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Almost everyone I know who smoked pot in high school tried other drugs. Conversely, I never met anyone who used hard drugs who didn’t start with pot. ~ David Sheff

Recreational Cannabis is now legal in California for residents 21 or older.

For better for worse, adults in our state can now consume and cultivate cannabis.

Those who are at least 18 can use cannabis as well. They need a qualifying physician’s recommendation or a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card.

There were some strong feelings for and against the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016.

Whether we wanted legalization or not, the future impact is not known. In five to ten years we most likely will know how legalized marijuana will impact our health care system, our the school system, and our communities as a whole.

I haven’t noticed a big change in my community. Our city voted to not allow dispensaries within city limits. The city bordering us to the south also made the same ruling.

The only downside of not having dispensaries close by is that those who want to buy marijuana must drive a longer distance.

Here is a short video on the Laws around Cannabis use in California:

Know the Laws | Let's Talk Cannabis - YouTube

We can look at the impact in Colorado to give some hints on what might be in store for California in the future, especially for our youth.

From “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact” here are some facts about the impact of cannabis legalization in the rocky mountain state.

  • Impaired driving and fatalities have increased. In fact, marijuana-related traffic deaths when a driver was positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 deaths in 2013 to 123 deaths in 2016.
  • Youth past month marijuana use increased 12 percent in the three-year average (2103-2015) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the three-year average prior to legalization (2010-2012).
  • The latest 2014/2015 results show Colorado youth ranked #1 in the nation for the past month marijuana use, up from #4 in 2011/2012 and #14 in 2005/2006.

Cannabis use can affect college-age students as well:

  • College-age past month marijuana use increased 16 percent in the three-year average (2013-2015) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the three-year average prior to legalization  (2010-2012).
  • The latest 2014/2105 results show Colorado college-age adults ranked #2 in the nation for past-month marijuana use, up from #3 in 2011/2012 and #8 in 2005/2006.
  • Colorado college age past month marijuana use for 2014/2015 was 61 percent higher than the national average compared to 42 percent higher in 2011/2012.

From the California Department of Public Health, “Let’s Talk Cannabis Information Initiative, there are negative ways that cannabis can affect a young person’s life and their future.The question is, “How will legalization affect the teens in California?” We know teen cannabis use is not healthy for the developing brain. Heavy use, particularly, with today’s cannabis can affect the teen brain in a negative way.

According to Monitoring the Future.org, “Marijuana has been the most widely used illicit drug throughout MTF’s 43-years. It can be taken orally, mixed with food or drink, vaped, and smoked, including in a concentrated form as hashish.The great majority of recreational use in the U.S. involves smoking it in rolled cigarettes (“joints”), in pipes or water pipes (“bongs”), or in hollowed-out cigars (“blunts”). More recently, methods include smoking, vaping, or eating different forms of resin extracts like hash oil, honey oil, or shatter—a solid form.”

A couple of moms wrote in recently concerned about their child’s cannabis use.

One mom from Massachusetts wrote that she was concerned about her 16-year-old son. He needs help because his cannabis smoking is not recreational use anymore. We find him smoking alone late at night on a school night, and there are other red flags are coming up.

Another mom from Oregon wrote in that her son smokes marijuana every day after school. He often sleeps in the evening and recently received an “F” in one of his classes. He is not convinced marijuana is a problem. His friends are smoking, and still getting good grades. His friend’s parents don’t seem to mind. This makes it hard for me to tell my son he can’t use marijuana.

It is always helpful to consider not only your teen but other teens as well when making decisions about marijuana use in your home.

The fact remains that parents do have a great influence on their children. While is it not always easy, you do have the power to help them get through this period of their lives in a healthy way.

Marijuana is often seen as the least bad option to parents and often part of the passage of adolescence. Parents give their children the message that it is okay to use marijuana as long as you are able to manage your life.

One of the things to keep in mind if your child is using whether they are functioning well or not is that the negative effect can occur over time.

Collaboration is crucial when you are trying to create family rules around drug use.  You, your spouse or your child’s other parent need to be on the same page and giving the same message. Be cognizant of mixed messages.

