If You Were Still Here, Loving Someone Through Addiction


There are things I wish I could say to you, like how it was so hard for me to understand how someone could need something so strong and powerful to dull the pain. But, I understand now.


We both found different ways to find comfort, I cried to Jesus and you had a bottle of Jack. Or maybe it was a six-pack; I was never really sure.


Addiction is a fast moving train without any brakes, but that wasn’t who you were because I saw glimpses of generosity and kindness and a desire to be everything we needed you to be.


I would tell you when it was exactly that the real you left and addiction took your place. You were so strong and could do anything, but the disease became so much stronger than you.


I would tell you that I know how much you loved me and reassure you that I loved you right back, even if I loved you wrong.


While I was trying to fix you, Jesus fixed me. At times I wondered if I had the right to be anything different, or better. But, you always wanted that better life for me and made so many sacrifices for your girls.


I would tell you that I have only had one bottle of something that was supposed to be fruity and fun, and after one sip I was convinced that I was drunk until I realized I always act like that. Later I had to down two cokes just to get the taste out of my mouth. I knew that anything that I had to try so hard to like didn’t need to be in my life. But, that sticky-hot summer day I proved to myself that I didn’t have to fear that I would disappear into a bottle.


When your physical pain intensified and your health declined, everyday you hurt in a way that left you desperate. This is when you left us and began to live in the shadows.


I know it’s impossible to have a healthy relationship with an unhealthy person. I would still try anyway.


If you were here I would do my best to treat you like a person instead of a problem to solve.


We both know that if you were still here I would still be trying to fix you.


But, I’m not Jesus. I’m Jennifer.


I would tell you that standing in the same room where you took your last breath, I realized that wasn’t you. These are the things I would tell you, but mostly I would just tell you that I love you.


You taught me how to be fearful and fearless at the same time. You always said I had my head up my a**…you weren’t wrong. Sometimes I still do. I still spill things, forget things, and laugh about it thinking of you. There was never any love lost between us, nor will there ever be. My wild love of adventure I get from you, I promise to never, ever lose that. You made me feel like I could do anything and be anything, so I will.
I’ll love you always. 

To my friends trying so hard to love someone lost in addiction, you will have moments when regrets will surface and you will feel like you didn’t do enough, or pray enough. That might not go away, but the good memories you shared can be what you hold onto when things get hard. Address the problem and do your best to love the person. Treat addiction like a disease that causes them to leave the life they used to know behind. Their minds are cloudy and numb. They need help, and so will you. I had to do a lot of soul-work to find wholeness in Christ and I found it, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It means that I get to find another opportunity to grow and trust in God in a new way. When God makes all things new, he starts in our hearts if we are brave enough to dig deep. You are going to be okay, just know that the aching always precedes the mending.

Much love,

Jennifer Renee