Wisdom From Ex Drug Addicts For Teens
Teenagers often believe no one could possibly understand what they are going through. This sense of despair and isolation is sometimes why they turn to drugs in the first place.
Drug use is an extreme form of escapism. Of course, the escape is neither healthy nor permanent which leads to more drug use and eventually addiction. If teenage addicts can identify with former addicts and their success in fighting addiction, their own recovery can seem like a possibility.
Advice for Teens #1: Tell your story
Daniel Maurer is a public speaker and the author of “Sobriety: A Graphic Novel.” He says recovery happens as an addict learns to share his story.
For teens, this may be especially crucial. Many teen addicts struggle with self-expression and interpersonal communication. He notes learning to give and receive empathy is also important. Teen drug abuse affects entire families so empathy becomes a catalyst for healing.
Family intervention specialist, Louise Stanger, Ed.D, echoes Maurer’s perspective. She says the whole family needs to be on board with staging an intervention because addiction is a family disease.
Advice #2: Learn tools necessary for recovery
Twenty-three year old Katie Campisano’s recovery story is long for a woman so young. She describes herself as the “cliché party girl” who, at 19-years old, ended up with pancreatitis, a disease which usually takes years of alcohol abuse to manifest. Eventually, she turned to drugs and finally, residential treatment. She stresses how difficult recovery can be but how the support she found and tools she learned in rehab help her remain clean and sober.
Advice #3: Feel no shame
An unidentified mother from the U.K. tells a story of how her son hid his drug use from her. She talks about how in the moment she could not cope with the signs of drug abuse. Her son later confessed he started using cocaine at 16-years old.
For her son, using drugs was shameful so he felt he could not reach out for help. After multiple attempts of quitting on his own, he is finally drug free. However, the mom also talks about how she worked with a counselor to deal with how his behavior had affected her health.
Teens struggling with addiction: Help is out there!
These three stories are as different as the people who tell them but the one thing they all have in common is the struggle to break free is difficult. If your teen is struggling with addiction, your first move is to get him help. Next, understand recovery is going to be long and involve your whole family however that should never be a deterrent to seeking treatment. All the stories stress how important the recovery process is to permanent success.