I used to think that my child’s arrest would be the worst possible thing ever. Talented and energetic enabler that I am, I gave that topic a lot of thought and even imagined that I could keep my kid out of jail. Note to self: as Al-Anon so wisely teaches us, we cannot control another person’s addiction to alcohol or other drugs.
Today, with the holidays and winter’s cold blasts at my doorstep, I have a very different perspective on jail time for someone addicted to drugs or alcohol. Today, an orange jumpsuit and “three hots and a cot” might be the best gift imaginable for a chemically-dependent child (of any age) and family alike:
- You’d know where your child is.
- You’d know your phone wouldn’t be ringing with a desperate or dire phone call in the middle of the night.
- You’d know you have a chance for a good night’s sleep.
- You’d know he or she is sheltered and being fed.
- You’d know he or she was not wandering the streets, a potential victim of assault or street drugs.
- You know that your child is experiencing the consequences of his or her poor choices and dangerous decisions. And that can be an incentive to change.
- You’d know (or you’d hope) the legal system would put in place some sanctions, like requiring your child to go to treatment.
- You’d know that, at least temporarily, the balance of power has changed. You’ve got some leverage on your side.
- You know that you and your child have been given the gift of a brighter tomorrow.