In recent weeks, obituaries for those lost to addiction have become viral. Tears form in our eyes each time we read one of these. As writers, we recognize the power of the word. Memorials come after the fact. Could even one life be saved with a plea to an addict son or daughter? Addiction is a jealous mistress, who prostitutes herself to the point of no return. As unappealing as she may seem, her allure is overwhelming. Consider this note from a parent who wants her child to seek a better life.
It has been only slightly easier for me since you decided I was the enemy and restricted your telephone conversations to brief updates and pleas to Dad. I benefited from not hearing your voice. When you called from an unknown number and I answered the phone that changed. I heard your pain. I wept and wanted to hunt you down and make things all better. Dad has the ability to put you to the back of his mind. I don’t. I haven’t slept well since we spoke.
First off, YOU are a part of our family no matter what it is you do. We love you unconditionally and want the best for you. However, every relationship has its limits, and we want to make them clear for you. Many of these limits are as an obvious consequence of your behavior. The door is not locked to you, but we need to close it a bit until things are under control in your life.
Tough love is as hard on you as it is on us. It is a hard reality to recognize that we can’t change things for you. Gone are the days when we arranged for you to get your GED and suitable job training, as well as housing. They are past us with the many wardrobe replacements when you lost everything for not paying rent or stints in jail. It was not once. It was not twice. We cannot count the number of times your father and I tried to fix things for you.
Your quest for drugs has come above your love for anyone else. Put us and your siblings aside. Women who gave you love have come and gone. They seek their own recovery. Sadly, your daughter does not know you as her rock. She longs for you more than you can imagine. You have promised to clean up for her. Find peace for YOU and reclaim her in the process.
We recognize your addiction problem as an illness and implore you to get true professional help for it. Although it is the root of much of your criminal activity, we are not convinced that drugs are the only reason for it. In any event, it is important that you seek out whatever programs that can help you. We’ve learned the hard way that you just don’t benefit by us doing the work for you and that we are not qualified to treat your addictions. We can no longer allow you to make your problems ours.
It is clear that you know of our disappointment and hurt. We love you, but cannot expose ourselves to violence or other unlawful conduct. We do not need the police or other criminals looking for you in our home. We also do not want to become inadvertently associated with any of your crimes as we are honest, law abiding people.
Son, it is never too late to start over. You know what you need to do. You are a young man with a lifetime ahead of you. As your birthday approaches, consider this next year of your life as the first.
As we see it, you have a journey ahead of you. We will gladly keep in touch with you to offer emotional support. We can barely wait to see the finished product!
No matter what, always remember that we love you!
Mom and Dad