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

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.

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

A Mother’s Love and Hate for Her Addicted Son
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

My son, in his late 20s, is a wonderful young man. He is the kind of son every mother dreams of — caring, loving, always doing the right thing, and he would do everything and anything to help you.

Then without any type of warning, when he drinks and does his drug of choice, there are no boundaries in his life and he becomes a person I don’t even know. Even his facial expression changes and he does not even look like my son. 

My son will work his fool head off to help out.  He’ll go that extra mile just to find that one item on your wish list.  He enjoys all sports but his favorite is NASCAR and he could watch it from morning till night.   He adores his nieces and nephews. He can make you laugh when you’re down or sit and hold your hand when things get rough.  He would love to have a family to call his own, but just can’t seem to find that one person who would love him. 

I watched a beautiful baby boy grow from a sweet innocent bundle of joy to a mischievous little boy.  Doing all the things that little boys do.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that one day a horrible disease would strike this child and turn him in to a monster.

As a teenager I saw changes but thought that it was just typical teenage behavior. But as days and weeks went by the typical turned into worry, and worry to fear, and that fear into desperation.

It began with small things, until the addiction enveloped his entire life.  Then it was all about how to get the money for the drugs; where to get the drugs; and then how to do the drug but not let anyone know you have.

My son has an addiction to cocaine and alcohol. He has no job, no insurance and feels so worthless.

He has become a liar, a thief and a full-blown drug addict. His cocaine addiction began back when he was only 17, his alcohol addiction did not start till he was almost 22.  He had 5 years clean at the time and was doing really well.  But that legal drug, alcohol — and thinking that just one wouldn’t hurt — took him right back to his drug of choice.  It all hits the same part of the brain.  Addiction is a brain disease.

Parents, believe me when I tell you that the roller coaster ride is unbelievable, the pain you endure is unimaginable. Yet the world expects you to go on like nothing has happened.  Families are destroyed, and those who have no clue about the devastation of this disease are always quick to put you down or blame you.

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Posted by Kathleen A. Larsen-Dobbs  /  Filed under Alcohol, Cocaine, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Recovery & Relapse  /  Comments: more

The Rollercoaster of Helping an Addicted Child
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

When you suspect your child is in trouble, one of the most difficult challenges is figuring out how to approach him or her.  Beyond dealing with their particular substance abuse, the big question is how to get them engaged and encouraged to accept treatment. 

Our first attempt at approaching my stepdaughter Katherine did not go well.  As a young adult, access to private information through the school was denied, while friends and acquaintances were never honest with us.  Our only recourse was to invade her personal space at home. 

We read through papers she left around, checked the trunk of her car and found ourselves investigating our own child.  This is not a pleasant undertaking but much needed. 

To this day, I firmly believe Katherine wanted to be helped as she left, in plain sight, writings regarding her usage as well as the failing school notice.  It was then that we decided to tell her that we were no longer paying for her college tuition. 

With this devastating information she left our home for her mother’s in Hawaii.  Ultimately, life in Hawaii took her further downward. 

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Posted by Linda Quirk  /  Filed under Recovery & Relapse, Treatment  /  Comments: more

Warning Signs of Drug Abuse
Thursday, May 14th, 2009

When do you know when a loved one is suffering from an addiction? Is it when you notice their growing distance? After too many of their lies have caught up with them? Or perhaps, it is the more subtle moments, when their actions border on the fringe of normalcy and intuition jumps in to warn us that something’s off? For my family the signs were vividly present yet camouflaged with aspects of what appeared to be just teenage behaviors. Looking back I realized, with great anguish, how my stepdaughter Katherine’s disease of addiction manifested right before our very eyes as early as high school. But it wasn’t until college that we finally knew she was using. We thought she was just going through a phase of self-discovery and testing authority with standard acts of rebellion. Little did we know she was experimenting with hard drugs and slipping away further. Before long, drugs had destroyed her sense of family, self-respect and zest for life. Meth had devoured everything she and our family held dear. Our beloved little daughter turned her back on us, shut us out and anchored in a place of loneliness; hopelessness and absolute devastation…and it took everything in our power to get her back.

Katherine’s story is not just ours. Too many families continue to witness the devastating effects of addiction. So as a parent who has witnessed it all and come out the other side with a healthy loved one in full recovery, I would like to share Katherine’s story with you. Over the next several weeks, I will be blogging about her journey from dissent to recovery.

Posted by Linda Quirk  /  Filed under Warning Signs  /  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.

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