A few years ago I attended a place in LA called the Dream Center. While there I was shocked by how many teenagers and young adults moved through their recovery program. Just this year I found myself again in a recovery program supporting a close family member and was shocked by how many young adults and teenagers were involved in that program.
It was a vivid reminder that we have many parents who are struggling with their teenager’s drug abuse.
When I talk to people about recovery programs or drug treatment programs I get a lot of funny looks. We immediately think of an old group of people sitting around in a circle, smoking cigarettes, and spilling their soul all over the floor. I can’t remember a teenager I have talked to that wishes or desires to be apart of a group like that.
But truth be told, I have seen many teenagers not only get hope from these groups, minus the old people spilling their souls. For instance, a teenager just came out of a group and he could not stop talking about the people he connected with.
He kept telling me that he could not believe their were people out there that had gone through the same things he had.
So the first of the three drug programs for teenagers I want to talk about is exactly that.
1) 12 step or Celebrate recovery programs
The easiest ways to find a program in your area is to either go to the celebrate recovery web page or AA web-page to find meetings in your area. They occur almost every night and every location. Celebrate Recovery programs are a faith based 12 step program and AA is the more traditional 12 step program. I have worked and led both of these types of groups. Both are positive and both are great programs. I think either one of them could help any teenager and both would be welcoming of a teenager in their group.
2) Engage in the home.
There is no substitute for someone to engage their teenager in their home. Every time I see parents engage their students in the home good things happen. Teenagers will fight it and keep you at an arms length, but every time a parent does not give up, good things happen.We as parents know when our kids go dark, we also can see it in their lives when they disconnect. It is when we break in and get involved in our kids that they begin to see the support system around them that allows them to succeed.
They will fail unless you are there for accountability and watching the actions of your teen. If you want to see your teen actually break the addiction they have you will need to be involved. Think of it this way. Whatever you are doing now…do 25% more.
I am not talking about removal from the home but removal from their environment. Don’t go out and sell your home or anything drastic unless your teenagers are buying their drugs from your neighbors.
You need to become proactive in discovering where they are getting their drugs and address the issue. If it is at school go to the school. If it is from someone on the street, go to the parent. Become the detective and begin to remove them from their normal environment.
It is wise to call parents of friends to put everyone on notice. I know parents who will find drug free school and actually mover their teenager’s to that school.
In one neighborhood we did some work and discovered where the teenagers were hanging out at night. We then set up some parent watches and begin sending parents on parole into those parks. We wanted to take over the spots they were using for selling drugs. Plus when a teenager would end up missing, the parent knew where to go to find them.
The last thing to remember is that your teen will fail and stutter along the way. You have to know that your teen will have set backs at the beginning. They will use again and find themselves tempted and give into that temptation.
But if you find a recovery group, take control of your home, and work through the removal process, you might be able to create a teen drug treatment that will work