Substance Abuse and Families
As I began writing this post, I planned on discussing the effects of substance abuse and families. The topic is an extremely personal one to me, and I can not discuss the subject without becoming somewhat personal. One of the reason’s I decided to become a social worker was because of the effects substance abuse has on families.
There is light at the end of the tunnel with substance abuse.
I have never been overly fond of the term “recovering alcoholic”, but in my opinion, it is one of the few ways that accurately describes my life. I am a recovering alcoholic. I am not ashamed to say I am an alcoholic. The only shame I could have is not to accept it to myself and to the people around me. I have worked hard to make amends to the people in my life that I have wronged (the ones that would believe it).
I will not go into a full detailed description of my life, but I will add the first drink I ever took was when I was around 10 years-old. As I look back on my life, I could blame many people for the causes of my drinking, but there is no truth in it. Everyone needs to learn to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. The problem I have had with alcohol was not the bottle of alcohol but myself. I did not know when to stop, how to stop or want to stop drinking. It was always all about me.
Substance Abuse and Cost
Substance abuse is one of the greatest social costs that any family will ever experience. Drug abuse and alcoholism cost families; e.g., time, energy and resources.
1. Time - Families waste time with substance abuse. They can waste weeks, months and years that could have become more productive in building bonds with their family. They can lose productivity at work while worrying about other family members (costing possible promotions and career benefits).
2. Energy - When we talk about people, energy is the vitality we use for ongoing activities. Families can lose the sense of continuous vitality when substance abuse is present. We begin to put all the energy we have into “fixing” the problem (not realizing the problem has no easy solution).
3. Resources - Substance abuse cost families money. Families can use large amounts of money trying to “fix” family members that have a substance abuse problems. It is easy to spend money on critical health issues, rehabilitation and legal issues. Money that families spend on substance abuse could be used towards planning for the future (family members and personal) instead of substance abuse.
Monitoring the Future has kept trends of graduating seniors and substance abuse since 1975. Beginning in 1991 they also began including samples of 8th and 10th graders (I am only including the trends of seniors for this article).
- One in fifteen high school seniors smoke marijuana regularly
- 23% of high school seniors have smoked marijuana in the past month
- 36% of high school seniors have smoked marijuana in the past year
- In the past 30 days 41.5% of high school seniors report they have used alcohol
Times have changed but, the lessons I have learned have not. Children today still face pressures that many parents either ignore or gloss over, e.g, peer pressure, social standing and family. Drugs and alcohol are still prevalent during adolescence. Parents face the challenge of trying to decipher if their child is using drugs or alcohol.
There are some signs that can help any parent in knowing if drugs or alcohol might be an issue:
Signs of Substance Abuse in Teens
1. Grades – Change in academic performance with no explanation.
2. Friends – Abandoning their old friends for a new group of friends
3. Activities – Loss of interest in activities they once found enjoyable
4. Mood Swings – Unexplained mood swing (other than the typical hormonal swings associated with teenagers)
One of the hardest things any parent can discover is that their child has a substance abuse problem. Fortunately if a parent discovers that their child has a substance abuse problem there are many ways to seek help.
Toll-free helpline – Monday to Friday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm ET
2. NIDA for Teens
3. Project Know Understanding Addiction
Substance abuse is something that a parent does not want to deal with. Have you ever had to deal with substance abuse in your family? Were you able to find solutions to the problem or is it ongoing? Were you able to find support for yourself and your family? Tell me in the comments!!!
You can read my last post here: Birthdays Mean A Child Gets Older : If you like this post you can follow me on twitter @dadblunders or on my facebook fan page, Dadblunders.
Bruce Sallan is discussing addiction and teens on #dadchat this week (twitter) Teen Drug Abuse and Entitlement Join us Thursday, January 31 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. PT/9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET for #dadchat on twitter!
Tags: drugs and alcohol and youth
, help with drugs and alcohol