Here are some ways that marijuana can affect your teen from the California Department of Public Health: Let’s Talk Cannabis:

Cannabis Affects the Brain
  • The brains of young people do not fully develop until they reach their mid-20s. Regular cannabis use during the early years of life can lead to harmful physical changes in the brain.
  • Research shows that when youth use cannabis their memory, learning, and attention are harmed. Some studies suggest a permanent impact as well.
Other Negative Side Effects
  • Driving under the influence of cannabis increases the risk of getting into a car crash. Cannabis can negatively affect the skills that are needed to drive safely, including reaction time, coordination, and concentration.
  • The harmful effects of cannabis on a young person’s brain may impact their educational and professional goals and how successful they are are in life. Research shows that youth who start using before 18 or who use cannabis regularly may be at a higher risk for:  skipping classes, getting lower grades, dropping out of school, unemployment or having less fulfilling jobs later in life. 
  • Like tobacco, smoking cannabis is harmful to the lungs. The smoke from cannabis has many of the same toxins and chemicals found in tobacco smoke, and when inhaled can increase the risk of developing lung problems. 
Mental Health Problems
  • Mental health problems do not affect everyone, yet, some users have experienced anxiety, depression, suicide, and psychosis.
  • Cannabis dependence
  • A higher risk for using or abusing other substances and illegal drugs.

You may hear that everyone is smoking marijuana. The fact is that in 2016, most high school students in California reported they were not using cannabis. Only about 15 percent (less than 1 in 5) reported using cannabis in the past 30 days.

From Jennifer Golick, LMFT here is a video of her excellent presentation: “Today’s Marijuana: What You and Your Teen Need To Know”

Jennifer Golick - Today's Marijuana: What You and Your Teen Need To Know - YouTube

 Some takeaways from Jennifer’s talk are:
High THC Levels
From 1960 to about 1990, the concentration of THC in marijuana was roughly 2-5%. In the early 2000’s the THC concentration tended to max out around 8-10%. In the last decade, the THC content has risen to between 20 to 30% concentration.
 
The marijuana that is available today is 5-6x stronger than it was 20 years ago.
 
There are now much stronger forms of cannabis. Gorilla Glue, as an example, is a variety of cannabis that is available at dispensaries, has topped out at 36% concentration of THC. New forms have emerged such as Butane Hash Oil (BHO), also known as Dabs, Budder, Shatter, and Wax.
 
A one half gram dab on average is equal to 3.5 grams of a high-end marijuana plant. Butane hash oil can be consumed using a “pen”, e-cigarette, or an e-hookah. BHO is orderless, so your child could be using it many times a day which will affect his brain development.
Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome

High THC levels lead to a more rapid dependency and Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome. Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome is characterized by:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • body aches
  • Notice if your child is experiencing these symptoms. It could also be a sign of heavy use.
    Cannabis-Induced Psychosis
    There are more cases of BHO-induced psychosis that are being reported now. Psychosis can look like schizophrenia. It can include auditory hallucinations, visual hallucination, paranoia, hearing things that aren’t there, believing things that aren’t true. This is a real symptom of high potency cannabis use.
     
    Of course, this doesn’t affect every teen. Yet more people are showing up in emergency rooms and mental health clinics with symptoms of psychosis which stems from their marijuana use.
     
    In a study of 780 people by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience “skunk-like” cannabis, which is a more potent form of the drug, was associated with 24% of new psychosis cases.
     

    Skunk-like cannabis can have a 14-15% THC content with no CBD. Every teen that smokes weed is not going to become psychotic. Yet, it is a risk factor that you and your child need to know about.

    Dr. Marta Di Forti, lead author on the research states, “Compared with those who had never tried cannabis, users of high potency skunk-like cannabis had a threefold increase in the risk of psychosis. The results show that psychosis risk in cannabis users depends on both the frequency of use and cannabis potency.”

