I never understood this new thing. A term I thought meant to coddle us. “This disease of addiction.” I'd thought of diseases I knew of and although the “experts” liken addiction to diabetes and meetings etc like our insulin, that analogy always rang rather…. False. Maybe like a mental disease: OCD. Well, on the inside, anyway. When I was a child and suffered badly from this what they called OCD, I would count all the time. And nerves would make me do things like walk only on the black squares lest my whole family die. Always also images would spring horrific and real-like to my brain: I looked at my cat breathing and I had snuffed out her breathe, killed her. And watching her perfect innocence rise and fall in trusting sleep I would feel the guilt of one who had done it and cry for her for what I had all but done in name, knowing I could never harm this creature I loved above all others and yet feeling the guilt of having done so crush me so that I cried and cried I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry. The thoughts would grow more hideous till I finally pulled some hair out or counted to the number enough while holding hugging sorry I'm sorry yr death is my biggest fear. I was a strange child, had no other children friends, no playmates, until 8 or so. When I finally learned to keep the compulsions as silent as I could…. Addiction is guilt like this shame fear and need need black holes of fear that turn to need.
On the outside, addiction is like rabies. Addicts in their glory are like a dog bit by a rabid dog. You love them, you have shared yr home and love and heart with them but you have to put them out of yr home yr heart, leave them to their own unable unstable devices to die in the cold if that this their fate or to somehow be the small percentage that is not. But that is out of your hands now: you have either gotten them their shots, brought them up to survive, or not. Wash yr hands, it is no longer in them but those of professionals. Guilt may be felt. But they are no longer your own, of your insular comforting world. They are now the Other and good luck, G-d bless. Perhaps a bowl outside in winter or a couple bucks downtown if you are driving by and remember. But how could you forget? I'm asking. How? Could? You? Forget?