Recognizing Addiction

I had watched a program on one of our local PBS stations night before last Part II, a vignette with regards how much Heroin is here in the US today and RIGHT NOW in our backyard.
I realize TV has a limited amount of airtime; I would probably in my own opinion compare it to
– Who’s on First! Today!
Not back then… Heroin has been around for a very long time.

I stood in amazement and watched an official demonstrate how heroin is distributed in his words  ~ how you know your child is a dealer. I thought to myself, let’s see how many baggies did I find in my house ripped and torn that told me my child was a dealer?  These kids in our community are not the dealers they are the salesperson who buy from the distributors who buy from wholesalers outside of our community which is brought in from another country.

I also was a tad perturbed that they did not mention statistics of Heroin deaths ~  I became an advocate to spread the word in 2007 the year my son passed from this ugly disease, this addiction. Our community would not listen and more friends of my son died from our community the same way, attended the same school and are now overshadowed because the community would not listen back then.

Question is will they really listen now?

Baby Steps they are taking – baby steps and one day at a time.

IMO – IN MY OPINION ONLY ~ this vignette did not address the real problem. I can’t for the life of me figure out why so much sugar coating in going on with this issue.

I sent an RSVP to attend the 2nd drug forum that will be held at Buffalo Grove High School on October 7th, 2009.
I was unable to attend the first one held at Stevenson High School.

IMO more needs to be said – more needs to be done. It shall get done, it has to get done!

I do encourage parents in my community & yours to attend any meeting they can on drugs and addiction within your school districts, library s or a drug forum as are held in my community.  To me anything spreading the word about Heroin and drug addiction is better then not!

