A blog for parents concerned about their teens alcohol and drug use

Archive for November, 2009
« return to blog home

Amidst Addiction & Recovery: An Attitude of Gratitude
Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

On this Thanksgiving, when I happen to be facing a lot of change and uncertainty, I remain certain of one thing:  My recovery will always be at the top of my gratitude list, as it is the most precious gift I’ve ever received.  I am so grateful to God for this life that I have now – it is full of blessings! 

The continued love and support of my family is also on this year’s list, as well as the unconditional love of my extended “recovery” family.  Lastly, I am especially grateful for my two incredible grandchildren and the tremendous joy they have brought to my life. 

During difficult times, cultivating an attitude of gratitude can be a real challenge, but it has always worked for me.  It reminds me of the many blessings I have and takes the focus off of what may be missing.  For families impacted by addiction, including mine, the holiday season can be especially painful.  In addition to the stress of active addiction, there may be loved ones no longer with us, and we miss them deeply.  

And it sure isn’t easy for parents and caregivers who are full of concern about a child’s drug or alcohol problem or addiction. As Annette points out, these feelings are numerous and intense:  fear, anger, guilt, panic, sadness, confusion, disbelief and more.

I hope somewhere in the throes of all those emotions, you are able to discover your own attitude of gratitude. Feel like sharing? Let us know –  big or small — what are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Autumn leaves

Posted by Becky Vance  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Recovery  /  Comments: more

Dealing with Feelings: 5 Ways I Cope with My Young Adult’s Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

What feelings rise up in the hearts of parents when they discover that their beautiful, intelligent child is using drugs or drinking massive amounts of alcohol? What about when they get that first phone call from the police department saying they have your child down at the station…who you thought was in his room sleeping. Or when you find that empty vodka bottle under his bed, or the drugs and paraphernalia hidden in places he thought you would never look.

I know these feelings intimately: fear, anger, guilt, panic, sadness, confusion, disbelief… and that only names a few.

How do you manage these feelings? What do you do with them? Their intensity is huge and seems to take over, making you behave irrationally, illogically, hysterically — or maybe they completely immobilize you as you sink into despair, not knowing what on earth to do about your young adult’s drug and alcohol addiction.

This was so not a part of my plan back when I first carried that beautiful infant into our home. We watched her grow, taught her to ride a bike, read her stories, held her close and loved her freely.  How did we get here? What happened?

As the depth of my daughter Hallah’s drug and alcohol use became more and more apparent, my husband and I were devastated. I was riddled with feelings of guilt… How had I failed her?  I was so deeply afraid. How far would this go?  Why was this happening and what could I do to bring peace and healing to my family?

Over time I have gained some skills that have helped me manage my emotions better. I still have not “arrived” and probably never will, as this is an ever-changing journey. Given the right circumstances I can quickly fall back into old behaviors and habits.  The difference now is that I have a set of tools that I can pull out and use to get myself back on track. The life I was living in the beginning of this journey was ruled by anger, fear and frustration. I would throw my authority around as the mom to try to bring order where it felt like there was none. 

For the sake of myself, my daughter and the rest of my family I had to figure out how to navigate this rough terrain of drug and alcohol addiction and come out alive and well on the other side with a heart that knew how to give and receive forgiveness and love.

My 5 Best Tools for Coping With My Young Adult’s Drug and Alcohol Addiction:

1. Acceptance
By accepting that our family, our daughter, was in the throes of the disease of addiction and there was no other way out than through, I could get to the business of finding my way. Our life is what it is, filled with joy, skepticism, times of great hope, and also dark times filled with deep sorrow.  I had to learn to embrace the process that we had been thrust into.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Annette  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Recovery, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more

Finding Treatment for Addicted Teens
Thursday, November 12th, 2009

When my daughter was spinning out of control from her addiction, there were difficult decisions to be made. One of the most frustrating things was seeking treatment options for her. I spent a lot of time, effort, and money on programs that did not work — before finding a successful solution.

Failed attempt number one began when I called the number on the back of my insurance card and followed the recommendation to admit Lauren into an adolescent psychiatric hospital. Most of their patients were there for severe mental and emotional problems that required medication. They were not prepared to take on a case like Lauren and made many suggestions that were actually detrimental, like suggesting I send her away to spend time with relatives after her release. Even with ongoing counseling, once she returned home, she was back to business as usual.

The second attempt was a local hospital offering an outpatient substance abuse program. This was equally dismal since their primary strategy for helping her was telling her she needed to change her ways.  When the head counselor informed me they were kicking her out of the program because she was still using drugs and supplying them to other patients, I fought back.  Why did they think I had her there in the first place?  Weren’t they supposed to be the experts?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Karen Franklin  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family Therapy, Finding Treatment, Recovery, Treatment  /  Comments: more

7 Truths About My Addict That Took 5 Years To Learn
Friday, November 6th, 2009

I feel deep empathy toward parents just beginning the terrible journey of their child’s drug addiction — and those facing the turmoil of a next step: rehab, incarceration, dislodging the addict from the family home. These are still open and fresh wounds for my wife and me.

