I have just finished reading both Beautiful Boy and Tweak, books about one young man's addiction to several (many?) drugs, mostly crystal meth and heroin.
I'm not going to review them here, because reviewing someone's memoirs is sort of like judging his life. Beautiful Boy is written from his father's point of view, and Tweak is written from the addict's.
These books were powerful and powerfully disturbing. They made me stop and say, out loud, "Thank you God again today for not making me go through that."
One of my best friends in middle school and early high school was also one of the most popular, talented, beautiful girls in our crowd. When she chose me to be her BFF, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I would do almost anything for her. I wanted to be her. I copied her style, even when I couldn't pull it off. I joined the chorus because she sang. I spent many nights at her house. I borrowed her clothes, even when they didn't fit very well. I copied (almost) everything she did.
But when she turned to drugs, I turned the other way. Why? I so desperately wanted to fit in. To be accepted by that popular, seemingly glamorous crowd. What made me resist the urge to try drugs? I did other things I wasn't supposed to. I drank alcohol before it was legal, and the drinking age waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back then was 18. I skipped school. I left during the school day to go to the store. I smoked in the bathroom. So I can't necessarily say it was good judgment that made me avoid doing drugs. But SOMETHING kept me away from them, even when my friend and her crowd were doing them.
I always say parenting is nothing but blind luck, and by all rights I should have had a hell-raiser of a child. I did my own share of that, after all.
My Sweet Girl was way better than I was when I was a teenager. She was better than I think I deserved. She didn't do any of those things either, and I don't think she even had any friends who did. She wouldn't have been friends with them for very long. (Well, there was that baseball player she had a crush on who went by initials instead of a name, but we won't talk about him, will we Sweet Girl? I was naive enough to think that if he was an athlete he couldn't also be a pothead. Wrong!)
Don't get me wrong - I am GRATEFUL that I had such a good child, and an easy one. I just can't take the credit for her having good judgment during her teenage years. I don't think I modeled good judgment very well, and some of the time I was too busy trying to prop up a disastrous marriage to pay as much attention as I should have.
Thank you, Sweet Girl, for NOT being the kind of child that these books were written about. I don't think I could have survived the heartbreak. There's a reason you're an only child -- I didn't think I could get lucky enough to have TWO good children, and I wasn't willing to take the chance. I love you!