Parents & Professionals Working Together

The epitome of the OYA Community is having parents and professionals come together to share experiences, offer resources and provide hope. This is what that looks like in my home-town community. What’s happening in your community? Let’s collaborate and share content to address the issue of substance use among young people.

Guest Blogger: What to do if learn your kid is using drugs.

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Today’s guest blogger shares personal experience as a young drug user and how he has used this to help parents talk to their kids. In particular, he addresses marijuana use, which is one of the most popular first drugs for young adults. See what he has to say! MWM

Confronting a child who you believe to be taking drugs can be very difficult to do.

Getting caught by your parents smoking weed is the scariest thing in the world, what’s even worse, is finding out that your children smoke weed.

As a former family/drug counselor and a child of a parent who caught me smoking weed, I would like to inform you on the things I wished my parents would have done differently and what I taught other parents who caught their children smoking weed.

A little self disclosure:

I remember when my mother found my weed stash, she immodestly came out the room crying and screaming. Asking me “what did she do wrong?!” and telling me how I failed.

This was the worst thing she could have done and from my experience as a drug/family counselor, I can promise you there are MUCH better ways to address the issue of smoking weed.

The techniques I used to teach my clients to address their children’s marijuana use and how I personally address clients directly are based on the psychology of Sales and the use of Neural Associative Conditioning.

Let’s start off with applying the psychology of sales to discussing marijuana use with your children.

The most important principle in sales is identifying your prospects objections to the product and answering them before giving your presentation.

What are children’s objections to their parents?

“They just don’t understand”

“They don’t know what they’re talking about”

“They’re crazy! I’m not going to listen to them if they’re always angry and yelling at me!”

“They’re always trying to change them and never let me do what I want”

Don’t view this as your children complaining, rather, use this as useful information that you can use to overcome these objections. Once they are overcome, they will become more perceptive to your suggestions.

Find out what your children’s objections are and find out ways to overcome them. In the following paragraphs, you’ll read some common solutions that usually address most, if not, all of your children’s objections.

 If you find out that your child is smoking weed, the worst thing you can do is immediately judge them and lose control of your emotions.

If you immediately react to the situation, you will lose credibility in your child’s eye and most likely won’t listen to you.

You can’t force them to quit. It may sound counter intuitive, but the truth is that you must allow them to come to the conclusion that smoking weed is bad for THEM. If they feel like you’re trying to force them to decide that weed is bad for them, they may stop for the moment, but they’ll eventually return to smoking weed.

Why is this important? As someone who constantly studies online marketing and psychology, you must allow your prospect think that it was their idea to purchase the item (similar to the movie inception).You’ll lose credibility and in the world of sales nothing loses a customer faster than losing credibility. Having credibility enables your child to listen to you more. Studies have proven that credibility and authority causes people to do things outside of their own morale.

This is done through having them associate pain with smoking weed and pleasure with being sober. This is not something you intellectually convince them of, rather, it’s done through finding ways to allow them to experience and associate pain with smoking. I’ll teach you that towards the end of the article.

Demonstrate to them that you have an open mind to weed and that you are not biased. They must feel and understand that you see both the good and the bad sides of weed. This will give you some form of authority and trust in their eyes and your opinion will have more weight.

Listen. Most parents are so distraught at finding out that their children smoke weed that they don’t’ care about what the child has to say; instead they want the child to listen to them exclusively.

Nothing angers a child more than feeling as though their opinion is not valued. Allow them to speak and explain to you why they smoke without interrupting them. Not that you condone their marijuana use, but that you understand as to why they are smoking weed. For example, if they smoke because they are bored, accept the fact that they use that as their own solution. Don’t condescend them and tell them they are wrong. Simple listen and accept.

Rather than lecturing them and telling them what to do, use the power of stories – particularly stories they can relate to.

For example, rather than telling them, “you can’t smoke weed, it’s not good for you!!” relate to them through telling them a story based on your own personal experience (past drug abuse, or any form of dependence) or through someone else’s account. Why? In sales and even in spiritual scriptures, stories have been used to explain concepts and ideas because the brain finds it more engaging. It’s better than telling them what to do because stories have an emotional element to them.

Make sure that their experience of speaking with you is accompanied with positive emotions, why? Because if they associate pain to opening up with you, their brain will naturally avoid it. So whenever they open up to you, reinforce that behavior through some form of reward. Give them ANY form of reward, but make sure it’s something they truly value it. Like cooking their favorite meal, or genuinely thanking them for opening up.

