During my first clinical rotation, I got stuck on a Med/Surg floor of an area hospital staffed by some of the nastiest and unpleasant nurses on the planet. I’ll never forget the day I came on shift to hear a nurse give report about a patient who had come on the floor with obvious drug-seeking behaviors.

The disdain in her voice was both palpable and obvious.

Anyone who knows an addict can sort of see where the distrust comes from, it’s hard to trust anyone who will beg, borrow, or steal to get what they want. You want to believe the promises, no matter how many times they’ve reneged on them, you want to hope for the best, no matter what the facts say.

But underneath all of the lies and half-truths, beyond the addict and the drug, lies a person. A person who loves and is loved, someone who has goals and dreams, talents and shortcomings, a person who has likes and dislikes.

It’s easy to forget this, especially when the drug has obscured the ability to touch these parts, as the drug screams infinitely louder and more gratingly. You can hate the disease, but not the person underneath.

Underneath the use and abuse is the person you once laughed with. The person who shared cup after cup of coffee with you. The person who made you smile when you were at the lowest point of your life and reminded you of what was important when you needed to hear it. The person who brought you a card when you had your wisdom teeth out, but delivered it to a house on the block over from your house, but amazingly had another girl named Becky who lived here. The person who, when your boyfriend cheated on you with another girl, and you were pregnant, wrote this girl a scathing email on your behalf.

The person that you wish you’d sent flowers to before she died, and not to her funeral.

I love who she was underneath all of it. And I miss that person very much.

I’m sure I always will.

19 thoughts on “ad·dic·tion

  1. This made me cry! I’m so incredibly sorry. I understand addiction well (having watched my brother struggle with it) and it really is easy to lose the person underneath. I wish there was something I could say. ♥

  2. eloquent is the word to describe what you just wrote. Keep writing, if not here, in a journal, on scraps of paper or napkins, anything to get your feelings out. I can see that your rage is lessening, which is good, but it’s tough to get through times like this, Becks, keep up the good work.

    BTW, did you see that Alexa gave birth to Simone and Ames? Simone is 1lb 11 oz, and when I read the post Mom and Dad were saying goodbye to Ames. Simone is doing well, for the situation. Thought you would want to know.

  3. Oh Becky. Your beautiful words speak volumes. what an incredible testimony to your friend. I’m sorry for your loss even though that just doesn’t seem like enough.

  4. I, like the others, wish there was something more for me to say or do because “I’m sorry” seems too little, but I *so* am.

  5. For some it’s impossible to see the person, and for some it’s impossible not to see them. For me, I always want to find that trigger that will make it all work. It hurts all the more when you’re invested, but the alternative is to never invest in those we love. You could never do that, and that is a great gift. ::hugs::

  6. Man, you said it exactly. My dad was an alcoholic my whole life, and after we did an intervention, we thought ‘this will be the time he stops forever’ but no. He died in July from alcohol, and I keep thinking that if people who were addicted could have SEEN the way he died, they would think twice about using again…it was truly awful. I am so sorry for your loss, and the pain that goes along with it.

  7. Lots of people do hate the person and not the disease – you must have been a good friend to her if you can still remember and love that person underneath…

  8. What a beautiful post. She sounds like a wonderful friend and I am so sorry that she is gone and so sorry that she went through all that.

    My sister has similar problems and your post makes me stop and try to look for the person I love underneath all the surface stuff that I cannot handle. It’s a good post for me to read, thank you.

  9. I’m SO SORRY… There are no magic words for me
    to say that will make you feel better. I know it will be hard for a while & you will never forget.
    take care.

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