Looking back on things I would change if I had it to do over, I would have stopped being hyper-vigilant regarding my son's drug use.
You know the drill. Any time you are in the same room, you are watching behaviors, listening to how he talks, and finding excuses to get him to look at you directly so you can determine whether or not he looks high. And if he does, the questions, denials and arguments begin.
When I was in the throes of hyper-vigilance I believed I was right. He was the addict so he was wrong. He had caused this. I believed with all my heart that none of my actions contributed to our once close relationship deteriorating. I was wrong.
One night a few years ago, I asked him to stay for dinner. He made excuses as to why he couldn't. It escalated. I accused him of wanting to get high instead of spending time with his mother and that's when he said it. “Mom, this is exactly why I never come around anymore, because I don't want to end up hating you!” He saw my look of shock, and we sat down to talk. He explained that in his view our relationship had become all about his addiction. No matter what he wanted to talk about, or do together, I always found a way to turn the conversation to drugs and whether he was using and all the reasons that would be a really stupid thing to do. And he stopped coming around because he was sick and tired of it.
I realized with sudden clarity that he was right. That is what we had become. I called him the next day and apologized and told him I nagged because I missed our closeness and the time we used to spend together. He assured me he missed it too and that we could have that relationship back if I would just enjoy time with my son and let him deal with his addiction. At that point we made a deal: If I believed he was high I would ask him to leave and he would, without argument, and he’d come back another time. It wouldn't matter if he was actually sober, if I believed he was high it would cause me stress, and he would have to leave. If not, we would enjoy our time together.
I am so glad we had that talk. Today, our bond is as strong as it ever was. He is in recovery now, clean and sober, but even before that happened we repaired our relationship and it has been wonderful.
If I had one piece of advice for other parents of addicts it would be to not become so focused on catching them high that you miss all of the sober moments you could be enjoying with them. Effects of Substance Abuse on Families Find Treatment Programs Meetings