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

An Open Letter to My Son or Anyone with a Drug Addiction
Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Life is not easy. It’s not easy if you are a drug addict or even if you are not an addict. It’s all about evolution. The strong survive.  It’s not just about physical strength; it is more about mental strength. Do you have the will to survive?  Do you have the strength to make it one more day?

As a person who has never been a drug addict or an alcoholic, I can only speak from that perspective. My insight into your world is only through observation. I do not wish to walk in your shoes. But I can tell you what it is like to walk in mine – if you are serious about sobriety.

Every day I have unfulfilled wants and they are not centered on anyone else. It may seem selfish, but I believe that the center of one’s being can only revolve around oneself. I want things, I want different feelings, I want changes in others, I want, I want, I want. It really never ends. I believe that desire is no different for a drug addict or non-addict.

Daily there are people out there telling you, no – a boss, friends, parents, spouses, and girlfriends – that is just a part of life.  Disappointment and hurt is as much a part of living as joy, happiness and love. Hurt is the same for an addict as it is for a non-addict. The difference is how we react to and cope with our emotions, whether they are good or bad.  I don’t know what drugs do for an addict to help cope with disappointment. I don’t know how drugs heighten the joy of happiness. But I do know that my life would be very monochromatic without the peaks and valleys.

I have no doubt from observing you that you hated every day that you were using drugs. I can see how your life was out of control, spiraling into a pit of hurt and despair. You became so lost that the helping hands of others could not even be grasped.

I see your struggles with being clean. More pain than joy. It’s a time in your life where the scales are not balanced. You are working so hard to survive but everyone is saying, no.  There are so many frustrations.  What is the use, you may wonder?

There is one place where no one will say no. There is one life that will accept you. The life of drug use that you have known for the last several years. That is the easy path to take. 

But, please know that the immediate pain you feel now will eventually fade.

Just as when my father died, there was terrible pain for me. I wanted to pick up the phone and call him, but I knew I couldn’t. I wanted one last time, for old times’ sake, but I couldn’t. I flashed back to all the good times, but they were not to be any more. I believe that feeling of loss is something similar to what you are experiencing in order to live on. Your old life must die – and there is tremendous pain with that death. Each day you will want to use just one more time. Time may heal all wounds but sometimes the scars are there forever.

In time, the scales will balance and you will experience more joy than pain. But for now you must travel the difficult path and find the will to survive. You will become stronger each time you choose to steer away from that dangerous and tempting path at the fork in the road. It may be hard to see because the path to recovery is difficult.  But please know you are not walking alone – hands of help are reaching out to you with your every step.

You don't need to walk alone on the path to recovery.

Posted by Ron Grover  /  Filed under Addiction, Family History, Recovery & Relapse  /  Comments: more

Adjusting to Recovery: When Your Addicted Child Begins to Get Well
Thursday, April 1st, 2010

What happens when what you have hoped and prayed for finally takes place? After months or years of living in fear for the very life of your child, she decides either on her own or ordered by the courts, to get treatment. Or she begins to attend meetings regularly to pursue recovery and living a healthy life in whatever form that works for her?

Where does that leave you? The mom or the dad who has laid awake at night wondering how on earth you can help your child.  Wondering if she is alive? Wondering if she is using drugs right at that very moment, is she safe, warm enough, hungry, is anyone hurting her or taking advantage of her?  Now what is your role as the parent?

I will tell you that I, as a mother, still worry. Is she going to enough meetings? Is she really even at her meetings?  Is she being honest? Is she really working her program? Each time she left the house I was in so much fear I was literally sick.

I thought that when she got treatment our problems would be solved.  Little did I know that we were just beginning the most intense journey of our lives.  Treatment and recovery is where the rubber met the road for our family.  It’s where the real work began for all of us – the whole family.  There are no quick fixes.

It was during those times when my daughter Hallah was in treatment that I realized how

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Posted by Annette  /  Filed under Addiction, Recovery & Relapse, Treatment  /  Comments: more

Tough Love: A Valentine’s Day Message for Those Who Love Someone with a Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Looking for love in all the wrong places
Love at first sight
Love is blind
Love means never having to say you’re sorry

These are just a few of the themes that come to mind as I contemplate Valentine’s Day.  It occurs to me that I could tell my life story (both before and after recovery) using just the right combination of famous love quotes and song lyrics!

