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Should You Drug Test Your Sober Teen?

Should You Drug Test Your Sober Teen?

Whether or not to drug test your sober teen is a complicated question. At its root is your concern for your child’s health and safety. However, careful consideration needs to be given to family circumstances and how mandatory testing will affect your family dynamic, specifically your relationship with your teen. 

Teenagers Lie

As any parent knows, teenagers can be challenging to read. They are sometimes moody and withdrawn, making it hard to know what they think or feel. Unfortunately, this can also make it easy for teens to lie to their parents.

 Studies have found that at least 98% of teenagers lie to their parents. Most often, it is because they think they might get in trouble, that their parents will be disappointed, or that they will be punished and banned from doing something they want to do. According to the same research, the average teen will lie about alcohol and drug use.

Talk Before You Test

If you suspect your teen may be lying to you about drug use, there are a few things you can do. First, try to have an open and honest conversation with your teen about your concerns. The best way to prevent your teen from lying is by building trust and communication within your relationship. This takes time, intention, curiosity, and patience.

Of course, there are times when you need the truth immediately and can’t wait for this relationship to develop, such as when you fear your child may be at risk of harming themselves or someone else. Maybe your teen is currently seeking treatment, and the treatment center needs assurance that their sobriety will remain intact throughout these proceedings. 

The Pros of Drug Testing

Parents in favor of drug testing their teens are proactive and want to stay on top of their child’s drug use. 

As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to approach the topic of drugs with your teen. You want to support them and help them make healthy choices, but you also don’t want to invade their privacy or cause them to rebel. One way to strike a balance is to require their sobriety while living in your home. You can support this boundary with random drug tests.

Additionally, drug testing your teen sends a clear message that you are serious about keeping drugs out of your home. In addition, requiring them to be drug-free as a condition of living at home rather than “because drugs are bad” neutralizes the behavior and minimizes shame. 

 Of course, drug testing is not a perfect solution, and there may be times when your teen still chooses to experiment with drugs. However, it can be a helpful tool in the fight against substance use or relapse.

The Cons of Drug Testing

The American Academy of Pediatrics is a leading authority on child and adolescent health. They advise against drug testing teenagers for several different reasons, including:

  • Drug testing can be invasive. It can also be a traumatizing experience for teens and cause unnecessary tension in the home. 
  • Drug testing can create distrust. Such an environment of distrust and suspicion between parents and children can undermine the parent-child relationship and the stability of the home. 
  • Drug tests are not always accurate. Most drug use is sporadic, and teenagers often experiment with drugs. There are also ways to subvert most of the over-the-counter tests, which is why it is usually best to leave the testing to professionals.

If you are looking for a way to prevent drug use or ensure your teen is not using drugs, you should consider alternatives to drug testing. Drug tests can erode trust between you and your teen and make your teen more likely to hide things or lie to you. 

Reach Out For Help

As parents, you must be aware of what is going on in your children’s lives. If you suspect that your teen has turned to drug use, you need to reach out for professional help. This can be a difficult step, but ultimately it will benefit both your child and your family. 

A trained counselor or therapist will be able to provide you with the guidance and resources necessary. Professional settings also provide safe environments for parents and teens to communicate. In addition, by reaching out for help early on, you may be able to prevent more serious problems down the road. 

If you think your teen may have started using drugs again, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support today. Your child’s health and happiness depend on it. So does your own.

If you suspect your sober teen has turned to using drugs, you may be tempted to drug test them. However, some professionals do not recommend drug testing your teen as it erodes trust and creates barriers and suspicion. At Clearfork Academy, we believe healthy communication is the best way to strengthen trust between you and your teen. Our group therapy and family programs work to accomplish this. You and your teen will learn about substance use and addiction. You will also learn how to work together to manage substance use and stress in your lives. Ultimately, by talking to your teen, you can open the lines of communication,  build trust and understanding, and avoid creating barriers. For more information on drug testing and how to manage suspicions that your teen has returned to using, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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5 Tips to Help Your Teen Have a Sober Summer

5 Tips to Help Your Teen Have a Sober Summer

Summer is the perfect time for teens to get out and have fun with their friends. However, for some teens, those summer social activities often involve alcohol or drugs. If your teen is struggling with substance use, here are some tips to help them stay sober this summer.

