Living with addiction can put family members under immense stress. Addiction is a family disease that impacts the stability of the home, disrupts the family dynamic and causes significant emotional distress. In addition to providing help for their child, it is important for parents to educate themselves on drug abuse, addiction and recovery as well. When a parent has a deep understanding about the complexity of addiction and the importance of the recovery process they will better be able to provide support and encouragement for their teen in a healthy and effective manner. If you are the parent of a teen or young adult struggling with substance abuse, there are many helpful resources you can utilize. Here are the top 7 ways that parents can learn about addiction and in doing so, support their loved one.
1. Recovery Today
Recovery Today is an awesome resource for learning about addiction and recovery. It is a newsletter that highlights current events in the addiction and recovery world, contains helpful articles about parenting teens and young adults, and provides support and experience from other parents. While the newsletter is focused on recovery and addiction, it also has helpful information and educational material for any parent looking to stay educated with their children!
2. Addiction Recovery Blogs
Recovery blogs are an easily accessible and useful resource for concerned parents. Navigating life with a teen suffering from substance abuse issues can be extremely stressful and parents often have a wide variety of questions. Many recovery blogs today are specifically geared towards parents, providing valuable information, support and guidance. There are hundreds of recovery blogs circulating the Internet these days. It is important for parents to find a reputable blog with helpful and accurate information. When searching for a trustworthy recovery blog it is often recommended to follow blogs established by reputable addiction treatment programs. New Life House has been a leader in the South Bay recovery community for over 15 years. New Life House created Into the Heart of Addiction, an addiction recovery blog. Into the Heart of Addiction is composed of three categories: Family, Thought Provoking and Addict Insight. The information featured ranges from family specific articles, information regarding specific drugs, addiction related news, prevention and treatment information, and testimonials from real addicts in recovery. This recovery blog is user-friendly and aims to provide recovery and addiction related information geared towards affected families.
Even after a child has gotten sober, blogs can be a great source of strength. Early on, many families still feel a sense of shame surrounding their child’s addiction. While another resource on this list addresses this (hint: Al Anon), the community that blogs and other online mediums can provide is sometimes more comfortable because of the anonymity that they afford, than face to face groups. Ultimately they are not a replacement for human interaction and community, but they are an easily accessible source of strength, dialogue and information (if you choose a good one – remember, like anything else on the internet, there’s a lot of garbage out there).
3. Drug Abuse and Addiction Related Websites
The Internet often serves as the most convenient and easily accessible tool for most people to utilize. While there are obvious benefits to utilizing the Internet to gain information, it is important to remember that the Internet is full of personal opinions and inaccurate information. Addiction is a complex and multifaceted disease and it seems as though everyone on the Internet has an opinion about it. When seeking addiction and recovery related information on the Internet, make sure to pick reputable sites. Addiction related content on the Internet is endless. It is suggested to utilize sites run by government organizations as well as private and nonprofit services. Here are 5 reputable websites devoted to drug and alcohol prevention and treatment, addiction awareness, and recovery related content.
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
- American Society of Addiction Medicine
- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services (SAMHSA)
Al-Anon is a Twelve Step program for the relatives and friends of someone struggling with substance abuse issues. It is a safe place where friends and family can voice their concerns, discuss issues that arise, and receive support and solutions. The Al-Anon program is based upon the fact that addiction is a family disease and that change can greatly aid in the recovery process. When looking for an Al-Anon meeting, you will find that meetings are either listed as “open” or “closed.” Anyone interest in Al-Anon can attend an open meeting. Closed Al-Anon meetings are for individuals who have identified that they have been affected by a friend or relative’s substance abuse or are already a member of Al-Anon. Local Al-Anon meeting information can be found on Al-Anon’s website or by calling their toll free meeting information number, 888-4AL-ANON (888-425-2666). There are many Al-Anon meetings across the country and with a little searching it is easy to find one that fits.
Related: Top Al-Anon Slogans
5. Family Support Groups
When a loved one is struggling with addiction or in recovery, it is recommended that families attend support groups that can address a variety of issues and concerns. Al-Anon isn’t the only support group available for families struggling with a loved one’s substance abuse. Support groups offer a safe place for parents and families to voice their concerns and receive understanding, compassion and solutions. Addiction can leave families feeling hopeless and helpless, even while their loved one is receiving treatment. Support groups help to diminish these emotions and replace them with a greater understanding of addiction and hope for the future. If your child does enter a recovery program, it is important to make sure that it carries a support group component for the family as well. Addiction is a family disease and recovery is an opportunity for everyone to heal.
6. Adolescent Substance Abuse and Prevention Literature
Loving someone who suffers from drug or alcohol addiction is one of the most challenging things someone can go through. Families often feel overwhelmed, hopeless and ultimately helpless. It is imperative that concerned parents not only aim to address their child’s substance abuse issues but educate themselves about addiction and learn how to provide healthy support throughout the recovery process. The first step in educating yourself about substance abuse is to develop a deep understanding about the disease of addiction. There are hundreds of books related to addiction; it is recommended that parents read literature specifically geared towards parents of an addicted child. Once the adolescent has entered a treatment program and embarks on their path to recovery, reading recovery-related literature is highly recommended. If your child is a member of a Twelve Step Program, whether it is Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, it would be wise to read the associated literature for the specific program; Big Book – Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. This allows parents to develop a greater understanding of the program their child in recovery is working. Along with the AA and NA literature, here are 6 books that will help educate and help parents find peace of mind.
- Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff
- Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie
- Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change by Jeffrey Foote, Carrie Wilkens and Nicole Kosanke, with Stephanie Higgs
- Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You: A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children by Charles Rubin
- Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy by David Sheff
- Addict in the Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery by Beverly Conyers
7. Medical Health Professionals and Addiction Specialists
Utilizing the Internet, Al-Anon, support groups, addiction related blogs and literature are all excellent resources for concerned parents. These resources provide valuable information and support. However, if your child is exhibiting signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse there is no substitute for seeking the help of an addiction specialist. This is someone who works in the addiction and recovery field in a professional capacity and can give direction, advice and support as the options for action are weighed out. New Life House offers a direct line that parents There are over 3,500 board-certified physicians who specialize in addiction in the United States. The American Society of Addiction Medicine has a website where you can find a local physician who specializes in addiction. The physician will be able to assess your child and help determine what the best course of action is. Another option is contacting a treatment facility directly. Most treatment programs are staffed with trained professionals who will be able to answer all questions, provide an assessment and ultimately recommend the best course of action.
This article explored the top 7 teen drug abuse and addiction resources for parents. Utilizing these resources is the best way for parents to gain valuable insight and information about teen drug abuse and addiction. Informed parents are able to more effectively help their teen overcome substance abuse issues and addiction. No parent wants to think that their child is using drugs or alcohol. The truth is, teens that are struggling with substance abuse issues often require treatment. Addiction is a disease, but recovery is possible. Get educated today!