I cannot lie; this has been the most daunting experience of our lives. The endless searching questions- what did I do to harm my daughter, what did I miss, was I working too much, did I not pay enough attention, did she not feel my love, WHY IS SHE HURTING HERSELF??? Then the shock of the extent of her exposure to drugs, alcohol, bad influences, behaviors I never thought my little girl was capable of. And then came the overwhelming grief, devastation, shame and fear. Her father and I were unable to think straight and function for what seemed to be an eternity.
In retrospect, we did notice that our daughter was a bit surlier but she was a teenager so we gave her the benefit of the doubt. We still trusted her implicitly. To the point that I was receiving calls from her high school telling me that she was not in certain classes during the day, I would ask her and there was always a reason…. AND I BELIEVED HER. When in fact she was cutting class and using drugs. Again I was saying to myself, not my little girl. She would call me to say she didn’t feel well and to please call the volleyball coach, so that she could be excused from running. I believed her and I made the call to the coach. In actuality, our daughter was high. We were pretty doting parents, very involved, meeting with teachers regularly. How was this happening to our family?
Through this process, we heard difficult things about her and about ourselves. We can safely say that she hated us while she was in the hospital and going through the initial phase.
We really did not comprehend the power of peers until we experienced TAFS. Kids want a place to belong and be loved, as we all do. Our daughter has grown exponentially in the past year and half. She has transformed from an insecure, depressed, and angry teen to a beautiful young lady. She now embraces life, her friends, and school with gusto that she did not possess before. And she does it with an immense amount of compassion and empathy.
Someone asked me if I were offered a miracle that erased all that has happened to our daughter and our family, would I take it? It took me several days to process that enormous question, and my answer surprised me. As I think about each event that occurred throughout this process; and as painful and gut wrenching as it all was, without all of that we would not be here today. Our daughter knows herself better than most adults know themselves. She is more prepared for life than I ever was at 16 and a half. I would not erase a thing…the Miracle was getting thrown into Recovery with our daughter.