    If your teen shows signs of cannabis or any other drug use, the earlier you can step in the better. The myth that we need to let our children hit rock bottom is harmful.
    Signs of marijuana use
    • Letting go of family values
    • Legal issues
    • Academic problems
    • Getting along with parents
    • Change of friends
    • Some tips on what you can do:
      • Talk to your kids about drug use, not just once, but often.
      • Take action early if you suspect your child is using cannabis
      • Stay calm. Don’t let your emotions and fear get the better of you.
      • Listen to your kids. Understand their point of view.
      • Understand the pressure your teen is under.
      • Get Family Support
      • Reasons Your Child Has Chosen to Use Cannabis

        Understand what the problem is behind your child use. Some reasons could include peer pressure, a belief that marijuana is harmless, stress and trauma. Your family dynamics are important to consider as well.

        According to a study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, besides the reasons mentioned above, young people may also use marijuana to feel good, ease boredom, relieve tension or frustration, seek deeper insights, escape problems, or to increase (or decrease) the effects of other drugs.

        There is no question that cannabis use is a challenge for parents. The more you talk with your child about the danger to their brain when they use any kind of drug, the better.
         
        You can help your kid stay healthy. You can also help somebody else’s kid stay healthy as well.
        What is your experience with legalized marijuana? Have you had any negative consequences with your underage children because of the new laws?

        Sources:

        Monitor the Future Study, Monitoring the Future, Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan

        Today’s Marijuana: What You and Your Teen Need To Know, by Jennifer Golick, LMFT

        Reasons for Marijuana Use Among Young Adults and Long-Term Associations With Marijuana Use and Problems

        I would love to hear about your experience and answer any questions you might have!  If you’d like to set up a Breakthrough Session to talk about ways you can better help your child stay away from cannabis, you can simply click here to fill out a few questions before we meet.

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        This is a guest post from Peter Wang who shares how his sense of self-worth motivated him to seek recovery.

        Five years ago, I was sleeping on the streets of Philadelphia with needles hanging out of my arm.

        Addicted to heroin and homeless, I felt incredibly alone.

        I felt like there was no way I could ever do anything with my life. I didn’t think there was any way I would ever turn it around.

        Now, I am living in a beautiful house in Atlanta with my amazing wife. I work full-time as a freelance writer and internet marketer. I have been clean and sober for nearly a year, and I am doing better than I ever have in my life.

        The journey from that homeless 28-year-old to the person I am now has been intense. I’ve struggled with drugs and alcohol throughout. Over the years, I tried time and time again to get sober, and time and time again, I relapsed.

        In Alcoholics Anonymous, we pick up white chips every time we come back in to get sober after a relapse. There’s a saying for chronic relapsers that we’ve picked up enough white chips to tile a bathroom. That definitely applied to me.

        So how was I able to finally get sober once and for all? How did I find the strength to stop relapsing? I think the main reason this time was different from every time before is that I had truly found a sense of self-worth. I went from not believing in myself at all and thinking I couldn’t ever possibly do anything with my life to waking up every day with an optimism about life.

        Here are four ways I’ve found an inner strength I didn’t know I had throughout my journey.

        1. Seeing how others believed in me helped me believe in myself.

        After I was hit by a car in 2014 in Philadelphia, my mother offered for me to come stay with her in Atlanta. She took care of me as I was in a wheelchair for nearly two years. My mother drove me to recovery meetings every day.

        She drove me to the methadone clinic every day. My mother helped me put on socks and tie my shoes. She supported me, seeing a strength in me that I couldn’t quite see.

        In 2016, I met the woman who would become my wife. She helped me to finally take the steps I needed to get sober. My wife helped me through the crazy rapid drug detox procedure I went through to get off methadone.

        She sat beside me at recovery meetings. She showed me how to get into a new field and helped me work again. My wife loved me and never gave up on me.

        Thinking about how my mother and my wife have supported me and believed in me through my journey, I can now see how I was able to get to a place where I believe in myself.

        2. I tried something new and found a great passion.

        My wife helped me to get into freelance writing and marketing. The more I worked in digital marketing, the more I discovered how passionate I was about it. Because I was open-minded and willing to learn new skills and explore a new field, it opened doors I never even imagined.

