Intervene

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Archive for October, 2011
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How to Prepare for a Drug Intervention with Your Teenager
Thursday, October 27th, 2011

=InterventionIf you’re concerned about your teen’s drug or alcohol use, then it is time to take action. You can never be too safe or intervene too early — even if you believe your teen is just “experimenting.”

Here are 8 step-by-step ways on how to prepare for a drug intervention with your teenager:

1.    Make observations. Note changes in your teen’s usual behavior, appearance, personal habits, health, and school work. The teenage years are a physical and emotional roller coaster, so no one change is a definite indication of drug or alcohol use. But if your child has ditched her friends for a new crowd, let her good grades slip, or stopped caring about her looks, these are warning signs that may be cause for concern.

2.    Keep track. Note (in your head or in a journal) when and how often your teen breaks the rules or does something suspicious. For example, if your teen comes home way past curfew, jot down the date so you can reference it later. You may also want to keep track of the alcohol and legal drugs in your home. If you know you have exactly 20 prescription pills in your medicine cabinet, it will be easy to tell if some have gone missing. If you suspect your child is taking Rx drugs from your home, lock your medicine cabinet, dispose of pills you are no longer taking.

3.    Search for drugs and drug paraphernalia. Some parents are against snooping, while others believe they have the right to look through their children’s things. There is no correct answer, but if you want to collect concrete evidence of your child’s drug use before your intervention, here are some good places to look: dresser drawers, desk drawers, backpacks, the glove compartment of the car, the back of closets, corners of bed sheets, under the mattress or bed, small boxes, books/bookcases, makeup cases, over-the-counter medicine bottles and empty candy wrappers.

Remember: If you do find drugs in your child’s room or car, you will be accused of invading your teen’s privacy. Be prepared to defend your actions.

4.    Talk with your spouse/partner. If your teen’s other parent or caregiver does not share the same beliefs and values that you do when it comes to drugs, you will certainly hear about it from your kid. So get on the same page as your spouse or partner before you intervene with your child. “Getting on the same page” doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing – it means committing to present a united front, even if the two of you disagree on the issue.

Remember: This is a stressful situation for both you and your spouse, and you will need one another’s support. Do not blame your partner for your teen’s drug or alcohol use, or allow him/her to blame you. Your teen’s problem is no one’s fault, but you and partner do need to work together to deal with it.

5.    Recognize the significance of addiction in your family. For some, trying drugs or alcohol once or twice may just be part of the teen experience. But if there is a history of addiction in your family, your child is much more likely than other kids to become addicted.

6.    Understand this serious risk and think about how you are going to explain this to your child in a way that will make him listen.

7.    Set a desired outcome for your intervention. The “drug talk” is actually not one talk – it’s a series of conversations. Chances are, your first intervention will not resolve all problems – and that’s okay. But if you set a goal (even a small one) before you start talking, you will know where you want your conversation to ultimately lead. Would you like your teen to see a therapist? Stop binge drinking at parties? Obey curfew? Come up with a specific purpose for your intervention, and then work toward achieving it.

Remember: Don’t set your expectations too high. Your teen may not even admit to drug use the first time you intervene, let alone pledge to stop using or get help. Set reasonable goals, and realize that just expressing to your teen that you don’t want him using drugs or drinking is a small triumph.

8.    Prepare yourself for your teen’s reaction. Your teen will not be happy that you’re approaching him about his drug or alcohol use. That’s to be expected. What you might not expect is to be called a liar, hypocrite or snoop. Think about how you will handle these accusations if they come up.

You don’t need hard evidence to begin the conversation – your intuition telling you something is wrong is enough. But having past incidents or observations to reference in your conversation will help you encourage your teen to tell the truth about her drug or alcohol use.

This is an excerpt from our Intervention eBook.  For information on what to do if your child is drinking or using drugs download our Intervention eBook or read articles on Time To Act.

Do you have tips for how to prepare for a drug intervention?  Please share them in the comments section below!

Related Links:
Time To Get Help
You Are Not Alone

Posted by Community Manager Olivia  /  Filed under Confronting Teens, Dealing with an Addicted Child, parenting, snooping  /  Comments: more



The Language of Drug Addiction is Often Negative
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Tough LoveThe language of drug addiction is laced with many terms that seem to be designed to scare everyone. Many words and descriptors of addiction make me cringe “Hitting rock bottom,” is a term I have written about before. Another term that I have recently been exploring and considering is “Tough Love.”

Tough Love is harsh. For a parent to do what is necessary isn’t “tough love” it is REAL LOVE. Real love is letting your child sit in jail (protective custody) when for only a few dollars you could get him out and spare him from the confines of jail. (Only to find them using again within two hours.) Real love is telling your child he cannot live in your home as he continue to use drugs. Real love is when you see your addict hungry, dirty and homeless, and you buy him a meal, give him information of people who can help and encourage him to seek help and not offering to “fix it” for him. Real love is selfishly taking the time to work on yourself so that when your addict has a “profound experience” you ARE able to help in the right way instead of just falling back on old habits of enabling.

