Is This The Part Where I Let Go?

The memories have been rushing back to me.

His face that night when the family finally broke. When my Mom said “no more” and he had to choose between us and giving up drinking. He agreed but in hindsight he didn’t do that for him. He did it for us. Maybe that’s why rehab didn’t take. He wanted to be who we needed him to be but he was so lost in his depression, the bottle seemed his only comfort. How does one give up their only known coping mechanism?

When the rain breaks the road/Are you holding on/Are you holding on/To your last good day/When the stone breaks the wheel/Are you holding on/Are you holding on/Til the stone rolls away/And I don’t know/Is this the part where you let go/And tumbling out of a window/Is this the part where you find out/I’m there for you

I think about this a lot. Particularly because one of my dearest friends struggles with the same disease my father battled. She left for rehab last week. This is not her first attempt at getting sober. I hope against my better judgment that this time it will work. Just like I did every time my Dad swore he’d give up the drink. I wanted so badly to believe.

When the sun leaves the field/Are you holding on/Are you holding on/To the last sweet light/When the flame leaves your eyes/I still see you there/I still see you there/On your darkest night

Maybe it’s the breaking of trust that does the most damage. Because when I love you, I believe in you with everything I’ve got. I put my faith in you. I rally behind you, cheering for your successes and championing your causes. I’ll pick you up if you fall apart.

But how many times?

As your hand’s breaking free/I am holding on/I am holding on/As you’ve held on to me/And I don’t know/Is this the part where we let go/Tumbling out of a window/Is this the part where you’re there for me

Loving someone who struggles with an addiction is mentally exhausting. Because their addiction cycle can sweep you up. I’ve found myself enabling, denying, and silencing myself. This is not who I want to be in the world. There are days when I want to throw up my hands and say, “I’m done!” Because it’s lonely loving an alcoholic. In my experience, they can’t show up for me. They flake. They make promises they cannot keep. They isolate. They are distant even when they are in the same room with me. I cannot reach the heart of them. And that? That’s what splits us. That’s what breaks my heart.

I miss my friend.

I miss my Dad.

And I don’t know/Is this the part where you let go/And sinking under a shadow/Is this the part where you find out I’m there for you/You find out I’m there for you/You find out I’m there for you

*Lyrics by Hem, “The Part Where You Let Go”


42 thoughts on “Is This The Part Where I Let Go?

  1. I feel your pain. Probably because I’ve been there before. I spent too many years waiting for my dad to stop. And then one day he decided to. One of the most painful things of the past couple of years is watching him start up again. After nearly 20 years. He hasn’t flaked yet but I know the day is coming.

  2. This is an amazingly painful and revealing post – thank you. I have watched my own father struggle with a nicotine addiction. He has tried to stop for others many times, but always goes back.

    My uncle denies he is an alcoholic. He needs to drink. Beer. And whiskey. And cannot operate without. Yet, he does not believe he has a problem. He tried rehab only when my aunt threatened to leave. It didn’t stick. He makes me sick. Not for what he does to himself. But for what he does to my aunt, who so loyally sticks by his side watching him kill himself.

    What I’ve learned, we cannot force health on people who don’t want it. We can, however, choose whether to stay by their side when they refuse to get better.

  3. Oh, yeah. Wow…you and I are working on the same cookie.

    When I realized that there was a word for what i had been thru( ACOA) I didn;t really realize how ongoing this dilemma was, nor how insidious some of the stuff is. I am non-drinking, but I too isolate, I am distant. We insulate to keep the world at bay, yet the world does keep calling. Lessons we unconsciously learned early on, they sometimes come around again.

    Your friend touches that very nerve center that makes you remember. The same helplessness creates the emotion, because we don;t understand and we cannot help. Your friend is on her own journey, and your’s is quite seperate. Your’s is to see your place outside the circle, and mend the torn places you will find. Stuff like trust counts on that.

    You are so gregarious! Muffled in cotton-feeling, I doubt anyone would hear should I cry out. I wonder if your friend ever feels like that. Two sides to that coin, your’s and mine.
    Both of us miss our Dad’s tho, huh.

