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

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” ( 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

Giving Up Our Dreams
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Teens sharing pills

Why is it so hard to give up on our dreams for our children?  We stare reality in the face every day and yet we still hold on to those hopes and dreams.

The day our kids are born we start making plans. We start squirreling away money into college accounts. We dream of smiling proudly as our child graciously strides across the stage at graduation. Nice, neat little homes in the suburbs with our grandchildren playing in the yard. Some of us even have the audacity to picture ourselves in the front row during a presidential inauguration on a cold January day in Washington.

It’s all possible for anyone.

Then we snap out of our dream and see our child addicted to a drug and wonder if the future is even possible. We mourn the loss of our dream. We experience suffering for our child because in our life and wisdom we know the hardship of life even without being saddled with addiction. We cry, become depressed and grieve this fading picture. Never really giving up the hope that all of the past will go away and we all get a “do over”.

Finally, after months or years we realize that today is all we get and tomorrow can be just as fearful as it can be hopeful.

The next phase of our realization begins to become clear. These dreams were ours. That is why the pain is so great. We feel our dream slipping away. It’s such a shame we have imposed our dream upon our child and we see their addiction as a failure to achieve our dream. Oh, I’m sorry, I mean “reach their potential” is the way we say it as parents.

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

Writing a Letter to Your Child with a Drug or Alcohol Problem
Monday, April 19th, 2010

In response to Ron Grover’s recent post, there’s been a lot of discussion about the benefits of writing a letter to a son or daughter struggling with a drug or alcohol problem.

And I think there’s something in it for both the parent and the child.

For a parent, a letter allows a chance to express feelings that they may not be able to say in person. The simple act of sitting down and writing can often be cathartic. There’s something about capturing and sharing the dizzying array of feelings we walk around with – the frustrations, anger, disappointment, hope and love — to your teen or young adult in the written word.

Maybe because of our fast-paced digital world the old-fashioned, ink-on-paper way of communicating is intimate, a true expression of the heart and mind.

And obviously there’s something unique for the recipient too. A  fresh  way to get through to a child. Somehow it’s different than an email or text – or even a conversation.

What do you think about reaching out to your child with a written letter?  Have you done this before, and if so, what phrases or words have struck a chord?  Would you recommend letter-writing to other parents looking to get through to their child with a drug or alcohol problem? Also, what about sending an email or a text – do you think this packs the same emotional punch?

If you’ve already written a letter to your child, please feel free to share the letter here as well as any tips you have with others in our community.

Writing a Letter to Your Child with a Drug or Alcohol Problem

Posted by Community Manager Olivia  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Writing About Addiction  /  Comments: more

Losing Your Mind Doesn’t Help Anyone
Monday, May 18th, 2009

What parent hasn’t wished their addictive teen would simply disappear? “Antarctica is lovely this time of year; we’ll send your gloves.” As for visions of sprinkling arsenic on their Hot Pockets, well…

Terrible bad mean selfish parents. Or perhaps not selfish enough. All parents have felt this surge of bitter resentment. Who’ll dare admit that outside of group or individual therapy or in hushed whispers to a best friend? ‘Cause otherwise you’re ripe to be reported to social services.

As if bankrupting your savings on therapists/private schools/wilderness programs/escorts/lawyers/residential treatment centers, shredding your relationships (what must the divorce rate among parents of teen addicts be?), undermining your work performance (yes the boss is a jerk for not understanding why you can’t concentrate) and ingesting way too many Ho-Hos (don’t they stack neatly on the treadmill?) isn’t sufficient (plus of course their addiction is all our fault), you feel guilty for expressing feelings of normal anger.
Why? Because we’ve ceased to exist as independent life forms. Everything is sublimated to the sick child fighting a terrible illness. Any reason we parents talk to our cereal spoons?

Yet we’re still breathing, more or less. And there must be times when you think of yourself first because if you lose your mind, you’re no good to anyone. Dead heroes might make stirring role models, but lousy parents; who’ll drive them to the mall? How can you make coherent decisions half-addled? How can you expect your child to have normal feelings if you don’t?

Martyrdom does have its appeal, but not long-term. You must find ways to separate yourself from the craziness. Go to the movies. Shop ‘til you drop. Have a date with your partner. Sneak off for a glass of wine. Okay, okay, I know, but we’re only human. Guess what? If we don’t take their calls or check the morgue every 10 minutes, life will go on. It’s imperative ours does, too. We are entitled. Because when they get better, and they will, it’s important that you and your family members recover, too — we all need a life to return to.

Posted by Gary Morgenstein  /  Filed under Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: 1


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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