This is the most bad-ass story my mom has to tell you: Before she married my dad, she dated a guy who rode a motorcycle and she smoked a puff of marijuana with him. She didn’t get high. The End! My dad has never smoked pot, ever, and neither parent experimented with any other drugs. It’s like the ’60s came and went and both my parents missed it.
The addiction clinic, Hazelden, recently released a study which said 33 percent of teens reported their parents haven’t talked to them about their own drug use. Of the parents that haven’t yet told their kids about that time they ate three pints of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting, the majority (74 percent) cited the old parenting chestnut: “Do as I say, not as I do.”I want to be honest with my kids. I’ll regale them with all the fun I had (in desperate hopes that they’ll think I’m cool), because I truly did have fun. But I also want to tell them I had some of my worst experiences of my life because of drugs and alcohol and it wasn’t worth it in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, I just want my kids to know “when to say when,” which I think is more important than “just saying no” in the first place.
In my case, though, I have an older brother who is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. He’s been off-and-on sober for several years. Whenever I do have kids, I feel like I can just point to their uncle (figuratively, of course) and say, “Don’t let that happen.” Maybe my brother turned party-hardy because Mom and Dad are as innocent as Ritchie and Joanie on “Happy Days.” Probably because they didn’t know much about it, my parents never had a serious talk about drug use with my brother and me. I think the biggest reason I didn’t experiment more is because I just watched my big bro screw his life up and I never wanted to be like that.
What about you? Are you going to tell your kids that you didn’t inhale—or are you going to be honest with them?