Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Can you change your outlook?

Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Can you incorporate the ten to zen for the new year?

How “Shatterproof” is ending addiction, one hotel room at a time

iStock_000003937940XSmallShatterproof.org  is a national organization committed to protecting our children from addiction to alcohol or other drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease.  And Shatterproof’s taking their show on the road, working with hotels nationwide who have come together to join Shatterproof’s breakthrough Hotel Guest Program  to show commitment as a corporate citizen in their community and to help protect the environment.

This simple program produces cost savings turned into donations to support Shatterproof in its efforts to end alcohol and drug addiction and benefit the environment …at no cost to its hotel guests.

The way the program works is based on these simple principles:

  • Each hotel guest is offered the opportunity to “decline” housekeeping services during their stay-over nights (additional days stayed between day of arrival and day of departure).
  • The time and associated costs (supplies, energy, etc.) required to clean a typical guest room during stay-over, is saved by the participating hotel.
  • This savings is donated in cash to Shatterproof.

This guest gesture of deferring service supports Shatterproof’s mission and saves the environment, , all without any out-of-pocket costs to the guest, or hotel. For those who choose to participate, it is a win/win for all involved.

“This program not only saves save water, electricity and usage of chemicals, a plus for the environment, but also is supporting Shatterproof and its unprecedented effort to tackle the disease of addiction, and bridge the enormous gap in addiction resources.   Shatterproof is a national organization committed to systematically ending this disease, and I am proud to be one of its earliest supporters.”
Mark O’Neill, Area Managing Director at the Equinox, Luxury Collection Hotel in Manchester, Vermont

Find and patronize the hotels that offer this program.  And while you’re at it, consider adding yourself to Shatterproof’s mailing list to stay in the loop about advocacy, resources and opportunities to protect our children and our communities from addiction.

 

Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Do you agree that the serenity prayer could be for everyone?

How do I recover from my child’s addiction or alcoholism?

This is an “encore” post from Eliza

As our beloved addicts decline, so do we, hell bent on parallel paths of destruction.  My son was physically depleted/I was physically exhausted.  He had legal problems/I had legal problems (his—which I made mine.).  He was addicted/I was addicted to his addiction. It was overwhelming to survey the landscape of destruction that my home and life had become in the wake of Hurricane Addiction.

Just as we work on the twelve steps one at a time, just as we tackle each day—and sometimes each minute—one at a time, we pick up the pieces and move ahead one inch at a time.  Baby steps are the order of the day.

Where to begin the repair work?  I was very sick myself—heartsick, and physically depleted by the sleepless nights and the days of incessant worry.  My baby steps took many shapes and forms, but across the board, felt like huge leaps. Sometimes I could hardly bring myself to turning off my phone in case he called, or in case someone else called about him.  It took a lot of practice to think of myself instead of obsessing about my child; in fact, when people asked me about me, I often told them about him. I was consumed with locating him—where was he?  What was he doing?

I  had to learn to tell my brain “STOP” to turn it off.  I worked with a great therapist to understand the role my childhood played in my response to my child’s dangerous choices.  It took me a year to learn how to say No with conviction.  No with a period; No meaning “End of sentence, end of discussion.”  No meaning “No more.”

I had a lot of good role models, other mothers who showed me how to be strong and stay the course. As they say, practice makes perfect, and I am still practicing.  What words of wisdom do you other parents have to share about taking those baby steps?  What baby steps have helped you get recover from your child’s chemical dependency?

Busting the myth that “All young people experiment with drugs”

Jon DailyJon Daly of Recovery Happens Counseling Center disputes the myth that All  adolescents & young adults ”experiment” with  drugs. Here is the reality, according to Jon:  Statistics show that the rate of drug use remains at a very high  level for young people (1).  Part of the  myth of “experimentation” is that drug use is a naturally occurring “rite  of passage” from adolescence in to adulthood. However, not every young person  has tried or will try drugs. In addition, not all will pass through their drug  use without experiencing negative consequences from their use.   Drug use is risky and unhealthy  behavior.  In today’s society even  “experimentation” can lead to car accidents, driving while under the influence,  unplanned sexual activity, date rape, and sometimes death.  Moreover, the word “experimentation” can be  misleading.  When we get calls from  parents seeking counseling for their adolescent or young adult child, we often  hear the words, “I think my son is experimenting with drugs.”  When asked how long the parent has been aware  of the drug use, the reply can be anywhere from weeks to years.  The parent’s response implies that “experimentation”  is a phase, when “experimentation”  is not a phase at all.  In fact, it is a “one-time  event. ” (2) Once intoxication  has been experienced, the experiment is over.  The user has achieved the results of the  experiment, “I like this feeling,” or ” I don’t like this  feeling.”  Subsequent intoxication  indicates misuse, abuse or addiction.

