Hi, I’m Susan, and I’m a gullibleholic. (Hi, Susan, all the other gullibleholics cried.) I just can’t get enough of being gullible. Every time I get played for a fool by an addict that I love, I run right back for more. This time, it’ll be different, I tell myself! I’ll just be gullible once, and then I’ll be all discerning and wise and creepily prescient.
I don’t need anyone else to help me be a gullibleholic. I know the secrets. I know the tones of voice. I know just the right way to use humor and deflect any nagging red flags inside. When he speaks the truth, and I know it’s the truth this time! I drink in every word like a thirsty Saharan wanderer.
Marty Balin (Jefferson Starship) croons in the background over the divine bass line he plays, “If only you believe, like I believe, baby, in miracles, we’d get by.” As the last notes fade out, Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker fade in, “Who knows what tomorrow brings, in a world, few hearts can find … all I know is the way I feel … the road, is long, there are mountains in our way, but we climb a step every day …
The problem is that I conflate the belief I have in the promise of the future, in the incredible POSSIBILITIES soaking every moment, with belief that what my addict says is true. It’s too easy to imagine that the truth I am committed to is just as appealing to an addict, when the fact is that addicts live lives built on layer upon layer of deception; deceiving themselves, deceiving the world, deceiving those who love and believe in them, and deceived over and over by the whispered, urgent beckoning of their secret desire.
The truth HAS set me free, and it can set addicts free as well. I’m still figuring out what that can look like outside my former framework of Christian belief. I believe each person has something they want that is more noble than being high, and I recognize that those desires may be buried under layers and layers.
In the meantime, let us not grow weary of believing in the power of hope, while understanding that believing our addicts is sketchy at best. Time to find a new way to receive information spoken by an addict, neither buying it hook, line, and sinker, nor resorting to cynicism. Time to discover what it means to trust the action and mistrust the word without the evidence. Continually saying yes to keeping the story moving forward.