I woke up this morning with the early light of dawn. Awake at 5:00 a.m. and out of bed before 5:30, on a Saturday. I have never been one to sleep-in. Early morning has always been my very favourite time of day, especially on days like this, when my Little Miss is sleeping soundly (The Phantom in the Other Room has recently been visiting but seems to be packing his bags for a hasty departure), and my husband, who just last night returned from another week away on business, still rests peacefully in our bed with Mikey-the-cat nestled at his side. With coffee in hand, a good book beside me, a little time to write and my family near-by, life is good. The serenity of this morning is perfect, and even the grey outside my window feels comforting, like an old wool blanket wrapped around my mood to keep it warm and content. Until my morning reverie is torn to shreds by this headline: Gossip Guy Chace Crawford Busted for Pot (http://ca.eonline.com/uberblog/detail.jsp?contentId=184326).
No, I am not a close personal friend of Chace Crawford’s. I am not even a fan. It is drugs that bother me, pure and simple.
Recently I read an article by Katie Allison Granju about her struggle to admit to her son’s drug addiction. You can read the article in its entirety at http://babble.com/CS/blogs/homework/archive/2010/05/01/a-parenting-secret-i-am-no-longer-willing-to-keep.aspx. Her story thrashed my heart into a pulp. I felt her pain in every word and I have been thinking about it, and wanting to write about it, ever since. Drug addiction is one of my greatest fears. Full disclosure time: I am biased. I do not do drugs, have never done drugs, will never do drugs. Of any kind. Period. My family, too, has been affected by drug addiction, and this is a road I will not go down.
With straight-forward, no-holds-barred honesty, Katie lays it on the table: “My beloved, firstborn child suffers from a terrible disease, addiction, and he has been struggling with it for several years. It started with early juvenile experimentation with marijuana at about age 14 and has progressed to where he is now, addicted to hard street drugs and as a result, lying in a critical care hospital bed, dealing with a horrific brain trauma along with various other physical injuries that are the direct result of that disease.”
Poor Chace was arrested for possession of marijuana. The police found on his person one joint. One. The consensus on Twitter, which is a new addiction of mine far less destructive than one to any chemical substance, is that one joint just means it’s time to buy more. Did I miss something? I know that many people—who am I kidding? most people—are far more accepting of drugs and in particular pot-smoking than I am, but just when did society start to condone en masse law-breaking behaviours that are dangerous to our youth?
This attitude scares me. I have a daughter, 12 years-old and off to high school in the fall, and drug use will be all around her. How do I keep her safe? My stomach flops at the thought. Intuitively, I maintain a zero tolerance policy, but is that enough?
We live on the West Coast, in a city proud of its hippy-esque, pot-infused past. I have friends, very good friends whom I consider to be very good parents, who plan to grow pot for their children the same age as my Little Miss. Their rationale: The kids are gonna smoke it anyway, we might as well know what they’re getting. My daughter, God-willing, will not be par-taking.
Katie writes: “My first and biggest mistake – and one that I implore other parents reading this not to make themselves – was to minimize and rationalize my child’s earliest drug use as the kind of “experimentation” that “lots of kids” try when they are adolescents. In fact, however, this “experimentation” was an early warning signal, a huge, blaring, shrieking, flashing early warning sign, and I chose not to see or hear it for what it really was. It was akin to early stage pediatric cancer and instead, I treated it like he had made a “D” on his report card or something similarly inconsequential.”
Early, accepted drug use drug use is a problem. It was a problem for my relative and it was a problem for poor Katie’s son who, sadly, did not make it (http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/jun/05/sheriff-weapon-not-used/). It is not to be condoned, encouraged or excused. Call me old-fashioned, call me unrealistic, call me naive, call me square, but there will be no drugs in my daughter’s life (nor mine), if I have anything to say about it. Even one joint is one too many.
Are you as bothered by drugs as I am ? Do you think I’m unrealistic? Let me know what you’re thinking, and post a comment!