Oh no! – The question.
Silence – The answer.
“Not MY kid!”
“I won’t let this happen to MY kid!”
“MY kid is too well behaved for drugs!”
“MY kid won’t hang out with THOSE kids!”
“OUR family is different than THOSE families.”
“MY kid goes to a great school…he gets good grades.”
Though those answers weren’t on my list of responses when asked the dreaded “what if” question, I had my own naive thoughts.
I sat silent for a while.
Ok, a long while.
Ok, I still haven’t shared my thoughts.
That is, until now.
Those thoughts went something like this…..
“Nooooo! He will play with Legos, get excited over finding nickels in the couch, eat yogurt tubes, suck juice boxes dry, sleep with “wolfie” at night and laugh at Sponge Bob for the rest of his life!!!”
That folks, is what I came up with.
Naive mom brain, if you will.
My 8 yr old will grow up and, in today’s society, fast!
Addiction is real. I know all too well.
So, what is my answer. “What if…” Hello? Are you there? Jenn?
Reality is harder than projecting on the ‘what if’s’, but through my own addiction, here are my thoughts……here it goes…
If my child is an addict….
I will love him no less.
Reach out farther.
Talk to others.
Talk to him.
Not miss an opportunity to hold his hand.
Give him hope. Encourage him.
Plant the seed.
Hug him tight.
Answer his calls.
Say “no” a lot….a whole lot.
Tell him my story.
Tell him many stories.
Be strong in front of him.
Fall to pieces behind him.
Kiss his forehead.
Count his freckles.
Daydream of better days.
Cry for him.
Cry for me.
Cry for my heart.
Cry for his heart.
Hate addiction all over again.
And one thing is for sure, without a doubt, I will have faith. As hard as it is to trust anyone with my child, my faith will have to be strong. As an addict, one thing I know for sure is addiction is too big for any parent…mom or dad; sibling; spouse; best friend; child. You can love them with all you are…all your being…but you can’t love them sober. If so, ALL addicts would be just that: sober.
I was asked the dreaded question: “What if my child is an addict?”
So in response, all I can do today is this.
Love him with all my being.
Count his freckles, watch him sleep, lay out his clothes.
Cut the crust off his sandwich and play the part of Santa, the tooth fairy and Easter bunny.
Today I can giggle with him. Help him cope with a bad day in 2nd grade.
Beautiful, innocent memories.
Today is all I have….the only time I have to teach him what I know about life, which isn’t really anything more than you. I’m just a mom who wonders what other parents wonder: how to protect my child.
Yet in the world of addiction, I wonder a bit more. Will he be?
Then again….maybe he won’t…
Originally posted on the Jake Koenigsdorf Foundation’s Facebook page.
Jake Koenigsdorf Foundation is a non-profit foundation that helps addicts, alcoholics and their families find support and treatment.
About Jenn Stottlemire:
Hi from Columbus, Ohio! I’m Jenn and, along with my son Jackson and my husband David, we are quite the trio!
I am passionate about passing on my experience; to give hope to the ones suffering and rally behind the broken.
Heroin took me on a wild ride straight to hell, but it wasn’t my only demon.
5 thoughts on ““What if your child becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol?””
I did all that……..and then I brought his ashes home.
So sorry for your loss. My experience with parents of addicts are that they are the strongest people I’ve ever met. I wish I had the answer to guarantee our children’s safety…I wish someone did. We’re all just doing the best we can.
I too brought home my son’s ashes, but I know all that love could do was done!
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Blessings to you for your recovery and your boundless love for your son. He is going to amaze and astound you all at once.
I remember watching my own mother collapse emotionally in front of me and then shuffle off to her room — I never saw her recover. As an adult kid who only knew addiction and denial, but never saw the work of recovery, I am hopeful that when I fall to pieces my kids also see me work to put myself back together again… even when it takes a while. Our kids need to know we are vulnerable AND resilient. 🙏❤
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You are so right! Recently me and my husband were asked to speak about being a family in recovery. As I was preparing to speak, I realized that the tools I use daily are a reflection of not only my sobriety, but how I parent in sobriety. And, in return, he picks up these tools to the best of his ability along the way. We grow together! What a beautiful thing!
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