Most parents indirectly punish the act of opening up because they emotionally react.

Remember what I said earlier, you must remain grounded and centered within yourself. Don’t allow your emotions to get the best of you because it can lead to being a painful experience for your child. Make the experience as comfortable as possible.

How is this achieved? Simple, just ask yourself, “how can I make the experience for my child of opening up about their marijuana use the most pleasurable experience for me and him/her?”

Be proactive about your actions rather than being reactive. If you don’t ask yourself those questions, you’ll never come up with the solution.

OK, now let’s discuss what you must do when discussing with your child their drug use.

The techniques we’ll be using will be based on the pain-pleasure principle, which is what drives human behavior is a desire to avoid pain and gain pleasure.

This is why you must understand their perspective because if they feel like you’re not considering and respecting their reasons for smoking weed, they won’t respect what you say.

Why your children smoke weed:

At the basic level, the reason people get addicted to drugs is because they associate pain to being sober and pleasure to being high.

The brain will begin making the connection that if any pain is felt; weed becomes the easiest and fastest solution.

Remember, the brain is always attempting to conserve energy. Moving forward, the brain will request for weed through cravings at any signs of stress because it learned that smoking weed is the fastest way to avoid pain.

So how are we going to use this to help your child stop smoking weed?

Easy, through linking pleasure to the new behavior and pain to smoking weed.

Okay let’s get to what you must do when speaking to your child about their marijuana use.

What to do before having the discussion:

The best outcome my clients experienced was when they remained centered and the discussion was brought up during a moment when everyone was in a good mood.

Don’t bring up the subject while arguing or when you’re mad because it’s going to create resistance.

The next thing you must do is sit down, get a sheet of paper and say something along the lines of, “before I say this, please understand that I’m not mad, I just want to understand where you’re coming from. I found out that you smoke weed and I just want to talk about it I don’t want to lecture you or tell you what to do, I’m just curious as to what are the reasons for smoking”. Simple as that. You are communicating that you are not trying to change them; instead you are trying to understand them.

Once they agree, sit down with them and explain how you found out and that you were concerned for their well-being. Explain that you did your own research and found out that weed isn’t as bad as you thought, but that it also has its cons and that’s why you want to explore with them their reasons.

Once they feel understood rather than being judged, they’ll be more open to your suggestions.

The questions to ask

Notice how the sequence of the questions are tailored, they begin with asking about the pleasures they receive from smoking weed for a two reasons; they are going to feel understood and heart, and you are going to use their answers and attempt to find alternative activities to fulfill the benefits they think they’re getting.

Step 1: What pleasures and benefits do you get from smoking weed? Remember, even though the behavior is bad, it’s important to find out the benefits so that you can find alternative behaviors that give the same kind of pleasures. In addition, this question throws them off the loop because they expected to begin discussing the negatives.

Step 2: What negative consequences do you experience from smoking weed?

Step 3: What will it cost you if you don’t quit smoking weed right now? Have them write them what it will cost them within the next 5 years if they don’t stop smoking weed. Make sure they cover the emotional, social, financial, romantic, and physical consequences of not smoking.

Step 4: What pleasures will you receive if you stop smoking weed right now?

Don’t just include direct pleasures (i.e. more money, happier family), make sure they write down bilateral pleasures such as being able to travel as a result of having more money, being able to use the time they spend on smoking weed on a skill or a sport.

These questions will accomplish the following:

  1. It will shake the legs of the belief they have that “weed is not that bad”. Belief is what drives our decision making. If you believe that smoking weed is good, you’ll be more prone to smoke. And what’s even worse is that your brain will block out any apposing belief. So it’s important to have them experience the pain of not quitting right now so that they can begin linking pain to smoking weed and thus changing their belief system and eventually their decision to smoke.
  2. You are linking pain to not smoking through focusing on the pleasures of quitting. This is something that your brain naturally blocks out because it has adopted the belief that smoking is pleasurable. The brain needs to conserve energy and conflicting belief system causes inner conflict and thus an expenditure of more energy. This is why it blocks out the pleasures of quitting because it wants to have a congruent belief system.

This is how I taught my clients how to approach their children if they were abusing drugs. When my clients followed these instructions, it rarely ended up in fights or arguments and the children either stopped using their drug of choice and/or improved their communication with their parents which is better than using and not communicating.

