There was a time when my son considered me to be a ‘cool’ mom.  He used to say I was pretty “chill”.

Apparently I recently lost that position when I became a community parental activist.

What caused this transition was the sickening realization that what I thought had been an isolated incident of experimentation of marijuana for my 14 yr. old son had progressed to ongoing recreational use.

It’s pretty easy to hide pot use from parents.  But there were clues.  Like his mid-term math mark.  I mean, how does a gr. 9 student receive 4% in math?  Seriously.  No, not 40%.  ….4%.

But low academic performance can be attributed to so many things, and he’s never been a great student.  What finally got my attention was that one morning a few weeks ago, unable to get out of bed for school, he actually admitted to using the night before.

It’s rather disconcerting when your 14 yr. old can’t get out of bed because he’s still stoned from the night before.  I had thought that he was doing homework at a friend’s house.  Apparently they made up a batch of pot brownies.  Hmmmm… homework?  Home Ec?  He came home looking and sounding fine, but he hadn’t eaten the brownie until almost 10 p.m.

It would have been useless to try to force him to school that morning, so I woke him up every 30 – 45 minutes, gave him a big glass of water, and videotaped him answering questions about the choices he’d made the night before.  Figured he’d forget how lousy and guilty he was feeling and might need a reminder a few weeks or months down the road.

And while he was alternating between sleeping it off and being the star of his own little reality video show I broke my silence and called all the parents of his peer group.  Told them I had a problem that I needed their help with, and asked if they’d be willing to meet as a group to discuss drug use amongst this peer group.  They admitted that they too were concerned, and agreed that a dialogue would be a good idea.

When I thought about where to hold this dialogue, I decided I didn’t want it to be at our home.  I figured I was going to already sacrifice my position as a ‘cool’ mom by calling this meeting, and having it at our home was just going to increase the spotlight on our family.

The community centre seemed to be a logical, neutral choice.  After all, our kids have been buying their pot from dealers who hang out there.  Seemed to make sense that the parents should meet there to figure out how to keep our kids from using the drugs so readily available at the community centre.

What I’m trying to figure out is when did community centers become THE place for teens to purchase their pot?

And why do parents have to pay the community centre a fee to rent a room to meet there to discuss this situation?

A group of us met every other week for a month and a half to discuss what we were witnessing with our teens, what we were implementing to deter them from drug use, what external resources we had available, or needed.

They were enlightening, somewhat heartbreaking and yet inspiring dialogues that opened our eyes to what we hadn’t been seeing, and our lines of communication with one another.  And with our teens.

My son’s father and I chose to implement a weekly drug-testing regime with total drug abstinence earning our teen the right to snowboard this season.  Not everyone agrees with drug testing, but as addiction runs strongly through several branches of our son’s family tree we decided to implement all the tools at our disposal.

He’s been clean now for almost two months.  Strange to be celebrating that as a victory at this stage of parenting, but that’s the reality.  My 14 year old was sliding into a pattern of regular drug use, and with some tough parenting choices being implemented, now he’s not.

Last night I opened our home to 20 of his friends for a drug and alcohol free dance party.  For me it was a celebration that he CAN stay clean and sober and have fun, regain momentum at school and find a new passion – thai kick boxing.

And the friends came.

To the home of the formerly ‘cool’ mom who apparently hasn’t totally lost her status amongst the teens in the ‘hood.