Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Is He? Or Isn't He?
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, May 13, 2013

I Am Not An Addict, Just an Acronym of One – by Roxie

My son, Lenny, has been out of juvenile placement now for almost three months, and will be graduating from high school May 29th. The other day, he nonchalantly asked me, “Did you ever think I would be out this long without getting into trouble?” The question caught me off guard. I answered, “Are you kidding? You’ve really surprised me, and are doing a great job!” In my heart of hearts, I hardly expected Lenny to be having a conversation with me without calling a caring counselor or the local D.A.R.E. police officer. The officer became a friend of our family years ago when Lenny’s drug exploits began.

Even though Lenny is forever faithful in attending the Narcotics Anonymous 12-step meetings, he cannot get past Step One: We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
Let me break down what Step One means in Lenny’s language. “I ain’t got no addiction, except to the lifestyle and the mirror. I’m a good-lookin’ guy and am not an addict. I can control it. I can use alcohol when I get legal. I’m only staying clean right now because of probation, and I’ll be off in June. I’ll be able to drink beer during the football game like everyone else. It ain’t no big thing, cuz! It’ll be ahhh-ite.”

Lenny’s thinking errors regarding his addiction, or lack thereof, has not changed for several years. Although he is clean and sober, he reminds me of a precious vase; gentle, fragile, and will shatter if handled too frequently. I deliberately overlook the little things, lest Lenny break. I experience mental anguish in knowing that hundreds of counseling hours have been poured into an impressionable vessel that appears to be flawed; Narcotics Anonymous 12-Step knowledge oozing out of cracks and crevices that were not visible to Roxie’s untrained eye.

With involvement in a parent group and solid advice from D&A experts, I’ve learned to see right through Lenny without my rose-colored glasses; adding a pretty-as-pinkish glow to an otherwise colorless situation. If he does not admit and accept his complex disease of addiction, the consequences are more institutions, numerous stints in jail, or even death. It is devastating to hear Lenny state, “I am not an addict” when his genetic predisposition could cause him to be an ideal candidate for a German-Jewish European descent / African-American / American Indian alcohol component recessive gene-pattern study based on physiology, not environment!

I long to change Lenny’s thinking, but can’t. For my own sanity, I have created an acronym to help me, and perhaps other parents, accept our children’s denial that they are not addicts:

Although Drug Dependent, I’m Clean Today.

For now, using the acronym makes it easier for me to accept Lenny’s disease of addiction by putting a positive spin on an otherwise negative word.

My Lenny, I will modestly maintain, is an addict.

1 comment:

Max said...

this is a great and beautifully written post - I had to crack up when you quoted Lenny's slang because it sounds too familiar.
I think you are doing a tremendous job in helping YOURSELF understand what YOU need to do to so you can help him and not lose yourself in the process. It was lovely sitting next to you at lunch on Saturday and I hope to see you again


This layout (edited by Ken) made by and copyright cmbs.