Since his early teens, my son’s substance abuse has consumed
our family. It’s been a frightening, life altering and wild ride;
certainly not what I pictured on that January day in 1986.
For years, I had a strategy of sidestepping the whole truth when
addressing the reality of his situation.
“He’s out in Colorado”, I’d say, and gingerly change the subject
before I’d have to answer more questions.
“He’s hanging in there”, I’d say, as if he was facing his first
round of midterms instead of a court date for drug possession.
“We’re looking forward to being together at Christmas”,
I’d nod and force a smile when someone asked about our
Silently, I was praying that this year, our gathering wouldn’t
be wrecked by drugs and drama.
My family and close friends knew what we were up against,
but they were at a loss as to how to help. Each one was supportive
in their own way, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Many years of counseling helped me let go of the misguided notion
that I had any control over my son’s reckless behavior.
I was powerless over his addiction.
Once I accepted that powerlessness, I came to a more peaceful place.
I‘m not a professional in the field of addiction, but I am an experienced
mother of an addict. By facing the shame and secrecy that keeps parents
isolated, I’ve dropped the perfect Christmas card portrait and embraced
my authentic family, warts and all.