What kind of training has the staff had regarding adolescent addiction?
When my son was in a sober high school, the principal was a kind and knowledgeable educator, but he did not have a background in adolescent addiction and was easily manipulated into thinking the kids would voluntarily admit if they or fellow students were using. That didn’t happen. Like teenagers everywhere, not to mention teenage addicts, the kids lied about their own use and covered up for their friends. Staff needs to be educated and trained in adolescent addiction.
Dealing with our daughter’s addiction was by far the most difficult and the most painful thing we have had to navigate together as a couple. In our early years, we were both sort of shell shocked and in my mind I can see the two of us just standing there with our mouths open, asking each other, “What just happened?” It was not good. Neither one of us could believe that one of our kids, to whom we had devoted our adult lives, would have, or could have, headed off in this direction. We lived in denial for a long time.
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”.
Certain parenting books help us feel less alone and provide hope that our child’s drug use can get better. They provide a treasure chest of advice, information and comfort through the ups and downs of raising a teen with a substance abuse problem.
If you’re a parent of a child struggling with drugs or alcohol, here are 11 noteworthy books that might help you take care of yourself during this difficult time.
It starts with letting go of the idea of having a “normal” life. Truthfully, it’s a far cry from the storybook life we all fantasized about once upon a time. Being a parent of an addict is about being more than you ever dreamed you could be. And most days it feel like you’re at war.
We’re excited to welcome back award-winning author James Brown to the Intervene community. Earlier this month James released his latest book This River,” a memoir providing an honest portrait of an addict and his new struggles with sobriety, relapse and becoming a better father. This book provides a great opportunity for discussion with other parents as well as with your child suffering with an addiction.
If they don’t like your holiday rules and regulations, be committed to a response like “That makes me sad that you won’t be joining us, but that’s your choice.” They now have to shoulder all the responsibility for their decision even though they may try to blame you.
Even though Mom tried to hide her addiction, my half-brother Andrew was profoundly affected by it. As a result, he began using. I found out Andrew was having a rough time with drugs and alcohol before my parents even knew.
That’s the trap. It is important to notice behavior in a teen and consider in-home testing 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.
I want to share something very personal with you; my own daughter’s relapse. I doubt if I would be the complete clinician if I did not walk in some of your shoes, share the same trials and tribulations, victories and successes. So, I’m hopeful that you won’t be offended if I share my recent heartache and despair with you.
Vivitrol has been approved for the treatment of opioid dependence, a potentially positive development for families with a young adult dealing with an addiction to prescription pain medications or heroin.
My Reflection: I felt I had failed my son. He was a drug addict and I couldn’t stop it. Mothers protect their children, right? I wanted to blame the addiction on anyone, even myself, but certainly not my first-born son.
In that moment, I felt like I was wearing my own scarlet letter – that the “A” for addiction was emblazoned on my forehead and would be my mark to bear for as long as I lived. I was embarrassed and ashamed about our situation, not knowing how to begin to respond…
Of all the things that people do, few are as puzzling to psychiatrists as compulsive drug use. Sure, all drugs of abuse feel good — at least initially. But for most people, the euphoria doesn’t last. A patient of mine is all too typical.