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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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If you think you’re a failure, consider this: There are many kids with neglectful parents who never use drugs. There are also children with seemingly model parents who do use drugs.

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If they don’t like your holiday rules and regulations, be committed to a response like “That makes me sad that you won’t be joining us, but that’s your choice.” They now have to shoulder all the responsibility for their decision even though they may try to blame you.

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That’s the trap. It is important to notice behavior in a teen and consider in-home testing to determine if a positive result should lead to intervention. If the result is oxy’s, heroin, meth, or anything like that, then, YES! Accept it and map out some solutions. And in the process, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

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Vivitrol has been approved for the treatment of opioid dependence, a potentially positive development for families with a young adult dealing with an addiction to prescription pain medications or heroin.

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My Reflection: I felt I had failed my son. He was a drug addict and I couldn’t stop it. Mothers protect their children, right? I wanted to blame the addiction on anyone, even myself, but certainly not my first-born son.

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