So my friends ~ I share with you more detailed information on this issue from my research in cyberspace a while back.

~~~~~ I hope passers by find this information helpful. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day –
HUG YOU CHILD! LOVE YOUR CHILD – in an instant your life could change…

Are You Enabling Your Child in the Addiction Process?

Addiction to drugs and alcohol among our children covers the entire social and economic spectrum in our society. Many ascribe addiction to poor parenting, however while poor parenting can contribute to the addiction problem, good parenting does not prevent it.

Some families have one addicted child while their other children, living in the same environment, do not become addicts. So whether you are certain your son or daughter is not addicted, suspect they may be addicted or know that they are addicted, you may want to read more of this article. You will find help on recognizing addiction, learning what you may be doing to enable it and what you can do to help your son or daughter and to help yourself deal with it.

Recognizing Addiction in Your Son or Daughter

Parents are often the last to recognize addiction in their children. Studies have shown that about 4% of parents of 9 to 11 year olds believe their child may have used drugs while about 25% of these children admit to doing so. There are several reasons for this. The children get very good at hiding alcohol and drug use from their parents while parents do not want to believe it to be possible. In addition, there is a judgmental attitude that drug and alcohol use is the result of poor parenting so parents deny the problem even in the face of strong evidence to the contrary. Here are some questions to help you determine if your son or daughter has the disease of addiction.

1. Do you have relatives on either or both sides of your family who are addicted?  Genetics plays a large role and sometimes the disease skips a generation or two.

2.  Have you found evidence of drug use in your home such as marijuana joints, empty liquor containers (either theirs or yours) or drug paraphernalia?  Children will go to great lengths to hide alcohol and drug use from parents, so if they are leaving evidence this is an indication they have lost control of their use.

3.  Have you seen a major change in behavior such as grooming habits, loss of interest in family activities, studying habits, withdrawing, depression, new friends, belligerence, extreme defensiveness, etc.?

4.  Has your son or daughter gotten a MIP or DUI, been charged with shoplifting or theft?

5.  Do they tell you that they are not affected by drinking alcohol or can drink more than their peers? This usually is perceived as good thing by an addict but actually indicates they have developed a high tolerance because of excessive use.

6.  Have you seen burns on their fingers or lips, needle marks, or sores on their nose and face?

7.  Has your son or daughter lost weight or developed a poor appetite?

8. Do they have money problems and refuse to explain how it is being spent?

Hopefully these questions will help you decide whether there is a problem or not. If you believe there is, you must begin by understanding what is and is not enabling behavior and how to avoid it.

Are You Enabling Your Child in the Addiction Process?

If you are like most parents, your initial response to addiction in a child is “We are going to fix this problem?” The common initial thoughts of parents faced with an addicted child will include, I’m going to punish my child, or I’ll lecture him about the problems with doing drugs or alcohol, or I’ll ground him until he is 30!!

However, these attitudes probably will do little to alleviate the problem. Instead they probably increase the desire in your child to abuse substances. This approach, among many others that keep the addiction process going, is called “Enabling Behavior”.

After attending Al Anon meetings for a while, it becomes easier to make the distinction between what is enabling behavior and what is helping behavior. You will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle you. The following story illustrates the point.

As fathers, when our kids…even our adult kids, get into life threatening situations, sometimes it is just not possible to say “detach with love” and walk away…at least it wasn’t for me.

My alcoholic ex-wife actually schooled our oldest son with her addiction to wine. She created her own “drinking buddy,” and, because he was 17 and in the midst of those rebellious “dad’s an idiot” times, she won real favor with him by encouraging this “adult behavior.”

By the time he was 18, his mother and I had separated, so, with me out of the house, this boy really “took over the house.”

One night after work I received a panicky call from our youngest son. His older brother had beaten him up and threatened to kill him in a drunken rage. The boy was sobbing.

I had to do something. But before I did, I called my sponsor, who also had a son about my son’s age, and had successfully gotten him into treatment. My sponsor added a compassionate but detached good sound mind to my panic. Together we worked out a plan where I called the DA’s office first, found out that the older son could be charged with a misdemeanor and arrested. Then, when I confronted the boy I had a strong arrow in my quiver.

I used what we call in the program the “broken record” technique. I just repeated over and over the same message to him in the face of his bluster. It went something like this:

“I understand, but I want you to know that I have this option, and if there is any harm done, or even another threat of harm, I will have you arrested.”

Guess what? After I drove over and picked up his brother and got him to safety I called the older brother back. He was looking through the newspaper trying to find a job so that he could leave the house. But we never had another threat of violence against his younger brother. So how did this all end?

Well, my oldest son went through his various adventures, hit a bottom, came into AA, and started his recovery. He married a talented woman who became a nurse, went back to school, received his GED, then went on to a state-operated college and graduated Summa *** Laude. He has made me a Grandfather twice over, and at this moment serving as a phenomenal teacher.

After my divorce from his mother, his younger brother moved in with my new Al-Anon wife and me. After a difficult period with counseling for four years, and some tragedy, he graduated from a state-operated college, and then found Al-Anon. That led to a great sponsor, professional counseling, his finding his own church and his deciding that he wanted to enter the ministry. He graduated went back to school, graduated from divinity school, and now, after a long stint as an associate pastor, has his own church.

What you can do to help yourself and to help your son or daughter?

Prior to making any hasty decisions after learning your child is addicted, it would be beneficial to remember that we are ill equipped to deal with numerous issues that are involved in addiction. You need to get your child help either through a 12 step support group, professional addiction counselor or both. Along with your child’s recovery, you need to seek assistance in dealing with the pain, uncertainty, fear and insanity that are normal for parents of addicted children. The first healthy thought you should engage is that you did not cause the addiction, you can’t cure the addiction and you can’t control the addiction.

Some specific things you can do:

1. Focus on creating a healthy emotional atmosphere in your home. Resist the urge to yell by focusing on saying what you mean, mean what you say but don’t say it mean.

2. Focus on you and not your child. Your and his recovery will be better. Only seek to control yourself rather than your child.

3. It is important for both parents to work together by setting boundaries that define what will and will not be allowed in your home along with the consequences of behavior that is not allowed.

4. Be patient and don’t resent the method of recovery. Recovery of the addict may or may not materialize and chances are that if recovery does occur it will not be a result of what you did rather it will be the result of another addict doing 12 step work in carrying the message of experience, strength and hope to fellow addicts.

5. Keep a sense of humor and gratitude. These help when dealing with crisis.

6. Remember that your child has a higher power. Fortunately, you are not it because you are powerless over the disease of addiction. This frees you up to focus on you and your recovery.

7. Maintain hope that things can get better. This hope will keep you sane and help you with your responsibilities.

8. Do attend a 12 step recovery program for co-dependents and do get a sponsor. You will find out that you are not alone and that there is help.

Okay, so this is not the way you thought the family history would unfold when your child was born. Resentment, shame and anger are probably consuming your thoughts when you see your child. By following the steps outlined above, however, and making a commitment to the recovery process for yourself, you will find serenity, joy and freedom whether your child’s addiction continues or not. Often, the child also gets into recovery after they see the changes in your behavior. Addiction resulting in recovery may be the impetus to get your life restarted and re focused on the things that truly matter such as service to others, compassion, acceptance and honesty.

If you suspect or know that your children or their friends are using drugs. TELL SOMEONE!

Produced by HBO in collaboration with NIAAA, NIDA and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation is excellent: HBO Addiction.

I also found a blog post also explains the brain development occurring from ages 12 on through 25 and why alcohol has such an impact on young people: breakingthecycles Teen Brain Development & Alcohol

In giving credit to the above information ~ I want to thank – Help for Parent with Addicted Children

I give thanks to Dr. Richard Keller our Lake County Coroner for his support and strength & dedication to the children of our community!

These children of our future!

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