Shortly after my son (just barely) graduated from high school, then postponed going to college, and finally started college a semester later, I knew we were at a turning point. Which way it was going to turn, well, we had hope but with hindsight knew better.
He was using drugs. It was more than recreational. It was more than pot although he vehemently claimed that’s all it was. Within a week of being at college, in sub-zero temperatures, he passed out in the snow and was sent via ambulance to the emergency room and then to detox. He lost his spot on the men’s varsity tennis team – a coveted spot – and within a few weeks, he also lost his housing contract for drug use in the dorms. It was another turning point. We still had hope, but were far more realistic about what was going on and we were as dedicated, if not more so, to helping him turn things around in a more positive direction.
What we didn’t know then was that we were going to have to wait.
This time of waiting has been anything but free time. It has been an intense period of immersion in the world of addiction and, more recently, recovery. What did we do? You name it. We did all the right things. But it didn’t matter in the short term.
When you’re worried about your kid, it consumes you. When you’re not exactly sure what’s going on, it becomes an investigation. And, when you start getting some clues, often disconnected ones, parents often turn to the internet and we go into problem-solving mode. Sometimes we turn to the internet because we need some answers and want to get smarter about a situation – perhaps before we talk to a professional. Sometimes we turn to the internet because we don’t have anyone to talk to who understands the situation – perhaps because we want some objectivity.
During this period of searching and exploring how to move forward, I discovered an immense sense of myself and of society. One of the things for which I am most grateful was meeting my original blogging cohort, Mid Atlantic Mom (you’ll see her referenced in several of the earliest blog posts). We met as part of an online forum for parents of addicted children. When that platform disbanded, we decided to stay in touch.
Since then, I decided to create a community of adults – parents and addiction professionals — who are concerned and care about the young addicts in their lives.
This community connects through blogging, Twitter (@OurYoungAddicts) and Facebook to post informative and supportive information – the type of information I had wanted, but had to comb the internet to find and the type of connection that I learned to be therapeutic as I went about my life as the parent of young adult addicted to drugs.
Sometimes, I journal. e.g., Here’s what’s going on right now. Real time. This is what it’s like to be in the throes of having a teenager or 20-something kid who is addicted to substances. I think there is value in the present. Fortunately, as of July 2014, my real-time is about my son’s sobriety and recovery. For many years, however, it was about a spiraling addiction and its devastating consequences.
Sometimes, I offer opinions, but mostly I inform. There are so many good resources out there with the latest research, findings and recommendations. Over the years, I have developed relationships with a variety of professionals we can tap for information. There is also much more robust media attention than even a few years ago e.g., newspapers are talking about the rise in heroin use and the resulting deaths from overdose. There are also far more options for treatment and recovery than ever before. It’s no longer a 12-step only world. There are many evidence- and science-based treatments such as Health Realization, SMART Recovery, C.R.A.F.T., harm reduction, medication managed and many hybrids of these and more.
Mostly, I share and connect. I “meet” you where you’re at – whether it’s initial concern about a kid experimenting or using something recreationally to spiraling addiction with consequences and horrible outcomes to recovery – and sometimes relapse.
Read a little more about the early years of my son’s addiction: 1201 – Renew Magazine Article
I invite you to participate in the OYA Community. We’re for parents, teachers, coaches, nurses, doctors, law enforcement, social workers, pastors, and addiction/recovery professionals – anyone who interacts with youth and has concerns about their drug use. When we are informed, we are better at helping our kids AND ourselves.
Please glance through more than 200 blog posts – mine and those of our guest bloggers. Get to know us. Let us get to know you. We welcome you to the OYA Community.
©2016 Our Young Addicts. All Rights Reserved.