Learn the Language of Addiction & Recovery

When you’re new to addiction and recovery, the language – including acronyms and terms – can seem foreign. We continue to hear that language is a contributor to stigma and that that has considerable bearing on an individual’s readiness and willingness to pursue treatment and recovery … so I’m am pleased to share a fantastic resource: the Addiction-ary.

The Recovery Research Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) research institute of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry.

In recognition of the increased medical, social and economic burden attributable to substance use disorders, the Recovery Research Institute was created in 2012 to conduct cutting-edge research in addiction treatment and recovery.

A D D I C T I O N  – A R Y

Check it out.

MWM

©2017 Our Young Addicts          All Rights Reserved

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Still Letting Go

Midwestern Mama shares a poem that provides comfort and affirmation as her son begins a new in-patient treatment program.

The first time my son went to treatment, he ran away on day No. 9. It was no surprise, but still it was devastating. Six and a half years later, he’s back at treatment following a relapse after a few years of sobriety and recovery. It’s his third time at an in-patient, residential program. He’s also participated in three high-intensity out-patient programs.

Once again, we are letting go knowing we have brought him to a place that is his to embrace.

In a small book called House Blessings – Prayers, Poems, and Toasts Celebrating Home and Family, I found a poem during those terrifying days of 2011 called, “Letting Go.” It was as relevant then as it is today.

Letting Go by Sandra E. McBride

I’ve brought you to the mountain … the climb is yours.

I’ve brought you to the shore … the sea is yours.

I’ve brought you to the sky … the wings are yours.

I’ve brought you through the shadows … the light is yours.

I’ve brought you to this day … tomorrow yours.

Midwestern Mama

©2017 Our Young Addicts          All Rights Reserved

Thrive – Even in the Midst of a Loved One’s Substance Use

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This week’s guest blogger offers insights and tips for parents about teen drug use. These thoughts can help prevent and/or educate your teens on drug use. Read more below:

Last month, our community was stunned by the tragic loss of a 17-year-old. The definitive cause of death is unknown but according to news reports, this young man was engaging in risky behaviors that involved substance misuse.

I had a parent reach out to me and ask what parents can do to prevent or educate their adolescents regarding drug use. Here are some thoughts:

  •  Don’t minimize the effects of pot use or drinking. When a teen engages in those behaviors they let their guard down and it makes it far easier to take “the next step.”
  •  Say no to painkillers. There is no reason why a young teen needs opiates for things like wisdom teeth or even a simple broken bone. That pain can often be managed with a regimen of Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
  • Opiates are NOT a right of passage. They are not fun and games. Many young adults are now heroin addicts that started with one pill from an injury. You can refuse the prescription or ask to have only 1 or 2 days worth of pills filled. The longer someone takes opiates the greater the chance they will become addicted.
  • KEEP ALL YOUR MEDS AND OUR CHILD’S MEDS LOCKED UP. We can not stress this enough!!!

  • For most parents, the first place they go is to their medical doctor when their children struggle with anxiety, depression or other trauma. Unfortunately, most doctors prescribe medications. For example, anti-anxiety meds had the greatest uptick in overdose deaths in the State of Minnesota last year. It’s far easier to take a pill then it is to do the work of therapy. But our recommendation is to go to therapy first.
  • Remember that kids aren’t just abusing pain meds. The greatest uptick of deaths in the state of Minnesota last year was benzodiazepines. Those are things like Xanax and Ativan which have proved to be the new high school designer drug. Even if you completely trust your child, it’s better to be safe. You may not just be protecting your child, but their friends as well.
  • Stop and listen to your children. Most of the time they just want someone to understand rather than “solve” their problems. Offering that listening ear will often give you insights into what your kids are up to.
  • Pay attention to any kind of trauma they may have experienced. Trauma is the greatest indicator of substance misuse. And that can include things like bullying, a pet dying, another family member in crisis and many other things that we may not consider as trauma. If you suspect any kind of traumatic event, please bring them in for a therapeutic evaluation.
  • Watch out for the signs of drug use. There are many clues in a teens bedroom. Things like broken pens, plastic bowls, lighters, matches, tin foil, an empty bed at night. All of these things are red flags and warnings that there may be a problem. Work with your school counselors or health insurance to find a good counseling option for your teen if you notice any of these things as being “off.”
  • De-stigmatize the idea of therapy in your home. There is nothing wrong with getting help, yet young people see it as “weak” or “silly.” If your family is struggling, start there yourself and set an example for the rest of your family. The more we normalize getting help, the more likely your child will be to take that step.
  • Carry naloxone in your home. We have become aware of many instances where a parent did not even have a clue that their child was using opiates. Having naloxone could save a life.

Finally, remember that no matter what a parent does, 1 in 10 kids who abuse substances end up addicted. And in many cases, the parents did everything right. If that is the case, please seek help for yourself through therapy or a great support group like Thrive!

Questions about Thrive! Family Support?

Contact Pam Lanhart, Director (612) 554- 1644

Guest blog posts are welcome additions to the content on this website. Guest blog posts represent the views, opinions and experiences of the author and do not necessarily represent Our Young Addicts. Together, we provide parents and professionals with a variety of perspectives and information.
©2017 Our Young Addicts All Rights Reserved.

What Parents Should Know About Heroin

heroin

Read how fellow OYA guest blogger, Zena Dunn talks about the real-life depictions of heroin use. Learn about substance use and addiction; and how addiction affects you both psychologically and physically. 

The Danger of Heroin Is Not Attractive


The image of heroin has transformed within the past few decades. In the 1990s, the fashion industry fell in love with photographs described as heroin chic or pale, slim, even gaunt models who looked as if they were using drugs such as heroin.

Heroin chic was a new and edgy trend that captured the mainstream’s attention. But there was soon a backlash.  The idea of drug use of being a high-class activity or vogue faced harsh criticism. Hard drugs like cocaine and heroin invite a variety of users. People from all walks of life fall under the spell of substance abuse.

Who Uses Heroin and What Does It Do?

Addiction has captured millions of individuals from various demographics. Now, in the 2010s, the image of heroin has beyond the runways of London. The average person in middle America is now making the drug popular in the media again.

This time, real-life photographs depict the realities of heroin use. The images are not glamorous. And the realities of drug use comes with a tragic lifestyle and bad health.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that heroin users put themselves at risk for “HIV, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B, as well as bacterial infections of the skin, bloodstream, and heart.”


Pure heroin has a matte white powder appearance. Dealers often include additives in the heroin that they sell. Additives such as caffeine, rat poison, sugar, or starch sometimes alter the coloring and potency of the drugs, which can have a bitter taste.

Users normally sniff heroin through the nose, inject it using needles, or smoke it. However, most users prefer injecting it to achieve more immediate and potent highs. The U.S. federal government classifies heroin as a controlled substance. The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) labels it a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs and substances are especially dangerous and addictive.

What Are Substance Abuse and Addiction?

Substance abuse is the habit of misusing of alcohol or drugs beyond medical purposes. People who find themselves indulging in addictive substances might develop two types of dependences.

Drug and alcohol dependency and addiction are both psychological and physical. Physical dependency occurs when the body adapts to the chemicals contained in alcohol and drugs. But substance abuse can also take control of people’s brains and create a psychological addiction that compels them to want drugs or alcohol. People can go through withdrawal when they stop supplying their bodies with such substances.

Heroin addiction takes a huge toll on people. The health of the physical body is not the only thing that can become impaired. A person’s mental capabilities can become unstable. Addiction often takes over a person’s train of thought. Life goals, relationships, careers, and day-to-day responsibilities all take second place to the addiction, which rules over all. Heroin addicts also often struggle with decision making and the inability to make correct judgments about normal events.

But even despite such problems, there is hope. Specific programs and facilities can assist teens struggling with heroin abuse, just as executive drug rehab can treat busy professionals. Just like the click of a camera, a drug such as heroin can transform a person’s life in an instant. Recovery programs do just that, they help people recover from such changes.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/heroin/index.html

CNN article about heroin chic:

http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/9608/02/heroin.chic/

About the Author:

Zena Dunn writes about personal improvement, preventive health, and 12- Steps for everyone. Her knowledge of health-related information spans five years of individual research.  She is a wildlife protection advocate and enjoys reading biographies. Connect with Zena on Twitter- twitter.com/writerzena

Guest blog posts are welcome additions to the content on this website. Guest blog posts represent the views, opinions and experiences of the author and do not necessarily represent Our Young Addicts. Together, we provide parents and professionals with a variety of perspectives and information.
©2017 Our Young Addicts All Rights Reserved.

The Shadow of Death

 

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This is exactly what’s on my mind right now, too. Today’s guest blogger, Pam Lanhart, founder of Thrive Family Support, captures the essence of my feelings as we embrace our son’s relapse and struggles. Thanks, Pam, for sharing your experience, your family’s story, your family’s path toward living vs dying. THIS is why we are the OYA Community. MWM

The counselor looked at us with a sober face.  The kind of face that says “this is serious” and asked us a pointed question “Do you realize that your son could die from this disease.”