        I spend a lot of time now following internet marketing experts on social media, listening to related podcasts and watching videos, reading marketing blogs, and learning everything I can about the field. One of the things about staying sober is that you have to fill up the time you used to spend at the bar or hanging out with your drug buddies. In finding a new passion, I now had a ton of other ways to spend my time.

        3. I have helped others less fortunate than myself.

        Whether I’m volunteering at my church or a homeless shelter or simply giving food to the homeless men and women I see in downtown Atlanta, helping others who are in a position similar to the position I was once in fills me with joy.

        I can’t always volunteer as often as I would like, but even in my freelance work, I spend a great deal of time trying to promote recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

        4. I fill my life with positive influences.

        Reading positive books like The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle or watching uplifting television shows like Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday are some of my favorite things to do. I also love going to Passion City Church and listening to positive and inspiring music.

        Or sometimes, I like to listen to motivational videos and podcasts from speakers like Tony Robbins and Joel Osteen. Simply put, I like to surround myself with positive people who support me and believe in me.

        All of these things have helped me immensely on my journey. Finding your own self-worth, your own inner strength is essential if you want to be happy and productive.

        And if I can discover something worthwhile about myself, anyone can.

        Peter Lang is a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia. In recovery himself, he is dedicated to helping those who are struggling with addiction or substance abuse. If you or someone you care about are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s important that you reach out for help. If you are the friend or family member of someone who struggles with addiction, it’s especially important that you offer your support as your loved one seeks treatment.  

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        Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

        Freedom is something that we hold dear.

        Inner freedom and peace of mind is as valuable and should be cherished just as much.

        Freedom and inner peace come to those who are able to let go of the negative thoughts and focus on what is going well in their life.

        Do you ever feel imprisoned by the thoughts that keep circulating your mind?

        We often over worry, stress and feel anxious because it’s easier than learning to look for the positive.The thing is that being anxious or worrying 24/7 about your situation doesn’t do anything to change it.

        Your life is priceless. How many hours, months and years do you want to spend worrying about something that you have no control over?

        The video, The Time You Have Left (In Jelly Beans) puts our free time in stark perspective. Do you want to spend the time you have left worrying, especially when worry doesn’t make things better?

        The Time You Have (In JellyBeans) - YouTube

        You may be worried about your current situation, your family or your child. Educate yourself on what you can do, take action and see what happens.

        After the action has been taken make time each day to let go and strive for inner freedom and peace.

        To continually worry and be anxious is not good for your health. It disrupts your sleep patterns. Too much worrying can cause more frequent colds and sometimes more serious health issues.

        We all want freedom and inner peace. You can find freedom from worry and discover inner peace if you set your mind to it.

