I hadn't planned to post anything until after the new year. I was anxious to focus on Christmas and enjoy time with family. Unfortunately, addiction knows no calendar, recognizes no holidays. One of Pete's worst episodes happened in the days leading up to Mother's day. It was easy at that time to mourn in my victim-hood and wallow in self-pity. Now, thankfully I suppose, because of the many things I'm learning it is not so easy to do that.
I want to write about addiction, itself, because when I find myself feeling angry and confused the knowledge I've gained on the subject rescues me from bitterness. I should point out that understanding addiction only helps me intellectually. I still feel the emotional hurt, but I can intellectually answer the "WHY!?!?" questions and that is a good starting place for me.
Elder Russell M. Nelson said:
"Addiction surrenders... freedom to choose. Through chemical means, one can literally become disconnected from his or her own will!"
I love this quote. I cling to these words. Every time I ask myself "Why doesn't he just NOT LOOK?" or "If he knows how this will hurt me, and him, why does he continue?"
Why? WHY? WHY!
I won't get into the physiological changes that occur when an individual becomes addicted, I'm not qualified to do so. But if you don't believe that there are chemical and neurological changes involved, I encourage you to learn about it. It might bring you great comfort. (At least intellectually.) Elder Marvin J. Ashton explained that addicts "are prisoners within their own bodies. Many feel totally helpless, dependent, and desperate."
As I mentioned before, this knowledge doesn't prevent the sting of relapse. The hurt still comes. But this knowledge helps me see Pete in a different way, and although his actions caused my hurt, I find it easier to forgive him because I know what he's up against.