Hidden in plain sight for YEARS!
by Ned Wicker
When parents discover a small amount of marijuana in their teenager’s bedroom, there are a couple of common reactions—like panic and anger, or perhaps mom and dad are a little more laid back and take a more “we need to have a chat” approach. Either way there is a kind of confrontation.
However, “Dorothy” is one of those teens who never got caught. She was always bright, popular, got A’s in school and she was the model perfect citizen. Mom and dad never knew.
Started in high school
It started her sophomore year in high school, with some beer at a party, then one day a friend brought some “grass” and gang shared a couple of joints. It was all very “harmless,” sort of a teenage “right of passage” sort of thing. But for Dorothy is was just the beginning of a secret life.
Some of her friends got caught by their parents, who viewed the activity as anything but harmless, and took action. Dorothy’s parents were relieved that their daughter wasn’t one of “those” kind of kids and could take comfort knowing that she would never get in with the wrong crowd, and they were especially proud when she was accepted by a fancy eastern college.
Her college years were productive in terms of academics, but the “six-pack” beer parties of her high school days were tame compared to the endless stream of on-campus and off-campus blowouts that always offered an opportunity for more daring experimentation.
Her marijuana use was a regular “weekend” activity, which soon gave way to three times a week and more. She was never much of a drinker, so the beer keg was not a magnet for her. But then she tried cocaine. Call the cocaine encounter a second beginning for her, as her drug use would now go to an entirely different level.
Her use of cocaine was somewhat “moderate” and she graduated with a solid grade point average and found exciting employment before she even finished her last final. Her career was fast-paced and energizing. She got married to a client seven years later and their combined income was substantial.
Cocaine used in secret
Her husband was a light, social drinker and did not approve of anything beyond a beer or a glass of wine. Not wanting to jeopardize that relationship, Dorothy’s cocaine use, which she could now afford, was done in secret. Her ability to hide her drug use was remarkable. What it took to hide a little beer and marijuana use was nothing compared to hiding a cocaine habit, being a model wife, and maintaining professional standards.
It was a secret life. It lasted for more than 40 years. She knew her cocaine use was a problem, so from time to time, she would stop using. By sheer will power and determination, she would abstain from her drug of choice, all the while keeping up appearances. Sometimes, she’d abstain for months, and once she went for several years without using, mainly because she had three kids and did not want to harm her babies. But the problem was, she was an addict. There was never any treatment and no recovery process for her.
Always needed a lift
When her youngest child was in the third grade, Dorothy's mother died. She returned to using, wanting the effect of the cocaine to give her a lift. She’d stop using again for a time, but always went back. The years went on, and her cocaine use came in cycles, almost like the changing of the seasons. Her ability to mask her habit never gave any hints of her problem.
The years of on again, off again use came to a head when her youngest daughter and two grandchildren, were killed in an auto accident. She turned once again to the cocaine, which gave her a kind of comfort that she did not believe her husband or family could give. It was her way of coping with the world, an escape from the tragedy and pain.
It eventually started to show.
She was now 63 years old and for the first time in her life, somebody noticed that something was wrong. Her husband, who had never suspected anything, was now noticing changes in her daily habits and appearance.
In her youth, Dorothy was able to put on a rather convincing show, but now that she was older, she didn’t have the energy to do all that and something had to give. She had denied any need for treatment for over 40 years, electing instead to play her game, even taking pride in her ability to abstain for long periods of time.
But she always knew that the cocaine was going to win. She decided to drop the act and seek help. She was motivated, had the support of her husband, and she was able to learn how to manage her addiction.
Finally, no more secrets
For Dorothy, getting the cocaine addiction out into the light of day made the difference. There was no more secret life, no more keeping up appearances, and no more lie to perpetuate. For the first time since her high school days, there was only Dorothy, not the act.