We are starting a new series and as usual we take no responsibility for the actions you take to help your children. The information I share here is true as it relates to us, my wife and I, our experience and the knowledge I amassed since our son, Ben, passed on. With that I expect that you apply the information that I share as it best applies to you and your situation. With that let’s get started.
If you suspect that your child is using drugs, chances are that you are correct. The question is what can you do about it, in a way that makes sense, that is effective and most of all does no further harm to your child.
Put first thing first
Most importantly, if you are in a shock or in a panic, work to calm yourself down or reevaluate your approach. The words “shock” and “panic” may not be the exact description of the emotions or the ensuing behavior. The feeling may be that of dread, consternation, dismay, helplessness, anger and even terror. Where panic, as I see it, is a sudden shock, the realization that your child is using drugs, especially Heroin, may not be panic per se, but the behavior involved as result of that knowledge, mimics that of panic. As such, I know that me advising you to calm yourself down or reevaluate your approach, is way easier said than done, but I feel, that this is a crucial first step.
Panic mode is usually identified by either: Fight, Flight or Shut down. These modes of conduct are something to watch out for when they are habitual. If they occur infrequently then work towards curtailing or eliminating them all together. Obviously, these behavior modes are ineffective and do not produce positive results.
- Fight mode: You find yourself in frequent fights with your child, with your spouse, a fight with your other children and/or a fight with others. The reason for these fights is the need to control the situation.
- Flight mode: You may be so upset with your child, with your other children, upset with your spouse and/or upset with others to the point that you avoid them.
- Shut down: You just don’t know what to do and as such do nothing.
Vindictiveness: Each one of the above modes can be accompanied with vindictiveness. Keep in mind that vindictiveness is a short term emotional relief valve that does not produce positive results.
Quick fix: At times, you may wish that someone will tell you what to do so that your child will stop using drugs. Drug use did not develop overnight and there is no quick fix for stopping your child from using drugs. Be vigilant when someone offers you a quick fix. We are drawn to a quick fix solution because we want the problem gone and for a short period of time the quick fix provides a mental relief, but the quick fix solution can do more harm than good.
Complaining and criticizing: You may find yourself complaining and criticizing your child when you interact with your child and/or criticizing and complaining about your child to anyone who would listen. This is very destructive and produces nothing good, in the long run.
One action you may try to take is “Directed Free Association” at times you may hear it called Solitude, or Meditation. It will take 5 – 10 minutes out of your day and it will allow you to laser focus your thoughts on the problem you are interested in solving. As it turns out when you are alone with your own thoughts your ego and emotions are tucked out away with more ease then when you are talking to others. Alone you can allow yourself to be totally honest with yourself. Directed Free Association is a highly effective method.
How to direct free associate: Find 5 – 10 minutes during your day when you can be totally alone with your own thoughts, a time during which you have no distractions. No other human or pet distractions, no radio, no TV, no music, no work-related distractions nor too dark a place that is conducive to sleep, etc. I, personally, found out, that for myself, such a time is first thing when I awake in the morning. I awake about 30 minutes before anyone else and I spend some of these minutes with a cup of tea and my own thoughts. (It turns out that I always sit in the same spot on the sofa.) During that time, write your thoughts down, preferably in a notebook dedicated for your thoughts. Sit up comfortably (not lay down) with or without a drink, like coffee, tea or water. Your brain is a very efficient factory for thoughts, so allow your brain to free-associate and direct those free-association thoughts toward the problem at hand. You may want to make it a daily habit. For more information about this method see the book: The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magic-of-thinking-big-david-j-schwartz/1100319349?ean=9780671646783)
In general, we can handle just so many major ongoing stress problems that occur all at once. Usually having a child who is using drugs is not the only major problem that parents are facing. If we can compartmentalize the problems and think of them one at a time we can juggle more than one major issue. Having a confidant can be a great help and if you have one consider yourself blessed. Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich (http://eventualmillionaire.com/Resources/ThinkandGrowRichebook.pdf) talks about a “Master Mind Alliance”. The Master Mind Alliance is a fictional group of characters that you form to counsel with. Say that you feel, for example, that if you could counsel with Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, then you would ask old Abe how not to give up. Napoleon Hill recommends that you do just that, have a conversation with your own mental creation of Abraham Lincoln and discuss with him the issues that you need to discuss. These discussions can take place anytime and anywhere, potentially you need no more than to lean back in your chair close your eyes and ask your counselling buddy a question. Then you assume the role of the counseling buddy and respond back to yourself. This technique is also very effective a technique where you will allow yourself to question yourself with your ego in check. You are not limited to one counselling buddy you may assemble a whole team to be available to you at your beck and call.
Next Anecdote: We will discuss the benefits of a good relationship
You are not invincible—Stew Birbrower
Together we march towards a destiny