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Do you have other children?

Do you have other children?

When parents talk about a son or daughter who is abusing drugs or alcohol, their voices rarely falter. They are fully engrossed retelling the horrors of daily living – how this child with so much promise is ruining not only his life, but theirs.

It sends me right back to my own years living that same hell.
The anguish in their voices and fear for the future are all too familiar.

But what often stops them is this question: do you have other children?
If their eyes are downcast, they abruptly look up.

Why, yes, they will say. We have another son in high school who is doing well. In fact, he’s so angry at his brother that he won’t go near drugs or alcohol.
Or they say, Oh, yes. We have a daughter who is a nurse. Married with a baby. She’s an angel.

I, too, have another child who is an angel in my life. She is the daughter who wouldn’t talk to her brother during the years of his active addiction.

During that troubled time, I am saddened recalling how I was not there for her.
But today she is close with her brother, again. It was nothing I did. The two have found their way back on their own.

So what I remind these parents is, don’t forget your “other” children, the healthy ones. They need you, too. They deserve your love and attention as much as your child with addiction.

And maybe  – by focusing on the angels in your lives and your own well-being – you will help to bring your families together, again.

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