Monday, March 19, 2007

I kiss and tell all my fears....

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!


Syd said...

I want to see the HBO series as I've heard it is very good. Sounds as if Ms. WineInABox is in major denial or is totally out to lunch. It will be interesting to see when her wakeup call comes. You are courageous and honest but that's the only way to be, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes,we have to be careful who we share personal stuff with simply to avoid the feeling of wanting to kick some people for being so ignorant.
I tip my hat off to you my friend for sharing so much in this blog that indeed,more people should be aware of.I so admire your courage Kel..keep staying true to your own journey.Thank you again for sharing.

working mom NYC said...

I am also very interested in the HBO Series. I saw some of it - hope to see all of it. They are trying to do something different in terms of also giving information to viewers (via the web) about how to find more help in getting & staying clean.

I know just how you feel about feeling in the minority surrounded by people with "normal" kids. My niece is a "normal" kid without drug issues who did well in school and is now in college.

It brings up the feeling of competing with other women in regard to the accomplishments of our children. I remember that about a year ago a woman in my AA meeting talked about feeling jealous when women in her office talked about their high-achieving kids and all she could add to the conversation was that her daughter had stayed out all night drinking & drugging, and she was contemplating having her picked up in the middle of the night and taken bodily to a treatment center upstate for a long stay. (She did follow through with this plan). I am grateful to this woman for saying this, because I have long felt ashamed of my son's problems and feel they reflect badly on me. Some of this feeling was subconscious, and having her say it clarified it & brought it to the surface. A number of women in my regular AA meeting have kids with substance abuse problems, and I am fortunate that they share openly about their situations and support me, so that I know I'm not the only one in this boat. I'm sure my parenting and that of my husband have contributed to the problems my son is facing, but we're not responsible for all of them.

Another good thing is that I go to the rehab every week and sit with all the other other parents who seem as normal, caring, giving etc. as anybody else out there - we're from a wide range of economic levels - but we all ended up with out-of-control kids.

Once again, I applaud you for your perception and honesty. I check your blog nearly every day for the insights you provide. You help me a lot.

~MsManna~ said...

I am proud of you for sharing. True, I agree with Tab that we don't need to share with those who do not have or understand the programs. I find myself in that situation a lot less than before. But I am surrounded by folks who have children with drug and alcohol problems. It is keeping from sharing with those who instantly judge me as well. For the past I have with my ex.
You are very brave, thanks for sharing!

Redhead Gal said...

I think it is fear that pushed the woman to probe into the "whys" of your situation, not necessarily malice. We all want to protect our children and pray we are doing the right things so that they will be safe. When something happens to another, it's natural that we try to find the distinguishing factor. People in my neck of the woods spent a lot of time doing that analysis when a high school student in a wealthy suburb stabbed and killed another.

Still, it's very hard for you as the parent and I feel for you, Kel. The woman certainly was insensitive, if not bad intentioned.
Parents do need to be educated that it can happen to anyone.