Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

First North Hills PSST: Thanks for your support!
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, March 10, 2007

Valerie and I wish to thank all ten parents who helped make this meeting a success. Half of the Parents had already attended our Eastern Probation Office Meetings, and the other half were first-time members.

Candid exchanges between group members set a tone for supportive confrontation in this meeting. Especially, Parent after parent affirmed the need to focus on the drug problem if your teenager is still using. Other issues such as education, legal problems, health, MUST take a secondary role if the teenager is still abusing drugs. It is only natural that we allow ourselves to become distracted by these other important issues, because if there was no drug problem that High School Diploma, upcoming Court case, Hepatitis-C, or psychiatric problem WOULD of course be the main issue. Nevertheless, your teen cannot get that Diploma if he is dead. What can a parent do if their teenager is still abusing drugs?

The first step is to admit that your teenager is still abusing drugs and THAT none of the other problems can successfully be addressed as long as is active in his addiction.

The second step is to TAKE AN ACTION. Do not just wait it out. Chances are good that the longer you wait the more difficult the situation will become. Also, let us remember that this is a life-threatening disease.

Teens cannot hear what we are saying. This goes double when they are still active in the addiction. Therefore, the only way to SEND MESSAGES to them is by taking an action. For example, putting a teenager back in inpatient if possible is taking an action. Yes, we may have doubts that it will do any good, but we must take what actions are available to us. Putting a teen that has relapsed back into inpatient is not perhaps the only option, and may not be an option in some cases, but it does fit the bill in terms of SENDING A MESSAGE and TAKING AN ACTION. Figure out what actions are appropriate, along with your partner if you have one, confront your teen, and take an ACTION.

The Third Step is not to become sidetracked by other issues. Even the fact that you cannot insure that any ACTION you take will help can become a distraction. "Why am I going to put him back in inpatient, he already has been there and it didn't work." Yes, that may true although that is difficult to know. However, once again, SOME ACTION is required. Some parents have contracted with their teenager, that if he uses he must leave the home. If that is your contract with your teenager, then you must follow though. It depends on the age of your child, what drugs he uses, whether or not you have a Probation Officer or ACT 53 case, as to whether that might be a good contract to make.

The Fourth Step is to fine-tune the plan. If your child has gone into rehab, placement, or jail, then you have an ideal opportunity to get a strong commitment from your teen to do the following.

1. Attend 12-step meetings daily.

2. Develop a "we" of the program that includes sponsor, home group, and calling recovering peers each day. Chapters can and have been written about developing the “we” of the program.

3. Divorce old friends that represent ties back to the substance. Keep in mind that most relapses can be reduced to two forces at play. Backing off from recovering people ("those meetings don't help") and moving closer to people who use drugs ("he is my friend- he isn't a bad person, he doesn't even smoke Crack anymore.") We are NOT saying that anyone is a bad person. We are saying that your teenager's old friends are bad for your teenager and your teenager is bad for his old friends. They will want to use drugs again if they spend time together.

4. Agree to being drug tested WHENEVER parents choose to drug test.

5. Attend outpatient treatment and follow the therapist's recommendations.

6. Do not become distracted by the accusation of "You're trying to work my program for me." This is not the case here. You are negotiating a plan for recovery. If you do not come in with high expectations, then you are missing the big opportunity. This is mere negotiation.

7. However, it may be that your teenager is going to feel like you are working his recovery for him. Ok, agree with that premise if it makes it easier to move the discussion forward. “Yes, I am working your recovery somewhat. When you can work it yourself, I will be glad to take a vacation from working it for you. Until then, if you want to live here in this home, you will allow me to guide your recovery. Or you can work your own program somewhere else.” If he does not want to live with you, what are his other options? Perhaps he can work his own recovery somewhere else, like a group home, or a halfway house for recovering addicts. Guess what? Those places are going to have expectations about working a program too, and they won't be swayed by charges of "working their program for them." It is possible to be too involved in your teenager’s recovery, however that is the stuff of another post, or perhaps readers can leave comments on that issue.

8. This is an opportunity because if your teenager refuses or is reluctant to commit to conditions such as these, you should reconsider allowing him back home, or if he is at home you should consider what other options besides living at home that he may have. If we allow our teens to be active in their addiction and continue to live at home with no consequences or accountability, then we ENABLE them. We provide them with a base-of-operations from which they can easily seek the ways and means to abuse drugs. What are your other options? If he knows that you are serious about this plan, he may realize that he wants to live at home and he must comply.

The Role-play: check back later this week, time permitting, I will try to recap the role-play.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent list -- the numbered points make it easy to follow. When you put it all that way, it seems so clear.



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