Talking with the Kids About Addiction and Work

Some very disturbing images have been showing up on Facebook lately. I put things off too long. Eventually, reminders and synchronicities start urging me to deal with issues that have long been buried. Yesterday was the day I finally decided I had to do something. I could not tolerate the status quo any longer. It was this photo that triggered my bold move.

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I know about addiction and substance abuse, but I have been in a dark state of denial for too long. It was this image that made me think about how I am willingly providing hallucinogenic substances to my cats and tolerating disordered eating in my dog. Not only that, I am laughing about it. It’s awful! As my hull of denial cracked, I got disgusted with the life I had lived up to this point… obviously not understanding the impact of my actions – not only on the health of my cats but on their very souls. I don’t want to come home to the above scene and have to live with the knowledge that I contributed to the problem.

So, I confessed to my cats.

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Bella didn’t quite get what I was so concerned about. “Good lord, here you go again! What is it this time?” she hissed.

“I’ve realized that I’ve enabled substance abuse problems in you guys,” I answered. “I feel terrible about it. I know better.”

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“Relax,” Buster said. “Do you have any more of those catnip tea bags? That will make you feel better.”

“That’s the problem,” I said. “I’ve normalized it to such a degree that we all think it’s an acceptable way to change our mood.”

“Well, it is,” said Bella. “Why are you so upset about it? Buster’s right. Chill.”

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I told them that I had been really disturbed the other day when I came home to this scene:

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Ashok, obviously persuaded by my recent mood lift with Chinese herbs, had gotten spices confused with herbs and tried to overdose while I was gone. The next day she gorged herself on her dog food. Yesterday, I came home to the ravages of a granola cereal box. She had eaten the whole thing. It’s insanity. She obviously has an eating disorder, and I explained that I believe that my own beliefs about food equaling comfort have been passed down to her. I confided that I was most of afraid of them ending up like the animals I saw at Michael’s house in Texas. Emaciated… lifeless… as if their insides had been completely eaten out.

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“WTF are you talking about,” Ashok said. “I thought this was about the stupid cats. Can I have a sweet potato?”

 

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I showed them the picture of the catnip overdose. It seemed to impress a semblance of a sense of urgency on the cats. They looked at each other as if to say “You have a problem. Where does she keep that tea?”

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We all went to bed after sharing a little about why we use substances and discussing how we all should help each other quit. Even though the subject was broached, I’m not really convinced they want help. You know how addicts are. I know how addicts are. They may realizeĀ  they have a problem in the heat of the moment, but it never lasts. Right before we went to sleep, Bella looked at me and confessed, “I really want some catnip now. Can we have some of that tea?”

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I was glad I broached the subject last night. This morning was a little lighter, and I shared another photo with the kids from Facebook. This time, I was able to discuss something more positive. I told them that I really needed them to go to work, and, since we had bonded last night, they were more open to the idea.

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Bella and Buster found it interesting that a cat could be a photographer. They had never realized that they could step into their passions and make money at it, too. On our walk this morning, Ashok said she had some idea that she could make money, but she could never decide what she wanted to do. “I’d like to be a chef,” she added. I laughed. “Ashok, that would be like an alcoholic becoming a bartender.” “Ok,” she said. “I’ll do that.” She also wants to be a kayak guide, an automobile car wash attendant and a vacuum cleaner chaser. She’s totally career challenged.

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Bella happily announced that she’d like to be a plumber. “I love that throne and the little plunger thingy,” she said. I was disappointed at first that she didn’t want to get an education, but then I remembered that she hates people of all kinds, most animals, and, basically, life in general. If she has one thing she’s passionate about, she should go with it. Besides, she’ll probably make more money than me. “You’ll have to let me go outside,” she said.

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Buster said he wanted to be a lion. I told him that he couldn’t turn into another animal. He had to find something that fit with his passions.

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As I was leaving, I took a look at Buster doing what he loves to do best:

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“I’ve got it, Buster!! I know what you can do!” I exclaimed. “I’ll get you a job working for the State.”

Y’all have a nice weekend…. Lion Up!!

 

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