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Question of the Week
"I am 18 and I am an addict...I'm looking for helpful support on how to get over it and what I'm suppose to do...and my parents have no idea.."
Addiction is a disease that if kept secret can be fatal. Although you may experience feelings of shame and disappointment over your addiction, you should not insist on trying to battle addiction on your own. The longer addiction is kept a secret, the harsher its physical and psychological consequences will become.
Keeping Addiction a Secret
Parents and family can see the signs, or at least strongly suspect, that there is something wrong in most cases. Addiction has many noticeable effects such as failing grades in school, loss of interest, emotional distance, deteriorating health and other emotional signs like depression or marked changes in temperament.
You may believe that these symptoms are not obvious to people, and perhaps it may take time for a person to notice changes in your behaviors, but it is likely that your parents will know that something is wrong. Don't be afraid to share and ask your parents for help and support.
Approaching Your Parents
When trying to discuss your addiction problem with your parents, it is best to do so at a time when everyone is calm and ready to talk. Try to approach your parents as soon as possible, and let them know that you have a serious problem and are going to need help to get through it.
Although you may believe your parents will not accept you and your addiction, know that most parents are more than eager to help their child whenever he or she needs it. Explore and research what the best treatment options are for your particular situation together.
Find a treatment that addresses not just your addiction, but the reasons and motivations behind your problem. Often people turn to drugs because of an inability to manage stress or strong emotions, and it is important to address these issues to achieve full recovery. Share anything you feel might have lead to your addiction with your parents and try to work on it together.
Recovery and Relapse
As a teen, and even as an adult, trying to recover and being social again can be difficult. There are many social pressures that you will encounter during recovery; nevertheless, you should tell your friends about your decision to stop using drugs or alcohol.
Be aware that you probably will not be able to socialize with the friends you did drugs with, but know that your true friends will respect your decision to kick the habit. Another tip to staying on track with recovery is to only accept invitations to events where you know drugs or alcohol will not be involved. Plan activities that don't involve drugs, or try to take up a new hobby.
Taking up a sport can also help with recovery. Regular exercise can help lower your stress levels and can give you more energy throughout the day. Try to have a plan and coordinate with your friends and family in case you ever need their help. If there is a situation you are not ready to handle, make sure that someone is always available to help you through it.
Recovery is a long process. Many people find that joining a support group can help them stay clean. Know that there are many support groups that are specifically geared towards teens and younger people who struggle with addiction. If you relapse, get help right away so that all the hard work you put into your initial recovery is not undone. Know that relapse is a part of recovery, and never be afraid to ask for help.
Sources: TheHelpGuide.org, KidsHealth.org