A few things to remember:

  • Don’t ignore mental health issues. Approximately two-thirds of teenagers abusing marijuana suffer from some form of mental health related problems (i.e. anxiety, depression, bipolar, AD and etc.). Ensure that your child undergoes a mental health evaluation.
  • Open up about your own drug use in the past. Being dishonest about your past relationship with weed only creates more resistance. Parents attempt to display a perfect and ideal image so that their children’s could emulate them at one point in time. But this results in parents at times contradicting themselves, and thus, losing the trust of their children. Nothing opens up a child then a parent opening up about their own past demons. Demonstrate that you understand them without judging them through disclosing your own battles in the past. This will give them permission to open up to you as well.
  • Last, don’t blame yourself. When you ask them “what did I do wrong?” you are making it about you and you are extenuating that something is wrong with them. They have fragile egos and they’ll attempt to defend themselves through disagreeing with everything that you say to them. In addition, being the victim is never productive, no matter how justify it may be. Blaming yourself will only cause you to lose focus from the most important subject at hand, your child.
  • Fifth, being judgmental. The worst thing you can do is judge your child. It’s one thing to be firm then it’s another thing to be judgmental to the point that your child refuses to listen to you.

About the Guest Blogger:

Alex is a life coach and founder of Your Mindful Blog and Quit Smoking Weed. He uses Mindfulness, Neural Linguistic Programming and Neural Associative Conditioning to develop true self esteem and help people quit smoking weed in under an hour. Prior to blogging , Alex worked as a family/drug counselor in Brooklyn, NY.

©2016 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved.

Gateway? You bet.

Many times, as they shrug their shoulders in dismissive way, I hear adults of influence say the following: “At least it’s only marijuana – not hard drugs.” They go on to say they smoked weed in their teens and 20s and turned out OK, or that cannabis is no different from alcohol.

Perhaps this is an attempt to put their past use in perspective. More likely, however, it is a disbelief that there is any real concern – that casual use of marijuana is a problem, that it can be a gateway to other substances, or that regular use can lead to addiction.

Recently, this article ran in the the Boston Globe asking: Can We Please Stop Pretending Marijuana Is Harmless? https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2015/10/08/can-please-stop-pretending-marijuana-harmless/MneQebFPWg79ifTAXc1PkM/story.html

Believe me, my husband and I have heard all the arguments and been presented with mountains of evidence. Our son was exceptionally passionate in his beliefs. We used to tell him – even though we disagreed – that he should go work for one of the pro-marijuana groups because at least then he’d be putting action toward his beliefs rather than just arguing for his own use. Of course, he never did.

Research tells us that marijuana and alcohol remain the starting point for additional substance use in later years. For most kids (under 18), it stays at an experimentation phase or it may progress to more frequent use but not necessarily to addiction.

For many, it never becomes more than “just “ marijuana or alcohol, and with maturity and adult responsibilities, their use moderates.

But, for one in nine people, marijuana use is problematic. It may show up as missing school or work and not completing assignments. It may show up in apathetic attitudes and the inability to follow through with goals. It may put your kids in situations where other drugs are being sold or used.

Think about this. If your kid is smoking marijuana and driving a car, they are impaired and any passengers are at risk. As the parent, you are liable for this, too. States like Colorado are feeling the effect of impaired driving as more and more motorists are using cannabis products.

From a neuro-science perspective, marijuana is particularly dangerous for developing brains, and it has lasting impact on IQ not to mention mental and emotional health as well as decision making.

Without a doubt, marijuana use clouds their judgement.

Today, kids have far greater access to substances, which means they may not start with the usual suspects of marijuana or alcohol. They may try prescription pills – think pain pills or things like ADHD medication. They may try synthetic drugs like K2/Spice (bath salts) or Molly (MDMA/Ecstasy) or others.

If a kid is susceptible to addiction, particularly if there is a family predisposition or if they are struggling with any mental health symptoms, we need to be particularly vigilant and cognizant of what they are thinking, doing and feeling.

Often teenage emotions can lead to “wanting to escape” or “wanting to fit in.” At first, alcohol or marijuana may ease anxiety or depression; in other words, they self medicate. In time, this stops working and they may progress to other substances.

Sometimes, kids are curious or even bored, and marijuana seems like a safe experiment – until it gets out of control and leads to progressively more dangerous things.

One of the statistics that really sticks with me is that 90 percent of adults with a substance-use disorder (aka addiction) experienced their first substance use under the age of 18 – regardless of whether that was alcohol, marijuana, pills or other drugs. The time to do something about addiction is when they are still kids – our kids. When we still can. When we are still obligated to parent them.

