While there is no way to definitively predict which teens might develop a substance abuse disorder, there are a number of risk factors that considerably increase the likelihood an abuse problem will occur. By understanding these risk factors, parents and others involved in a child’s life can employ effective protective actions to minimize the risk. Below are a few of the common factors that raise the chances substance abuse could become a problem by the time a child becomes a teenager.
It’s important to stay motivated after you leave treatment. But that’s not always as easy as it sounds
Treatment provides a protective and supportive cocoon where clients can discover, lean into and heal from their difficulties. One discovers a broadening network of support and a plan to maintain it. Still, it isn’t always easy to stay motivated. Some clients move back to their home state, where there isn’t quite enough support or where meetings and sober options are slim. Phone conversations are helpful, but often times, there is a need for real-time human interaction. Skype or FaceTime are viable options here.
Do you know the difference between hearing someone and listening to what they are saying to you?
Hearing refers to the reception and perception of sound, whereas listening is an action: Listening refers to actively paying attention to what is being said. It also requires the listener’s full attention to the speaker, demonstrated by eye contact, and positive body language. In other words, you can’t listen fully to someone if you are also on your phone, your computer, or watching television. This is an important piece to understand as we positively shift the way we interact with adolescents.
Teenagers are changeable creatures. Their moods shift rapidly, their bodies change non- stop, and it’s sometimes difficult to notice if something is really wrong or if the persistent eye-rolling, parental irritation is par for the course. In addition to the eye-rolling, teenagers are also not known for their critical thinking skills or wise decision-making. This might mean they will intentionally like/not like a person or situation you dislike, or they may do something just because you don’t approve. It’s frustrating for parents, but it may also be a subtle sign for us pause and look at the larger picture.
Joseph Rogers has been with Visions since 2005, first as a recovery mentor at our Mulholland facility and later becoming the Director of Education at the Outpatient Day School. Joseph has run the Mindfulness Meditation/11th Step, Spirituality group since 2007, exploring how developing spiritual practice is applicable to recovery. He also co-facilitates the Outpatient DBT Skills group with Jesse Engdahl on Wednesdays. Two and a half years ago, Joseph stepped down from the Director position in order to pursue a Masters of Divinity degree and begin the process of stepping into his new role of Chaplain. This has been a long-time coming: Joseph has been in facilitator/teacher training with Against the Stream Meditation Society for the last 5 years, and has built a remarkable community of cohorts and students.
Fiona Ray has stepped into her new role as Clinical Director and we wanted to kick things off with a bang. We do love to celebrate our team and their accomplishments! Last Friday, the Recovery community had the opportunity to come and congratulate Fiona, see what we are doing as a company, and check out the digs in Brentwood.
Adolescence is the time when long-standing friendships are developed and refined. Friendships can also take a real beating in adolescence as a result of several mitigating factors, which can include:
- Different stages of maturation
- Perception of popularity or lack thereof
- Emotional and physical changes
- Mood swings
Friendships require a commitment from both people involved to be active participants in the relationship, and they require reciprocation in order to be successful. In other words, they need to be a two-way street. Reciprocation requires active listening and compassion. It means showing up for each other even when things are difficult.
Be of service, do the steps, ask for help. Repeat. Recovery and sobriety is something that we have to work for; it doesn’t come wrapped in a beautiful package with a bow and rainbows. It takes work: hard, dedicated, committed work. You’ll have to start feeling those feelings you may have used as fodder for your drinking and using. You’ll have to be present for your own life and start taking responsibility for not only your actions but for your feelings as well.
Gratitude. It’s a feeling that runs deep in our bones and one that warms the skin and opens the heart. Gratitude is something we can cultivate through kind acts and positive intentions. When I work with new people in recovery, and even when I work with people who have been in recovery for a while, I ask them to write gratitude lists. We are faced with frustrating challenges, difficult people, illnesses, loss, sadness, and it’s easy to get lost in that dark, sticky stuff. Life can be difficult; it is less so when we can pay attention to the good in our lives.
With addiction and mental illness comes something that we often don’t want to look at, which is grief and the deep sense of loss that arrives when we or a family member steps into recovery. Drugs and alcohol and/or mental illness are often viewed as the villains in the aftermath of addiction. But the underlying weight of grief often gets shoved to the side or bypassed entirely.