marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Judgment Calls

Memoir Excerpt:

“It was all very well for me to be down in Virginia, waging my battles every day with Angie living in my house, desperately seeking some kind of relief from my suffering. But there were other people in my life, friends and family, who
wanted to know what was going on. I imagined my sister screaming at me over the
phone:

“Maggie, do something!” How can you let her kill
herself like this?”

I
responded in my mind, lacking the courage to say the words: “Lucy, until you’ve
walked a mile in my shoes, please shut up.”

I never
had such a conversation with my sister. I was only imagining the outside world
knocking on my door—and judging, always judging—just as I had felt judged and
condemned as a child.

On a
visit to his son in a treatment center, David Sheff listens to a program
counselor’s words: “If your child had cancer, the support from your friends and
family would flood in. Because of the stigma of addiction, people often keep it
quiet. Their friends and family may try to be supportive, but they may also communicate
a subtle or unsubtle judgment.”

A Mother’ s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

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