You’ve read all the parenting books and blogs. You’ve tried calmly talking and you’ve tried yelling. You’ve tried individual therapy for your teen and you’ve tried family therapy. Your teen has attended out patient drug or alcohol treatment programs and AA/NA groups. You’ve never missed a PTA meeting, a concert, an art show or a sport event, yet you find your teen’s consistent lack of good decision making has led them into the legal system and they are no longer living in your home. Now what? Did you fail as a parent? Did you fail as a person?
At first there is nothing and no one who will make you believe differently. If you are a parent who has done all the things listed above, you’re a parent who cares. If you care, you have asked yourself time and time again, “What am I doing wrong?” or “What else can I do?” The truth is: NOTHING.
There is nothing a parent can do when a teen decides allow addiction to take over their life. That is not to say that a parent should stop trying to help their addicted teen or that a parent should ever give up on their teen. It is only to say that addiction is more powerful than love. It is more powerful than the fear of any punishment. It is more powerful than self-esteem. It is more powerful than any words can describe.
As you may have guessed, I am the parent of a teen who is an addict. That is one of the most difficult sentences I’ve ever had to write. What I know in my head does not want to be accepted by my heart and certainly does not want to be read by my eyes. However, not facing the truth does not change it. Not having the courage to take my experiences and find a positive way for them to possibly help others only gives the addiction more power. The addiction will never again have power over me!
As I come to the next part of my journey with addiction, I look forward to having my teen back at home, to the daily challenges and joys of parenting. Addiction and my family have been on this journey together for some time now and I understand that with addiction there is no end to the road, only learning how to travel safely.
This post is for those parents out there who aren’t as far along in their journey with addiction as I am. It is to tell you, you will be ok. You will sleep, smile and even laugh again. There is hope that the legal system will provide the intense therapy and addictions counseling you’ve been looking for. There is hope that your teen will finally accept that they are an addict and WANT to change.
Never give up. I’ll be praying for you! You are not on this journey alone.
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