Intervene

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




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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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



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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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



6 Noteworthy Memoirs About Parenting a Child with an Addiction
Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Certain parenting memoirs help us feel less alone and provide hope that our child’s drug use problem can get better.  If you’re a parent of a child struggling with drugs or alcohol, here are 6 noteworthy books that offer information and advice, and might even give you comfort and strength during this difficult time.

Teens sharing pillsStay Close: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction (2010)
By Libby Cataldi
Stay Close is one mother’s tough, honest, and intimate tale that chronicles her son’s severe drug addiction, as it corroded all relationships from the inside out. It is a story of deep trauma and deep despair, but also of deep hope-and healing.
this riverThis River (2010)
By James Brown
Award-winning author James Brown gained a cult following after chronicling his turbulent childhood and spiraling drug addiction in The Los Angeles Diaries. This River picks up where Brown left off in his first memoir, describing his tenuous relationship with sobriety, telling of agonizing relapses, and tracking his attempts to become a better father.

we all fall downWe All Fall Down (2010)
By Nic Sheff
In his bestselling memoir Tweak, Nic Sheff took readers on an emotionally gripping roller-coaster ride through his days as a crystal meth and heroin addict. Now in this powerful follow-up about his continued efforts to stay clean, Nic writes candidly about eye-opening stays at rehab centers, devastating relapses, and hard-won realizations about what it means to be a young person living with addiction.

Teens sharing pillsMy Daughter’s Addiction: A Thief in the Family – Hardwired for Heroin (2009)
By Marie Minnich
A captivating story of one mother’s journey raising her heroin-addicted daughter. The autobiographical story also chronicles the murder of the author’s mother in 1968; the Youth Culture of the 60s, the author’s experience as a battered wife and the devastating effects on her adult daughter who is a drug addict.

beautiful-boyBeautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction (2009)
By David Sheff
With haunting candor, David Sheff traces his oldest son’s Methamphetamine addiction from the first subtle warning signs, the denial, the attempts at rehab and at last, the way past addiction. He shows his readers that whatever an addicts fate, the rest of the family must care for one another too, lest they become addicted to the addiction.  He shows his readers that whatever an addicts fate, the rest of the family must care for one another too, lest they become addicted to the addiction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Community Manager Olivia  /  Filed under Alcohol, Books about addiction, Co-Occurring Disorders, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Substance Abuse, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more



Acceptance Doesn’t Mean Condoning a Loved One’s Addiction
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

It is difficult to recognize what acceptance is in this context. I went through this with my family for the past two decades – going back and forth about what it mean to accept that my child has a problem with drugs.

The initial reaction to drug abuse is often resistance and disgust. Parents and teens can dance a pattern of cause, effect and reaction; again and again, not realizing what they are dealing with until it is too late. In doing this, we lose opportunities for early intervention [download the Intervention e-Book]. We are too eager to believe our kid’s half-hearted contrition’s and resume the illusion of “normalcy.”

That’s the trap.  It is important to notice behavior in a teen and consider drug tests (Note: While home drug tests can be unreliable, having a doctor perform a drug test can be a helpful tool; Although be aware that teens find all sorts of ways to beat these tests and even professional tests can be inaccurate) to determine if a positive result should lead to intervention. If the result is oxy’s, heroin, meth, or anything like that, then, YES!  Accept it and map out some solutions. And in the process, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Unfortunately, our communities offer too little assistance and are quick to toss young addicts in jail for their petty drug-related crimes. Drug addiction in anyone’s family is a big cross to bear and helping an addict is not an easy path. Acceptance helps.

Acceptance and courage are old attributes. In life, we all get a chance to test these qualities; like the farmer watching his crops flood alongside an overflowing river.  His first reaction is denial! After accepting the urgency of the condition, the farmer would build sandbag levees. That is acceptance and transformation of agony into  courage and action. A parent building the levees of preparation for intervention or treatment for a teen bitten by addiction is like stepping into a vision that recovery and redemption are entirely possible. Acceptance in that context does not mean condoning drug addiction.

A parent can be tempted to believe that their child has ruined his life, but that person still needs to be accepted and feel hope. Addiction has a path of its own, and can trump what you do, so be prepared.

Have a plan without feeling a need to force it (download the Treatment e-Book). Look hard into the condition you are faced with. Be intentional, but don’t try and be God. When an opportunity arises, you will be ready to take action.

Even with all the money or support in the world, it simply is not a parent’s sole responsibility to solve this problem for their child; your loved one has to choose recovery and believe they can succeed.  At the end of the day, we are often left feeling powerless, but that doesn’t equal “giving up” or “rejecting an ugly condition”; it is a stark recognition of what one does not control. That is what acceptance feels like.

Posted by Bill Ford  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Denial, Finding Treatment, Recovery & Relapse, Substance Abuse, Taking Care of Yourself  /  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






Search





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


Categories


Archives


Tags






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