From About the Meds…
“…if you treat what lies underneath the addiction, you address everything, you address ALL of our problems – you address our addiction, our mental illness, our chemical imbalance, and our life malady, as it were.” What do you say regarding teenagers who are from a stable and loving family? My son may tell you that his underling issues were struggling in school with ADHD and being in the wrong sort of school (catholic for middle school 6-8) which caused him to become depressed. Recently he has said this is why he is the way that he is, but I see that as justification for bad choices and drinking and using pot. I feel as if right now he is adding more reasons to justify his using. So that in a few years he can add strained relationships with my parents to to the mix. I guess, I’m saying that right now he doesn’t have many underlying issues. You commented to me before that he just hasn’t suffered enough (but he actually has had some very messed up things happen in the past year). He is just using drugs and alcohol because he likes the way they make him feel. I’m so lost and heart broken. And I know things could get a lot worse and could be a lot worse.
Everyone has to find their own spirituality in their own way and time. Can you offer any advice on how a parent can encourage a teen to turn to God to be healed? I suppose, I have to keep praying for his heart and mind to open. Teenagers by their very nature are difficult and stubborn with little capability to look to the future – then add in the compulsion to abuse alcohol and drugs and it’s a flippin’ nightmare. I enjoy your blog and have learned a lot in the short time I have been reading it. Thank you for your reply on my last comment (POA post). We have quit giving our son money and taking away comforts. Your advise about using and abusing pot and alcohol needs to correlate with an uncomfortable life makes a lot of sense.
Sorry for the long post. Thank you for reading and for your prayers.
Thank you, and I agree entirely with your assessment of his justification being absolute nonsense and simply an excuse, as there is no justification to use once we have lost control. Plenty of people have been through shit and don’t mutate themselves into emaciated drug addicts or even dumbass potheads. But moreover, it is wrong to use anyway, regardless of what we’ve been through, and we give up the right to drink and use the second we lose control and the second we begin to hurt others.
That being said, the same two people can be thoroughly loved while one becomes a great success and the other becomes an addict. Conversely, the same two people can be thoroughly abused while one becomes an addict and the other becomes a great success. Family is irrelevant. Reasons are irrelevant. There are no reasons. None of the school stuff etc. has any relevance whatsoever as to why he uses in my belief, and I’m quite sure that deep down he also knows that is BS. He uses because he wants to use and he like to use, and he doesn’t prefer they way he feels sober, which is simply called being human. We all suffer.
I do not believe there are any actual reasons that can be blamed for why we use. We are the only ones to blame. Saying all that stuff is just a way to justify and rationalize using the way we want to use. And if we can get you to feel bad for us, that we are a victim, it gets you off our back and nourishes or strokes our conscience while we simultaneously do the wrong thing. But we are not victims. I recommend that nobody believe such a thing about an addict or an alcoholic.
About God and young people, there are several things I might say, depending on who I’m working with. I might remind them that they’ve tried several things and failed, so clearly there is something wrong or missing in their approach. I might ask them, ‘Why not try this? Go ahead and and prove me wrong… let’s see what happens.’ I might also remind the young person that while he or she can do all sorts of other things, when it comes to drugs and alcohol, they react abnormally, which means they obviously lack the power to control this particular part of their lives… so where are they to get the power if they do not have it?
Another way might be to tell them to forget all about the word God and the religious aspect of it and just simply dive into this program of right action and moral action and see what happens. We could also play a game and temporarily suspend our disbelief in God, jump in, and see if something hits us along the way.
And finally, sometimes I just point blank ask my sponsees, ‘Who are you to say that God cannot get you better? You can’t really prove it because you haven’t tried yet, so go ahead and prove me wrong out of spite and maybe you get zapped along the way and then suddenly you just proved yourself wrong and then you can see how obstinate and wrong you were and I can call you a dumbass again.’ 😉