I’m involved in local and national movements to promote awareness and create changes in treatment; locally we’ve formed an organization that has fun, athletic, social sober activities or young people who are finding recovery from substance use. However, despite all these progressive projects to create new programs for treatment and support of young people finding a life in recovery I have had this compelling drive to influence cultural changes in parenting. I remember the frustrations not only with the pitifully lacking professional resources but, the saddest part for me, was the lack of support from other parents. A large proportion of parents were steeped in denial, ambivalence, keeping secrets, gossiping and ostracizing other parents; this was not only disappointing but what it really did was HURT our chances of helping our children – ALL of them.
What I aim for is a more informed and responsive parenting culture! Parents have a huge impact, despite what the popular media would have you believe, on their adolescents’ lives.
I am grateful to be able to say our 21 year old son is alive and following his own path. My foray into this world of adolescent substance use disorder (aka addiction) has compelled me to reach out to other parents to promote a better societal understanding of the increased vulnerability of a teenager’s brain to becoming addicted and how parents can be more effective in preventing their child’s derailment into alcohol and other drugs … and if your child begins to experiment, to respond much more quickly for a better outcome.
This generation of parents need to TAKE THE BLINDERS OFF
-shed old beliefs and learn new science about the vulnerability of the teenaged brain to becoming addicted
-learn to be a proactive parent and stay connected for the long view
-challenge the silence, stigma and shame that surrounds adolescent substance use disorders and mental health problems that co-occur along with substance use
-come together as a community of parents that KNOWS THE SCORE and HELPS EACH OTHER
I am a mother of a now 21 year old son who has been through escalating drug and alcohol
problems which began when he was 14 years old son. Our son began smoking marijuana and
sneaking liquor out of the family liquor cabinet in his early teens. Sound familiar? We talked to him exhaustively, engaged counselors, got professional help with our parenting approach, devised family contracts and imposed consequences, actively encouraged participation in exciting outdoor sports (like kayaking, extreme powder skiing) as an alternative to hanging out in the drug scene. Despite all these efforts the next 6 years were a blur of Wilderness Programs, Residential Treatment Centers, Family Weekends, Seminars, Webinars, counseling, digesting a mountain of books, learning about substance use and its effects on the adolescent brain and now activism!