I was looking for love in all the wrong places when I first tried drugs.  I just didn’t know it at the time.  Growing up in an alcoholic home was traumatic.  I was frightened most of the time and very lonely.  Drugs filled the emptiness inside and made my fear go away.

It was love at first sight for me when it came to drugs.  Before long, nothing else mattered.  My family, friends, school and job – all took a back seat to

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Posted by Becky Vance  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Dealing with an Addicted Child  /  Comments: more

Alanon Helped Me Deal with My Addicted Child
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I have a daughter. She is the second of our four children and she is beautiful. I can remember back 21 years ago to the day of her arrival onto this earth, into our family, and it is one of my most precious memories. Her birth was fun, filled with joy and we were surrounded by people who love us. As the doctor guided her out into this world and held her slick shiny body up for me to see, I felt such happiness, such pure unadulterated joy that I had been given a girl child.

At 12 years old that same beautiful girl child took her first drink of alcohol. Little did she know that she had opened a door to years of drama and turmoil, years of ruined relationships, loneliness, and feelings of defeat. Years of being in pain. By the time she was 14 that beautiful girl child of mine had become a black-out drinking drug user.

We rationalized that she was experimenting. Lots of kids go through wild phases, but deep inside I think we knew that this was more than that. We were afraid and ashamed and in denial…not a good combination. We worked so hard at controlling and managing what had so obviously already spun out of our grasp. We didn’t want anyone to know the depths of our fear. We hoped and prayed it would pass. But it didn’t.

We sought counseling and thankfully we were directed to Alanon Family Groups. Alanon is a 12 step program for the families and friends of alcoholics and/or addicts. Little did I know I was about to be given a road map that would lead me back to sanity. Because I had most certainly resorted to crazy behavior all in the name of saving my daughter.

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Posted by Annette  /  Filed under Dealing with an Addicted Child, Denial, Enabling, Family History, Recovery & Relapse, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more

To Snoop or Not to Snoop: Issues of Trust and Privacy
Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Despite the fact that my son Alex was cutting his sophomore classes and ignoring mounting piles of homework assignments, he readily morphed into a Constitutional scholar right before my very eyes whenever it came to the subject of privacy.  He had no aspirations to be a lawyer, but argued like one, vehemently stating that privacy was a basic human right, protected under the auspices of the 9th Amendment.  In his pursuit of life, liberty and unfettered drug use, he felt that his room, belongings, computer, and cell phone were off limits to parental scrutiny. 

As he was growing up I gave him what I thought was age-appropriate privacy, but once Alex broke the rules of our home by using substances, all bets were off.  I was waging an all out war against substance use and I needed as much information about my enemy (drugs) as possible.  Not only did it give me a handle on what was going on, but it allowed me to share information with his therapist so that we could determine the appropriate level of intervention – more therapy, an outpatient or inpatient program.

While he was actively using, I found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the most creative places – inside an electric pencil sharpener, under the rug in a corner of the closet, and inside books where pages had been cut out, not to mention clothing pockets and his backpack.  Checking Facebook and text messages on his cell phone also proved to be enlightening with messages like “R U puffin 2nite?”  Although I did not use computer-monitoring software like eBlaster to track instant messages and email, some parents do this as well.  

When I found my postal scales in his room, I immediately suspected that in addition to using, Alex was most likely dealing, a realization that terrified me on so many levels – his escalating drug use, the danger of dealing with drug dealers and the legal implications, to name a few. 

I carted everything I had found with us to Alex’s next therapy appointment, placed it on his therapist’s table with a dramatic flourish and said, “What do we do about this?”  As recognition flitted across Alex’s face, he blanched while the therapist commented that it didn’t “look good” and he would talk to Alex in more detail while I cooled my heels in the waiting room.

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Posted by Pat Aussem  /  Filed under Confronting Teens, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Privacy, snooping, Treatment, Warning Signs  /  Comments: more


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