my_son__the_junkie

my_son__the_junkie - My son, the junkie I finally had to...

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Unformatted text preview: My son, the junkie I finally had to let him save, or kill, himself. By Wendy Mnookin Aug. 27, 1999 | Seth sits in the back of the car, crying quietly. My husband and I have just told him we will not pay his rent. He will not get out of the car. Having refused the rent money, we are unable to draw one more boundary: Neither of us tells him to get out of the car. The young man in the back seat is not recognizable as our son. He is skinny, with a shaved head. His fingernails are dirty and cracked. He sweats profusely, even in cool weather. His clothes are stained, torn at the seams, missing buttons. He shuffles in his untied shoes. He doesn't use his hands to punctuate conversation, the way he used to. He holds them together in his lap to stop their shaking. He still carries around "Crime and Punishment," his favorite book, but he tells us he has trouble concentrating. When he speaks, his words slur, his voice trails off before the ends of sentences. He looks like someone who is dying.---------------------------------------------------- When Seth was a child, I worried about accidents and intrusions -- a car swerving in the path of his bike, a stranger spiriting him away. But I was protecting him from what the world might do to him. When he became a teenager, I worried about what he might do to himself. This did not include drug abuse. Yes, I went to school programs that warned of the dangers of drugs, and I talked to him about drugs, just as I talked to him about alcohol, and safe sex. But I didn't know one person who abused drugs. Not in my family, not among my friends or the larger neighborhood community. I couldn't connect drug use with a child who took drum lessons and walked the dog.--------------------------------------------------------- "The latch on the door never worked right." Seth, 16, has returned from an evening out with friends, the door to his car smashed. Talking quickly, he gestures with his hands to show me how the car door swung open -- "all by itself, it just swung" -- as he drove past a tree. This explanation is crazy. Could he be drinking? I ask myself. Or stoned? But his breath doesn't smell of liquor; his eyes look clear. He's an honors student, an editor of the school paper. When he played the lead in "Brighton Beach Memoirs," I attended all three performances, amazed at his presence onstage. On the night he gives me his story about the car, I make him take me to the place on the road where he says the accident happened, as if the existence of that tree -- the solidity of the trunk, the bark rough and jagged where the car scraped it -- proves his story true.------------------------------------------------------ A tree trunk, rough or smooth, was not going to convince my husband. Concerned about Seth's bursts of anger and sullen withdrawals, he insisted that Seth's behavior might well be more than normal teenage angst. I saw my own rebelliousness in Seth and defended him, arguing that he needed time, freedom to explore. When the police came to the house him, arguing that he needed time, freedom to explore....
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This note was uploaded on 08/15/2011 for the course COMM 1015 taught by Professor Dhyoung during the Spring '07 term at Virginia Tech.

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my_son__the_junkie - My son, the junkie I finally had to...

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