My Dear Child,
I forgive you.
There is something you need to know that perhaps I haven’t said. I forgive you; and you need to forgive yourself.
In the beginning, I think we both felt the incredible weight of this disease, and the more angry and frustrated I got, the sicker you became. It took me a long time to understand the truth of why this was happening. I thought perhaps my yelling and screaming and fighting would cure you. I was battling for your life. I knew no other way.Even my sobbing couldn’t move you. Please, know that whatever I did, I did because I thought it might help.
Child, I did blame you at first. I did believe the hype that addiction is a choice, until I was educated and saw the videos and the articles on how the brain is hijacked and taken over by the drug. And even then, I still blamed you. I wondered why you chose to try the drug in the first place? Why you stole and rampaged? Why you hurt everyone in your path? I didn’t want to accept that you- my intelligent, sports-minded, creative child- could be an addict. I didn’t want to hear the truth of the disease. I needed a scapegoat, and you, my child, were it. Did you make mistakes? Yes…as has every other human being on earth. I forgive your mistakes. None of us are sinless.
I need you to understand that I KNOW you struggled with self esteem issues as a teen. I know that in order to cope you hung with the wrong friends, the ones who made you feel like you were a part of something. Then one small choice to use ended your childhood and started my hell. I was furious, beside myself! Why would you do such a thing? I thought I had raised you not to abuse drugs. I not only cursed you, but I blamed myself.
My sweet child, I forgave those teenage errors a long time ago. Haven’t we all done something we regret as a teen? I have, but I was lucky that there wasn’t heroin on every street corner when I grew up. Unfortunately, it was all too easy for you. You were an easy target with a young, vulnerable mind. And a young, immature, impressionable, not yet developed mind is perfectly normal at that age.
I am saying “I forgive you,” not because you need forgiveness, but because I know you hold guilt and shame. I forgive your pubescent mind; I forgive your immature choices; I forgive your low self esteem; I forgive the choices that brought us to this horrible place. I forgive you because I love you, and I want you to forgive and love yourself. Only then will you feel the weight of this monster lift. Once I was able to admit my anger and excuse the normal adolescent things that unfortunately led to you becoming the sacrificial lamb of unseasoned free will, I started to heal. I started to understand it wasn’t all your fault. You didn’t choose this. I know that now.
You must heal now too. And most of all you must hear my other necessary words. Listen closely. I AM SORRY.
I am sorry for my anger and my tears and my words that would sometimes spear you. I am sorry I was naïve to this disease and to what you were truly going through. I thought you wanted to be an addict; you acted that way. Again, that was the disease talking. I know now that you hated your addicted life and still feel imprisoned by its hold. I am sorry most of all for the terrible pain you are still in and that you are being strangled by the hands of drugs.
Please, go look in the mirror and let the weight of guilt and shame lift up. Release it to the clouds; give it to God, or the wind, or a summer zephyr. Forgive yourself. I have, a long time ago; I just never said it. I want you to heal. I want you to free yourself of the blame and the remorse. One less burden will allow you to focus on the weight of the addiction and removing it. One less burden will allow you a chance to recover; for I only began to heal when I also forgave myself.
I forgive you. I am sorry. I love you. Go now and conquer. You can do it. You deserve it.
All proceeds of my first book, Beyond Horizon Fall, an emotional journey of poetry and prose written while parenting my addicted child, go to addiction support services.
Visit souljargon.com for more information.
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