Anger has reared its ugly head, fear has left you shaken... hold on because the biggest monster of all is about to shattered everything you ever thought you knew about yourself. Here comes guilt... guilt is relentless. Guilt is like a weed, you think you have gotten rid of it only to see it's found its way back into the garden that is your mind. It's roots are deep and rugged...
My kid is using drugs? Where did I go wrong? How could I have let this happen? I missed something... yes I must have... what was it? Was it working all those hours to make ends meet? I mean I was still at every baseball game even if I was dead tired. Maybe its when I stopped packing lunches... yes that's it... no wait... it must be the car... that driver's license, new friends, struggling in school, depression... the divorce... stop. Just stop... because you are thinking so rapidly you aren't digesting anything... just stop before it's completely out of control. Too late huh? It only takes a split second until guilt has spread through your entire parental lobe and into your heart which is now so heavy you can barely stand to be alive.
During Angela's addiction I can't begin to tell you how many times I said "what did I do? If you loved me you'd stop..." and she would reply "Mom this isn't about you... not everything is about you". I was the King Kong of guilt. I had a laundry list of ways that I had failed as a parent. I stomped around holding that list in my hand crushing my own heart just like they were buildings... the way a good monster should. I was convinced for a very long time that I was the sole reason she used drugs. Guess what, there were so many factors that led to her use of drugs... so many.
Kids begin to use drugs for various reasons and I know you know them... pain, boredom, fun, anxiety, abuse, peer pressure, low self-esteem etc... you know the list. And yes sometimes as I stated before parents are actively involved with doing drugs with their kids. Sometimes it is true that irresponsible parenting leaves our young ones with no guidance, no boundaries and way too much time on their hands.
Here's the thing, if you - as the parent are honest with yourself then you know whether or not you have lived up to your parental responsibilities. There is no book on parenting... no rules to the game... but if you can seek inside your heart and say "I've done the very best I can"... then guilt has no place in this new equation. If you have blatantly harmed your child through abuse, abandonment etc... than you need to take stock - put the blame away and atone...
Assuming that you have done your personal best then take a long hard look at what is driving these feelings of guilt. Absorb them, feel them, don't deny it because if you do it will return with the vengeance of a firestorm from Hell. Look at your guilt, study it... think it through... then let it go. Let it go but remember that any little insecurities you have, any parental "slip-ups" will be used by your child against you when they are confronted. Yes - your child/tween/teen will do that to you... when young ones are on the defensive their attacks are brutal. So be prepared, be very prepared.
That is why it is so important for you to check your anger, fear and guilt at the door before you approach your teen about the issue at hand. Everything and anything that you have ever done "to them" becomes a weapon. It's not that they don't love you - it's that their secret is out and their only recourse is to defend themselves.
Ang said to me one time "Mom you scarred me for life when you made me wear colored socks that match my outfit in 3rd grade". At the time I broke my heart... how could I do that to her... then I realized in the big picture... hello??? Colored socks? She pulled at my heart strings numerous times with that one... if that's the worse thing I did as a single parent then so be it.
So put the guilt away (remember you may have to lock it up numerous times during this journey)... focus on the child, you have already studied all your reasons for feeling guilty. Don't waste time going in circles within yourself... just focus on them and how to get this situation under control. Think, breath... think... focus... time to talk. Time to sit down and talk.