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Substance Abuse, Recovery, and Michael Phelps

i Aug 12th No Comments by

What does the word recovery really mean to someone like Michael Phelps?

michael phelps

Michael Phelps swam past his substance abuse issues at 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo credit: edition.cnn.com

The phenomenal Olympian’s legacy was called into question over the past 8 years after he was charged with substance abuse.

What Happened?

Photographed taking a hit from a bong
Handed two DUI’s
Sentenced to an 18 month probation
Suspended from Team USA Swimming and forced to miss world championships in Russia
Spent six weeks in an alcohol rehabilitation program

What Next?
Girlfriend became his fiancée
Estranged relationship with his father improved
Peers elected him captain of Team USA
Developed reputation as a mentor at 2016 Olympics
Increased his Olympic medal collection to 26 (as of today)

Recovery is rewarding. But recovery is a hard word to swallow. A lot of people seem to believe the word brands them as addict, or alcoholic. Yet experts tell us that only the individual who has suffered from substance abuse can brand himself or state he is in recovery.
Michael Phelps rebranded Michael Phelps. The word recovery, in my opinion, should only be used in the context that Phelps recovered his career, his self-respect, respect of loved ones and peers, and most important, a rewarding relationship with his authentic self. His journey should be celebrated on multiple levels and bring a message of hope to families who struggle with loved ones who suffer from substance abuse. Congratulations, Michael Phelps. And thanks for showing those of us who want to recover our own self-image, that we can.

Substance Abuse Over Age 18. What Boundaries Exist for an Adult?

i Aug 4th No Comments by

Age 18 is an adult whose rights and privacy are protected by law. Talk with other parents in a similar situation. Start treating him like an adult, setting boundaries between you and the substance abuser. Many parents don’t act until a problem is full blown, fueling the behaviors with excuses or multiple ‘second’ chances. An addiction therapist told me 75% of her clients “didn’t practice the tough love necessary to help their loved ones engage in recovery and responsible behaviors.”

use anywheretroubled teen

Establishing boundaries with a substance abuser  are more difficult once a teen turns 18.

Some boundaries for young adults:

Removing privileges, such as:

  • Payment for phone, car, and tuition
  • Removal of personal devices, video game and computer equipment
  • Removal from the house and locking them out
  • A restraining order if they have stolen property, cash or medications or abused drugs and alcohol in your home – or if they have been verbally or physically abusive

Young adults are resourceful. Parents with a drug or alcohol abusing teen or young adult should credit their children with the survival instinct and act swiftly to enforce a zero tolerance attitude with actions.

The blog, “Take Good Care of Yourself”  http://www.tgcoy.com offers good insight into boundaries – what they are, who needs them, how to implement them. Here are some of the blog’s clear boundaries for a teen:

1.   “Yes, I’ll be happy to drive you to the mall as soon as you’re finished with your chores.”
2.   “You can borrow my CDs just as soon as you replace the one that you damaged.”
3.    “If you put your dirty clothes in the hamper by 9:00 Saturday morning, I’ll be happy to wash them for you.”
4.    “Can I give Joe a message? Our calling hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. I’ll let him know you called.”
5.    “I’m sorry; that doesn’t work for me.  I won’t be loaning you money until you have paid me what I loaned you previously.”
6.    “You’re welcome to live here while you’re going to college as long as you follow our rules.”

Please visit these sites for more information on boundaries for teens

http://www.tgcoy.com/addiction/parenting-tips/1393.html

http://www.boundariesbooks.com/boundaries-with-teens/setting-boundaries-teen-substance-abuse/

Substance Abuse Incident, What Next?

i Aug 21st No Comments by

There has been an incident with your loved one involving substance abuse. Quick – what are the first 5 steps you should take immediately?

  1. Make sure the person is out of physical danger
  2. Identify the facts about what exactly happened
  3. Remove any substances or items that could cause additional harm, including an automobile, if necessary
  4. Seek the counsel of an experienced substance abuse counselor
  5. Assess the degree or extent of the problem
Parent-Support-After-Child-Addiction-Incident

The first five steps after a substance abuse incident can save a life and help people think and act more clearly.

If your teen is on your phone plan, then start monitoring their call, text and internet activity. Start a record to track habits and calls. Start exploring the best course of action. Now.

Law enforcement or Student Conduct might dictate the next step, giving you no choice regarding what to do next. Unfortunately, depending on the community or school, some teens will be forced to attend mandatory, often inadequate DUI schools, which in many cases feel so punitive, that they hardly inspire sobriety or improved behaviors. What’s more, law enforcement might also impose community service, which could add fuel to feelings of humiliation, particularly if it is a service that does not necessarily fit the transgression or the behavior.

