Unconditional love. It’s a nice sentiment when things are going well, but it’s much more challenging when the person you love so unconditionally is self-destructive, and bent on causing pain to themselves and, by extension, to the people who love them.
That’s why it’s important to add a caveat: unconditional love can include tough love, and it’s still possible to love somebody, even if their choices have forced you to cut off contact with them.
Folks who have any experience loving people with addictions will know exactly what this feels like. After all, addiction and substance abuse often have ugly effects on people who were lovely, kind, and thoughtful before their habit took over.
As we saw with this addicted expectant mother, it is incredibly, painfully difficult for addicts to make good choices, and to break their habit.
Still, it’s important for everyone who loves an addict to know that there can be light at the end of the tunnel.
One young mom is here to explain exactly how she found her way into the light, ten long years ago.
Imgur user LostWingnut recently took to the online photo sharing site to share a particularly painful image: a photo of herself as a 19-year-old meth addict.
In the description below the photo she notes that it was taken two years before she got clean, and adds:
“I thought I was the most amazing person… I weighed about 100 pounds. I was a d*ck. I stole from my friends for drugs. I stole from my family for drugs. I lied. Cheated. Hurt very good people. I had no one left besides my step dad when I quit.. no one believed me anymore. It was a very hard time.”
Then, at the age of 21, she began to turn her life around, though, as noted above, she had alienated many of the people in her support system.
Still, she persevered.
Ultimately, she succeeded in pulling herself out of addiction.
Ten years after she decided to go clean, she is happy and healthy, and she looks like a different person.
She gives much of the credit to her sweet pup, Rockdog, who she adopted just days after going clean.
She calls him her “hero,” and says she never could have kicked her habit without her sweet pooch keeping her on her path.
“Rockdog saved my life….I was only a few days sober when I got him. I looked into his little eyes and said I would live my life for him. There has been nothing better than the love and acceptance I received from him for the first few months when I was completely alone.”
Rockdog protected her from her own demons and helped her begin to mend the bridges burnt during her meth addiction.
Slowly, but surely, she began to heal and even thrive.
She reconnected with a childhood best friend despite hurting her in the past, adding “Life is about friendship.”
She also healed a long-broken rift with her mother.
As she describes it, “I lost her… when I was on drugs… you can only lie and hurt someone so much before they break. I am forever grateful I could make it up to her and now we are best friends.”
With Rockdog for support and her addiction slowly receding into the past, the pieces of her life were falling back into place.
Then, four years ago, her little family grew by one more member when she welcomed her darling daughter.
At the age of 21, she had no one but her dog, but by the age of 27, she had a precious baby girl.
She writes below the photo, “I love her beyond belief. I can’t believe I am able to keep her alive and healthy and teach her things. It amazes me everyday. She looks up to me and I give her the best of me.”
Now, she writes that she’ll be turning 32 in the fall, and she’s ready to close the book on the chapter of her life dictated by addiction.
Once, she had nothing but her dependence on drugs, but now she has a beautiful network made up of family, friends, and, of course, Rockdog.
She says she plans to archive the memories of her darker days, but has an important message first.
“I write this post to celebrate me, but also to celebrate you. If you are out there and struggling… please know that you can always move forward and change. If you are scared and worried.. please know that the future is brighter. If you are one day, 10 days, or just months clean and you are struggling please know that I believe in you. If you are still immersed in it I want to give you hope. I BELIEVE IN YOU.”