Your child’s use, abuse, or addiction to drugs or alcohol is a complex process that deserves and demands to be thought about and treated in a multi-faceted way.
There are many things that to be learned about addiction as a disease, reasons why your child has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, types of treatment, and what it means to be in recovery.
Knowledge and Information about Addiction
The first step towards helping your child is becoming knowledgeable and informed about the issues surrounding addiction. It is important to search for information that acknowledges the complexity of addiction and does not give a pat answer to your questions. It is natural to want one place to go for all of the information you need. But when it comes to your teen’s addiction and drug addiction treatment, you know that your child is unique. Therefore, one of the best things you can do is to become knowledgeable about the different areas surrounding your child’s particular issues. This includes information of:
- The difference between substance abuse and substance dependence
- Addiction as a disease
- The drug that your child uses and what it does to the brain and the body
- Your child’s genetics, personal history (may be more complex than you think)
- Your child’s surroundings, including friends and influences
- Your history
Knowledge, which means information that you have gotten from this website and others, your doctor, therapists, addiction specialists, brain specialists, books, etc, teaches you about the elements of addiction and possibilities about your child or teen’s addiction, and it preps you for understanding drug and alcohol use, abuse, and addiction. Key word: PREP.
Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen.
Just because you become an “expert” in information on drugs, drug addiction, alcoholism, etc., does not mean you know ANYTHING about what your child is going through, or even how to help them.
To understand your child, you have to know your child. Knowing your child includes the prep work you did of understanding his/her medical background, who he/she hangs out with, his/her past experiences, etc. However, it is impossible to know you child, what he/she is going through, or understand why he/she started using drugs and alcohol, without talking and listening to your child.
Treatment for your child’s drug or alcohol addiction will be more successful the more you are involved. Involvement can mean a variety of things. Involvement in your teen’s drug addiction treatment may even mean not being a part of the actual treatment at all. Your teenager’s rehab, treatment, and recovery are multi-faceted and will be different for every family depending on different factors within the family.
You can always be involved in your teenager’s success by continuing to become knowledgeable and educated about drug information, addiction research studies and information, new types of treatment, etc.
Another way to always be involved in your teenager’s drug recovery is to listen. By following the steps in the how to listen section, by creating a safe space of openness, non-judgment, and not giving advice unless your teenage asks you for it.