Sometimes, it is the children of the family that have to become the adults. Often because they must take care of an addict parent. They must grow up quickly to keep the family together.
I just recently started watching a series called “Shameless”. It is about a large family, whose mother left years before, walking away from her alcoholic husband and all their children.
The oldest daughter quickly took over the mother’s position, raising all her siblings. Dad went further into the abyss. I find it interesting that the siblings all had to grow up very quickly, but they do what they have to do to keep their family together and afloat. They do their best to stay mentally healthy, dealing with many overwhelming issues, such as paying the mortgage, feeding the family, having friends, school, jobs and more. And then there is dad, the addict that has his share of needs, issues and ideas.
The drama is always there. There never seems to be any calm. They always seem to be putting out the fires. Always running to find the extinguisher. Just like in real life substance abuse, the fire extinguisher never seems at hand, to immediately handle the flames.
We have come to a time where we are accepting addiction and maybe even have a slight understanding of this disease. Maybe in time, we will begin to not judge. There are no perfect families, because there are no perfect people. Every person has baggage and inside each bag are different contents.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just leave those bags, unopened and forever gone, left at the depot? But that is not life. We are a product of our pasts. Many of us are better from what we have overcome. Many of us wear masks or even must wear the “pants and aprons” for the family. Too many live in shame and guilt because of the drama from others. Someday, I hope we all learn to look beyond the face and into the eyes of others. That is when we will truly be compassionate.