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How Do I Talk To My Teen About Drug/Alcohol Use?

 

 

As a parent, we know you worry about your teen! You worry about their grades, their friends, their health, their future… and the list goes on. But, it can be overwhelming when those worries turn into things like, “Why is he staying out so late?”, “Has he been drinking?”, “Is he using drugs?”

 

If you’re concerned about your teen, don’t let those questions go unanswered. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Addressing the problem early gives your son or daughter the best chance of success.

 

We know it can be intimidating to initiate the conversation. What to say, what not to say… It feels so heavy. But the truth is, you don’t want to wait to start asking questions until the school calls because your teen was caught with drugs. Or even worse, you don’t want to wait until they’re in the ER due to an accident or overdose. It’s never too early to start the conversation. 

 

If you need to talk to your child about drug or alcohol use, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to help you get started:

 

🚫 Don’t accuse them.

👍 Ask questions.

 

🚫 Don’t try to make them feel guilty.

👍 Listen to them.

 

🚫 Don’t take it personally.

👍 Come alongside them.

 

🚫 Don’t talk down to or shame them.

👍 Get them professional help.

 

“It’s so important to have a relationship with your kids where you’re talking about the good days, the bad days, and the current events in the world. So when the time comes, the relationship is already there and you can ask the hard questions.” – Austin Davis, LPC-S, Founder/CEO

 

If you think your son or daughter may be struggling with substance abuse, don’t wait! Ask the questions. Have hard conversations. Seek professional help!

 

Our clinical admission counselors are standing by, ready to provide you with professional guidance on your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com!

 

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Shame “Less” Recovery

SHAME – How often in addiction do we hear people say, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” or “Look what you’ve put us through!”? It is likely more often than we should.

Shame is a real, raw and painful emotion. It brings in alliance the ideas of regret, self-hate, and dishonor and boils them together into a chaotic muddling with often devastating results and sometimes even addiction. People tend to align guilt and shame jointly, however, they are vastly different. Guilt says, “I did something wrong,” while shame says, “I am something wrong.”
Theologically shame has been around since the first humans, Adam and Eve, roamed the lush fields in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were both warned not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and after Eve was so easily tempted by the serpent they indulged, thus resulting in the first sin. The writer of Genesis tells us “At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness…” (Genesis 3:7a, NLT.) Later, when they heard God, they hid (as if the all-knowing, all-powerful God could not see them.) God called out to Adam, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9, NLT) To which Adam replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” (Genesis 3:10, NLT) In that very instant the sin that so easily entangled them led to the shame that is now woven into the thread of, not only this story but religion, culture, society, and even our belief system.

Adam and Eve after they were banished from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God. The beginning of shame.
Adam and Eve after they were banished from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God. The beginning of shame.

Shame has become the mushy, pliable foundation on which we construct lies, develop secrets, and contrive facades of who we pretend to be. If unaddressed it continues to increase slowly and persistently in our psyche; establishing itself with one singular internal insult at a time. It then has the capability to cultivate itself into an incredibly sized festering monster of self-hatred, doubt, depression, and worry that will demolish everything in its path.

The shame cycle states that if shame is not addressed it will continue to worsen.
The shame cycle states that if shame is not addressed it will continue to worsen.

Recognizing shame within oneself is a critical part of the process to overcome the negative impact on the live’s of our clients here at Clearfork Academy. We are affording them the opportunity to step out of the Shame Matrix: Attacking Self, Avoidance,  Attacking Others, and Withdrawal using a simple awareness assessment.

  • I physically feel shame in/on my…
  • It feels like…
  • I know I’m in shame when I feel…
  • If I could taste shame, it would taste like…
  • If I could smell shame, it would smell like…
  • If I could touch shame, it would feel like…

One step for defeating shame is to “break the silence.” Becoming transparent and exposing the secrets and lies that were so flaw-fully fabricated provides open channels to gaining freedom. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, NIV) Accepting emotions is also a pivotal part of ridding one’s life of shame. Shame is afraid of exposure, however, providing the opportunity for a client to contain their guilt while also releasing the shame can prove to be difficult if you are not prepared.

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)
“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)

Strategically, addressing shame is similar to addressing trauma and often it is directly connected to trauma. It is always expressed as a present event in its exposure. Applying an empathetic approach is the catalyst for the continued sharing of the shameful thought processes. Empathy continues to establish, confirm, and solidify the safe environment in which shameful thoughts can be revealed. Providing positive reflection of how you presently view the client should always be introduced into the process.
We teach our client’s to be appreciative of what they do have and to develop a sense of gratitude. Each morning as the clients gather around for their morning devotional we begin asking them three questions to start the day:

  1. What is good about today?
  2. What are you grateful for?
  3. What is your goal for the day?

The most amazing part of asking the “3 G’s” is that the answer does not have to be eccentric or elaborate. This simple exercise teaches the client to be grateful for the small things first. They are now aware of and able to acknowledge a shared experience of receiving things of worth. More importantly, this proves to them that they are worthy recipients of positive things. Worthy enough to receive the blessings and glorious riches that can only be given by a redeeming father, God. A process that we call Belief Transformation, rather than Behavior Modification.

