It takes about 7 seconds to determine whether or not the friend, acquaintance, or co-worker has had any experience with addiction. The drill goes like this…”Hey, how’s M doing in school this year?”
I lay it all out there…Rough summer…blah, blah, blah… things became completely out of control…blah, blah, blah…we exhausted every avenue possible at home to help him get his life turned around….blah, blah, blah…so we sent him to military school.
And that leads us to the turning point. If they know this secret coded language, they might hug me, or tell me they’ll keep my family in their thoughts, or they’ll ask how my younger son is doing, or they’ll ask if I’ve heard of Alanon, or they’ll ask if my husband and I getting through it okay. The anguish on their face is familiar.
But if they have not experienced teenage addiction or any addiction at all, the response is different. The look on their face is less anguish, more quizzical. Their questions are more about M. “Was he mad?” or “How long will he have to be there?” or “Will he get to play tennis this spring?”
(To all of my non-club-member friends, you are lucky because this club is not a lot of fun. I realize that it may be impossible for you to completely understand how desperate our situation had become.)
Honestly, I sometimes wonder if he’s eating well, I sometimes wonder if the other cadets are nice to him, and I sometimes wonder if he’s still mad at me. But luckily, every maternal instinct in every single cell of my body is still on red alert. I find that at this stage, it’s still often necessary for the internal alarm’s volume to blow my speakers. It’s hard to stay tough when it comes to your baby, but I am on a rescue mission. And I need to be tough.