"Our Daughter Is on Drugs"
His Turn"We're So Frightened"
"I am just as upset and guilt-ridden as my wife is, but I cannot for one more hour--one more minute--listen to her go on and on about Ariel's problems," sighed William, 41, a handsome man with thick, wavy hair and piercing blue eyes. "She literally follows me from room to room--even into the bathroom--repeating the same things. I know Julia can't turn it off completely. But couldn't she at least turn it down a few notches? She spends half the day sobbing.
"Not a night goes by that I don't wonder whether I could have done something to prevent this. We tried to be such good parents. But we can't wring our hands forever. Funny, I say that, but I don't know how to stop, either, do I? I know I need to control my anger. I don't mean to scream, but I'm feeling brittle these days.
"Spending time with my in-laws leaves me even more crazed. My wife may say her childhood was perfect, but to me it sounds like it was dictatorial. Her parents constantly tell us, 'You shouldn't have been so lenient with Ariel' and 'You should have noticed her problem sooner.' Isn't it hypocritical for my mother-in-law to blame me, when the same thing happened to her own daughter? Julia's mom once cursed me out because I expressed an opinion she didn't agree with--and Julia expected me to swallow it. Well, I can't do it anymore.
"My folks couldn't have been more different. Dad sold farm machinery; Mother helped him, but mostly she raised us--I was the youngest of five. My parents were active in the community and our church, politically moderate and very tolerant of other people's ideas. I was close to both of them and wanted to be the same kind of father to my children. Obviously, I've failed.
"I know Julia wants to help when my job stresses me out, but it's a touchy subject for me. I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was recruited right out of school, and I've stayed with the company for years. But my salary is too good now to turn my back on it, and besides, at my age, what would I do?
"I love my wife, but we've lost that closeness we always had. We certainly aren't intimate in bed. It's such a struggle to figure out when she's in the mood, I've just about given up.
"I always considered myself the kind of guy who could figure out what to do on my own, but our marriage is getting worse. We can't even get away for a night. A few months ago, when we went out of town to my sister's birthday party, Ariel had some friends over, and we think they got high in the house. She's not allowed to have guests anymore, but Julia is still afraid to leave her or Matt alone at home.
"We're both so frightened--for Ariel and for ourselves. It's time to get some help."
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