Isn’t it time to give up shame?

Isn’t it time to give up shame?

I still hear it.

A mother or father whose child is abusing drugs or alcohol, locked away in a basement bedroom at home, is terrified lest anyone find out.

Maybe they will share it with a counselor or a physician. But never to a relative or friend, and certainly not to a neighbor.

What if “they” find out?
What will that say about their parenthood?
They must be bad parents, else why would their child be using drugs?

And so it goes.

Today, after years in Al-Anon, so often hearing stories from parents who shield their child’s addiction for months and often years, I often wonder what might have happened had I not done the same thing.

What if I had faced Jacob’s addiction earlier?
What if I hadn’t been so afraid to let anyone know the ugliness happening in our household? The nights I stared at the clock long past midnight wondering where he was, what he was doing, and with whom?

What if I’d gotten help for him sooner?
Maybe even more importantly, what if I’d gotten help for ME sooner?

It is said that one comes to Al-Anon only when one is ready. And the same holds for AA and other supportive regimens.

After ten years of recovery alongside my son, I wish I had gone to Al-Anon earlier.
Maybe then his treatment would have started sooner.
Maybe then I would not have been so frightened that relatives or friends might find out.

I’ll never know.

But I do know that the shame parents often feel – in a world where addiction is as common as the friend next door – helps neither their child nor them.

Isn’t it time to give it up?

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