Friends might stop returning our calls, or sit in stoney silence when we tell them the latest antics from our stressed out teen. A phone call you expect will include a lunch date instead ends in finality when she tells you she found a video your teen posted online showing them in an unsavory situation. When drugs are involved, there's no element of "We're in this together, let's watch each other's back." Instead, the clear message is, "You people are screwed, get away from me and my kids so your disease doesn't touch us over here." Now, instead of being a part of a network where you clearly belong, you feel like you are a Leper. It's a frightful, ugly mess, totally devastating as the word continues to spread, and your support system crumbles at your feet. This wildfire is not anything you caused, so why must you live in this new version of Hell?
(Side note: I suspect there are parents who refuse to admit, support, connect, etc with what is going on with their child. I'm reaching out to those who choose to engage, and move forward with trying to get their child the help they so desperately need.)
So, it's time to get busy, and find some new peeps you can call your own, peeps who are already walking on your new "street", living in your new "neighborhood". Peeps who will support you, and call you a friend, no matter what recent mayhem your kids have caused. For me, this has been my Number 1 Lifesaver.
When our son's actions resulted in police activity, and we had exhausted the community efforts provided by our local school district, we were told he needed to attend an "IOP Program." IOP stands for Intensive Out Patient program, which is a program designed to educate kids on the perils of their drug and/or alcohol use. The IOP we joined included after school classes for the kids, and a Family Group meeting every week. It was in this Family Group meeting that my husband and I were connected with a like minded group of parents who wanted to find help for their kids.
These parents have become our new normal, and have been the most supportive, amazing, wonderful group of people ever. The acceptance we found, and the friendships we have forged are powerful. I am certain I would never be where I am today without the amazing group of moms, who have offered me guidance, and held me up on my darkest days. In turn, I hold them up when their world turns upside down.
There are no answers or rationalizations as to why God asks certain families to walk this brambled path, but all I know is that I have been able to find my way out of the deep woods while walking arm in arm with these people. And the lessons I have learned are ones I would have never encountered without being in this messy Arena alongside of them. We moms call ourselves the Epic Honey Badgers, and we are Badass! Together we shine like diamonds in the rough, and I would not be where I am today without the love and support I get from each of these beautiful women, and their caring husbands. I love you, EHBs, we shine like the sun!!
If you need your own group of EHBs, I suggest you look towards your nearest AlAnon group, or check out a local IOP group. If you are in the Southern California area, I can suggest some amazing groups where you can find like minded families. If you are reading this and live outside of So. CA, and know of a similar organization, perhaps you could leave a comment and list a helpful group in your area. We EHBs are all about helping out our neighbors :o)
You are NOT alone!
x, EHB Val