The Souvenir

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In a recent interview with Terry Gross on “Fresh Air”, Erin Lee Carr, daughter of David Carr, talked about her and her father’s alcoholism and his drug addiction. At one point, she mentioned that later in life when she and her family were trying to understand what happened throughout their lives they came up with a maxim that they used repeatedly: alcoholism and drug addiction explains everything but it excuses nothing.

I’ve been thinking about that maxim a lot since hearing her mention it in that interview. Relationships with people who abuse drugs or suffer from some sort of illness are complex. They make you wonder if your own sense of reality is real. People around you might wish you would get out. You might suffer in your own ways while your loved one suffers. We’ve done a lot of work, in society, to build empathy for addicts. We’ve built new vocabulary and understanding of their diseases. But, it seems to me, we still have a ways to go to fully understand the way their closest loved ones suffer and how to help them make the right decision: to stay, leave, or do something else entirely.

Also – can you imagine having Tilda Swinton as your mom??