You can make the difference
Here are some commonly asked questions by teens whose parents do illegal drugs or drink too much. It's impotant to take a look at these if you need help identifying if your parents are in trouble or need help.
Q: WHY DOES MY MOM OR DAD KEEP DRINKING TO MUCH OR USING DRUGS?
A: If you are worried about your parent's drinking or drug use, they might have a disease ó alcoholism or a drug addiction. These illnesses can cause a loss of control and serious emotional and mental complications. If your family member has this disease, they might say or do things that hurt you, which really has nothing to do with you. This is very confusing because it definitely does not mean that they do not love you.
Q: IF THEY ARE SICK, WHY DON'T THEY get help?
A: At first, your parents might not even realize that anything is wrong. Sometimes it's very hard for people to admit that they have a problem ó they are in denial. Even when they become aware that something really is wrong, they might not believe that drugs or alcohol are the problem. Or, they might be terrified of dealing with real life, or with themselves, without drugs or alcohol.
Many people do get help from a doctor, a rehab facility or a local group of alcoholics or narcotics anonymous. They have to want the help themselves or really face up to their problems. Remember, you arenít responsible for their problems and you canít ďfixĒ them.
Q: IF ONE OF MY PARENTS HAS THIS PROBLEM, WILL IT HAPPEN TO ME TOO?
A: Addiction to drugs and alcohol tends to run in families and children of alcoholics or drug abusers have a real risk of getting addicted. Genes or heredity is part of the pattern, but not the only part. A person's environment, including their friends and the ease of getting alcohol or drugs, may influence how much someone drinks or does drugs. It is also important to remember that even if no other family member has a drug or alcohol addiction, it is still possible to develop a problem, and the younger a person tries drugs or alcohol, the more of a problem it can turn out to be. If you donít ever drink or use drugs, you will not become addicted.
But just because your mom or dad does drugs or drinks too much does not mean you will automatically develop alcoholism or drug dependence. It is very important to find healthy ways to deal with your feelings, with stress, with relationships, and with social pressure. Other things, such as being involved in sports, dance, music, writing and other after school activities, may help to protect even high-risk people from drug and alcohol problems. You can be happy and healthy even if your family isnít. Many people have found ways to cope with the chaos around them and grow up better off because of it.
Q: IS IT MY FAULT THAT MY MOM OR DAD DOES DRUGS OR DRINKS TOO MUCH?
A: No! They might blame things on family members, people at work, life in general, the car, or whatever else is convenient. It's important to remember you can't control your mom or dad. You donít make them drink or do drug and you canít make them stop. You donít have to hide bottles or be perfect all the time. You did not cause the disease; you are not the problem.
Q: WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
A: There are many children who have parents who abuse drugs and alcohol. It is important for you to understand that your parents' drug/alcohol abuse is not your fault and you have no control over his abuse. But what you do have control over is getting help for yourself and you don't have to do that alone! It takes some courage to share this secret with somebody else. However, telling an adult you trust is the first step towards helping yourself and maybe your parents. Consider speaking with your school counselor, a trusted teacher, or a relative. For help, call 1-800-788-2800.