#1. Set Clear Boundaries

As a parent, it can be challenging to know how to help your teen navigate the busy and often chaotic summer months. Of course, you want to make sure that they can have fun and enjoy their time off from school, but you also want to keep them safe and free from substance use. 

One effective way to do this is by setting clear boundaries and expectations for your teens around their summer activities. Some boundaries might include: 

  • Limiting their social activities during certain times of the day or in specific locations
  • Encouraging other positive forms of entertainment and recreation 
  • Establishing consequences for any inappropriate or risky behaviors 

By taking these steps, you can help your teens have a sober summer and ensure that they experience all the fantastic opportunities this season offers. Most importantly, follow through on these boundaries so your teen knows you mean business. 

#2. Encourage Healthy Activities

Summer can be a challenging time for teens. With school out and free time on their hands, teens may be tempted to experiment with drugs or alcohol. However, while teens are often tempted to spend the summer partying and hanging out with friends, it is essential to remember that plenty of other exciting activities can be just as fulfilling without being associated with substance use. 

One of the best ways to encourage healthy behavior is to model it yourself. For example, if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and always with food. You can also talk to your teen about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use. 

Plan outings that involve physical activity, such as hiking or biking. These activities will help your teen stay sober by giving them something positive to focus on. 

In addition, make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for socializing and connection. Teens who feel connected to their community are less likely to turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with boredom or stress. Finally, keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your teen about their plans for the summer and check in regularly to see how they’re doing. Taking steps to support healthy activities can help you help your teen have a fun and safe summer.

#3. Encourage Mindfulness Practices

The summer can be a difficult time for teens struggling with addiction. With warm weather and increased free time, there are more opportunities to drink or use drugs

One important thing that you can do is to encourage mindfulness practices. Teens who struggle with addiction often find it challenging to stay in the present moment and experience negative emotions like anxiety or stress in full force. Mindfulness can help your teen become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, and it can also help them learn how to cope with emotions without using substances. 

There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, such as: 

By encouraging your teen to engage in mindfulness practices, you can help them have a sober summer.

#4. Provide Support and Encouragement  

As a parent or guardian, one of your top priorities is ensuring the well-being and safety of your teens. This challenge can become even more pressing during the summer months. Teens are likely to be out and about more often, engaging in social activities that may involve drinking or other forms of substance abuse. 

To help your teen stay sober during the summer months, you must provide them with the support and encouragement they need. It might mean checking in regularly to see how they are doing and offering tips on staying focused on their goals and resisting peer pressure. You can also make resources like support groups or addiction counselors available. By engaging with your teens and providing a robust and positive presence in their lives, you can help ensure that they stay safe.

#5. Connect With Other Parents

When possible, connect with other parents who share your values around teens and substance use. Whether through social media or local parent support groups in your area, find a way to get involved. These community connections can be extremely valuable resources in terms of gaining support and other helpful advice as your teen goes through this process.

Summer can be a fun and carefree time for many teens; however, it can also be a risky season when it comes to substance use. There are things you can do to help them stay sober. At Clearfork Academy, we understand how important it is to set and maintain clear boundaries with your teen around acceptable behavior. Further, planning healthy outdoor activities like camping and hiking is a great way to keep your child busy and safe. We also utilize mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation to keep a teen’s focus off using substances and direct it towards a more constructive way to spend their time. It is also important that you connect with like-minded parents for support and encouragement. We are here to support you every step of the way. If you need help keeping your teen sober during the summer months, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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How Can I Remain Sober During Finals Week?

How Can I Remain Sober During Finals Week?

When finals week rolls around, teens face specific challenges to their sobriety. Between stressing out about exams, being pulled in several directions by their activities, and trying to find time for friends, it’s easy to lose sight of their recovery goals. 

It’s important to remember that staying sober is crucial. By taking some simple steps, you can make sure that you avoid uncomfortable situations and stay on track with your recovery during this busy time of year.

