Words of Hope and Fear

  • Oh, I had no idea. I’m so sorry (which of course means they were not actually your friend, more of an acquaintance.. If your friend says they had no idea you had an addiction problem, they didn’t pay a damn bit of attention to you, or only hung out with you because it gave them an excuse to also drink.)
  • Good for you. (Typically, said flatly, or with a slight lilt. It mainly signifies either incoherence, inability to understand, or veiled disdain. Unfortunately, hearing someone has a problem often turns others off to that person, as if addiction was contagious and passed through physical contact or proximity)
  • Oh sweet! (for some reason I got this one the most, and it truly demonstrates the jump to the end and to the positive assumed outcome, with zero thought to what it will take to get there, if one ever even does)
  • Oh, sweetheart, I’m so sorry. (pity is helpful, but a maternal figure is typically not what is needed at the time, with apologies for gender role assumption. An emotional spiral doesn’t need to be nurtured into further spiral)
  • Well, we are here to help! (this one can come off as disingenuous, which is why I include it. It is more honest and forward looking, but it has to be said correctly, and often isn’t. The problem with this is that as the receiver of this encouragement, we don’t know what actual help is. We are stumbling blindly through an experience of shock and change, and have no idea what kind of help we even need, so throwing ambiguity at us only allows our minds to wander and jump to unrealistic conclusions.)
  • You’ll get through this. (this is the most poisonous one. Because it sparks hope without any understanding of what it is going to take. I cannot tell you how powerful it was to hear this in the beginning of my fear-induced recovery adventure, but it made me feel better, which made me skip to the end where I graduate and have a loving family and am successful. I had no idea what it would take to get there, and if I ever would (still don’t), and it covered the process up entirely. Hope can be poisonous as hell, please don’t inject us with that.)

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Derek Martin

Derek Martin

Addict, professional, partner, father. I love things we are supposed to love and that I choose to love. Conflicted, recovering.