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I Addressed My Own Drinking and It Was the Key to My Son’s Recovery
On a June night three years ago, my son was stopped by police, driving down our street with marijuana, drug paraphernalia and too many other kids in my car. He was not under the influence that first night. Brought to the police station, a court date was set and a lawyer contacted. Lots of yelling and crying and doors slamming around the house characterized the days that followed.
Another stop by police would follow about 10 months later, and this time, while under the influence of marijuana, he was processed as an adult. Many thousands of dollars were spent. Many professionals were consulted. We tried many types of formal treatment, such as day programs and an inpatient stay. There was no emotional or financial pain great enough to go through until the lows of using marijuana for him outweighed his highs.
But this story is not going to be about his journey. It’s about the corresponding, overarching story of a 50-year-old woman, drinking too much alcohol since her own high school days, now trying to manage her oldest child’s addiction. The night the police brought my son home, I had been drinking wine. How many glasses? Three? Four? I don’t recall. I would “top off” my drinks and lose count. While not drunk, I had been drinking. I am sure, had I been required to go down to the station to retrieve him, it would have been noticeable on my breath. I am glad I did not have to drive that night.
How many other parents out there have a son or daughter struggling with substances while denying their own? How strange is it to tell oneself that your addiction (to something more socially acceptable like alcohol) is OK, manageable, acceptable, familiar, and common — while his is criminal, deviant, embarrassing?