From addiction to a Ph.D.
“I’m a trained counselor and I still didn’t see the signs in my own son.”
Parents, don’t blame yourself with phrases like “I should have seen that” and “I should have known that.” I say, “Wait a minute, I should have seen it. I’m a licensed professional counselor living with a drug addict and not knowing it!”
My husband and I did all the right things—went to church, I was a stay-at-home mom and we were Scout leaders and coaches. We had a pretty stable life. There is no such recipe for a drug-free, alcohol-free environment for your kid.
No matter what kind of home life you have, no matter how good a parent you are, there is no way you can avoid some things happening. Denial and all those things are very powerful. This disease can trick you very well.
I advise: 1) be real about the signs 2) know that usually what you hear is a fraction of the truth. Two beers means two six packs.
In a two-year period, both my parents died and my husband suffered a heart attack out-of-town. Austin was in eighth grade and had to stay in different people’s homes while I was back and forth to care for my husband. In one of those homes, my son first drank alcohol.
I believe my son had Social Anxiety Disorder. He didn’t feel like he fit in, even though he had lots of friends. He went from a small elementary to a large junior high.
Once he started drinking as a high school freshman, the anxiety went down and he became the life of the party. It progressed to marijuana. His attire and his attitude changed and by his sophomore year, his grades dropped. By the junior year, he was confrontive. School attendance was still a big, big negative factor, but he was working, making the grade and going to church, doing all the obligatory things to pull it off.
Until one night…
At midnight, he got a phone call and I overheard a drug deal. He was a senior and I knew he was drinking, but I had no idea he was using hard drugs. I had him drug tested the next day, and he was positive for marijuana, valium and cocaine. We got him into rehab.
Within two months, he fulfilled all the requirements to graduate from high school. Within six months, he graduated from their program and attended Texas Tech, will graduate this year and has been accepted into a PhD program.
For six years, he has been clean and sober.
—Debbie Moore, M.A., L.P.C.