Monday, June 11, 2012

No More Secrets

June 5, 2012
            My son’s arrest was in the paper today along with  all of the gruesome details. The words “active meth lab” are never words that a parent wants associated with their child.  Part of the reason addiction is called a “family disease” is because it affects the whole family. Part of the sickness is the secrecy and the sense of shame.  My father was an alcoholic, and even though I don’t remember ever being told not to talk about his drinking, it was an unspoken rule.  Somehow I just knew that it wasn’t normal, and that I didn’t want my friends to know about it.  To get away from Dad’s  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality I learned to spend as much time away from home as possible and spent lots of weekends at my best friend’s house. Even my best friend didn’t know about Dad’s drinking.   I didn’t ask friend’s to stay at my house because I was never sure what type of mood Dad would be in, and it seemed our lives revolved around the moods.  I became an expert at reading non-verbal body language so I would know if he was in a good mood or a sour mood.  If he was in a sour mood, my time was spent in my bedroom listening to music to drown out mom and dad’s arguments.  I pretty much lived in my bedroom when I was home.  Somehow I always felt to blame for their problems, because a lot of their arguments were about the “kids” or money.  Hence the shame.  I have carried that sense of guilt and shame into my adult years, and in particular with my son’s addiction.  So I have kept his addiction a well-guarded secret from everyone, even my mom didn’t know.  To be honest I didn’t even know the extent of my son’s addiction until about a month ago, so deep was my denial.  But now, the cat is out of the bag in a very public way.  No more secrets.  Anyone who reads the paper knows now, and I’m sure will pass the news on to others. 
            I’m so glad I found Alanon.  I feel so connected to the friends I’ve made there, and have learned that there really is no profile of a certain type of family or upbringing that leads our kids to addiction.  I have questioned myself so many times about the decisions I made as I raised my son.  His dad and I divorced when he was 4 and I’ve often wondered if things would have been different if we had somehow found a way to stay together, even though he was abusive and rarely home.  But I listen to other parents of addicts share their stories and I learn that most of them were good parents who raised their kids in a stable home, and did their best to teach them values, and the difference between right and wrong.  So, maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference at all.

1 comment:

  1. I was out of town when my son's Aggravated Robbery story hit the media. I started getting messages from people I hadn't heard from in years. My dad found out when he saw the story on the local news and saw footage of my son in the orange jail suit in front of the judge. Apparently the media was at my house and knocking on my neighbor's doors. :(