        Freedom is from within. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

        Here are some tips to get you started:
        1. Live in the now. When you are feeling pain and suffering, let go of being focused on the future or the past. Live in the present.
        2. Choose a time of the day to think about your concerns. Keep it far enough away from bedtime, so that it will not keep you up at night. Focus on your concerns for a set period of time, and then try to let it go the rest of the day.
        3. Write down your worries as the thought enters your mind. Save your list for your time you have allotted to think about these issues.
        4. Keep a daily journal. Write three pages a day or set a timer for an allotted amount of time. Write down whatever comes into your mind. Keep the pen moving while you are on the clock.
        5. Take a walk. Use this time to enjoy nature. Ideas, solutions, and calming inner peace, may come your way.
        6. Have compassion for other people. When you set aside time for others and what is going on in their life, it gives you a break from thinking about yourself and what your worries.
        7. Focus on the positive. Make a conscious effort to look for positive things during the day. Appreciate those positive moments. Write them down in your journal.
        8. Keep a gratitude list. Write down 3 or even 10 things that you are grateful for each day. It will make you feel better. You will remember there are things that are going right in your life.
        9. Find a time during the day to reflect and be alone with your thoughts. It’s helpful to carve out time for reflection.
        10. Volunteer. By helping others you not only support someone else, but you fill yourself up with good feelings.
        11. Take one day at a time. Focus on getting through today and leave the future for tomorrow. Change begins with baby steps.
        12. Count your blessings. No matter how stressed you feel at the moment, remind yourself about all that you do have.
        13. Do something fun and treat yourself well. Love yourself as you want others to love you. You deserve to be well taken care of. Bring new things into your life. It will make you feel better.
        14. Trust your instincts. You will hear many opinions and thoughts about what you should do to help your child change. Listen to what your body is telling you.The answers are inside if you listen.
        15. Reach out to others in the same situation. Find someone who has walked in your shoes or a group who you can talk to. Don’t isolate. It isn’t healthy.
        16. Take some time during the day to meditate while you focus on your breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out. You will feel more calm and centered.
        17. Embrace an uncertain future. Accept the fact that the future is unsure and it is out of your control. It does not help to obsess about it.
        18. Repeat your concerns out loud over and over in the mirror until it’s run its course and you are ready to move on.
        19. Remember, most of the things that you worry about the most never happen. The “what ifs” that cycle through your mind are usually far worse than reality. Let those go and focus on something positive.
        20. Be generous with your smiles. When you are laughing or smiling, it makes you feel better. Even if you have to fake it, make the effort to smile. Reach out to others in loving kindness.
        21. Exercise daily. Walk, run, take a class or practice yoga. Find something that you enjoy. It will help you feel calmer and find inner peace.
        22. Know that you are not alone. There are many suffering with the same issues that you have. Just knowing that there are others with the same issues helps you not feel so isolated.
        23. Find your strength. When faced with adversity, you need to dig deep and find your strength. Most likely, you have more strength than you ever imagined. Knowing how much strength you really have will help you have the self-confidence to handle whatever comes your way.
        24. Educate yourself. You may feel weak and powerless, because you are not informed. There are many resources available around substance use and addiction. When you educate yourself, you will have more knowledge which will help you feel more in control.
        25. Let go of trying to control the lives of others. When your child is exhibiting risky behavior, life may not make sense to you anymore. Accept that you don’t have all the answers and cannot always control your child.
        26. Be comfortable with not knowing. You cannot predict the outcome of every situation. You can find freedom when you accept that you can help your child, yet at some point allow life to unfold as it may.
        27. Understand your values. Realizing who you are and what you value most can give you the wisdom and insight to face any situation. When you are clear on your values, you will be better able to share your values with your child.
        28. Let go of expectations. You may have ideas and thoughts about how you thought life for your child would unfold. When things take a major detour, in order to maintain your inner peace, you need to accept what is.
        29. Don’t wallow in your misery. Let go of your story. Things may not be going how you planned. Don’t add more to the situation by submersing yourself in how miserable you feel. It does not make the pain go away. Your mind remains imprisoned in the negativity.
        30. Know that there is hope. Every situation is temporary. Our lives are filled with peaks and valleys. You may be in the valley right now, but the peak may be just ahead. Hang on to hope for your child.

        True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at the moment. ~ Eckhart Tolle

        What tips do you have that have helped you find freedom from worry? How have you found and inner peace? 

        Sharing on social media is always appreciated! 

        Would you like help finding your inner peace? If so, I would like to invite you to join our Rise Up Moms Support Club where moms who have walked the same path support each other.

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        It’s still early in the new year.
        It is the perfect time to think about creating a better tomorrow.
         
        I don’t make a regular habit of setting resolutions. For me, they too often seem to come and go.
         
        Resolutions aside, I was at yoga the other day. My yoga teacher, asked the question: “What are you going to do to make this the best year of your life?”
         
        So for the next 90 minutes, amid the poses, I pondered the question. How will this year be better? Where and how does one begin?
        As the yoga practice continued, I got to thinking and here is what I came up with:
        1. Exercise more
        “A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
         
        My exercise plan could be better and more consistent. I do something in the way of exercise every day, but I could kick it up a notch. A few years ago I read about a 94-year woman who participates in the Masters running and javelin throwing program. 
        She inspired me want to get up and go for a run. I’ve given up running for now. Instead, I went for a long walk which is healthy as well.
         
        One size does not fit all when it comes to exercise. Find an exercise plan that works for you. It could be swimming, walking, bike riding, Zumba, or skiing.
         
        Your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are the hormones that kick in when we experience happiness. They trigger a positive feeling in the body. Moving your body will help you feel healthier and more relaxed.
         
