One of the first things I questioned when deciding to begin this blog was whether I should include identifying information. Initially, I decided to not reveal too much, and not to use full names or photographs. However, this decision has been weighing on me, mainly because of the reasons for which I made that choice. There are so many complex issues to deal with when you have an addict in your home, and one of them is deciding how much of the problem to reveal to the outside world (friends, family, acquaintances, etc.). We have taken the approach of hiding as much as possible from everyone we know.
I come from a very close family. My family members love my son deeply. I did not want them to be as worried as we are. However, recently, I had to divulge a lot about the situation to my father, because my son had been using his grandfather as an unknowing enabler - my father was giving my son money, paying his cell phone bill, and letting him use his car. Of course, he had seen concerning changes in his grandson over time, but he had no idea how serious his problems had become. It was very painful for me to tell him what has been going on in his only grandson's life, because I knew he would be deeply concerned. And, I was right. I think I watched my dear father age 10 years in that 10 minute confession.
So, although the reasons for withholding information from my family may have been noble, in terms of trying to protect people who love our son from the pain we have been experiencing, I can't say the same for the reasons we have not told anybody else. Simply put, we are embarrassed and ashamed of our son's addiction. We are afraid that people who do not know us well, and do not know that we have raised our son in a loving home, would blame us for our son's problems. And so, the skeletons have remained firmly hidden in the closet. Until now. I have decided that the next time someone asks me how my son is doing, my answer will no longer be, 'he is fine.' He is not fine, in fact, he is about as far away from fine as he can be.
I believe that it is in times of great hardship when you discover who your true friends are. Sometimes, when you are in the deepest darkness imaginable, it can be difficult to see anything clearly. However, I know that when the light returns, I will be able to look around and see who is still by my side, and perhaps that will be one blessing to come out of this nightmare.
It is time to let go of the shameful feelings. It is time to let go of the guilt. Skeletons begone - I am shining a light on the dark recesses we have hidden for far too long.
Hello, my name is Hannah and my son is an addict.
*photos to follow once I figure out how (;