Sunday, July 7, 2013

Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy

I finished reading Clean yesterday. As I suspected, it was a hard and challenging read for me.

I think the biggest issue I have failed to realize with my ex-husband's addiction is that he likely has a dual diagnosis of addiction and some sort of mental illness.

David Sheff devotes and entire chapter to "Treating Dual Diagnosis".  This was one of the most enlightening segments for me.

I still don't know if my ex-husband is
A) an asshole because he is an addict
B) an asshole because he is mentally ill
C) just an asshole

I suppose it really doesn't matter.

What I have seen again and again in women who are in relationships with addicts is that they are treated poorly.  In almost every case.

So that's the tough part for me.

Sheff does acknowledge, "Another symptom of addiction is narcissism." 

Sheff did bring me a little closer to believing addiction may be a disease, and I will share many of those quotes in the weeks to come. That still doesn't feel completely true to me though.

I think learning as much as we can about addiction is helpful. I certainly wish I knew more walking into my previous relationship.  I likely would not have gone further with it.

As I said in a previous post, I do believe this is a critically important book.  It is certainly the book I would want if my children were addicts - or if I did happen to be one of the few women who was in love with an addict who treated me well.

For those of us who are left with the crumbs of a life destroyed by an addict, I suppose we need a different book. I still don't think there is nearly enough good information out there for women affected by the selfishness of an addict.

More than anything, our children need us to read that book. Because one thing I am sure of is that addiction is often learned behavior.  We need new paths for our children.

I hope, like Sheff, that one day we will have a cure for addiction. But I wouldn't hold my breath and put the lives of my children at risk waiting for it to come.

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