How Parents Can Crush The Ice Epidemic
Kerrie is a drug and alcohol counsellor who works with clients and speaks at schools on the effects of drugs. While chatting, Kerrie told me she was off to run another workshop on the topic, so I asked her to write us an article. I was shocked to learn how many people ice is affecting and keen to read what we can do. Please read and share with everyone; this article could save lives.
It’s a story I am sadly beginning to hear all too often. The voice on the phone asking me for counselling advice is heartbreaking. I brace myself because I know it is yet another parent battling the crushing effects of the ice epidemic, another parent who feels they have lost the child they once knew to what has now been described as the most destructive and soul-destroying drug we have seen yet.
But it doesn’t just devastate the individual; it is taking down entire families. I mainly hear from parents of young men when it comes to ice addiction, but have also helped girls and women grappling with substance abuse and prescription medication.
What they need is hope.
While it may appear to have a grip on your loved one, it is a grip that I often see eventually loosened, and I have seen many of these young people come off this drug and turn their life around. The hardest thing for a parent is knowing that their child is up there on a high, and eventually, they must come down.
The reality is that ice takes hold of individuals quickly. The addict is then living an illusion, and they will continue to blame other people, places and things for the negative impacts they are creating as a direct result of their addiction.
An experienced leader in this field of drug and alcohol addiction, Jeff Von Vonderen, author of “Hope And Help For The Addicted” and councellor of thousands of fallen movie stars and musicians battling addiction from all over the world talks about a “magic number of consequences”. This is the average number of negative consequences that his clients have reported experiencing as a result of excessive drug and alcohol use on the downhill slide. These incidents are things ranging from days off work, sickness, a fallout from relationships losing money, jobs, hospital, injuries, losing licences, criminal convictions and jail to name a few. By the time the addict hits rock bottom this number of incidents usually adds up to around 54.
When I first tell parents the information above, they are alarmed. But as they start to add up all the negative consequences that their son or daughter has found themselves in, (and it is usually getting up there by the time they call me), they are somewhat comforted by the fact that the time of their child admitting to being powerless over drugs or alcohol has almost come.
Many parents realise something after talking to me, which is that in some way they have enabled their kids to keep on the addictive cycle. Yet this is something I completely understand because they love their children and don’t want to see them hurting even further.
For example, one mum who has two sons addicted to drugs said to me “I pay their electricity bill, so their electricity doesn’t get cut off”. I told her if you pay their electricity bill you may as well be paying for their drugs. Maybe when their electricity is cut off, it could be the wakeup call they need.
Many young people become addicted to ice these days as a result of smoking weed, which unbeknownst to them is being laced with ice.
Around 10% of the population has been born with the addictive gene pool. Studies and science now show that the gene pool can be manipulated through learned behaviour and so is not necessarily hard and fast. Never the less, drug addiction and in particular ice addiction, can happen to anyone just because of the highly addictive nature of the drugs themselves. After only two uses, some people can be addicted and I have known it happen to many different types of people from all walks of life.
Prevention is far better than cure. They have to try the drug first to even become addicted, so for parents, and I cannot recommend more profoundly the word “prevention”.
If kids know the risks, they will be more hesitant to try the drug in the first place.
Strategies For Parents
Talk to your children
Studies show that the first time a child hears something they will believe to be true. It is best that they hear the truth from you and not be ill-informed by their peers.
The one thing I would say to any parent going through the hell of drug addiction is this. You may hate what the drug has done to your son and daughter, and you may not agree with their behaviour as a result, but as much as you can, keep the door open with love, because there will come the time when they are going to need you. If you have kept the relationship, they will come to you.
You can’t fix them, but you can step back and allow them to face the consequences for their actions. Just be in the background, waiting in the wings so to speak, with love and support.
Set Strong Boundaries
And be consistent
Make sure your other children don’t lose their place in the family because all the attention has gone to the drug addict.
Seek help quickly when they ask for help
There is a timeframe if your child cries out and if they do admit they have a problem it is urgent that you get them somewhere to detox, particularly for the first five days. All the rehabs have a mandatory 5-14-day clean period before they will take addicts in. If they are not in a safe place in that first two weeks, away from the drug environment and all contacts they have had up to that point, they are at high risk of reusing.
I have seen many people come off harmful drugs through being in long-term rehabs for a year and they have gone on to live very successful lives, often going into the field of helping others who are on the same journey.
Aside from this, clients I have counselled still have “the twitch” after one and a half years. Some websites say that the effects can last up to a year, but from my personal counselling experience, I query this. Some of the effects can last a lot longer such as ticks and twitching in the eyes and face, psychotic consequences, depression, PTSD, (involving shame and major identity issues in relation to the addicts having crossed their moral boundaries in many areas) and long-term cognitive impairment.
It is essential if your loved ones ask you for help that they get the right help and talk to someone who has dealt with those going through addiction.
For more information, counselling or support, you can contact Kerrie at Empower Life Solutions.
Our thoughts and love go out to any parent or family member reading this.
Please know that you are not alone.
Kerrie has a page set up on Facebook called “Support For Parents Of Kids On Drugs”, which is a safe place for parents going through drug addiction with their children, and they can support each other.
They learn there is no shame.
You would be surprised just who in society is dealing with the ice epidemic.
The most important fact is to firstly get help for yourself to understand what is going on, and then you will be more able to support your loved one on the path to recovery.
Kerrie Atherton is an Inspirational Speaker, Author, Event Host, Counsellor and Influencer. Kerrie has overcome much trauma in her own life, which has led her to become specialised in the field of addictions for over 30 years, besides working with troubled teens in schools on the Sunshine Coast for the past 11 years. Last year Kerrie founded ‘Stories of HOPE’ which positively impacts hundreds of people each month. She empowers everyone she meets with resilience and inspiration and the tools needed to help them overcome adversity in their own lives which in turn brings purpose and HOPE to change the world around them.
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