The connection

In this blog journalist Mick Boskamp, ​​9 years clean & sober and former client of Castle Craig, tells what it is like to reconnect with your child in recovery. 

It is Friday 15 July when I get a text message in the morning. 'What time do we have lunch, Mister Boskamp?' Neat and formal! Especially if you know that the sender is our 14-year-old daughter, who lives with her mother in the beautiful village called Zandvoort.
I can reach her in less than 5 minutes by car.
It's nice to have your daughter close to you.

We meet at 1 o'clock at Le Bar on the Kerkplein. There they have a stunner of a sandwich on the menu, the Mama Classic (with a spicy omelette, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes). That sandwich is a favorite of both my daughter and the undersigned. Are there more things she and I agree on?
Yes, Billie Eilish.

When I walk onto the sunny Kerkplein, I can already see the young lady sitting in the distance with that blonde haircut of hers. She wants a Coke. And – what else? – a Mama Classic sandwich. With camp they go to our southern neighbors, a week in which, among other things, a day at Walibi Belgium is planned. That must be the highlight for her, because she loves roller coasters. The order is on its way and daughter says: 'Dad, I want to show you the video of the fastest and highest roller coaster in the Benelux.'

I get a sick feeling in my stomach just by watching the movie. Since childhood I have never been a fan of roller coasters. After her mother recently texted me pictures of our daughter who had climbed a seriously tall tree, I texted her back: 'She's not afraid of the devil either! Are you sure I'm the father?' Mother responded with: 'I think she is only mine…'

We eat our sandwiches in silence. In the past, moments of silence between us felt uncomfortable. But now I enjoy it. Because I notice from her body language and the way her eyes look, that she is having a good time and that she is enjoying it. Would I be a little proud of her?

Daughter climbs trees, gets on the toughest roller coasters, she drums, sings and plays guitar. And above all she is super sweet and wise. She just does very well, especially when you consider that life for the youth from 2020 must not have been easy. For us adults, the underlying corona years were already extremely hectic and confusing, let alone for children. In addition, in today's society you see that the elderly are becoming increasingly younger in their actions, but that young people are forced by the society in which we live to be adults earlier.

And now that young generation has also received their own narcotic. snus. In other words, a stimulant / narcotic for adolescents. Snus is the name for nicotine sachets with a taste that you have to hold between your gums, after which the nicotine does its job. Highly addictive. But that should not spoil the fun. Fortunately, I do not see my daughter using this remedy any time soon. The only thing she's addicted to are roller coasters.

When we have an ice cream after lunch and we walk to her house, I say, “Didn't I tell you about those friends who started using drugs again? Maybe I could have done more for them.' She responds with, “That's nonsense, Dad. What those people use is not your responsibility. They do that themselves.'

Suddenly I'm fighting my tears. I am reminded of that moment, nine years ago, when she said goodbye to me at Schiphol when I went to Castle Craig in Scotland for four and a half months. Everything was fine until I went to customs. "Daddy, Daddy, don't go!" she yelled after me.

I think of all the times when I tried to find comfort in our daughter with my selfish self-pity. A father should comfort the child and not the other way around. How unsafe must that have felt for her then and for years to come?

But with patience, showing that I have indeed turned into recovery, and with the good fortune of having an exceptionally good mother and a wonderful gift father, this year for the first time, I really feel we are connected. And that feeling engulfs everything.

Yes, life is beautiful in recovery.