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Does geography matter?

Does geography matter?

Often a parent will ask, “Should I send my child away?”  In other words, does geography matter?

When Jacob finished his 14-day stay at an Annapolis treatment center, the counselor suggested we send him to Florida to continue his rehab.

Aha!  That was the answer.  Getting him away from the drug dealers and drug users would do it.  With a fresh start my son would get off drugs – for good.

Or so I thought.

What did happen, almost immediately, was some relief for my husband and me.  No longer did we wait up nights for the sound of his footsteps.  No longer did we perform useless actions:  attempted “normal” dinnertime conversations, fixing broken car side-mirrors, allowing strange young people into our home, or even placing the daily dose of Sub Oxone under Jacob’s tongue (he later would spit it out).

But what didn’t stop was the worry.  Even a thousand miles away I couldn’t shake the fear. Was he safe?  Was he staying clean?  How would I know?  What should we pay for?  What should we say, do, not do?

After some months, the separation forced us to do something we hadn’t realized we needed.  Apart from him, we had to face ourselves. We had to admit the terrible effect his addiction had had not just on him, but on us as well.

Our recovery mirrored Jacob’s.  We each got better, one day, one week, one month, a year at a time – he in Florida, we in Maryland.

So when parents ask me, I respond, yes, geography does matter.  It helped us to let go of trying to control our son, and instead, forced us to take control of ourselves.

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