The Wolf You Feed

“I am sometimes at odds with my recovery groups about the nature of addiction: is it a disease or a choice? I don’t want to force my views on them. There’s a wonderful Cherokee tale told by a grandfather to his grandchildren:

‘There’s a battle inside all of us between two wolves. One wolf is jealousy, greed, dishonesty, hatred, anger and bitterness. The other wolf is love, generosity, truthfulness, selflessness, and gratitude.’

‘Who wins the battle, grandfather?’

‘The wolf you feed.’

Insist that our loved ones are choosing to be addicts, that they want to stick a needle in their arm and live in a gutter, and we feel justified in our anger and our bitterness. Keep feeding those feelings, and they will consume you. I choose to believe that my daughter is wired differently and is prone to addictive disease. That’s no surprise, since four generations in my family have all had addictive disease in varying degrees.  For whatever reason we still are unsure of, whatever life stresses beckoned her into that dark place, she became a victim of addiction.” ~excerpt from my award-winning memoir A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Maggie C. Romero (available on Amazon)

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has said: “I’ve studied alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana and more recently obesity. There’s a pattern in compulsion. I’ve never come across a single person that was addicted that wanted to be addicted. Something has happened in their brains that has led to that process.”

2 thoughts on “The Wolf You Feed

  1. This is the million dollar question….why did my daughter become a heroin addict? I do not know what the answer is although I have wracked my brain and cried rivers of despair. What I have concluded is this. God loves my daughter more than I could ever love her. I trust God is always with her and I detach with love. Easier said than done but for me this is my coping mechanism. God bless you Marilea and all the other mothers walking the same path. Never give up hope!

    1. DH, why did our daughters become heroin addicts? Why does a cancer victim get cancer? The American Medical Association has declared that addiction is an illness—a brain disease. Our girls didn’t choose to throw their lives away like this. Who would WANT what they have? My daughter is a college graduate and a world-class gymnast. But when she was 21, she turned to drugs and has been in and out of recovery for 16 years. The “choice” I talk about is theirs: not to get sick in the first place, of course, but to “choose” recovery.” Many addicts recover, DH, and I pray that ours will too. Hugs to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.