If your kid is using drugs, they are not bad kids and it is not the result of bad parenting.

It’s simply a scary reality that requires unconditional love and a commitment to discovering, understanding and solving the use as well as the underlying situation.

That’s a bold, big undertaking, but as parents we are not alone in this challenge. The most important things we can do is to connect with other parents, to tap professional resources, to learn as much as we can, to take care of ourselves, and to take on this challenge. This is the essence of the Our Young Addicts community, and it is what drives us to participate. Join us and we will help each other.

Midwestern Mama

©2016 Our Young Addicts            All Rights Reserved

#TBT – No Car, No Way – What My Young Addict Wanted

Having a car was a privilege – until Midwestern Mama’s son began using drugs and driving under the influence. It was a turning point when we finally took away the privilege. In this 2012 column, read about the impact of having, or not having, a car during my son’s addiction.

A Real Mom 3-6-12 No car, no way

Three years later, now sober and in recovery, Midwestern Mama’s son is now in his 20s and has regained driving privileges. He’s saving money from his part-time job to buy his own car in the future.

#SoberSummer – With School Coming to a Close, Schedules & Mindsets are Soon to Change

It’s almost summer and without the structure of school it may trigger substance use. Join #OYACommunity for tips on a #SoberSummer for our kids.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer. Kids may have a few weeks left in school, but a major shift in mindset and in schedules is about to take place, and it can trigger substance use. Now is the time for parents and other adults of influence to help our kids have a #SoberSummer.

Over the next few weeks, let’s share tips and resources. Check out #OYACommnity on Twitter, Facebook and here on the blog for ideas. One of the many fantastic resources is The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. In addition to the FREE help line for parents (below), the website is full of resources including conversation guides.

If you’re concerned about your child, do not hesitate to call The Parents Toll-Free Helpline – 1-855-DRUGFREE – (1-855-378-4373) Mon.-Fri. – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST. If you are in need of immediate or emergency services, call 911 or a 24-hour crisis hotline.

Our middle kid tells us that his first use was marijuana during the summer between junior and senior years of high school. It was with a kid a year older who lived down the street. Although we had our hunches – Mom Radar as I call it — it wasn’t for about another six months before we definitively discovered his drug use and it was a lot more than pot.

He went from experimenting to abusing to addiction in a relatively short period of time and it has taken years of consequences for him to get on the path to recovery. That is why I advocate becoming aware of the signs of substance use and then taking action.

With summer upon us, let’s join together to make this a #SoberSummer for our kids.

Midwestern Mama

From Addiction to #OYACommunity

Sunday night reflection.  Our Young Addicts all started with a single word: Addiction. It has grown into a word that means many, together: #OYACommunity

In what seems like eons, but in reality spans 2009 – 2015, I’ve penned at least IMG_54751,000,000 words;  as of today, nearly 7,000 tweets;  well over 1,000 pages of draft copy, 100-plus blog posts. Additionally, for a few years, I wrote a bi-weekly newspaper column that ran in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and I continue to write for a feature article here and there for magazines.

How did it all start? It started with concerns about my teen-age son. Thing were happening so quickly that it was hard to keep track of everything, so I began taking notes in simple, black-and-white composition books. From there, I would type up the notes to maintain a chronology of professionals we consulted, of my son’s behavior, words and actions, and of the maze of solutions we pursued.  Later, the notebooks became my journal that I took to Ala-non meetings and to sessions with a therapist to work through feelings, concerns and hopes.

All together, these hand-written pages were the foundation for Our Young Addicts, a concept that is evolving from addiction to community, and I could not be prouder or more excited about the future.

Midwestern Mama

High Hopes for Our 15 Year Old

On her youngest son’s 15th birthday, Midwestern Mama has high hopes that he’ll make positive choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol.

This morning on the radio, my youngest son (15 years old today!) and I heard radio DJs talking about Pot, The Movie. It’s the plight of a Minnesota family who gave their son medical marijuana, and the filmmaker’s support of medicinal and recreational use.

Without hesitation, my son initiated commentary on this highly charged story. He has a soft heart and is understanding of parents who want the best for a sick child who is suffering. He has a hardened soul, however, when it comes to marijuana – its recreational use and likely potential as a gateway drug.

He bases this on what he has learned and witnessed with his older brother who began smoking marijuana during high school at just about the age that he is now. Until nine months ago, my youngest son knew his brother as someone suffering from substance use disorder that included marijuana and a full gamut of street drugs including addiction to heroin.