The Pressure of Success

The pressure to succeed is intense, and the stress mounts as exam time approaches. Students struggling in a subject area may feel the need to self-medicate to cope with the stress of taking the test. 

Even students doing well in school contend with the pressure of maintaining their GPA. Some feel tempted to misuse stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall. They may party with alcohol and other drugs to blow off steam when they need a break. However, substance abuse isn’t the answer.

The Consequences of Substance Use During Exams Week

Preparing for final exams requires concentration, and that’s almost impossible if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Studies show that even a few drinks can impair your memory and ability to retain information. A hangover is also likely to affect your ability to perform well in exams, resulting in low grades. 

The short-term consequences of using substances like stimulants during finals week can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Jitters
  • Gastrointestinal problems 
  • Difficulty sleeping

Tips to Beat Exams Soberly

Though a stressful time, good study habits can serve teens well. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Get enough sleep during finals week. Students who do not get enough sleep don’t perform as well on tests as those who get rest. Getting a good night’s sleep will make teens feel better and help them retain information better.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eating junk food might satisfy cravings at the moment, but it will not give students energy for studying or provide the nutrition they need for their bodies and minds. A healthy diet and regular exercise will keep students feeling better and focused on their studies.
  • Study early. We suggest devising a plan for studying and completing your projects as early as possible. Review for exams at least one week before the test. This gives you time to study in short bursts, so your brain doesn’t get tired. 
  • Spend time with your friends and support system. Reach out to friends and family members who support your recovery. They can serve as accountability partners or a listening ear.
  • Don’t overschedule yourself. Take some time each day to relax and unwind, even if it’s just 15 minutes before bedtime. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed, it could lead to poor eating habits, sleep habits, and possibly substance abuse.
  • Join a study group. Instead of isolating, study with friends and classmates. You can test each other on the information, share notes, and clarify topics. 
  • Make a list of things you can do to help relieve stress. Consider making a list of things you can do to help you relax and destress during finals week. Activities include yoga, massages, walking, listening to music, deep breathing exercises, and playing with friends or pets. 
  • Reach out to peers for guidance. A recovered peer, more than anyone, will understand your current predicament. They can provide tips or an ear to listen. 
  • Remember your motivations. If you need a reminder of how far you have come, read your “letter of intent,” which is a letter that many people write before beginning treatment. It outlines the reasons for getting sober and can help you stay on track when times get tough.
  • Seek support from teachers or the guidance counselor. Your school may offer a tutoring program or strategies for studying that can help you prepare. Moreover, most teachers have office hours where students can seek guidance on how best to prepare for finals, and they are usually more than happy to help.
  • Take it step-by-step. Prioritize your work and break it down into smaller chunks to complete it on time. This way, you won’t feel bogged down with everything.
  • Seek professional help. If you find that you need help dealing with your stress during finals week, don’t hesitate to talk about it. Reach out to a therapist, your treatment program, or a professional counselor who can help you deal with your emotions. 

Hopefully, this article has helped provide a few tips on studying more effectively. If you employ a combination of these techniques, you’ll be well on your way toward studying smarter, not harder. 

Students in recovery face constant pressure and sometimes succumb to the temptation to use substances such as Ritalin, Adderall, marijuana, and alcohol. However, with proper tools and a solid recovery plan, your child can successfully manage their recovery and prosper in school. Remember, putting an end to addiction is only the beginning of the recovery journey. Here at Clearfork Academy, we believe each teen deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. We offer therapy-based programs to help teens deal with the various pressures of everyday life, including school. Our facilities provide teens access to schooling through our partnership with the University of Texas Charter School. We also offer initial treatment, after-care services, and other resources to help them lead happier, healthier lives. For more information about how we can help your teen manage their recovery, call us today at (888) 966-8604.
 

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Sober & Single: How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Recovery?

Sober & Single: How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Recovery?

Valentine’s day is a special day to celebrate love and relationships. For some people in recovery, romantic relationships could be detrimental to the recovery process. This tip sheet offers some great ideas to help you plan a happy and healthy Valentine’s day celebration.