Addiction is a disease. When we see a parent sitting bedside of a child with cancer taking chemotherapy, holding his hand, wiping his head, combing his hair as is falls out, holding the pan as he gets sick, we admire that parent and comment how much they must love their child to be by his side. That parent doesn’t love their child any more than you or I. That parent is only doing what they can and must to help their child get better; just like we are doing when we practice tough love real love.

Real Love is why you are here reading these essays written by parents and professionals who have walked this path before you.

Tough love is easy, throw them out and leave them to the world.

What words in the world of addiction make you angry? Share with us below.

Related Links
Moving Away From Enabling
How a Child’s Own Reasons for Change Lead to the Most Success
Losing Your Mind Doesn’t Help Anyone

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



Part II: How I Learned to Forgive: Lessons for Family and Friends of an Addict
Thursday, October 6th, 2011

ForgivenessMaybe you have spent countless hours blaming yourself for what you did or did not do to help your loved one. Maybe you feel that you gave up on them. You will drive yourself crazy if you constantly question yourself when any attempt you make really won’t change the situation.

It is very painful to have drug addiction take over the life of someone you love. Being angry is understandable, but be angry at the disease not your loved one. Learn to separate the person from the affliction and trust that forgiveness will benefit you in many ways.

I have compiled a list of things that have served as lessons for me in the art of forgiveness. I hope that they will help you in your journey.

  1. Keep in mind that forgiveness is a journey.  As we grow older we learn more about ourselves and our ability to heal. Growing up in an addiction-tainted household does not always provide one with the necessary skills to forgive in a healthy way. These skills will need to be learned by educating yourself through counseling, positive peer relationships, and/or self-help books. A great start would be reading, “The Art of Forgiving” by Lewis Smedes. He wrote other books on forgiveness but for me, this one taught me the true meaning of it and how it would set my spirit free.
  2. Let go of resentments, they will eat you alive. This was a huge roadblock for me. No matter how hard I thought I was trying to let go of my anger toward my family the more it would rise from the shadows and influence everything going on around me. The deeper the hurt, the harder to let go. Anger is so detrimental to our emotional well-being. It leaves our past unresolved and prevents us from moving forward. We must work through the pain and anger because there is nothing powerful enough to erase it forever. You will be amazed by the way you feel when you have finally released the negativity. Be patient.
  3. Send them on their way with a smile. I have had friends who seriously screwed up at great moments because they repeatedly drank too much or used drugs. At first it may seem funny or cool, but it gets old real fast. Watching your friend ruin his life is quite painful and you will usually catch some of the blow back from their behavior which only adds to an already tragic situation. When you reach that moment of needing to put yourself first, don’t feel bad about it! You owe it to yourself to be surrounded by positive influences. There is a saying I live by that goes like this: “An addict will take you down way faster than you can pull them up!” It’s sad but true. Cut the ties that bind you and wish your buddy all the best. There is no harm in loving yourself more than their disease. Oh yeah, remember that just because you forgive the person, it does not mean you have to bring the relationship back into your life. Some things are better left alone. Please do not mistake this step as uncaring. Loyalty is important, but you first have to be loyal to yourself.
  4. Don’t play the waiting game. If you’re waiting for your loved one to feel bad about hurting you, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. “Waiting for someone to repent before we forgive is to surrender our future to the person who wronged us,” writes Smedes. The disease of addiction erases a person’s conscience. Most of the time they will never realize what they did wrong and will go on leaving your broken heart in the dust. You would be amazed at what addiction justifies in a person’s mind. This person you no longer recognize will quite literally do whatever it takes to protect their disease. Realize that how and when they heal is entirely up to them. There is no threat, promise, material item, or amount of time you allot them that will save them. Ultimately, they have to save themselves when they are ready.
  5. Forgiveness breeds happiness. Aside from the physical benefits of learning to forgive, the positive emotions that forgiveness brings are some of the greatest feelings I have experienced. Once I felt that I had succeeded in letting go of my past, many people wondered what I had done to myself because I had a new glow about me. I noticed that I smiled as I passed strangers and they smiled back. I no longer felt like an outcast and it was so nice to be positive about life. These positives were new and frightening for me in the beginning, but I had faith in the process. Nothing else I had tried before seemed to work and repeating the same tired steps and expecting new results is the definition of insanity. I definitely had enough insanity in life; it was time to let it go once and for all.

I think the person we tend to be hardest on is ourselves.  Sp remember to forgive yourself because you have the ability to and you are worthy of it.

Read Part I of my journey to forgiveness.

Related Links:
Part I: Forgiveness: My Struggles to Make Amends with Myself and My Addict
Addiction is a Chronic Medical Disease
Dealing with Feelings: 5 Ways I Cope with My Young Adult’s Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Online Community and Support Group for Parents of an Addict

Posted by Michelle A. Woycitzky  /  Filed under Acceptance, Addiction, Family members, Forgiveness, getting help  /  Comments: more






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