His brother’s drug use was a rapid foray into full-on destruction, and for a little brother it was a reality show, a nightmare, and a life lesson with lasting impact. He’s confident he will choose a different path, and we have high hopes for that as well. Without a doubt, he knows the series of events that can happen when drugs are part of one’s life and he knows the consequences that occur. These have firmly established his own perceptions and opinions.

Today as we celebrate his 15th birthday, he is applauding his brother’s nine months of sobriety and commitment to recovery. It is the best present of all!

Midwestern Mama

The Nose Knows – a common-sense guide to recognizing drug and alcohol use among young adults.

Midwestern Mama is convinced that the signs of drug and alcohol use are right before us. You can see it, smell it, feel it, taste it and hear it. Let the “Mom (or Dad) Radar” guide you in identifying use before it gets out of hand.

It was April 2010 that we first confirmed our son’s drug use. He was a senior in high school and we had suspected drug use but he denied it and we hadn’t found actual evidence. He later confirmed he started with marijuana in summer 2009.

For a full year prior, his behavior and attitude started to change and although we addressed these head on with a visit to the doctor to rule out anything physical followed by family counseling and individual sessions to identify the emotional and mental needs. He always flat-out denied drug use, and stupid as it sounds, we didn’t know how to drug test him.

We later learned that you can get inexpensive marijuana and other drug tests at places like Wal-greens; while not the most thorough, these can be a starting place. There are also a variety of other places to purchase Urine Analysis drug tests. We thought you had to go to a hospital or doctor’s office – we just didn’t know and it was nearly impossible to find answers even among professionals or online. Crazy, I know. Live and learn.)

Some of our observations included changes in sleep patterns, changes in friends, lying, poor attitude toward family activities, not turning in homework, skipping class, and more. Our first thought was some kind of depression and because bi-polar runs in the family, it was a natural concern. However, it was more than mood, it was agitated, angst and other exhibits that really concerned us and gave us reason to suspect drugs.

The timing of our realizations is key here. April. Spring. Spring fever. Kids being kids? Right of passage? NO WAY. Yet, kids get tired of school and sports routines. They feel their oats, as it were. It’s spring break, it’s prom season, it’s graduation coming soon, it’s all kinds of feelings and situations where we trust them because we’ve had all the right conversations, and yet, they make choices that sometimes lead places they never imaging – like experimentation, recreational use, substance abuse, addiction, consequence, and worse.

So what’s a parent to do? I’m big on trust and communication. However, because of our experience with our son, I’m also big on the five senses.

  •  Eyes: Keep an eye out. Become an observer. Take notes. Watch for patterns and changes. Open your eyes to the possibilities – even the unthinkable ones. Drug and alcohol use is often right in front of us, yet we miss it.
  •  Ears: Listen. You know the expression, God gave us two ears and one mouth. Resist the urge to lecture, yell, tell, etc., even though it’s OK and important for our kids to know how strongly we feel about the negative impact of drug and alcohol use among young adults. Listen in your conversations – hear their tone and think about its meaning (intended or just teenage-ease). Without being an overt eavesdropper, pay attention to their interactions with other people – on the phone, in person, etc. Are they talking in code?
  •  Mouth: Above, I addressed talking, so here I want to talk about taste. No, not actual tasting – that could be nasty and dangerous! However, there’s taste as in does this interaction, observation, etc. leave a bad taste in my mouth? There’s also a sense of is their action, behavior and communication in good taste? For example, my son stopped wanting to receive gifts from family members – even Grandma! – and definitively didn’t believe he should have to say thank you for gifts he didn’t ask for or want. Whoa! This was not the polite son we had known. This was a bitter, negative person and it left a really bad taste in our mouths.
  •  Touch: Sometimes there’s a point when our kids don’t want to be touched, even hugged. I get that and as they mature, they become loving again. But let’s think about touch – if they recoil, they may be hiding something. Also, you never know what you might feel. I would feel my son’s jacket and backpack – sort of like a pat down at the airport – and from there, I started to find all kinds of things: lighters, matches, Visine, hollow tubes used to snort, empty baggies with oregano-looking flecks (marijuana), and more. One day, his backpack was particularly heavy and I gave it a gentle kick with my foot. Ouch! There was something large and hard inside – an expensive, gigantic glass bong.
  •  Nose: That same backpack smelled horrible. There was a wet towel drenched with filthy bong water. Yuck. Also pay attention to smells to mask drug use – body spray to cover up smoking and other chemical smells that are related to drugs; strong mints to cover up alcohol use or smoking; Febreze or Lysol sprayed in the car. The smell of marijuana itself. And more.

