Sunday, August 8, 2010

On Drugs

I'm feeling bloggy this evening and my son is actually sleeping so I'm gonna roll with it.

I've been wanting to write about this issue and others like it because someday my son may need advice from me as I am now rather than when I'm the mom of a teenager. One of the issues I dread having to confront as we go forward is the possibility of drug use. Right now, I genuinely feel that it is best to be honest with children (in age appropriate ways of course) no matter what the issue (except fictional characters, I'm all for prolonging that) from sex to financial issues. From my own experience, I think most kids can handle it as long as the communication remains open and they are constantly encouraged to ask questions about things they don't understand and I really think kids appreciate the respect that honesty implies.

I grew up around the criminal justice system in what at the time was a relatively rural area. Rural means a great many things but for those of you who don't know, due to the large expanses of land, rural often means lots of drugs.

I live in a much more urban area now but the addictions I've seen swallow people whole still make me terrified for my own children because I know exactly how easy it is to go down that path, and I know how long someone can hide an addiction even from those who know them best. I have known all of that for as long as I can remember and in spite of that, I experimented with drugs. A couple of different ones. Not a lot and not for many years, but I tried it partly because I was curious, partly because I was tired of feeling like "the good one", and partly because sometimes it does feel good to do something stupid.

I know that part of the reason I tried it was that it is my nature to try new things and I don't want my son or any future children I have to walk through their lives afraid of new experiences, but I'm hoping I can be honest with them about my experiences so that they can benefit from first-hand knowledge that in fact there is no point whatsoever in even dabbling in drug use. Yes, you can get addicted the first time. Yes, you could be arrested. And yes, there are various health risks involved with regular and even one time use of a narcotic. But the main reason I would encourage everyone to steer clear is that it's not nearly as much fun as regular drug users make it out to be.

For example, let's look at marijuana. Marijuana is a mild drug. For most people, including me, it's relaxing. It can help tremendously with feelings of social awkwardness or stress which is I believe where addiction comes in if you are someone dealing with a lot of either of those things. In fact, I think the first time I did it I called my BFF while I was still high and said, "I totally get drug addiction now. X,Y, and Z are still going on, but I don't give a damn." And when you're in the right environment with the right people it can be a whole lot of fun. But what I've learned is that it's not actually more fun than going to the movies with the right people, or playing board games, or going to the beach, or the park, or doing any number of other fun things that are just as fun that do not carry any of the risks drug use does.

That's what I'm really hoping I can impress upon my kids. Too much to lose, not enough to gain. Hopefully, that can carry them through.

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