Addiction and the Young

Teens and young adults are at a critical age that is quite confusing and challenging.  Although many adolescents, while transitioning from child to adult, are quite resilient and have a good support system with family and friends and can balance their teen angst with various successes…there are others who question their identity and how they fit in as they start to assert their independence.

Some of the young adults that I interviewed for my book “Barely Exposed” felt that they were in a constant state of limbo.

Jason states:  “I feel lost in the world I live in.  I hang around people who do drugs and have no ambition in life…”

This natural transition in life, child to adult, can bring conflicting sentiments of low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness.  Add to that parental conflicts, stress at school and just simply the pressure of growing up can lead the most vulnerable to fall into a destructive pattern of alcohol and or substance abuse.   Very often they might start with casual drug use and continue experimenting because of peer pressure and just having “fun” not realizing that the biggest consequence of recreational drugs can be true addiction.

If you are a parent or a friend of a young adult who has a substance abuse problem, talk to them and encourage them to get help.   The sooner you or someone you love gets help, the more likely they are to achieve successful recovery.

However, what if… they continue to do drugs and refuse help?  On the EHF website: “Addiction Recovery-How to Help a Loved One” you will find steps to help a family member with alcohol or substance abuse.

Nature Of Addiction:

The nature of addiction is a lie that addicts tell themselves, that a drug or drink or other substance or action will fill the void in them and make them feel whole, if only temporarily.

Don’t Believe A Word An Addict Says:

Believe what they do, not what they say.  If they voluntarily quit and check themselves into a program, have hope.  When you insist on seeing solid proof, you’re helping your loved one understand what it’s going to take.

Set Solid Boundaries:

This is where your help is needed most.  By setting solid boundaries and being inflexible to their pressure, you show your addicted loved one how important it is to live within those boundaries.  If your loved one isn’t staying with you but asks for help every now and then, the boundary has to be the same…quitting.  It isn’t love to give a child everything it wants…it’s abuse.

To Help Them Don’t Help Them:

We’ve heard from many family members who felt they weren’t contributing to their loved one’s addiction…just helping them survive.  As painful as it is, if you have a loved one so addicted to drugs or alcohol that they need your help for food, clothes or housing, the worst thing you can do is give those things to them.  It makes it easier for them do be an addict.

Don’t You Become Addicted:

When trying to help someone recover from addiction, many become addicted to being needed by the addict.  Codependency is as serious an addiction as any drug. True love is expressed by doing and saying, not what your loved ones want, but what they need…even if it means losing their love.

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~ by latanaphotography on December 6, 2010.

One Response to “Addiction and the Young”

  1. Dear Latana:

    We really love your activities and work. We have had a share of addiction experience in our proximity and it has been the most horrific times of our lives.

    It now reaches very young children…a real nightmare.

    Lots of love

    Jean-Paul and Sylvie

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