My older son is 25 now... He just bought a new car, with his own money, got the loan on his own, picked it out with his wife. He's got a good job and a condo for him and his wife. We are still helping them pay for their first car (a wedding gift), but that will end within 6 months, and they will be completely independent financially. Very proud of him.
I can't tell you how hard it is NOT to compare him to my younger son, Tony. Even without addiction in the family, that's a difficult thing, not to compare children. I've tried NOT to for the last 21 years. They are each individuals, with their own personality, own path, own choices.
Tony was the youngest, always following his older brother, B. He heard all about his brother, his successes with his grades, sports, etc. B was charming, he was popular, a "good" kid. Tony was very young when we had to juggle our own kids and my husband's failing parents, through their passings. Tony was entering high school, when B decided to marry at 19, so Tony had to listen to all the fuss over that for quite a while. I was on a huge project at work during Tony's junior and senior year of high school. All of these things distracted us as parents from him. He experimented with alcohol and drugs, pushed boundaries, tested limits, things that B never did.
All kinds of things run through my mind, excuses, reasons... still... even after all of these months working on my own recovery.
This photo horrified me when I first saw it, Tony lighting B's birthday cake candle with his heroin tattoo in full view. Yup, they are different alright!