  4. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    Karen Halls

  5. My alcoholic has been sober for more than three years now. He was one of the lucky ones. I have found forgiving him and forgiving myself were so bloody hard.

    For what it’s worth, big hugs.

  6. I was just talking to a friend (about another friend) this morning and was reminded again how exhausting being on the outside is. How we keep saying “maybe this is it” when logic and history tell us it will not be. Hope is a good thing in that it’s so relentless, but it can also be so tiring.

  7. This is why I had to leave my husband. It hurt too much and I couldn’t do a damn thing except be hurt. It is the lucky one’s who come out of it in a better place.

  8. It’s so hard. One of my sisters is an addict, both with alcohol and narcotics. We’ve had a really rough go of it with her and thankfully, after three rehabs, she seems to be doing well on her third year clean. I lived with her in college and it was exhausting and painful. I will keep your friend in my thoughts.


  9. My earliest childhood memory is at age 4… being awakened in the middle of the night by my mom’s first husband (not my real father… not that it matters, but anyway…) coming home drunk and vomiting up blood into the sink. Sorry if that was a bit graphic. He was an alcoholic, so were his siblings, so was his father. He really was a good man… when he wasn’t drinking… and before he died of a tragic accident when I was very young, he began to faithfully attend AA and sobered up. Yet his siblings all made fun of him, mocked him to his face, said he didn’t need AA, as they sipped their beers. Eventually, alcoholism destroyed each of their lives and families in different ways. It is a selfish disease. It sucks the very life out of the person you love and leaves nothing but an empty shell of what they once were. I’m so sorry that you’re struggling right now. Sending you a tight hug from Ohio…

  10. Despite the chaos that goes on around me as I read, you have a unique way of writing that focuses the mind and shuts everything else out. A true talent Sizzle.

  11. I know very well where you’re coming from on this. I can’t really add much that you haven’t said already but I might help to know that someone understands.

  12. it is your unwillingness to give up on them…that deep compassion…one of the most wonderful qualities of *you*

    at some point you might do just that though, let go…and it might help you heal both of those relationships…

  13. The feelings you describe brought back a flood of old memories of my Dad and fresh ones of a friend. It’s hard to let go of the ones we love, as though we are the ones letting them down.
    Know that you are not alone Sizzle. {{Hugs}}

  14. I just happened to stumble across your blog. I want to say that this piece really reached out to me. It had moved me in a sense that I relate. very much so. Loving an addict is …. a roller coaster.
    Hugs to you.

  15. I have never dealt with this personally, but this is so beautifully written, it has moved me. I hope the best for you, your dad and your friends.

  16. I’m so sorry for your pain, Sizzle. It’s one I know all too well. My mother is an alcoholic and drug addict and so was my older sister – up until the day she died while trying to steal fertilizer from a farmer’s field to make meth. I’ve also written a lot about it on my site.

    It breaks my heart and pisses me off and then breaks my heart again.

  17. “They flake. They make promises they cannot keep. They isolate. They are distant even when they are in the same room with me.”

    I went through a very similar thing with someone I was in love with. I still love him, but obviously, it couldn’t work if he didn’t respect and love himself first.

  18. having a disease for a parent is not what you deserve. none of us do.

    hoping a set of boundaries and a knack for being empathetic without enabling brings you more peace. it’s a never ending road isn’t it?

    hang in there.

  19. I’m so amazed that you DEAL with it. I can’t. My father, siblings, nephew/niece — all addicts. I can’t find a way to deal with it, so I don’t. I simply don’t see them. There’s heartache either way you go. At least you’re trying.

  20. No firsthand experiences with alcoholism, but your line, “They are distant, even when they are in the same room with me,” conjures memories of chronic depression, my own and my loved ones’.

    Being there but not being there, unable to reach them–oh the ache of it.

  21. Where to start? There is a solution. When he’s ready, have him call me. No preaching, electrodes, or 28-day commitments involved.

  22. Pingback: What’s Left To Do « Sizzle Says

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