marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

The Voice of an Addict

This is a text Angie sent me a couple of years ago:

“Maybe any mistreatment you got from me was just your OVERDUE comeuppances for YEARS of the most miserable, ABUSIVE, pathetic excuse for parenting we suffered under you? Did you ever think about that?”

Seventeen years after she confronted me with my diary, Angie’s terrible anger has come back to accuse me again. But is this the voice of strung-out drug addict? Or is it the stilled and angry voice of my little girl? Is there anything left of the daughter I raised in that body? Her rage is not so simple now; it’s much more complex. It’s not just a mother/daughter battle anymore. There’s a third character in this drama: the terrible monster Addiction. Years of pain and anguish doing battle with It have colored Angie’s life since then. Twelve years of drug abuse and the terrible life it carries with it have changed my daughter profoundly.

Yet I have changed too. I have taken the excruciating steps necessary to let go and survive the effects of loving a drug addict. I have learned and am still learning how to bridge the gulf of pain and grief and somehow find myself able to transcend my loss. My story seeks to shed light on how I’ve accomplished this.

But now I must watch her falter on her own. I have no need to chase her where she’s going. I keep her away from my life raft. The phone rings at 7:00 a.m. today. Do I rush to answer, afraid it’s her and she needs me? No, I go back to sleep. In my mind, as I drift off to the oblivion of sleep, I helplessly watch her drown. Just like the frustration dream I had as a child—when I screamed and no sound came out—I couldn’t reach her.

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