Graduation Day at Addiction High
My son was caught in a catastrophic cycle of overdoses, ER visits and psych holds. Then a group of fellow addicts set his life back on track—and gave me a new lease on my own.
Illustration by Eric Palma
JUNE 18, 2014. Eight young men in royal blue caps and gowns pose holding high school diplomas. Our boys. They have completed one milestone that I didn’t expect to happen this spring, at least not in my son’s case. They have finished high school. An independent study program at North High School in Torrance, California, allowed them to meet with a teacher once a week, working online from the recovery house where the young men live. They have now walked with the other seniors, as if their lives were those of ordinary high school graduates.
“I never thought I’d graduate high school on time. But here I am, thanks to the support of all my brothers in the house,” my son, Raphael, says, as he gives a short speech at the graduation celebration.
I never thought Raphael would graduate on time either. Less than a year ago, my son was taking eighty Robitussin caplets at a time.
Now they give speeches while their families stand and listen. A cake decorated with their faces s…