Through the past 6 years we have had to wrestle with that reality.

We know that addiction ends one of 3 ways; recovery, jail or death.

5 years ago, when our son was in his first rehab, the counselor told us that he didn’t know if this was the beginning, the middle or the end of our son’s journey with substance abuse.  Hearing that was Ike a punch in the gut.  I naively thought this would be a one and done experience.

But as time went on and he progressed in his disease we were forced to come face to face with the answer to this question.  “Do you realize that your son could die from this disease.”  Yes. We do.

Yes, I have planned his funeral in my head.

Yes, I have actually told him that if he chose to use, he should send me an email with his memorial services wishes.

Yes, we have checked to see what his life insurance situation is.

Yes, we have clung to him, yelled at him, tried to control him, manipulated him into rehabs in an effort to keep death at bay.

Yes, I have walked side by side, hand in hand with other mothers who have lost their children.

Yes, I have opened his bedroom door, just to make sure he was still breathing.

And yes, we have grieved.  We have had days where we were paralyzed by the fear, by the weight of the truth of the disease.  You either find recovery or you die.

At some point though our focused shifted.  Not on the dying but on the living.

What if…what if he did die?  What would our time together look like?  Would I look like the maniac mother trying to hold on so tightly that she destroyed every shred of the relationship?  Would the only memories of our life together be shadowed with desperation and anger?  Would I look back and be able to remember any good times, any moments, even within his disease that I could smile about?

I don’t want it to end that way.  I refuse to let it end that way.

So today,  I will embrace every bit of good that I can hold on to when I am with my son.  I will not shroud this moment with “what if’s” or “if only’s” or “you should’s.”  I will not push my agenda on my son.  I will be truthful and authentic and I will allow him to be the same.  I will not waste even a second of our time together worrying about the future.  I will breathe in everything good about my son and breathe out judgement.  I will not hold on so tightly to him that I crush him.    I will purpose to radically accept and love him, right where he is at.

And together we will not give any power to the dying.  We will chose embrace the living.

Copyright @ 2017 Pam Jones Lanhart, Thrive Family Support. http://thrivefamilysupport.org/

 

Twice in Two Weeks

An update from Midwestern Mama.

Some sleep. Some good food. Some family time.

These positive building blocks were starting to stack up this past week. Our son had returned home after a bender that landed him in detox the week before and then had him on the run until he had the courage to come back home.

And when he did, he asked us to hold onto his car keys and wallet. A couple of times he asked for his license and keys to run an errand, and each time he promptly completed these and returned home.

He shared a bit about what had happened, what he was thinking and what he planned to do. While we were somewhat skeptical – not of his intentions but of his current capacity to follow through – we let him make these decisions and offered, as always, our unconditional love. We carefully thought through whether this was support or enabling a 25 year old who knew well the perils of addiction and relapse.

One day at a time, we thought. Let go and let God, we thought.

Not unlike the Friday two weeks ago when our son left the house without any indication that a bender was about to begin, this past Friday he said he was going to let out our daughter’s dogs and then go to the gym to work out. This was around 1 p.m.

At 5 p.m. he wasn’t yet home. We wondered. Radar on.

At 5:45 p.m., my husband and I were walking the dog. Our son whizzed by in the car. Did he see us? He hadn’t stopped home and he didn’t stop as he passed by us on the road. We wondered where he was heading. We wondered why he didn’t stop to chat or greet the dog. In our hearts, and our heads, we knew this was not a good scenario.

Another hour or so passed and he hadn’t come home. We texted him. He didn’t reply. Yep, not good.

We checked in with our daughter. She said he had texted earlier about accidentally locking her key in the house after taking care of the dogs. She texted back and he commented that he’d had a nice visit with the dogs. Nothing more, nothing less.

By now it was getting even later, so I called him. It went to voice mail and I left a message.

Around 10 p.m., the phone rang. It was our local police department alerting us that our son had been picked up for DWI in a county about 40 miles south of our home. They had no other details to share.

Oh my. The second, significant, alcohol-related incident in two weeks.

He’s now sitting in jail waiting until a bail hearing in a day or so. I don’t know what will happen next but I do know the building blocks have tumbled, again, and he’ll need to pick these up, again. He thinks he can do it on his own but we know he needs help, again. We only hope he will recognize this and be open, willing and ready to get help, again.

Midwestern Mama