Factors to Remember When Planning Your Valentine’s Day

Our guide aims to help your planning process. We serve you some fun and budget-friendly ideas to make Valentine’s Day special. As you review our list, remember to consider if and how you can apply these ideas because the success of your Valentine’s Day could depend on the following:

  • Parental permission
  • Your Budget
  • Transportation needs and resources
  • Curfew times
  • Adult supervision requirements
  • Your interest and other participant’s interests

Using Your Creativity to Express Love

Often, the simple and thoughtful things bring our loved ones joy. To help, consider what makes the person in your life unique, rather than focusing on material things like gifts or expensive dinners. Instead of buying a generic gift, you create your own, like a beautiful card made from construction paper, glue, and scissors. You may consider writing a special poem or song for your loved one that expresses your gratitude for their support of your recovery.

Take Care of Yourself

We recommend not limiting this day to just your loved ones. Take time to give yourself love, too. Loving yourself can help your confidence in relationships. It helps to feel good about the person you are. Essentially, show appreciation for what you have and how far you have come in recovery. Take care of yourself by:

  • Waking up early and practicing positive affirmations
  • Arranging a “date” with yourself. Watch your favorite movie, go out with your favorite friends, visit a museum, play a sport, or read a good book.
  • Do something that makes you feel good about yourself, like a hike, meditation, or cooking.
  • Take time to reflect and express your concerns and happiness with journaling, therapy, or talking to a trusted loved one.

Valentine’s day calls for showing appreciation for all that you have accomplished and how much you care about the people in your life.

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas for Teenage Couples or Friend Groups

Valentine’s day is a special time when to celebrate love and romance. The holiday can be challenging to navigate as a teenager, and here are some ideas to help you find your way through this season.

  • Scavenger Hunt: Create or find a scavenger hunt that you and your partner can do together. Include unique or memorable spots relevant to your relationship, like the first place you met.
  • Romantic Stroll: Take a romantic walk around the neighborhood.
  • Be Active: Consider going on a hike, to an amusement park,  or bowling.
  • Nighttime Picnic: Consider having a picnic in your backyard.
  • Explore Your City: Take advantage of your city’s public art galleries,  museums, or parks. Art and nature often bring couples and friends closer.
  • Party: Invite your classmates and family over for a party. Just make sure there are rules in place, so everyone has sober, safe fun.
  • Baking or Cooking Get-together: Invite people over to hold a fun Valentine’s day cooking or baking session, then spend the evening enjoying the meal or treats together.

Budget-Friendly Gifts

Stores use this time of year to sell products. Yet, Valentine’s day calls for expressing love in meaningful ways, which applies to your gift-giving. You can create meaningful gifts on a budget that will please everyone. Here are some budget-friendly gifts to consider:

  • Make your own decoupage heart (or card) using your favorite pictures of loved ones.
  • Write a letter that tells your partner what makes them unique and how they make your life better. You can even make little cards with stickers that let people know how much they mean to you.
  • Have a photo session with family members. Ask everyone to dress up or wear their favorite clothes. You can use any camera, including the camera on your phone.
  • Give your significant other an edible gift. You can make a special homemade treat sweet or savory, so long as it is your partner’s favorite.
  • Get the perfect gift by taking pictures of yourself at places relevant to your relationship, like where you first met or your first date. Compile all those photos with meaningful captions into a slideshow video.
  • Buy flowers from a local shop or farmer’s market and ask them to create an arrangement with your loved one’s favorite colors. You might even include balloons and a card with the flowers.

Valentine’s Day encourages people to express themselves more openly to their family, friends, and loved ones. Teens can show how they feel about the special people in their life, regardless of whether it is a friendship or romance. It is important to put your recovery needs first when planning. If you cannot put your health first, or if Valentine’s Day is creating negative feelings, and you are considering using substances to cope, then the time to get help is now. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that while Valentine’s Day can be a day to celebrate love, it can also become a day where you feel lonely. Getting ahead and taking measures to help you manage a happy and healthy Valentine’s day is critical. Our treatment programs provide both initial and continuing care so you are never without a treatment option. To learn more about our programs, call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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How to Give Back in Your Sober Community: Ways You Can Make a Difference

woman having a conversiation with a community member

It is important to understand that not every day will motivate you to manage your recovery needs. Experiencing these feelings could cause you to feel as though you lost all momentum. Before long, you might resort to old habits and risk using substances to help you cope with your emotions. You might even turn to isolation and avoid seeking help from the friends, family, and peers that support you. 

