Ann Farabee column: Addiction hurts

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 30, 2021

By Ann Farabee

Addiction is vicious.

My father and brother died from it.

My adult children struggled with it.

It separates you from those you love.

It feels like a private journey because it is difficult to share.

With drug addiction, heartache comes.

As does pain.

Some overcome.

Many do not.

Some overcome and relapse.

Then they overcome — and relapse again.

It is a cycle that for many never ends.

But sometimes it does.

Even if a relapse comes, they still overcame — for a while.

Hopefully, they will overcome again.

The road can be long. It usually is.

For some — once the problem begins — it lasts a lifetime.

If only the pain was just for the user of the drug — that would seem a little more fair.

But the pain also belongs to those of us who love them.

We wait for the call that no one wants to get — but fully expect.

The actively using addict tends to be self-centered.

They focus on their need for drugs — and on nothing else.

It controls their thoughts.

Priorities are re-prioritized — and the normalcy of their lives slips away.

It is so sad to watch — and to experience.

Does this mean we do not love them? No. We love them immensely. We love them enough to keep them in the corner of our mind 24 hours a day every day of every week of every month of every year — even if we rarely see them.

For approximately 2.7 million grandparents in the United States, that love is shown to their adult children who are addicts, when they take over the parenting of their addicted children’s children — their grandchildren.

Our boys came to be ours when I looked through the window of their home and saw one of them, who should have been playing and enjoying the joys of being a four year old, rubbing his mother’s head and trying to comfort her as she lay on the couch, lethargic and oblivious to his presence in the room.

That was when we knew. The children had to be safe. So we took them with us. We began to send them back less and less frequently, until one day, we all realized that our home had become the place our grandchildren would call their home.

We did not do that to their parents — we did it for their parents.

Proverbs 31:8 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

The children were too young to speak for themselves.

They deserved better.

We would give it to them.

Our journey as grandparents raising grandchildren had begun.

Thirteen years later, we are still on that journey.

Lord, be with the addict. Be with their children. Be with those who love an addict. Amen

Ann Farabee is a teacher, writer and speaker. Contact her at or

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