Occasionally, I cross-pollinate the writings of my drug-addicted adults with those of my equally challenged teens. Last week, I shared with the kids the story of one of my adult group—a woman whose ride on the drug addiction roller coaster has been particularly rough, spanning childhood sexual predation, years of brutal domestic violence, multiple inner demon personalities and, not surprisingly, suicidal tendencies. My objective was not to scare them (not easily done, given their intimate familiarity with such things) but rather to point out that the one thing holding this woman together was the love of her 14-year old dog, which had recently gone missing, thus threatening the woman with yet another disastrous downward spiral. Such is the tenuous nature of recovery.

This woman’s life struggles almost made her drug addiction seem benign. But leave it to one of the teens to remind me that there is nothing benign about drugs. A few excerpts from his essay:

“My mother was a user. I was maybe 8 or 9 when I would watch her nod out right in front of me. Then I would notice my stuff would go missing. Then she did too. Every night I would wonder where she was and if she was still alive. Nobody understood what I was going through. I couldn’t understand how a mother could do that to her child.

She got locked up for pawning stolen items and spent two years in Jessup (jail). During those years, I did not talk to my mother at all. This drove me crazy.

Now she’s out and trying to stay clean. We’ve seen each other a few times, but I hold a grudge for her not caring about me when all she cared about was herself and getting her next fix.

I’m glad she’s making the transition to get better and we’re trying to work on our trust again. But she’s gonna have to earn it back.

This experience has changed the way I see the world, and how I view the use of drugs. I have learned that it only takes one time using something to ruin not only your life, but also the lives of people around you.”

Amen to that.

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