world just doesn’t get it" when you happen to *be* that ‘rest of the world.’
nm (and Katherine) are right on the money here. River Phoenix. John Belushi. Chris Farley. Yeah, the whole ‘tortured artist’ myth. I’m sure they were nice people and all, but still…and now they hold fundraising marathons in their names, and I suppose it’s better if, as they say, some good comes of it, but still…
Oddly, Magni, I have the opposite reaction to artists/stars who are addicts. If I’m a fan, I feel that their work belongs to me — so they have no business messing up their talent and/or dying when I want to continue to appreciate their art. I *still* haven’t forgiven Janis Joplin for overdosing, and it’s been a looooong time. Whereas I’m lucky enough not to have anyone addicted to anything in my family, except for a couple of connections by marriage. One of them has now been sober for years, and I admire her for that; the other keeps going in and out of rehab, but she isn’t in a position to harm me or anyone I care about, so I just feel sorry for her.
Lynnster, no worries. What is laughter for if not to help strip painful things of their power? I’m pissed now, but it’ll be funny after a bit.Imfunnytoo, isn’t that the truth? That’s what I keep saying to my dad. Everyone I know who’s been through one of the 12-step programs and had it help them has had to confront that repeatedly. That, along with the making amends stuff, seem to me to be very necessary if my cousin is ever going to recover. The fact that he’s still lying and still making it all about his grievances against the world says to me that he’s not changed.