Social challenges that parents face when their teen is recovering from an addictive disease
Part 2 of facing your teen’s addiction
One of the indications of addiction is the extent to which one’s life becomes organized around using drugs or alcohol. For addicted teens, there is almost always a well-defined sub-culture of friends, associates, parties, and rituals that becomes the center of their social life. Healthy activities that used to capture their imagination such as sports and academics soon become secondary to the “party culture.
Helping teens find a new, drug-free social life is no small thing. It’s not as simple as plopping them back into healthy activities. They will need real friends, excitement and purpose for their life. Unfortunately, many lack the social skills and emotional maturity to seek and sustain new friends. Parents must step in and lead.
Healthy recovery groups for teens and young adults are hard to find. As a result, they will have times of loneliness, sadness and boredom as they transition into their new life of recovery.
Here are some tips to help you help your teen:
- If your child went through a treatment program, ask about after-care services and recovery groups in your community. Many treatment centers will assist in finding a 12-step sponsor or 12-step support group.
- Check with your local Alcoholics Anonymous (http://aa.org) or Narcotics Anonymous (http://na.org) about local meetings. Local churches may also have faith-based recovery groups such as Celebrate Recovery (www.celebraterecovery.com/).
- Try to keep him active and engaged by planning fun family activities or weekend trips, or just hanging out with him.
- Find a church or faith community with a vibrant program for teens.
- Acknowledge that recovery is difficult and sometimes “boring. Ask how you can help today.
- Watch for healthy, drug- and alcohol-free teens or young adults and social events.
- No matter how bored she becomes do not lower the bar by letting her hang out with her old drug-using friends or go to parties where alcohol is available. Stand strong because the risk of giving in is too great.
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