When  helping young people with substance use disorders, at the end of the day what  we are assess and treating is a “pathological relationship to  intoxication.”  The name of the drug  they are using is an illusion .  They  need to know they are not hooked on weed, they are hooked on intoxication and  therefore must see all intoxicating substances as the same. Take away weed from  the pot smoker and they drink and/or take pills.  Take away Oxycontin for the opiate user and  they use benzodiazepines and marijuana.   This is because they were not hooked on the particular drug, they were  hooked on “intoxication.”   The  focus of treatment for young people is to severe their pathological  relationship to intoxication so as to open up their capacity to have regulating  relationships with their counselor, support groups, rebuilt family  relationships and healthy peer groups.   Such social supports promote dopamine(3), and endogenous opiates (4)  which the user has been chasing on the streets, but can be created in health  relationships as they were intended to.   Helping them and the family to understand this and supporting their  growth in this way is the core of treatment after we have helped them to become  drug-free

Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Do you see the angel in the clouds?

You don’t get a Get Out of Jail Free card just because addiction is a disease

1254880_shiny_brain_[1]I understand that addiction/alcoholism is a brain disease, but that doesn’t let my beloved addict off the hook or give him excuses like, “I can’t help it!  I’ve got a disease.”  And it doesn’t give me an out either.  If I think, “He can’t help it!  He’s got a disease,” then I am giving him a Get Out of Jail Free card.  I am giving him a reason to keep abusing drugs or alcohol.  I am enabling his  self-destruction, pure and simple.

Yes, my child has a disease, one that he needs to manage as he would diabetes or cancer or heart disease. Here are the rules of the game for those with impaired hearts or bad pancreases or chemically-dependent brains: keep away from the things that are bad for you.  Avoid sugar or fatty meat or – for the chemically dependent – any mood altering substance.  Pot, crack, alcohol, pain pills; these are all the same to the diseased addict/alcoholic brain.  Addicted to one means addicted to all.

As an aside:  I know many parents think, “It’s just pot!  How bad can that be?”  I was one of those naïve parents.  I didn’t know that pot had eight times the THC as in years gone by, or that it was causing psychosis among some users. I didn’t know there were more kids in rehab for pot than for all other drugs combined.  And today’s national landscape makes the picture even murkier: if pot is so dangerous, why is it being legally sold around the country?  That’s a mixed and confusing message for teens and adults alike.

My personal mantra for parental recovery is, “Give your beloved addicts a reason to change.”  The flip side to that is, “Don’t give them an excuse to use.” Don’t let them play the disease card.  Hold them accountable for the choices they make.  We can’t stop them from putting their hand to their mouth or a needle in their arm.  But we can stop making up excuses for them.

Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Going “sky high” to prevent addiction and honor lost children

SafeLaunchSaferLock is a product designed to keep medications out of the wrong hands. On the SaferLock website, we found this “Sky High” approach to preventing drug abuse while honoring children lost along the way….

SafeLaunch is an innovative nonprofit focused on primary addiction prevention. “We started SafeLaunch to educate parents about brain development,” says SafeLaunch Co-Founder Janet Rowse. “It turns out that most people don’t know that the real risk of teen drug use is due to the fact that the developing brain is up to 600% more susceptible to chemical dependency. We believe that when parents understand the actual addiction risk of early drug and alcohol exposure, they will act to protect their children. Everyone has heard the phrase “‘prevention is the best cure.” SafeLaunch gives parents the tools they need to protect their children from exposure to drugs and alcohol; this is the real cure for addiction.”

One of easiest actions parents can take is to sign the SafeLaunch Parent Pledge, which gives parents simple action steps to increase their children’s chance for a successful, healthy life.

Along with the parent education and teen media contests that SafeLaunch promotes locally along California’s central coast, the founders do something no other drug prevention organization has done: they’ve taken their mission to the air.

Drawing on Co-founder Ron Cuff’s experience in naval aviation, SafeLaunch connects with thousands of families at airshows and aviation events across California. “When we realized that Ron’s solid white Cessna 182 is really just a funny-shaped canvas, we saw the opportunity to use the plane as a teaching tool,” says Janet. The alignment between the aviation community and SafeLaunch is strong. Both are focused on safety, and both encourage youth to think seriously about their future. The Flights Above Addiction interactive exhibit has become a favorite at these events where kids have a chance to paint their dreams on the fuselage of the all-white plane. “We tell the young artists that a great life is like a great flight: You need to plan your destination and keep a clear head to arrive safely,” explains Ron.

In just three years of this program, SafeLaunch has educated over 1000 families about addiction risk and inspired hundreds of youth to think about their futures.

On a poignant note, SafeLaunch invites parents from across the country to pay tribute to a child’s life tragically cut short by drug or alcohol use. “When parents send us their children’s picture and stories, we permanently affix their names and ages to the underside of the wings of the plane and put their stories in the Wind Beneath our Wings album that we share with young families at the air shows. The names and ages are a cautionary tale told silently,” explains Janet.

Keep up with SafeLaunch in action on their Facebook page