Intensive out-patient programs (IOP), which combine therapy, group therapy, counseling and medicine dispensation, along with other programs are available. Look for details forthcoming. Here is a start, in the meantime.

  • Weekend outpatient
  • Inpatient recovery programs, which usually involve detox for addicts, alcoholics. Detox needs to be medically supervised, or death could result in severe cases
  • Comprehensive residential addition programs
  • Wilderness programs, 20 to 90 day recovery centers that focus on intensive outdoor forms of therapy, combined with individual/group therapy
  • 12-step programs or communities

Marijuana Addiction is Real

i Aug 16th No Comments by

What about Weed? For parents who don’t think it is addictive, read this excerpt from an article published on CNN.

pot in the raw

Marijuana bud. Credit: US Library of Congress

We now know that while estimates vary, marijuana leads to dependence in around 9 to 10% of adult users. By comparison, cocaine, a schedule 2 substance “with less abuse potential than schedule 1 drugs” hooks 20% of those who use it. Around 25% of heroin users become addicted.

The worst is tobacco, where the number is closer to 30% of smokers, many of whom go on to die because of their addiction.

There is clear evidence that in some people, marijuana use can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety and nausea. Even considering this, it is hard to make a case that it has a high potential for substance abuse. The article continues, “The physical symptoms of marijuana addiction are nothing like those of the other drugs I’ve mentioned. Withdrawal from alcohol… can be life threatening.

Pot.NIMH. umaLateralWholeBrain1

Brain receptors are vulnerable to marijuana among all users. If a user is among the 10% of adults prone to addiction, he or she is highly vulnerable to marijuana addiction.

I do want to mention a concern that I think about as a father. Young, developing brains are likely more susceptible to harm from marijuana than adult brains. Some recent studies suggest that regular use in teenage years leads to a permanent decrease in IQ. Other research hints at a possible heightened risk of developing psychosis.

Much in the same way I wouldn’t let my own children drink alcohol, I wouldn’t permit marijuana until they are adults. If they are adamant about trying marijuana, I will urge them to wait until they’re in their mid-20s when their brains are fully developed.”

Dr. Herbert Kleber, M.D., professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University, and pioneer in research and treatment of substance abuse, spoke at a National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) seminar on July 7, 2016. He stated that “…14 to 17 year old brains might not recover (from marijuana abuse) until they are 25 or older. “He also noted that edible marijuana can take one hour to kick in and can trigger a psychotic episode. Something to think about if you’re over 21 and consuming it in states where its sale is legal. For details that the professionals read on addiction, here is CASA’s most recent report on addiction.

http://www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-research/reports/guide-policymakers-prevention-early-intervention-and-treatment-risky

 

Substance Abuse and a DUI or MIP

i Aug 9th No Comments by

If you need to pay bail, then arrange to pay, or get a bail bondsman to pay, so you can get your child home and stabilized. If it’s not the first time, let your child figure it what to do this time. Watching that unfold will enlighten you about the extent of the problem – is this a bump in the road, a chronic habit, or a bigger problemiss?

Call the number on the citation and get a copy of the police report, to see what exactly happened and whether other stuff went on. This could take 2-3 days. You will need to go to the jail to get the report. But get it, because you need to know what really happened.

Child_got_a_DUI

DUI or MIP for substance abuse can help families identify extent of a problem and accelerate a recovery path. Photo: Library of Congress.

Get an attorney for your child or request a court assigned attorney. Everyone has a right to one. If you hire one, get a specialist, a litigator who has handled this sort of issue before, preferably in the county or court system in which it is assigned. Expertise helps save a lot of time.

Comply with a lawyer’s advice. First time offender statutes work in your favor, if you think your kid will abide by the statutes.

Show up in court, and early. The court system can be punishing to anyone who wastes its time. Tell your child to address the judge yes or no, “your honor” and to look presentable. It matters.

If the incident was reported to your child’s school, schedule a meeting with the school counselor and your child immediately. Make the school your friend. Believe it or not, school administrators are potential advocates for your child, unless he has been a repeat offender – in which case, they might feel your problem is beyond their expertise.

J. Tom Morgan wrote an excellent book called Ignorance Is No Defense, about the laws in Georgia impacting teenagers. It is an excellent overview of what every teen and parent needs to know.