What I Wish I Had Told My Son
A Father Talks to His Son about Addiction
As a parent, one only wants the best for their kids. Parents would give their life and more for their children. They want their children to have the life they never had. Parents don’t want their children making the same mistakes or to suffer as much as they did, so it is tough to have a son or daughter who drinks alcohol or uses drugs. The stress of wanting to help them but not knowing how can be very difficult. It is especially harder for parents who were alcoholics or drug addicts at one point in their lives.
The following is from an interview with the graduate’s father.
“Dealing with an addict son is difficult. There has to be a certain balance between being assertive while also offering a helping hand. When my son found out that I did drugs in the past he was very upset. He called me a hypocrite among other things. I had to explain that while I did drugs, it was just momentarily. I had to make him understand that drugs eventually ceased to be fun.
“Everything that goes up must eventually come down. It’s a law of life. With drugs, the comedown is twice as hard as the high was fun. It isn’t worth it.
“My son would just imagine the glamour life I had lived with drugs, but he never imagined all the suffering that occurred too. I lost many friends who were amazing people. They were smart, genuine people who cared about others. They were good people—and now they’re dead. Many of those friends had tremendous potential, but t was all wasted just for a night of fun or for a way to fit it. I saw it happen numerous times and did not want that for my son.
“You could say that the ones who died were the ’lucky’ ones. They did not live to see the damage created to their families. I also had friends who were shunned completely by their families. They have kids who do not care whether their fathers lived or died. They have to live with the fact they could have been something in life or that they have disappointed everyone who mattered to them. Instead of fixing the problem they put themselves in, they completely ignore it and continue in their never-ending drug-seeking cycle. I did not want that for my son either.
“I introduced my son to one of the friends I grew up with. He was in his late 50s and lived in a one-bedroom apartment in the worst side of town and was still very much into cocaine. He would drink and snort much of his paycheck and struggled month to month. I tried to explain to my son that these things do happen. I told him that I would probably be his roommate if I hadn’t gotten clean. After we left, I talked to him and told him that all I wanted was the best for him and that he be happy. I would support any decision he made and even help him out financially if they were good decisions.
“I caught my son high multiple times. I could see the empty look in his eyes. He would think I didn’t know, but after raising someone for 26 years you really get to know them.”
“I caught my son high multiple times. I could see the empty look in his eyes. He would think I didn’t know, but after raising someone for 26 years you really get to know them.
“Some words of advice I can give to parents out there with this problem are the following:
“1. Wait to confront the addict until the effect of the drugs wears off.
“I know it is tough. It is tough dealing with the anger and other emotions and knowing very well that you raised him right and there is no reason for him to be doing drugs. Chances are he isn’t going to remember any of what you just scolded him on. It also adds stress to an already stressful situation.
“2. Find out what the addict is consuming and research about it.
“Know the ins and outs. Find out what symptoms he shows when he is high. Be ready in case you need to take him to the hospital. Prepare for the worst.
“3. Do not enable them.
“I know this is a tough one, but it is essential you don’t do that. Don’t give him money for his habit. The addict needs to understand you do not support his drug use. If the drug use gets too bad, you must insist that drugs will not be tolerated under this roof. Offer them help by all means, but If they refuse to accept help, they are going to have to see for themselves how hard it is to be a drug addict.
“4. Don’t glamourize drugs or drinking.
“Many addicts often glamourize drinking and drug-use movies, TV shows, and music. Don’t buy into this. Stand your ground and let it be known that you don’t support this type of lifestyle.”