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




Archive for June, 2011
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7 Tips on How to Discuss a Child’s Drug Addiction with Your Other Children
Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Blogger Carole Bennett, MA is author of the book “Reclaim Your Life – You and the Alcohol/Addict” (www.reclaimyourlifebook.com) and the founder of Family Recovery Solutions, a counseling center for family and friends of loved ones with a drug or alcohol problem.

Discussing Drug Addiction in the FamilySubstance abuse within a family is a devastating, gut-wrenching problem.  It can tear at the very fiber of even the strongest family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How do responsible parents communicate with their other healthy, children about the disease that has infected their other sibling?  Confusion, uncertainty and insecurity abounds for children who don’t understand why their brother or sister is sleeping all day, acting crazy, looking funny and no longer participate with the family.

I believe that being honest and open to your child/children about their sibling’s substance abuse issues is respectful and fair.  Don’t forget that children are very intuitive and if they see their parents speaking in hushed tones when it comes to their sibling or witness an emotional and/or physical change they will realize something is up.

Here are seven tips for parents on how to begin a conversation about substance abuse in the family:

1.) Pick an easy, comfortable time to chat with your kids.  Maybe a picnic in the park or a meal at their favorite restaurant is a good backdrop.

2.) Though it is a big deal, don’t make it so in the conversation.   Parents should be able to tell the truth in a way that children are able to understand and prepare themselves for the changes that will happen in the family. For many kids, routine helps them feel safe. So if life becomes unpredictable, they will need help adjusting to the changes.

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Posted by Carole Bennett  /  Filed under Addiction, Confronting Teens, Family members  /  Comments: 1



A Mother’s Thoughts on Blame
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

parents fightingMy journal entry: I want to blame someone – anyone - for my son’s addiction. I was sure that my son’s behavior, his affliction, was his father’s fault. Or mine. I’ve worn the yolk of guilt for years – better my fault than his. The truth is that I still have no one to blame because I’m sure there is no one to blame. After more than ten years and continual heartbreaks, I’ve come to realize his addiction is just that. Folks in the field of drug treatment call it an allergy. He has the allergy and we are all affected.

My reflection today on my entry above: Blame. I wanted to put my pain at someone else’s feet. I wanted to scream, “It’s your fault and look what happened to my son!” I spent a lot of time blaming his friends, drug dealers and even myself.

When I finally quit trying to assign blame and decided to deal with the addiction, I was able to help my son and our family. Whatever the reason for the addiction, Jeff had it. I started to educate myself about addiction. I used my time for better things than blame.

Today’s Promise: I will not blame myself or anyone else. When I had cancer, I blamed no one and fought the cancer. My son is addicted and he must fight. There is no room for blame.

Related Links
Teen Drug Addiction: When Parents Blame Themselves
A Mother’s Love and Hate for Her Addicted Son
Acceptance

Posted by Libby Cataldi  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Denial, Shame  /  Comments: more



9 Steps to Take When Your Recovering Teen Comes Home from Treatment
Friday, June 10th, 2011

recovering teen coming home again

It is easy to have high expectations for a teen coming home from some kind of treatment, but what they need to know, is how important they are to their recovery — that failure is not the end and success is up to them.  Substance use disorder creates stress for a family and there is no guarantee of the outcome of recovery without diligence. You know who your teen is.  What comes after treatment is more work.  Finding ways to deal with it are critical.  There are resources everywhere and the web is a good place to start, even to find a meeting.  There are also, ways for the whole family to just work together that enhances the success of a teen’s recovery.  Here are a few:

1.    Willingly, engage in the process of recovery. Recovery takes the whole family. You’ve survived together through major crises. You now have the chance to repair family bonds.

2.    See this in a new light. You know that your teen’s substance abuse was not a passing fad, so “accept” your teen’s addiction.  Try on addiction as a disease, not a moral problem. Look at recovery as an enduring process not a single event.  Don’t view relapse as a failure, but accept sobriety, at any time as a success; usually, the biggest success in an addict’s life.

3.    View your teen as an important. They have a huge burden and deserve to know the freedom of sobriety.  We forget that each of us, are the most important person in our own lives.  Knowing that, gives us the strength to make it.  No one can do what we do for ourselves.  A recovering addict needs to accept who they are to stay sober.  Drugs were a way of hiding and eventually became a way of life.  Sobriety depends on facing ourselves, head on, while staying sober one day at a time.

4.    Respect your teen’s return home by expecting what you would of a house guest. Encourage courtesy, gratitude and other human graces.  These attributes will heal dysfunction in the family.  Living with a recovering teen is still a challenge, but kindness and mutuality will help everyone.

5.    Put expectations aside. Parents usually have big plans for their teens!  Right now, staying sober is as big an accomplishment as any.  Placing more importance on anything else is stress that your teen might not need for a while.  Encourage your teen to resume education and work activities at his or her own pace.  Recommend physical exercise, lots of water, sleep and healthy food.

6.    Don’t underestimate addiction. Without diligence, sobriety can crumble.  Have a plan for relapse.  Encourage daily 12 step meetings to create bonds with other sober teens. Treatment plans should cover these things.  Al-anon is a good counter-plan for a parent.  If a teen relapses, you can maintain your emotional sobriety.  A teen getting back on track can happen just as quickly as they relapse.  Remember, failure is just another step closer to success.

7.    Be resilient and be prepared. Living with an addict who relapsed can necessitate outside help and tough consequences.  Do this rationally and discuss consequences with your teen.   If relapse persists, consider co-occurring disorders which might negate your teen’s ability to engage recovery without counseling and/or psychiatric evaluation.  It gets harder to deal with this once your child turns 18.

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Posted by Bill Ford  /  Filed under Addiction, Family Therapy, Recovery, Recovery & Relapse, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more



5 Things I Wish I’d Known About Mental Illness and Teens
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

1. teen mental illnessIt May Not Look Like Mental Illness I was a teenager who wore black, slept a lot and cried often. I ate too much or too little, couldn’t concentrate on my homework and wasn’t interested in a social life. I had no idea that these symptoms, if they last more than a couple of weeks, can signal serious depression.  I  simply thought this was what being a teenager was like. It wasn’t until I was 26 that I had my first “nervous breakdown” and was diagnosed with chronic depression. I was lucky. If I’d turned to drugs or alcohol as a way to solve my problems, I might have been another teenage drug addict or alcoholic, and never have gotten the help I needed. Even so, I didn’t recognize the symptoms in my son until it was too late. He was already doing drugs every day. He wasn’t diagnosed until he was 33.

2. Look for Mental Illness in the Family
Was there an aunt in your family who had a “nervous breakdown” when you were growing up? A grandparent who never spoke to anyone?  A relative who ‘burned out’ at work? A cousin who had to leave college because the stress was too much? A brother who was in trouble because of drinking or partying? These may pointer to underlying mental health issues. Many mental illnesses run in families. If there’s mental illness in yours, then your child’s drug activities may be an attempt to self-medicate the family disease.

3. Get Informed
When I was dealing with my own depression and then my son’s there wasn’t the vast amount of information around that there is today. I had to look for books in the self-help section of the library or bookstore. I felt ashamed that I needed the books, and sure other people were judging me. These days, there is almost too much information around — so pick your sources carefully. The best information on drug addiction and mental health comes from reputable sites like The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Parents’ blogs can be helpful too, mainly because they tell you about other parents’ experiences, and may help you realize that you’re not alone in dealing with this.

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Posted by Gabi Coatsworth  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Co-Occurring Disorders, mental illness, Stigma, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more






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