Denial is part of the process

Shortly after finding out about our son's addiction to OxyContin, we sought out a NarAnon meeting to find answers. He told us about the problem himself. We knew he had been struggling in school. His first semester of college went so well, but then it took a steep decline. We thought he was just giving up, but it turned out to be much worse than that.

So we went to our first meeting at the church in town, and sat in little kindergarten chairs in the classroom at the back of the church. We sat around a low table with other loved ones dealing with the stress of addiction. This was over 10 years ago. There were about 8 or 9 of us in the meeting, but only one other couple was there for their child at the time.

We quickly found out that NarAnon didn't provide any of the answers we were seeking. It was a terrible letdown. I had come in good faith hoping for a solution to my son's problem, but all they were offering me was 12 steps to work on for my own life. The desperation we felt was palpable. And all we left the meeting with was a small blue book and some pamphlets.

And yet, I had felt some solace in just being there, so we continued to attend the meetings. We talked about addiction, and we talked about our addicts, and we talked about ourselves. We learned to become aware of our addict's manipulation that we hadn't even realized was happening. We learned about our own enabling behaviors. We cried. Sometimes we laughed. But mostly, we cried.