I tried to protect my kids by telling them that my only struggle was with alcohol. I did this because I felt like, if I told them I did drugs, I would be giving them permission to do the same. I have been horribly ashamed. So I left that part out. I did it to protect them, and also to hide my own shame. I did it also with the advice of my therapist. Kids don't need to know every detail of their parents lives.
That was all fine and dandy until the cameras came a calling. My boys still know nothing about this. They didn't see the TV piece, and at this point, they don't need to know.
I had the drug conversation with my daughter a while back. She wasn't really too keen on the idea that her parents were drug addicts. She really wasn't too keen on the idea that I went on TV to tell everyone what I had done. But I can see, in only a few days, that her shame is lifting. And she is proud of me. She might still be bummed about the cards she was dealt, but hey, we all were bummed at 14.
I have a good relationship with her. We laugh a lot. I think she is an amazing person. Much more together and mature than I was at her age. I was lightyears from where she is. I couldn't be more proud.
I have great kids. I have great therapists. We are better now than ever before.
I think it is important that my kids see me trying to work toward helping people with this disease. To understand what I will be trying to do with the rest of my life, and the truth that is attached to that. When the time is right, I will tell the boys, if they need to hear. Sure, I am risking them hearing it from others. If that happens, then that will be the time to talk about it. Or if they ask me point blank. Then that will be the time. Or when they are older. That will be the time. It will come. Or maybe it won't.
What I hope to help my kids understand is that addiction is addiction. A drug is a drug, and alcohol is just as bad as any other drug, if you have a problem with it. But they can't understand that quite yet.
Knowing a lot of women in recovery, I see a lot of mothers struggling with children who go down the same path that they did. I am terrified of this. And I'd be a fool to think that my kids, with having two addicted parents, will skip right through. Maybe they will be fortunate enough not to struggle. But if they do fall down the same path, it isn't a result of my bad parenting. Addiction is a disease. Yes, life adversities play a part in picking up and getting addicted. But I get to give them the example of recovery, if it happens to them. That is a gift.
Looking back, I maybe wish I would have just told them the whole deal. Yes, my kids have been through a lot. And yes, I am putting them through a little more by coming out with this information. But I am here and sober to help them through it. I am, what I am. And it is good enough.
This parenting thing is hard. I am super proud of my family.