I started doing drugs at 11 or 12 years old. Not because I thought they were cool, or I was bored, or for any particular reason other than that they were around and I didn't understand the harm in them. Eventuality people came to me. Like I was a leader of some sort because I had experience. With drugs. But as I got older (15) I realized that the drugs were not fun for me. They weren't fun for me, I missed out on what was actually happening around me, and nobody really cared about me. My parents were overwhelmed with 8 other children, a couple of whom had major mental illnesses. I was kind of "lost in the crowd". I could do anything that I wanted. And it occurred to me one day that if I did not take control of things myself that nobody else would either. I quit using and subsequently lost my "status" and "connections" within the crowds of people I knew. I didn't know how to make friends without the drug connection. So I was alone. And that is just how it was. Throughout the rest of high school and college. I felt like fear to be too close to people, and did not want to lose control again and accidentally become involved with drugs again which seemed to be all around me.
Now I have five children. One with a severe mental illness. I am raising them in the same educated, middle class, college town that I grew up in. I have worked hard to love them and make sure they all know how much they are cared for. They are NOT free to do whatever they want. But still, my oldest is addicted to heroin. At 19 he initiated treatment on his own. I cry almost every day for him, I fear every day for him. I am frightened to death of possible relapse. He is 21 and a college student and trying to maintain his life goals, but he is physically devastated - 6'3" and 115 lbs. The suboxone seems to have physically crippled him (on top of the heroin use). His confidence is shaky, but he is alive again. Parts of him that I have missed and mourned for I can feel coming back. He is loving, sensitive, smart, ready to laugh again. But now my second son who is 16, and who's life has always been such a tremendous struggle for anyway, is flaying and making destructive decisions. He is making concerted efforts to obtain and do various drugs, and is using his older brother's drug use as an excuse. I am devastated. Because of his mental illness most of his relationships are tenuous and full of conflict. His intense emotions can be extremely hostile and distrusting, so I feel like there is so little I can do. He is insanely smart, funny, articulate, generous and caring. He is hurt easily. I don't want to lose him. Is this too long? I have three more younger children. They are sometimes frightened to be at home and beg me to keep them out late until they think the house will be calm. I always wanted my home to be a haven. I still haven't figured out how not to feel alone all the time.