I wrote as a mother in pain desperate to spare someone else the heartbreak of a child self-combusting from substance abuse. The response has been overwhelming. The positive far outweighs the condemnation thankfully, but the latter is truly disturbing. When did honesty with the hopes of sparing someone else unimaginable pain become such a threat?
Contrary to the haters and those in denial we have heard from, we DO have a drug problem in our community. Ask anyone in the trenches. Thankfully, our local and state legislators and school administrators recognize it and support efforts to combat it. SMART was formed years ago for this very purpose and these remarkable women have not given up fighting to save this and the next generation of kids. Chris Herron will be speaking at Pomperaug next week as a testament that we are all vulnerable to this national epidemic. It is OUR community. OUR schools. OUR kids. Believing otherwise is blind ignorance.
My son is the bravest person I know. He publicly admitted his struggle and the consequences thereof. He owns his choices and is doing remarkable things to turn his life around before it became an impossibility. In many ways sees this experience as a blessing in disguise as he has clarity of where his life was heading; down a dark road with jail or death as the likely destinations. He faces judgment and has earned the role of “fall guy” for those making the same poor choices of his not-so-distant past. His emotional strength in doing so with his head held high surpasses that of most adults I know. Pointing fingers is a wonderful diversion from facing reality. But it will come; it always does.
Drugs users are like ants, if you know one, there is a parade right behind. I suspect those who ran the fastest, or sent the harshest criticisms do so out of their own fears of facing what they deep-down already know. This problem is mine. Yours. And the person behind you in line at the grocery. Thinking our community is the only one in this entire nation special enough to outrun an epidemic is misguided.
I shared my struggle not to smear the name of our pristine, New England town, but to ease the pain of those fighting this fight silently so that they might know they are not alone. I will be here if, and when, you need an understanding and non-judgmental ear. The haters can keep on hating, and the judgers judging; the truth has set us free and the shame no longer ours to carry. Our arms are too entwined with those who have emerged to support us, vowing to help us make a difference.
According to Chris Herron “It only takes one to stand up and make a difference.” One. Will it be you, too?