From the blue Nar-Anon pamphlet:
“We have learned that addiction is an illness. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease that affects every area of life. It can be arrested but never cured. We have found that compulsive use of drugs does not indicate a lack of affection for the family. It is not a matter of love, but of illness. The addicts’ inability to control their use of drugs is a symptom of the disease of addiction. Even when they know what will happen when they take the first drink, pill or fix, they will do so. This is the “insanity” we speak of in regard to this disease. Only complete abstinence from the use of drugs, including alcohol, can arrest this disease. No one can prevent the addicts’ use of drugs. When we accept that addiction is a disease, and that we are powerless over it, we become ready to learn a better way to live.”
These words reinforce my belief that when my daughter is under the influence of drugs, she ceases to be the person I raised. It’s all a matter of degree, of course, and we don’t all experience the same extremities of behavior with our children. But in Angie’s case, there is little resemblance to the wonderful, talented young woman I knew. And though I have no power over the change in her, it does give me some peace to know that it wasn’t her choice to leave her family. Rather that—and so many other bad choices—is just one of the difficult roads onto which drug addiction leads many of our children. We can only hope and pray that they’ll find their way back home.