Dear Dr. Darcy,
My son is away for the summer and I stumbled upon some drug paraphernalia in his room. I have attached pictures of what I found. My son is 15 years old and is a very good child, however, he has had some rough times. My husband left me when he was 9 years old and [my son has] had emotional problems ever since. This past year was the worst, including several F’s and some drug experimentation (mostly pot, but he also snorted heroine at least once). I was happy to get him out of our town for the summer, but given what I just found in his room, I’m not sure he should be in a recreational environment. How seriously should I take this?
How seriously do you regard his life? That’s how seriously I’d take this if I were you. For the record, the photo you sent me was of a crack pipe. And before your enabling mind hunts for some less-alarming explanation, No, people don’t smoke pot and crack out of the same type of pipe. It’s a crack pipe. Plain and simple.
You’ve got a big fucking mess on your hands, and I’m not going to sugar coat it because if I do, you’ll find the silver lining in my message and you won’t take the actions necessary to turn his life around.
You are a classic enabler: Someone whose behaviors (or lack thereof) make it possible for an addict to continue using. You are as much the problem as he is. You need to get yourself into a Codependents Anonymous meeting ASAP ~ and don’t stop there: You need a SPONSOR. Your problem, in a nutshell, is that you value peace above principals, and your shuffled priorities are going to kill your son. There can be no peace when a family member is in the throws of an addiction. Do you hear that, Moms? If you have a family member using drugs and there is an absence of fighting, i.e., peace, that’s your red flag that you’re an enabler.
In the same sentence, you reference drug experimentation and heroin usage. If you were in my office, this is where I’d jump out of my chair and ask, “Are you fucking kidding me?” No one ‘experiments’ with heroine. And if we were talking about anyone but your son, you wouldn’t need me to tell you that.
Find an inpatient drug rehabilitation program, preferably one in a state other than where you reside. Confirm that they will take a 15 year old who may not be a willing participant. Then arrange for them to go to his camp and escort him to their facility. Make sure that before he is discharged from rehab, they have an inpatient aftercare program to send him to. The two programs should overlap, meaning, he should not spend even one night at your home. He should spend the rest of the summer in the aftercare program. Before he is discharged from that program, he should be enrolled in an outpatient program located near your home so that he continues to have a program when he returns to school in the fall.
If this sounds like an overwhelming amount of arrangements to facilitate, let me remind you that organizing your son’s funeral will involve at least as many steps. Just remember: Your first step is contacting Coda. The link is right here.
Writer's Stats: Female, bisexual.