— Feeding The Need. Essay, Research Paper
ADDICTION-FEEDING THE NEED
It could not happen to me or my family. That s what everyone thinks. There are many different types of addictions and whether it be drug, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, spending, food, or sex, they all have basically the same self-destructive tendencies.
Drug addiction can go unnoticed at first. There are a few slight clues, but you just put them together. He comes home with his eyes open wide, dry mouth and there is a noticeable twitch in his hands. She had seen that twitch and those eyes before but dismisses it as his fatigue, since he had not been sleeping much lately. He is gone again but he will be back soon. When he does come back home she notices the smell of alcohol and there is that twitch and dry mouth again. She decides that it is time to ask if his old habit has come back. He bolts out a firm No, are you crazy? Almost making her feel bad for asking. She did not want to insult him. She apologizes, although deep down she knows. She does not want to face it but the light comes on and there are more and more signs; more time spent in the back room (his sanctuary) and more nights of staying up all night. Then come the times when she has to call his work and tell his boss that he has the flu or something and cannot make it to work.
She retreats into her own world. Trying desperately to keep the family together and at the same time trying not to let herself fall apart. Every day is like the movie Groundhog Day. She wakes up every morning at 5:45, gets ready for school, gets her oldest kids up for school, her youngest ones ready for daycare, and her husband ready for work. Then she s off. She drops her kids of fat daycare and starts her forty-five minute drive to school. Sometimes, on the way, the music can t get loud enough to drown out the voices within. The voices that tell her that she shouldn t put up with what her husband puts her thorough and those are the same voices that tell her she doesn t deserve any better than she s got. Many women would love to have what she has. Her husband is a good man, he doesn t beat her, he is a good provider; she doesn t have to want for anything – material.
She gets to school-salvation. Adult conversation abounds and yet adolescent mentality still rears it s ugly head. Just enough to add to the voices and pressures already present. School s over and the forty-five minute mental conversation is once again in session.
She picks up the kids and heads home. As soon as they get in the door the madness begins. The girls are screaming at each other, screaming at her. They are hungry, they are thirsty, they peed in their pants, or any other reason they deem necessary for a scream. She believes that sometimes they scream just to see how long it will take her to scream. By that time the two older kids are home. Of course they need her too. They need help with their homework, problems with school, transportation to a friends house or a school event, and of course, they too are hungry. Feed, read, change, calm, smoke, and reflect on what is yet to come. Meanwhile, the house is a mess. The litter box is overflowing. Laundry is piled up to the ceiling, and dishes-oh, dishes. The sink is completely full, the counter is full, and sometimes even the stove is full.
Now the husband is home. He is hungry. The dishes are all dirty so, she feeds her spending addiction by ordering take-out again. She continues feeding the needs of the family she loves so much. Longing to have her own needs fed. Her husband needs clothes and a towel because he is going to take a shower. She obediently gathers clothes for him. At the same time she wonders what it would be like to take a shower alone, with no interruptions. No kids in there peeking past the shower curtain. Or in the event that the door would happen to be locked, to not have anyone crying and beating the door down.
Smoke, eat, feed the needs. He is showered and dressed and either in the back room or he ll be back in a little bit. . But not before he tells her what needs to be done. Like she can t see that the livingroom is a mess, the dishes need to be done, he needs clothes washed, and the litter box is way out of control. It s about 9:00, the older kids go to bed but the younger ones still need. Need to scream, eat, pee, fight, and love. By 11:00 they are finally asleep. She gets to go to bed now, but there are needs to be met even there – not her own though. Sleep, wake, smoke, begin again-feeding the needs.
She holds on, looking forward to Friday and Saturday. She begs him for some time to herself. Begs to go to the bar. OK, but she has to feed the needs first. The kids and hiss, then she can go. But she has to be back by the time limit he gives her – or else! She is finally dressed, has her face on and is out the door. Now, if only for a couple of hours, nobody needs her. She is nobody s wife, nobody s mother, and nobody s maid. She seeks comfort in alcohol, which makes her numb. And comfort in the attention and affections of men who want her, not need her. As fake and pitiful as it may truly be, she feels beautiful and sexy and wanted. At least for that one night. Spend, drink, smoke, feeding her needs now.
Then before she realizes it, time s up. Like Cinderella she has to get back home where she turns back into a frumpkin. But there s no Prince Charming coming with a lost show to sweep her off her feet away from the madness. So the next day she s up again at 9:00 to begin again – feeding the needs, not her own.
Whose addiction is more self-destructive, hers or his? Who can say. Because like beauty, self-destruction is in the eye of the beholder.