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Counting Spoons: When Your Loved One is an Addict
I remember when I was first exposed to the insane lifestyle of an addict. I was completely lost. There was so much confusion and it felt so lonely, so surreal, and most of all, it was scary! The person you love that you thought you once knew and could trust, slowly becomes a stranger. It is like an empty dark-filled stare that encompasses a soldier’s eyes after they have been through war and have seen horrific devastation. They come home, and their eyes are blank, dark, and cold, like they just escaped hell, like their humanity no longer exists. I remember, that is how it felt and what I saw, looking at the stranger that was supposed to be my husband. He was at war with addiction, and addiction was winning.
Finding out your loved one is an addict doesn’t just gently unfold. You do not get time to sit there and process their disease like you most often do with other illnesses. You’re just thrown into addict madness, and are left trying to figure your way out of it. The realization catches you off guard and smashes into you like a freight train, leaving you desperate, trying to figure out where, when, why, and how it all started? The questions endlessly roll around in your mind: When did they start changing? What did I do wrong? How could I have changed it? This is all my fault. If only I… The guilt and shame set in as you wonder and blame yourself for your loved one becoming an addict.
Each day was a new discovery in this alternate upside down world. Countless searches became the norm as I struggled to understand what was going on. I wasn’t sure if it was the hurt and abandonment I was feeling or the lack of sleep trying to figure out how to hold it together for our family. It was probably all of it. But it was somewhere there, in the chaotic mess, that I began an addiction of my own. I became an addict in endless car and closet searching, and was obsessed with counting spoons. Yes! I began counting spoons! It is as crazy as it sounds! But then again so was the madness around me.
I began going crazy when I realized a few of my spoons were missing! He took them! I had found them in various places that spoons shouldn’t be. The first time I found a spoon it was in his car. What an odd place to have a spoon? I quickly dismissed this finding and rationalized that he might have needed it for soup while he was at work. I was a fool and wanted my incompetence to save me from realizing the truth. The next place I found a spoon was in the bathroom. What the heck is a spoon doing in the bathroom? Ding! Ding! Alarm finally goes off in my head! Yes! Something definitely isn’t right here?! All of a sudden, it seemed that spoons were everywhere except in my kitchen drawer where they should have been.
Thanks to my new found friend,Google, I was able to identify the culprit of this odd behavior. All searches solved the mystery in helping me realize that this was most definitely a sign that my loved one is an addict. I was so completely terrified, and in denial, not knowing what else to do. I went out and bought new spoons to replace the ones that were missing. Everyday, I would count the spoons in our kitchen drawer multiple times to make sure I was counting correctly, and I would do this several times a day. I do not know why or what I thought counting the spoons would do to help, but when you are in the depths of your loved ones addiction you become desperate and unsure of what approach to take.
Who would have thought something as simple as spoons going missing would even be an issue in the home? Certainly not me! I didn’t grow up thinking in my mind that one day when I get married and have children I better count my spoons. That is just barbaric! But in a house and life with an addict, it is not that odd at all. And what about the other signs that identify your loved one as an addict? Just to list a few, there is: the change in appearance,especially the eyes; mood swings, anger, and attitude; sneaky and secret behavior; missing money; lengthy time in the bathroom; strange sleeping patterns; unusual spouts of overtiredness; shaking; strange marks on the skin, absence; coming home late and eventually not even coming home at all. Honestly, I just wished for all of it to disappear. Perhaps I thought maybe if I counted the spoons and they were all there that it would somehow be fine. That there was nothing wrong, just something he was temporarily going through?
As time went on, I grew more depressed. How could I live this way? This is completely crazy! But that is what a life in addiction is, isn’t it? It is pure crazy! What was I accomplishing by counting spoons? As if by finding one or two missing spoons would prove something. Maybe it would catch him in the act, or make him stop? What then? I already knew he was an addict at that point, the problem was that I did not want to believe it. I did not want to confront it. Even after his first attempt at recovery, I still found myself counting spoons, and searching through his things. There was no trust left, just me in my disillusions, feeling that counting spoons and consistent searches were my only hope. But this never eased my mind, and it certainly didn’t change anything. It only added to the insanity.
Counting spoons seemed like the only way to feel there was any sense of order or normalcy in my life. At that point, it was the only thing I falsely looked to for reassurance thinking as long as all the spoons were there, all was okay. As long as all the spoons were there he wasn’t an active addict. Who was I kidding? I counted these spoons over and over again as my husband relapsed time and time again. It was a vicious cycle that seemed would never end.
Two years have gone by since my husband hit rock bottom. It has been two years since all the madness ceased and still has not returned. Two years since not only my husband, but our entire family was saved! We were saved by the only way a person can ever truly once and for all be saved and set free! We were saved by the only One who could break the chains of addiction! In all the insanity, we had needed only to call out to Him, Jesus I need You! As quick and simple as that, Jesus freed us! He set us free and helped us to restore what I thought was gone forever. We were made new in Christ, and we stay new in Christ. Instead of frantically counting spoons with each passing day, I’m now counting the blessings that the Lord gracefully gave us. Thank you Jesus!