My 15-year-old daughter Hannah threatened to cut off my thumbs, kill me in my sleep, and burn down the house with our family inside. Such was the power of her addiction, turning her from moody to malicious in a few short months.
“Let me go,” she screamed. “I don’t want to live with you people.” She fought us as we did everything we could think of to stop the drinking, the variety of drugs, the cutting. But we failed.
It could have been the pressure of starting a new school, I suppose. Or it could have been the people she met there. A long time later I learned it’s not useful to blame bad choices on others. But still, I wish there was a reason for my addicted daughter’s fury that didn’t reflect badly on our family, on her upbringing.
There were signs that she was in trouble, but if you’re not looking for them they can escape detection ― tucked in a zip-lock baggie in the bottom of a purse, hidden under a bed or folded into the pages of a journal. If I had looked harder, maybe I would have understood the changes in her beautiful artwork, from peaceful landscapes and placid figures to darkly wrought canvases full of torment and terror; frightened men with cages for heads, babies greedy and grasping with octopus arms. Maybe if I had held her more I could have felt the scabs on her arms, the cuts and burns hidden with long sleeves. I would have smelled it, too ― the miasma of smoke, alcohol and hopelessness drifting around her. I could have known. I should have known.
By the time I had worked out that Hannah was in trouble, it was too late for partial measures. The school and their toolbox of punishments were woefully inadequate to stop the crumbling of my daughter’s world. One therapist after another fell victim to her scorn, her beautiful vocabulary now a tool to eviscerate the people who were trying to help her.
Read the entire story here at The Huffington Post