Instead of going into isolation, consider giving your time to others within the sober community. Doing so will offer many benefits to your mental and physical well-being. Let’s look at how giving back in your sober community helps you maintain sobriety.

The Benefits of Giving Back

The feelings that are associated with giving back within the sober community are fulfilling ones. Further, the time you dedicate to the sober community will impact both you and your fellow peers. There are also many benefits to giving back to the sober community. 

A few of these benefits help you:

  • Create new relationships and friendships
  • Develop a sense of purpose and fulfillment
  • Get out of your head
  • Find new career opportunities
  • Become a leader and role model

Volunteering and spending your time helping others increases mood and reduces stress levels. You may question what ways you can start giving your time to your sober community? Let’s take a look at a few ways you can get started.

Seek Volunteer Opportunities 

One of the most common ways to give back to any community is to volunteer. Rehab centers are always looking for volunteers to help within their facility. Establishing a presence in rehab allows you to help someone else work toward managing their sobriety. By being there, you will show patients that sobriety is possible and even inspire them to continue their journey to sobriety. 

Offering your time to help others can bring you a sense of fulfillment and boost your mood. These mental health benefits allow you to resist triggers and keep your cravings in check. Therefore, volunteering will help to keep you accountable for your recovery regimen. However, you must have a handle on coping strategies to manage your triggers before volunteering to help another.

Become a Sponsor

If you completed a 12-step program such as Alcohol Anonymous (AA), you likely had guidance from a sponsor. After working with a sponsor and attaining the responsibility necessary to manage your sobriety, you can give back and become a sponsor for another. Sponsors play a vital role in acting as leaders and role models for other people going through addiction recovery. Since you understand the relationship dynamic between a sponsor and sponsee, you will better understand what is required to help another. 

Being a guide for someone to lean on for support is one of the best ways to give back to your sober community. It is also another great way to promote accountability within your recovery. When you attend 12-step meetings, be open to reaching out to people looking for a sponsor. If you are not entirely confident about becoming a sponsor, you can still participate in helping out. You can set up for meetings or become a spokesperson at the meetings. 

Make a Donation

Donating to charities and facility centers is another way to give back. However, you don’t have to give your entire paycheck. You can give as much as you feel comfortable with giving. Donating can help facilities improve their living quarters and services for their patients. It also offers you a chance to invest in the mentorship of other people going through treatment and recovery. 

Join the Alumni Group at Your Facility

The journey to recovery is a transformative experience. However, navigating life outside of recovery may feel like a foreign experience. Alumni programs will help you adjust to everyday living. The best part is, almost every facility offers an alumni program. 

Alumni programs offer the chance to interact and connect with other peers. These programs allow you to strengthen the sense of community and develop a lasting support system. You also get the chance to be the point of support for others. Alumni programs will also build upon your relationship skills to form healthy relationships with others. 

Being in an alumni program teaches you leadership skills while offering you a supportive hand during your journey with sobriety following addiction treatment. Perhaps the most significant advantage of joining an alumni program is that you will have the security to know that you are never alone in your recovery journey.

Giving back to the sober community is beneficial for lasting recovery. Individuals who dedicate their time to giving back will inspire others to achieve their goal of sobriety. At Clearfork Academy, we want to allow your teenage son to develop the skills necessary to sustain a lifetime of recovery. Part of the process requires learning to remain active within the sober community because we believe that giving back will positively impact and reinforce your child’s recovery. Finding ways to give back to the sober community will also help your son feel a sense of purpose, accountability, and fulfillment. Such feelings will improve mood, confidence, and self-awareness. If your teenage son is currently experiencing difficulty managing their recovery, then the time to reach out for help is now. Remember, recovery always comes first. To find out more about our programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy today by calling us at (866) 650-5212.