I hope everyone found it interesting what the students ask and how I answered. After today's post I will answer any questions submitted by readers. There is one question in the comment of the first set of questions I will answer and if anyone else has question please feel free to leave them in the comments or e-mail me directly.
7. What is the hardest part about living with an addict?
The fear. Every single time the phone rang or doorbell rang there was a twisting fear inside you scared that this was “the call.”
In fact the only time his mother and I felt any peace would be when he was in jail or prison. During that time we knew where he was and that he was being watched.
8. How do you stay positive?
You must have lifeboats. That is what I call those things that allow you to remember that you have a life too. I wrote about my lifeboats on my blog. http://parentsofanaddict.blogspot.com/2009/01/lifeboats.html
It’s like on an airplane when the attendant gives that speech that no one listens too about oxygen masts. “In case of a loss of cabin pressure an oxygen mask will drop down. For those of you traveling with small children secure your mask first and then place the mask on your child.”
If you do not save yourself first you cannot save others.
May I take the liberty to change your question slightly? How do you maintain hope?
Hope is very dangerous when misplaced. Once I had pretty much lost hope and someone told me “Where there is life there is hope.” Easy to say and comforting to hear but then reality is snapped back and you realize your son is suffering from what can be a fatal disease. Then I thought more about what hope really is as it relates to life. You can read it here: http://parentsofanaddict.blogspot.com/2011/03/where-there-is-life-there-is-hope.html
There are times you can’t be positive and maintain hope. When we found out our son was speedballing. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedball_(drug)) This is when his mother and I began making his funeral preparations; we were just waiting on a body. Speedballing is usually fatal. If you read about the famous people that die from drug overdoses, many are from speedballing.
9. Did your son’s addiction affect your family financially?
Financially I DO NOT want a final total of monies expended. I do believe as far as direct dollars it would be in the high five figures or low six figures. Indirect monies spent on ourselves to try and make us feel better, “retail and beach therapy”…… I do not want to know the total amount.
My wife and I had good jobs that paid well. We were fortunate. I know people that bankrupted themselves dealing with a child’s addiction, lost homes, cars and retirements.
Addiction and mental health is not accepted by many as a legitimate health issue, this includes many insurance companies. Our health insurance at the time mandated no more that 30 days treatment for addiction or mental health. 30 days of rehab is accepted by most addiction professionals is not enough. Can you imagine what would happen if insurance companies only allotted 30 days treatment for cancer, heart disease or diabetes?
10. Did he show signs of addiction when he was younger?
Not sure how to answer this question.
He was a normal kid. Played video games, at five years old he thought he was Michelangelo of The Teenage Mutant Turtles.
My son was very smart. Honor rolls all through school. Math was simple, he took pre-calc and trig as a sophomore in high school, that was the highest math class in our school and he just breezed through the class.
He played sports, basketball and football. He was a star on the forensics team and qualified for state.
Most times he was center of attention. Our high school had about 800 students. He was one of the “cool” kids everyone wanted to be his friend.
Guess I cannot understand what signs you are looking for in this question. I am sorry.
Thank you all for allowing me to share my story with you in this way. It hard and painful to share but it must be done to battle the monster. Removing the stigma of addiction is the first step in recovery and educating everyone that addiction can be beat.
Your questions brought emotional moments back to the surface. Thank you for those painful remembrances. It keeps me focused on the present and the gift I have in my son today that we came so close to losing.
If you or other loved ones have any other questions of a personal nature I’d be happy to discuss them with you either through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (913) 909-2810.