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What kind of training has the staff had regarding adolescent addiction?
When my son was in a sober high school, the principal was a kind and knowledgeable educator, but he did not have a background in adolescent addiction and was easily manipulated into thinking the kids would voluntarily admit if they or fellow students were using. That didn’t happen. Like teenagers everywhere, not to mention teenage addicts, the kids lied about their own use and covered up for their friends. Staff needs to be educated and trained in adolescent addiction.

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Then we snap out of our dream and see our child addicted to a drug and wonder if the future is even possible. We mourn the loss of our dream. We experience suffering for our child because in our life and wisdom we know the hardship of life even without being saddled with addiction. We cry, become depressed and grieve this fading picture. Never really giving up the hope that all of the past will go away and we all get a “do over”.

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Addiction affects many individuals and families. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. And it begins with sharing our stories, better public education and a broader sense of acceptance of addiction as a treatable disease (similar to diabetes, heart disease, etc.).

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Certain parenting books help us feel less alone and provide hope that our child’s drug use can get better. They provide a treasure chest of advice, information and comfort through the ups and downs of raising a teen with a substance abuse problem.

If you’re a parent of a child struggling with drugs or alcohol, here are 11 noteworthy books that might help you take care of yourself during this difficult time.

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It starts with letting go of the idea of having a “normal” life. Truthfully, it’s a far cry from the storybook life we all fantasized about once upon a time. Being a parent of an addict is about being more than you ever dreamed you could be. And most days it feel like you’re at war.

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We’re excited to welcome back award-winning author James Brown to the Intervene community. Earlier this month James released his latest book This River,” a memoir providing an honest portrait of an addict and his new struggles with sobriety, relapse and becoming a better father. This book provides a great opportunity for discussion with other parents as well as with your child suffering with an addiction.

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During a very dark time a friend told me, “Where there is life, there is hope.” I don’t know if he knew how profound those words were to me. In fact, I didn’t even know at the time. I just heard the words and applied them to my son’s situation.

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Since I began working at The Partnership at Drugfree.org, I’ve often asked myself: Why is there such resistance to acknowledge addiction as a disease. The media is so quick to call the person with an addiction irresponsible, reckless, selfish and troubled. And the majority of online commenters fuel the fire by honing in on the behaviors of the disease, rather than acknowledging the disease itself. It makes me wonder two things: Are people really that cruel? Do people understand what addiction really is?

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When I first discovered that my daughter was using marijuana and alcohol, I was blindsided. At first I tried approaching her as a concerned parent and when that didn’t work, I resorted to yelling, threatening, punishing and even having the police at the house to lecture her when she broke curfew.

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Detaching with love is difficult, but necessary if you wish to rescue your child. This is something I struggle with daily, but it’s something that’s good for me and good for my son.

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