Could it be? Drug use? My kid? Are you kidding?
Yes, yes, yes, and no. Asking questions when we would prefer not to hear the answers, not to know the truth – this takes courage. It also takes commitment to find the answers, consider the possibilities, and commit to a new parenting role. It takes a strength we all possess, but one we would just as well not have to tap.
When our son’s mental illness and substance abuse began, we focused on finding out what was going on. We focused on him. We asked lots of questions, sought lots of answers. We didn’t know for a fact what was going on; we just had a lot of suspicions. We didn’t know where to turn. We didn’t know much.
The more we asked, the more confusing things became. Each quasi answer was vague, ambiguous and either alarming or even a bit patronizing.
I took a lot of notes. I Googled lots of topics. I started putting together pieces until a picture emerged.
When I found something or someone encouraging, I rejoiced. It didn’t mean the findings were necessarily positive, but the feeling of being understood and of gaining understanding was so helpful.
Looking back over notes on my phone, scribbles on pieces of paper, and journal entries, I recognized a pattern of questions and answers. I found that the process of asking and answering is valuable, and I found that some of the best sources were other people who had experienced something similar.
Together, we are sharing. Together, we are learning. Together, we journeying. Together, we are recovering.
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you care about a young addict. Perhaps it’s your child. Maybe it’s a neighbor or student, or a member of a team you coach. Whoever it is, you’ve asked the questions that Mid Atlantic Mom and I have asked: Could it be? Drug use? My Kid? Are you kidding?
While I hope the answers that you find are different than mine, I still encourage you to ask and seek information. It’s possible to suspect substance abuse only to find out it’s not. Not all kids that try drugs and alcohol will have problems with these substances – the substances aren’t good for them, but they may not be addicts. We owe it to ourselves to ask questions, to find answers and to share with others. We most certainly owe it to our kids. We are in this together.
In upcoming blogs, I will take this topic in two different directions. I will explore potential responses to these questions and resources you might turn to. In addition, I will confess how questioning has driven me batty at times and how I learned to stop the questions especially the ones that kept me up at night.
By the way, the question on my mind right now has to do with what it’s like to be newly sober and what it’s like to be in recovery. This is a new experience for our son, and for us. I wonder about it quite a bit. Feel free to chime in with your experience. Let’s do this together, too.