There are so many clues that may indicate drug and alcohol use, and as parents we have to rely on our five senses and our gut – what I fondly refer to as Mom (or Dad) Radar. Without a doubt, we know what is going on and we must address it before it’s too late.

Midwestern Mama

Nothing to Hide

We are a couple of moms creating a community of adults who care and are concerned about the young addicts in our lives. Together, we share our stories. Together, we share our truths. Though experiences, support and information, we are connected. We are together.

With kids born in the late 80s and early 90s, I didn’t jump on the social media train until a few years ago, and of course, it wasn’t even an option when they were little. Thus, they were spared from having baby pictures shared on Instagram. They were spared mommy blogging about spit up and potty training. And, they were spared from having their lives shared with “friends,” “followers” and “fans.”

The absence of social media did not equate with super private lives necessarily. Among friends and family, whether face to face or in letters and phone calls, we certainly shared plenty of details. I remember having daily, hour-long phone conversations with another mother who was part of a volunteer committee. We talked about anything and everything.

At the same time, I like to think I always had good judgment and a healthy respect for family members and family matters about what to share and what to keep within more immediate confines. Maybe that’s my generation. Maybe that’s my set of values. But maybe there’s some real merit in it, too.

When our middle kid, Our Young Addict, began having problems, I was open and honest with just about everyone, especially with teachers, coaches, counselors, neighbors, co-workers and many others. It seemed important to clue them in on our chaos and to share our experience. We had nothing to hide and only the best intentions.

More often than not, we were offered support and concern. Not everyone knew what to say or do, but everyone cared. Some people were grateful to know what was going on. Others had personal or family connections to addiction and recovery. Most were sympathetic if not empathetic.

Sure, there were some people who didn’t understand. Some thought surely I was exaggerating. Some probably were in denial about their kids. Some probably passed judgment on us and on our son. Most certainly, some got tired of getting a truthful response when they asked how we were doing or how our son was doing. They probably wanted to hear that everything was better, that he wasn’t an addict, that he had stopped using drugs, that all of this had just been a phase.

Along the way, I did turn to the internet to find information. Not only did I find volumes and volumes of information (and varying degrees of helpfulness), but I also started to find communities. You’ve read this before – this is how Our Young Addicts started; another mom and I connected as part of an online forum, exchanged our stories, and found value in sharing our experiences. We bolstered each other up. We offered each other the advice we ourselves needed to hear. We supported each other. We didn’t hold back because honesty was the key to success.

We decided that social media would be the best way to create a community with you. That’s way we launched on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress. Our intent is to provide glimpses into our own experiences as encouragement for you to share yours with the rest of the community. In addition, we like to share current news and findings so each of us becomes smarter and more informed.

One of the things that Mid Atlantic Mom and I feel strongly about is finding a balance between honesty, transparency and identity. Our sons are in their twenties now. They are legally adults. They have a right to their privacy and that includes their identities. That is why I do not use my name or my son’s name. It’s out of respect for his past, present and future. But that is also why I tell it like it is what we’re experiencing, what it’s like. The anonymity … It’s not for fear of shame or stigma. It’s not for keeping a secret. It’s for what I call being appropriately anonymous. That’s why we use the monikers – Midwestern Mama and Mid Atlantic Mom.

Our stories, not just mine and Mid Atlantic Mom’s, all of ours collectively, are vitally important. These stories create community regardless of whether the young person you’re concerned about is just trying out drugs or alcohol, is using recreationally, is abusing regularly, is progressing toward addiction and or more substances, is experiencing consequences, is in treatment, is in relapses, is in recovery, is struggling or thriving. Our stories are our truth and our truth is our connection.

Midwestern Mama

Some, not all.

Not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic.  Not everyone who uses drugs is an addict.  Some who drink or use drugs will have substance abuse problems.  Some will need help.

As the parent of a young addict, who primarily has a problem with pot, it’s been frustrating to hear comments that “it’s just weed.”  For some, not all, that may be true.  For my son, it’s not.  It has undeniably caused pain and destruction in his life and by default in ours. 

While we are doing all we can to move forward, our son lingers in denial and devastation.

Earlier today, I read another story about Lady Gaga and marijauna use.  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57612036/lady-gaga-says-she-was-addicted-to-marijuana-is-pot-addictive/ 

There are some excellent insights in here about addiction to marijuana.  I welcome your thoughts.

Midwestern Mama