One day, several years into my son's drug addiction, I realized, my friends had deserted me. I tried to remember the last time anyone had called me to go to lunch or ask how I was, and I could not come up with anything from the prior two years. I was angry. I was self-righteous. Our children had grown up together, played together, fought like siblings and loved each other. And so did we, their parents. But in my time of need, they had disappeared.
I carried that in my heart for several months until one day I saw one of my old friends in a coffee shop. We hugged and talked for a bit. I carefully evaded questions about my son, as he happened to be in jail at that moment. I was never ashamed of him. He is and always has been smart, funny, creative, and the apple of my eye. My fear was that others might judge him, and I would say things to them that would be fueled by defensive, momma bear anger, so instead, I avoided the subject of how he was doing.
As we walked to our cars, she asked me where I had been the past few years and I told her that I had always been there, but when my son started having problems with drugs, she and the others had walked away.
The look of compassion in her eyes was sincere.
"She said they had never left. That I had withdrawn. They had called and come by and called some more, but as soon as he started having problems, I shut everybody out." She gave me a hug and said she hoped if I needed anything now, that I would call someone in the group and that they missed me. In that instant, I knew she was right.
Back in the beginning it was almost as if they developed a phone committee. For months, different members of the group would call or come by and I always invented reasons why it wasn't a good time. Eventually, they gave up.
I have since reunited with several of those friends and feel comfortable talking about the past with them. They don't judge. They are glad that he is in recovery, working, married and raising a family now. They have made me realize that I never had to go through it alone. They would have been there for me.
Parents of addicts tend to draw into themselves without realizing that is what they did. Soon it appears that their friends have deserted them. It's important to give your friends a chance to understand. You might be surprised at how strong they are and you could really use their help and support as you travel the road of loving an addict.