OVERVIEW OF FIFTH CHILD

We can fool ourselves into thinking that we have our lives well planned out. It was that way for me, being a product of the 1950/60’s: I’d go to college, meet my prince, get married, have children and live happily ever after. As much as I thought I knew what to expect, my life was riddled with surprises. But the last was the most unexpected, compelling me to write Fifth Child, a non-fiction book about the anguish and consequences of a drug-addicted child, which resulted in parenting her child almost since birth.

My husband and I are cast into a shockingly large demographic. Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing phenomenon in our country because of our shifting economy, unmarried teen mothers, alcohol abuse and illegal drug use. Close to 10 million grandparents comprise the club. We had already raised four children. Jaime was our third child, and Brady is her son, who began calling us Mommy and Daddy when he was three. Readers may be amazed to find calamity overcoming a so seemingly traditional family. But as events and family history unfold, disturbing pitfalls and unfortunate genetic vulnerability reveal fault lines that can sabotage people from any walk of life.

"The Addict's Mom Sharing Without Shame" Video is so important whether addiction has touched your life or not. It's powerful. Please click on the link below to watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHNZbbePiKg

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Disturbing Facts: Why I'm Passionate About This Subject

Drug Abuse Kills 200,000 People Each Year: UN Report                            Drug abuse kills about 200,000 people worldwide each year, according to a new United Nations (UN) report. Global treatment for drug abuse would cost $250 billion per year if everyone who needed help received proper care, according to the UN.

More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and HealthThe number of young people using drugs has continued to increase. In 2008, 19.6% of 18- to 25-year-olds used drugs, but in 2010’s survey, that number had climbed to 21.5%. The increase is largely due to marijuana use, according to the study.
Marijuana is the most common drug for first-time users, according to the study. Among people who started using drugs in the year before the survey, 62% said they first used marijuana, 26% first used prescription drugs like tranquilizers and stimulants, and 9% first used inhalants.
Alcoholism Statistics in the US
In the United States, nearly 14 million adults, or every one in 13 adults, abuse alcohol or have an alcoholism problem. In addition, several million more partake in risky alcohol consumption that could potentially lead to abuse, and over three million American teenagers aged 14 to 17 have an alcohol problem. Compared to adult drinkers who start drinking around age 21, youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 are twice as likely to abuse alcohol and four times more likely to develop dependence on the drug.



RECOVERY: ONLY 1 in 10 U.S. Adults
The new report, by the Partnership at Drugfree.org and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, shows that there are as many as 23.5 million adults in the U.S. who have at one time had issues with their alcohol consumption or drug use.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tough Love and its Original Definition

Tough love is a great tool when dealing with an addict child. In my experience it's as important as recovery from co-dependency. Tough love was originally aimed at teens because of the defiant behavior they can exhibit. With addiction, tough love can be enforced by parents even with children out of their teens, as was our case. At whatever age a person begins to abuse drugs is the age they remain throughout the usage and so a parent is usually dealing with a younger acting child than the actual chronological age.
Phyllis and David York originally developed tough love in 1979, both were trained family therapists and substance abuse counselors experiencing difficulties in raising their own teenage daughters. The basic idea behind using their approach was 'helping teens with unconditional love.' In other words, to love a troubled teen enough to firmly and consistently set firm, clear limits and boundaries with them. The founders of tough love have helped parents by establishing the importance of loving your teen unconditionally, while at the same time not liking the way they act or behave.
Unfortunately, the original principles of tough love have often been misinterpreted over the years and are sometimes presented in ways that were not intended by its founders. In its original form tough love was never intended to describe the drill sergeant type of discipline seen in some programs, such as boot camps for troubled teens. These tough approaches are not the same as this original approach that was based on loving your teen enough to take a firm, consistent stance while expecting them to be responsible for the decisions they make.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why Is Addiction Called a Family Disease? By Kathy Brock Frasier

Addiction is called a “family disease” yet many will dispute this by responding “I do not have the problem. He/she has the problem because he /she is the one taking drugs.” However, addiction wraps its tentacles tightly around those closest to the addict, most typically family and friends. Good times, family events, love, happiness and joy are replaced by an obsession to stop the destructive behavior of the addict. Family resentment is fueled by the “enabler” who repeatedly attempts to fix the problem; using consequences that are otherwise effective with non-addicted children.

Following many attempts, strategies and years spent to stop the addict from taking drugs, the failed cycle remains in place and family dynamics change. Living with an addict causes severe trauma to everyone within the home. The stress brought about by addiction often manifests itself through physical ailments, including high blood pressure, headaches, frequent colds, chest pains, to name a few. Because we are so busy worrying about others, we fail to take care of ourselves. Brothers, sisters and spouses often feel excluded and unimportant, ultimatums are demanded to choose between the child and spouse, and strife in the household has become the norm. The family begins to disintegrate and resentment festers. The entire family feels anger, sadness, depression, fear, loneliness, jealousy, shame, inadequacy and failure. Purses and wallets become bedtime companions, deadlocks are placed on bedroom doors, valuables are hidden away in locked safes and the home becomes a fortress. Finances are depleted, friendships are lost, relationships are damaged, our health is poor and the home is a war zone. It feels helpless.

There is a word for behavior that enables an addict and it is called co-dependence. Some consider co-dependence a disease itself. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines co-dependence as “a psychological condition or relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as in an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly: dependence on the needs of or control by another.”

Families are manipulated by the addicts, who will do or say anything to minimize their disease in order to continue their drug usage. As parents we want to believe the best of our addicted children as we always hold out hope that their words are true and there will be an end to the madness. What we fail to understand is the strength of the disease of addiction. When we choose to believe them and give in to their requests, only to be let down once again, we take it personally. We ask ourselves “how could our child do this to us?” Education surrounding the true brain disease of addiction is paramount to our own recovery of this disease, as well as theirs.

Once we recognize our futile attempts to stop a disease for which there has yet to be found a cure, we can begin to utilize different strategies in dealing with our addicted children. We can allow our children to feel the consequences and results of their behavior. In essence, we can “raise their bottom.” We can begin to take care of ourselves by reaching out to mothers who have had similar experiences. As we build friendships and feel supported and loved, it becomes easier to make difficult decisions and we learn new ways to cope with the reality of addiction. While it’s commonly agreed that providing our addicted children with cash is not a good idea as it likely contributes to buying more drugs—and hiring expensive attorneys might provide a short reprieve, (but does not guarantee recovery) we must remember that each circumstance and every child is unique.

There is no right or wrong way to respond to a situation. We must live with our own decisions regarding enabling/co-dependence and each decision must be carefully weighed. One indisputable fact remains . . . a healthy and educated family is better equipped to face the trials of an addicted child.