Following are seven hard lessons we’ve learned in our journey, all of which we denied in the beginning. We fought with ourselves and with each other about these things. It didn’t matter who was telling us the truth, we knew better, after all he was our son. We have come to accept these truths and now it is much easier to deal with the heartache and we’ve become more effective helpers for our son/addict.

1. Parents Are Enablers
We love our sons and daughters. We would do anything to remove the pain. Take away the addiction. Smooth the road. We’d give our life if it would help. I once wrote a letter to my son about using drugs. I used the analogy of him standing on the railroad tracks and a train (drugs) is blasting down the tracks and blaring its horn but he hears nothing. I told him it was my job to knock him out of the way and take the hit, that’s what fathers do. I understand now, I was wrong. All that would do would leave me dead on the tracks and he would be standing on another set of tracks the next day.

We raised our children the best way we knew how. At some point they made decisions that set them down this path. We can only support them and provide them opportunities to make another decision. This is a hard one. That is why at times sponsors, recovering addicts, police officers, probation officers, corrections officers, pastors, counselors can all do a better job than we can in showing our addict the correct path. That is difficult because no one loves our addict like we do but we cannot do what they need when they need it.

2. I Cannot Fix This
This goes to what I wrote above. This is a problem only our addict can fix. A concept such as this is very hard for me to accept because I try to fix everything. No one is allowed in our addict’s mind except them. They are the only ones that can decide to do something about this. This will not end until they decide to end it. Parents trying to make that decision for them only results in failure and frustration.

3. My Addict Is A Liar
Addicts will say anything to hide their addiction and take any action to mask the problem. I honestly believe at the time they do not even realize they are lying, they just say whatever they think you want to hear. I believe they have motives in this to seek approval and to give us pride. I believe addicts do not like themselves or what they are doing but at some point they can see no door out. Their only mechanism for survival is to seek some

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Ron Grover  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more

What Got Me into Treatment? A Drug Intervention
Thursday, November 5th, 2009

I was 17 years old when I walked in on my own drug intervention.  It couldn’t have come soon enough, but I realize today that it almost came too late!  My time was running out and it was exactly what I needed to help me make the decision to enter a treatment facility that specialized in teen substance abuse and addiction. 

As a teen addict, I justified my behavior because I didn’t suffer the same ramifications that most adults in my situation would (loss of home, family, marriage, job or health). I thought I was invincible and that once things got “really” bad, I could stop on my own.  In reality, I did lose a lot due to my drug and alcohol addiction.  Though I did not have some of the more severe consequences of an adult in my situation,  I certainly experienced consequences. Here’s a list of some of them: 

* I threw away friendships and had friends walk away from me, leaving feelings of loneliness.
* I lost my parents’ trust so that even when I was being honest with them they still couldn’t trust me.
* I lost all motivation to go after my goals and dreams since my ultimate motivation was to get high.
* I lost my desire to help my mom around the house.
* I lost my desire to be a good example for my younger brother.
* I lost motivation to study and stay in school, since that ultimately it got in the way of my using.
* I lost motivation for any extracurricular activities.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Lauren King  /  Filed under Confronting Teens, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Treatment  /  Comments: more

Alanon Helped Me Deal with My Addicted Child
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I have a daughter. She is the second of our four children and she is beautiful. I can remember back 21 years ago to the day of her arrival onto this earth, into our family, and it is one of my most precious memories. Her birth was fun, filled with joy and we were surrounded by people who love us. As the doctor guided her out into this world and held her slick shiny body up for me to see, I felt such happiness, such pure unadulterated joy that I had been given a girl child.

At 12 years old that same beautiful girl child took her first drink of alcohol. Little did she know that she had opened a door to years of drama and turmoil, years of ruined relationships, loneliness, and feelings of defeat. Years of being in pain. By the time she was 14 that beautiful girl child of mine had become a black-out drinking drug user.

We rationalized that she was experimenting. Lots of kids go through wild phases, but deep inside I think we knew that this was more than that. We were afraid and ashamed and in denial…not a good combination. We worked so hard at controlling and managing what had so obviously already spun out of our grasp. We didn’t want anyone to know the depths of our fear. We hoped and prayed it would pass. But it didn’t.

We sought counseling and thankfully we were directed to Alanon Family Groups. Alanon is a 12 step program for the families and friends of alcoholics and/or addicts. Little did I know I was about to be given a road map that would lead me back to sanity. Because I had most certainly resorted to crazy behavior all in the name of saving my daughter.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Annette  /  Filed under Dealing with an Addicted Child, Denial, Enabling, Family History, Recovery & Relapse, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more


About this blog
Welcome to Intervene. We are a community of experts, parents and caring adults concerned about our teens’ alcohol and drug use and have come together to share our insights, inspiration, guidance and help.

A free service to help you determine if alcohol may be harming your health or putting you at risk.

Previous Posts




Drugfree.orgTime To Act!© 2014 The Partnership at Drugfree.orgThe Partnership at does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. More.