The other night, Three and I got in an argument because I wouldn't drive him to the playground at 8:30 to meet a girl. I couldn't understand why the girl's parents would let her go to the field in the dark, and I certainly wasn't going to put him in a situation that could turn out badly. He stormed off, and I drank iced coffee, which is my poor substitute for alcohol.
The next day, when tempers had cooled, he apologized.
"Thank you," I said. "I need you to understand that when I make rules, Three, it's not because I want to be a bitch. It's my job to protect you, and keep you out of situations that could be misconstrued. I was young once, and I made mistakes..."
"Yeah; you smoked crack, right?"
"No; I never smoked crack."
"What did you smoke? Marijuana?"
"No, I never did heroin."
"Things that make you hallucinate?"
"What else have you done? I don't think you've ever told me."
"I can do that another time. And it's important to refrain from classifying drugs as 'bad', or 'not so bad.' Because otherwise some idiot tells you to smoke a joint, because it's not so bad, and believe me, I've met addicts who ONLY smoked pot. Addiction is addiction, no matter what the drug."
I've had this conversation before, with One and Two. Two has told his friends I'm a recovering addict, and they always ask what drugs I was addicted to. Ummm....whichever ones were available? True, I did prefer drugs that sped me up. But if I was very hung over, I'd smoke pot. If I was at a party, and everyone was on Ecstasy, I'd take some too. You get the idea.
So this is the beginning of the frank-discussion phase with Three. I will gladly tell him all the drugs I've snorted or swallowed, because if I had to pick one kid as the future addict in our family, it would be him. I've pretty much had him pegged since he was five. His personality is a destructive blend of bravado and need. He's easily influenced. Like all parents, I hope I will be the stronger influence. But, I know that for the most part my children are like dogs, and only hear, "Blah, blah, blah, Two. Blah, blah, blah, Three..." as I prattle on about how cocaine is proof that the Devil is alive and well on Earth, and how I almost died from alcohol poisoning. Invincible teenagers are a tough crowd.
I keep talking, admitting, but not condoning. I worry that my honesty dulls some of the fear factor that might dissuade the average kid from using. I know that no amount of talking will stop my boys from trying drugs if they want, and nothing will stop an addict from using.
Except maybe a recovering-addict mom. This disease is relentless, but I like to imagine I'm Sarah Connor in "Terminator 2." It'll have to go through me, and my awesomely toned arms, to get to my kids. I've kicked its ass, and I know its guerrilla moves.
Fear me, Addiction.