We believe that shame becomes unbelief that materializes as a God-shaped-hole in the heart. But by applying these methods and practices we can begin to see the developmental adjustments of the belief system.

 

If you know a teen that is struggling with substance abuse. Call us today. 817-382-8463
If you know a teen that is struggling with substance abuse. Call us today. 817-382-8463

In recognizing and becoming aware of shame and its damaging effects, there has to be a full transformation. Pathologizing states, “I am bad” and “Something is wrong with me” and “I screw everything up.” On the other side normalizing enforces a separation between the individual and the event, “I did a bad thing” and “I’m not the only one” and “I made a mistake this time.” This transfiguration develops and eventually becomes shame resiliency.

Shame resiliency allows for a client to recognize their shame triggers (person, place, statement, or event) and see the personal vulnerabilities that led to the feelings of shame much like doing an accountability inventory. After this, they can grasp an awareness of the external forces that introduced shameful thinking into their life. Accessing empathetic support such as a mentor or sponsor then allows the individual to voice the shame (it cannot survive exposure.) This approach diffuses any avenue that shame will take to manufacture and introduce negative thoughts and feelings back into the individual’s belief system.

Developing compassion for those individuals that are suffering in shame shows applied empathy and further nurtures the person’s identity. Our counselors use all of these techniques while concurrently developing the clients through teaching/education and mindfulness to show them that they can learn new acceptable behaviors to counteract the shame and other behavioral disorders. By design, over the course of 90-days the walls come down, the shame comes out and the clients are ultimately provided with a safe environment to embrace the redemptive grace of Jesus Christ and journey on to a #NewLegacy.
If you know a teen that is struggling with substance abuse please contact us today at 817-382-8463 or go to our admissions tab.
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5 Self-Care Tips

Self-care is very important! We can often get overwhelmed at what life can throw at us and with the hurried mentality that the world has today we made this infographic of tips. Enjoy!

Here are 5 Self-Care tips to help you center and regain your energy: 5 Self-Care Tips

Prayer

1. Pray -It’s no surprise this is first. Jesus prayed constantly. He prayed at his baptism, he prayed alone on a hill, he prayed for Peter’s faith, he prayed for forgiveness, and he even prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, a moment of suffering, praying for his Father’s will. Prayer connects us to the Healer whose loving presence ought to be a part of our self-care practices. Since prayer is often reflective, it allows for inner healing as we become attentive to the movements within us, how our day to day experiences (and even burnout) are affecting us.

Prayer is that place we can grapple with the pain but also where we can find inner peace. This is why making a retreat can be so helpful. Luke 5:16 says, But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Set healthy boundaries. Connect spiritually for the journey ahead. Even if your prayer is as simple as, God, thank you for blessing me. This simple task will adjust your perspective on things and help you to slow down and focus on the present.

Expectations

2. Lower Your Expectations – The higher your expectations the lower your serenity. If happiness and compassion are your sole goals, lower your expectations. Through the floor. Expect no good things to come to you, from you, from circumstances or from others and you’ll be eternally delighted, grateful for any good things that happen. No expectation of a pony means no risk of disappointment. Find peace in lowering your expectations and you will become happier in difficult situations and know how to handle them.

Not only does lowering expectations help you to become happier but it also allows you to lower your anxiety and depression as well.

Meditation

3. Practice Mini-Meditation – One minute of awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations; one minute of focused attention on breathing; and one minute of awareness of the body as a whole. Incorporating this simple self-care exercise into your day can transform your relationship to yourself, to others, and the world around you. While the practice of meditation dates back centuries, it has recently gained newfound popularity. Why the sudden popularity boom?

Meditation is accessible to everyone and can be tailored to accommodate a variety of time constraints, demanding responsibilities, physical disabilities, and lack of space. Meditation is a healthy form of self-care and both experts and meditation enthusiasts say it’s a valuable antidote to the fast pace of our technology-driven culture. Taking this short period of time out in your day will help you to become more effective and productive.

Rest

4. Find Some Rest – Catch a few extra Z’s. Unwind before you conk out. Go to bed early one night a week and see the difference it can make for your stress levels. Studies have shown that children and teens need the most amount of sleep. From 1-5-years old 10-14 hours is sufficient, and from 6-17-years old 8-11 hours of sleep per night is more suitable. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap.

Relaxation

5. Goof Around A Bit – Stop taking yourself so seriously. Schedule in five minutes of non-directed activity several times throughout your day to make yourself smile. Laughter has a wealth of unexpected wellness benefits. Laughter has a ways to go before it becomes formally accepted by the medical community as a legitimate form of treatment and therapy. But do we really need a gold stamp of approval before embracing it more? Laughter feels good and is an immediate mood booster. That alone justifies adopting it and incorporating it into your self-care routine.

So, If you know a teen that is struggling with substance abuse please call us today: 817-382-8463

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