It is absolutely paralyzing to learn that your child has substance abuse issues. Where do you turn for help? How do you know what steps to take? What is addiction, anyway? There are endless questions and no consolidation source of answers or support. In addition, the stigma of having an addicted child causes many parents to retract and withdraw rather than seek help. In truth, many families struggle with substance abuse issues, and the support, wisdom and guidance they need are not easily found.Parent Pathway was created for parents, by parents, to provide a place to find peace of mind at a time when their world feels like it is falling apart.
It has taken time and practice but I have learned to trust my instincts. I find that when I don’t trust my instincts, I can find myself regretful in the end. Sometimes it is very clear when you have an instinct that something is not right and then sometimes it’s those subtle, nagging thoughts. There are also times when you hear something that doesn’t add up and typically you should realize it right at that moment, but you cloud your thinking by wanting to give someone the ‘benefit of the doubt’ or feel you should trust them. I was reminded of this recently in a couple different ways which gave me cause to pause and think about it.
One signal on this topic was an article that I read that gave a series of things to do to help your kids stay away from drugs and alcohol. One of the suggestions was to drug test your teen. The argument was that as parents we want to trust our kids and that even when asked our teen may downplay or deny any drug or alcohol use. My belief is that if someone is contemplating drug testing their teen, they probably have an instinct telling them something is wrong that they need to address. When drug and alcohol use becomes a problem there were many signals and instincts that we have yet we don’t want it to be true. In retrospect, we find we should be facing all of these signals and instincts with every tool or action that we have. One small act of drug testing to confirm what you probably already know, and then can openly address, is better than having your child become hurt or killed due to drug and alcohol use. I know now to act on my instincts, even if it is uncomfortable, for those I love.
The month’s Guest Blogger, A Dad’s Road to Recovery, features a 3-part Series: Part 2:
My wife and I asked our son to leave our house over a year and a half ago and while being homeless he figured out a way to break into my house – overriding the alarm system to get what he wanted. Addicts can be very resourceful in finding ways to get what they want. After each episode of being violated I would pray to my higher power and turn over my situation over to him as the only thing I could do was file that police report [again] and continue on with my life. I learned over time not to be angry or resentful towards my son and in fact I learned how to forgive him. Why? Because that’s what addicts do – they steal, lie, and use drugs. I acknowledge my sponsors effort to show me the true value of forgiveness. When I learned how to forgive, the expectations went away and I began to have hope for the future and a recovering son. To this day I still have hope for the future, I am not angry nor am I frustrated or sad about the past.
The month’s Guest Blogger, A Dad’s Road to Recovery, features a 3-part series. This is Part 1.
My journey through Al-Anon has taught me ways to deal with the repetitive actions of my 23 year-old son’s insistence to use heroin and commit crimes in order to get high and support his habit. I learned in step one that I was indeed powerless and that no action I could produce could turn my son into a normal person. Recently I completed all twelve steps with my sponsor and I became more knowledgeable on what it took to take care of me. My son got arrested four times in the past five weeks only to be released from jail a few days later as the jails are overcrowded. The cycle consisted of him getting released on his own recognizance and then a few days later he would get arrested again for similar crimes. His crimes ranged from possession of drugs, theft, burglary, and forgery. About a year ago while being homeless he went through a similar episode of drug use, theft, and forgery and spent 7 months in the County jail. I will say the jail time gave him time to think about his situation, attend 12 step meetings while in jail, and when he got out accumulated an additional 3 months of clean time. He attended about 90 Narcotics Anonymous meetings in 90 days. His road to recovery was beginning and then was shattered as quick as it began. It was after that the relapse of drug use and the crimes stated above occurred again. Part 2 of this series will be posted on December 23.