I went to a surprise 40th Birthday party yesterday for one of "our" old friends. The man of the hour went to HS with AH and was in our wedding party. I was friendly with his wife back then and we were also in their wedding party. We saw alot of old friends that we hadn't seen in awhile. AH doesn't keep in touch with any of his friends and doesn't make much of an effort to make new ones, and I long ago stopped making the effort for him. It was interesting. Mostly everyone got fat. Don't know why that is always what I notice, but I noticed it.
I spent the afternoon talking to the wife of one of his old friends, who I always got on well enough with over the years, although there would never be a great friendship between us. About an hour into the party, and she was half way through a "box", (yes they served wine from a box) of Zinfandel wine, I was ready to choke this women who conversation skills do not go any further than how trendy her daughter dresses and about how perfect her parenting skills are. This is when I usually bring up the Prince and his issues. She was flabbergasted, and you could see that look on her face that you have seen a thousand times before, thank god this will never happen to HER child.
At least this provoked a change in the conversation. Now do not get me wrong, addiction is normally my favorite topic of conversation, but this woman was so ignorant it went beyond scary. She wanted to know every detail, like did I know his friends, (yes) their parents (yes) did I spend enough time with him, did I check his room, was I on the PTA, was he involved in sports, (yes a million times over). She was looking for what WE did wrong. because, clearly, kids from good families with a solid support system and involved parents, do NOT turn to drugs. I tried to be nice, and explain the disease aspect, the hereditary/genetic connection, (her husband had always been a heavy drinker, and I knew him to abuse drugs back in the day, and from what I could see of her pounding down the wine at 2 in the afternoon, this is something she needs to be aware of) but she wasn't having any of it. I sort of kind of yelled at her at this point, that perhaps she is putting way too much emphasis on her children's clothing and not being aware of the bigger picture out there in the real world, where kids get addicted to drugs and alcohol and have sex and get pregnant. I am fairly confident I wont be invited back to another party anytime soon.
So last night I caught a bunch of the Addiction project short films on HBO. Good stuff. One of the shorts told the story of a woman and her seven year battle with her daughters heroin addiction. This was a beautiful young women, high honor roll, cheerleader, popular, musically gifted, the perfect child. Except that she was filled with self hate and only found relief when she was chasing the dragon. The mom articulated how I felt at the party. She spoke of the stigma attached to having an addicted child and how people looked for what she had done wrong, etc. I respect these families for putting themselves out there for the world to see (and judge) to help educate. These little film shorts, or something like them, should be mandatory viewing for parents when their kids enter middle school. Something has to change to help pull these peoples heads out of their asses. It can happen to your kid too. I promise!