Addiction is an equal-opportunity destroyer. It has no respect for anyone. ~ Joe Herzanek
I never imagined my child’s teenage years would end with addiction.
Many people experiment in high school or college and leave it at that – experimentation.
Some parents are not surprised if their kids try drinking or if they smoke marijuana, as they feel these are still within the range of normal teenage behavior. But most agree that harder drugs are dangerous.
Our hope as parents is that our child’s experimentation is a temporary phase that will pass as they grow and mature.
However, any experimentation is risky because we have no way to predict whether our child will later become addicted to alcohol, marijuana, or any number of other drugs.
You cannot tell in advance if you will become addicted. Indeed, some people are more at risk than others–if you have a family member with drug problems, you may be at greater risk since addiction is about 50% genetics. ~ NIDA
Kids today are living in an ever-changing environment. They are exposed to such a vast amount of information – not all necessarily good. The teen brain is not the same as an adult’s because it is still developing and is affected differently by drinking.
Abuse of prescription drugs, including fentanyl, seems to be everywhere. This drug may be the easiest one for your children to find, and it is certainly the deadliest. Unfortunately, we are seeing young people who have taken one pill laced with fentanyl and overdosed.
The truth is that you don’t have control over your children’s or anyone else’s lives, but many of us have had to learn that the hardest possible way; the loss of a child.
Addiction can develop as a result of so many factors, but based on my experience, an inability to process feelings properly is at the top of the list. Many people will tell you that they feel things very deeply. Many of our kids never really learned how to process their emotions. Open communication and sharing feelings are helpful, but unfortunately, sometimes addiction happens anyway.
Where does that leave us? It’s helpful for us all to understand that when our kids drink and use drugs, it may possibly be a phase but it may also be the start of their downhill slide into alcoholism or drug addiction that will turn into a lifelong battle. Chronic substance use teaches us all many things that we never knew or expected to have to deal with.
Here are ten things that addiction has taught me:
1) Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It affects many people all over the world from all walks of life. No one is immune. I am not alone. I never thought addiction could happen to our family, but many other families are struggling as well.
2) I can support my child and help them change, but I cannot control my child’s or anyone’s addiction.
3) Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do to stay resilient and to be able to weather the ups and downs of addiction. Find moments to reflect and replenish yourself daily, so you have more peace of mind.
4) Have self-compassion. Forgive yourself for any past mistakes. We each do our best with what we know at the time. Going forward, learn as much as possible and help your child in the best way possible.
5) The stigma of addiction can hold us back from getting the help we need. Don’t try and handle your child’s substance use alone. Reach out for help from professionals and support groups. They will help you navigate the choppy waters of substance use.
6) Let go of expectations. Try to stay in the moment so that you don’t try to rewrite the past or become fearful of the future.
7) Addiction disconnects us from ourselves, others, our spirituality, and our life. Don’t allow addiction to keep you isolated. Reach out to trusted family and friends.
8) Constantly having to deal with their negative behavior will be challenging. Try a new approach instead. Make an effort to look for what your child is doing well and acknowledge it. They need to feel they can do something right and begin to build on small successes.
My book answers many of the questions readers of this post may have – including how to help their child find recovery compassionately. Click on the book for more information. I hope the book is helpful.9) The Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) and the Invitation to Change Approach opened my eyes to many new possibilities for helping our kids change. They offer many resources to support families.
10) Addiction needs the same level of awareness that we give to other worthy causes. The more we can spread awareness about the dangers of experimentation and continued drug or alcohol use in our communities, the better off we will all be.
When our family faced addiction, it was a painful process. I needed to learn to understand and then accept why addiction affected my family. With every experience, there is a lesson.
Although my life will never be the same, I have learned so much from this experience. I have met some fantastic people because of it. I want to continue to grow and become a better person because of all the experiences I have had.
All we can do is adapt how we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. ~ Russell Brand
Over to you: What are your thoughts on teens and substance use? How can we help our kids stay healthy?
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By: Cathy Taughinbaugh
Title: 10 Things Addiction Has Taught Me
Sourced From: cathytaughinbaugh.com/10-things-addiction-has-taught-me/
Published Date: Thu, 01 Dec 2022 16:56:59 +0000