Musings About Addiction - Does It Ever End?
As many people were, my daughters and I were really saddened by the death ofStar Warsicon Carrie Fisher. My kids are 12 and 7, and they had seen all the movies in theStar Warssaga, particularly the original three in the series, multiple times. They were well acquainted with Fisher as the heroic Princess Leia, and they were thrilled to see her reappear as a wise general inStar Wars: The Force Awakens.
After our discussions about how she died, why it was a big deal, and so forth, my older daughter said, "I thought she wasn't an addict anymore."
That was probably one of the most challenging statements I'd heard, and it reminded me of when I spoke to the kids about my own father's addiction to alcohol and painkillers. It was desperately hard to have that conversation. Some of the difficulty was simply that you don't ever want your kids to think unkindly of their grandparents. But I had to have the conversation; they were curious about why their grandpa just wasn't around—and why, the very few times we actually saw him, he seemed irritable and unhealthy.
My kids were more resilient than I had given them credit for at the time, and especially after my father passed away following alcohol-related complications, I wanted them to understand what addiction is and what role it has in their family history.
So when it came to Carrie Fisher and whether she had stopped being an addict, I did what I'd always done; I told them the truth. I explained that in her writing, in her stage show, and in interviews, she had always introduced herself by saying, "I'm Carrie Fisher, and I'm an alcoholic."
That is a pretty blunt way of introducing yourself and expressing your addictions. It's also a very honest way of acknowledging your addictions. I explained to my girls that Fisher was always very open about the fact that she's a recovering addict, and I told them that ultimately, addicts arealwaysin recovery.
It's like a maze from which there is no escape.