With active substance abuse and addiction, running in all directions of our family tree, we get to have many discussions on this matter. Both my boys insist they will never try alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, because those things are gross and make no sense.
I explained that it is likely that they will be offered those things and may try them, BUT- if they like it, it may be more difficult for them to stop, than for someone without addiction and abuse in their families, and that I will be here for them. They can always come to me.
They roared as I sheepishly admitted details of my friends and I using cigarettes, pot, and alcohol. I was explicit in conveying that my hope for them is not that “they never try it”, but that if they do try it, they do so, only with people whom they trust.
There are those whom might offer them something that is not what they say it is, and that could be dangerous, even fatal. And also, trying drugs with a trusted other because you are curious might be fun, while trying something you do not want because you are afraid of what a person might say to or about you will leave you feeling bad, period.
More than anything, I want to teach them to trust their guts, trust truth, trust kindness, trust in people who have proven to be trustworthy, kind, benevolent, fierce truth tellers.
These conversations led us directly into–how it is possible and common for people to lie and mis-represent by telling only partial truths, deliberately not sharing all information necessary for accurate context. We clarified what it means to lie. It can be done by omission. Lying is deception and intentional mis-representation, not just speaking of words lacking factual accuracy. Truth speaking requires courage and faith and full disclosure, transparency.
Lying is what people resort to, when they want something not meant for them or when they are avoiding consequences that would naturally be theirs. Lying is for trying to manipulate what others think. For them to get used to or confused by the omissions, partial truths, and words that are out of line with actions– will otherwise, make them doubt themselves, rather than the people in positions of authority who are misrepresenting and creating confusion- DIS-EASE. This, I cannot have.
Our bittersweet journey through demystification continues. The ongoing loss of innocence is at least brought into balance by our illuminating conversations, offering us shared language to discuss matters which would otherwise defy articulation. I do not need for them to get straight A’s, be popular, cool, or athletic all-stars. I need for them to believe in truth, to find comfort in truth, to speak truth–for themselves and for those who cannot. My measure of parental success is weighted by their dedication to being good citizens, protectors, helpers, witnesses.
The one thing in which I hope my boys will strive to NEVER– is denying their feelings and truths or even denying the feelings and truths of others. I firmly believe in a strong link, between denial of feelings and the need to self soothe in ways which prohibit healing and growth. Grow and heal sweet boys. Please. Be healers and growers.Much Love,
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