Smart, Safe, Sober … and Sunscreen

We’ve heard it before. Substance Use Disorder runs in families. For our family this was particularly concerning as our youngest headed to college last year.

While I didn’t have reason to believe it was going to be a problem, his sister’s and brother’s college experiences weighed on my mind. I kept reminding myself that our youngest kid had walked a different path in high school, that he was well aware of the danger and consequences of substance use, that he was a different person and that he would walk his own path.

Still, I was relieved when he called home after the first weekend on campus. Do I think that there wasn’t any alcohol? marijuana? other substances? I’m sure there was. It’s college and these are prevalent on campus, but it didn’t seem to be a focus for our son.

He made his choices and these worked out for him. And following a summer of being back home, I have no suspicions of use. My mom radar is not bleeping. What a relief!

However, I’m super sensitive to drug and alcohol use among young people, so when we dropped him off for sophomore year – on Thursday, with four days and nights until classes would start, well, a mom’s mind starts to wonder. Heck, that’s a lot of down time before the commitment of classes.

Would there be parties over the long weekend? Yes. In fact, they were planning a pool party at one of the off-campus apartments. Would he attend? Yes. Would there be alcohol? Maybe. Drugs? I don’t think so. And if there are, I don’t think it’s a choice he’d even consider.

After meeting some of his friends, I have a positive sense about this group. So, after saying our good byes, I said my usual, “Remember the three S’s (smart, safe, sober) and one more – please wear sunscreen.”

The lesson here is that just because one sibling has a Substance Use Disorder doesn’t mean that all siblings will. It does mean that we talk about it and are mindful of the college culture.

©2019 Our Young Addicts   All Rights Reserved.

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Second Chances – Puppy Love Part II

We hear a lot about service as an important part of recovery. Midwestern Mama observes #SoberSon experience the boost in self-esteem that comes from helping others – this time, a rescue puppy who needs a home.

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Just as there is no one-size-fits-all treatment program, the same should be said for recovery. My son floundered in traditional approaches yet has thrived in the past 18 months through a guided, but self-directed program. In addition to counselors and family members, our family dog has been a central part of his recovery, and most recently, a new dog has offered him an opportunity to grow.

Enter a two-year-old pit-bull mix from a local adoption program that works through foster homes instead of shelters. Our daughter and son in law are fostering the puppy until it gets its “forever” home. Because they work overlapping full-time schedules, there are some points during the day when they need someone to let out the dog, take it for walks, and give it some love.

Enter #SoberSon. His spring semester college schedule has him wrapping up classes by early afternoon a couple days each week, so he’s able to take on dog duty those days. Not only is this another example of the growing trust that our family now has in our son – he has a key to their house – it’s an awesome opportunity for him to volunteer his time in exchange for tail wags and dog kisses!

He realizes that he’s saving the dog’s life and helping it heal from whatever past it may have had.

He commented the other day that, “it’s all about giving him a second chance.” My heart melted because, I think he realizes that he, too, got a second chance when he embraced treatment, sobriety and recovery.

In a few weeks, this dog will go to its new home and when it does, it will go with its own renewed sense of trust in people and belief that the world can be an awesome place

Midwestern Mama

©2016 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved