Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Daughter Said She Had Something Serious to Tell Me ... JUST THE JOB

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Daughter Said She Had Something Serious to Tell Me ... JUST THE JOB

Article excerpt

Tamara Beckwith explains how a close friend's struggle with cocaine inspired her to become an Angel Against Addiction

ONE evening my 17-year-old daughter, Anoushka, said she needed to tell me "something serious". From the look on her face I knew this wasn't going to be "Can I have some money for the cinema?" I braced myself for the worst.

She explained that a close friend of hers had a bad drug experience and he was in a coma.

She was distressed and shaken.

I was shocked, but I was also glad she felt able to confide in me. I took her to see him in hospital - he's better now. When you're 17 you think you're invincible. Now they know first hand the dangers of taking drugs.

When I was younger, a girl in my peer group had a drug problem and everyone knew it.

Unfortunately, her parents chose to ignore it, so her problems got worse.

To me, this is utterly irresponsible.

However you act as a parent, your children will do their own thing. The best thing you can do is keep your eyes open. If there is a problem you can catch it early. You have to keep the lines of communication open.

I've been honest with my daughter about drugs and I've told her that I've dabbled. I wouldn't want her to think I was a hypocrite.

She also knows that a close friend of mine is a drug addict. She is in her mid-thirties and has had a problem with cocaine for years. I've seen her quit drugs and go into rehab, only to start again months later, many times.

She would never admit to me that she was using again. But you notice the telltale signs and patterns of behaviour. She'd call me with some convoluted story about why she needed to borrow [pounds sterling]20. My heart would sink when I discovered that she'd rung five friends with a similar tale. You knew that she'd used the money to buy cocaine.

Then there were mood swings. One day she'd be the life and soul of the party. The next, she'd be so low she wouldn't get out of bed.

Over the years she's pushed away her family and lost friends because of her addiction. It's something I saw when Tara Palmer-Tomkinson became addicted to cocaine.

Although we were never close, we worked together and had friends in common. …

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