        Physical exercise can help improve your mood. It can also relieve some of your stress about your child’s situation.
         
        Some of the things I enjoy are practicing yoga, working out on the elliptical machine at the gym, and continuing my daily walks with my dog, Nellie. A friend is taking a line dancing class, so I may add that to the mix as well.
        2. Minimize your worry

        “If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset.” ~ Krishnamurti

        Even though I am in a better place than I was twelve years ago, worry can still creep back into the forefront of my mind. Ask any mom, and I’m sure they will tell you the same thing.
         
        During this new year, I am going to remind myself that everything is going well. I will have faith that things will unfold as intended. 
         
        I want to live in the present moment and appreciate the positive. I’m going to work this year on letting go of worrying too much and enjoy today.
         
        Jon Kabat-Zinn’s defines mindfulness as: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
         
        Mindfulness gives you the opportunity to appreciate what you do have. I’m going to work at enjoying each moment of my life.
         
        Instead of worrying about what could happen, I’m going to strive to be more conscious and pay attention to what is happening now.
        3. Let go of your regrets

        “To get over the past, you first have to accept that the past is over. No matter how many times you revisit it, analyze it, regret it, or sweat it, it’s over. It can hurt you no more.” ~ Mandy Hale

        Regret can leave you stuck, not able to let go, and not able to move forward. You dwell on past events that you feel were harmful.
         
        The definition of regret from dictionary.com is to feel sorrow or remorse and to think of it with a sense of loss.
         
        You may regret something small, such as being late to an appointment or missing a family gathering. Other times you may have deeper regrets.
         
        Regret often surfaces for parents when their child is struggling with substance use. Often parents wish they had done some things in a different way. 
        Many feel they’ve lost the dream for their child. More importantly, your child has lost the dream for himself. You watch the negative behavior that your child can’t seem to stop. It is painful to realize that your child’s life is being wasted.
         
        Holding onto your past is not healthy.
         
        As Kathryn Schulz says,”The point isn’t to live without any regrets, the point is to not hate ourselves for having them.”
        Here is Kathryn’s powerful TED talk on Regret. Her talk addresses the regret we all have felt it at some point in our lives.

        4. Keep things balanced

        “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” ~ Albert Einstein

        I’m a bit of a mix, but for the most part, I’m an introvert. It is important, no matter what personality type you are, to have a balanced lifestyle.
         
        I can occupy myself for hours with work or some other individual activity. I enjoy people, yet sometimes I need to push myself to reach out to others. Connecting with family and friends is important. Scheduling more social time would make this year even better for me.
         
        I love talking to parents and working with my mom’s group. Yet, substance use is a serious topic. It is important that I lighten things up on occasion. Keeping my life balanced has proven to be very helpful.
         
        When you are facing a stressful situation, nothing helps you more than to take care of yourself each step of the way. You will build up your inner resources. That will help you remain calm and make better decisions. It is difficult to help someone else if you can’t take care of yourself.
         
        Doing something to replenish yourself can make a big difference in your life. Things like an occasional massage, lunch with friends, spending time in nature can be helpful. You can refresh yourself as you connect with your inner being and that is worth doing.
         
        When you keep your life balanced, your child’s substance use issues won’t overwhelm you. You will be more available for other family members who also need your attention.
         
        Give yourself permission to focus on other things in your life. It will be good for you.
        Now over to you!
        That is my starting point. What about you? What are you going to do in your life to create a better tomorrow?
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        There are so many reasons to believe that your child can change.
         
        When you have hope and gratitude, anything is possible.
         
        You can find a way to make positive changes, find hope, and move forward to a better place.

        I’ve talked to more parents, what I’ve realized is that while every situation is different. Family substance use struggles often have a common thread. The important thing is to first know that you are not alone in your pain. There are many others traveling this road with you.

        Come together in a like-minded community with people who understand how you are feeling. The answers will come more easily than if you try and tackle the problem alone. As Johann Hari says, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”

        I hope that research-based solutions will become more available and commonplace. So much work is still needed, but progress is being made.
         
        My wish for you is that you will move forward in a positive way. You will have answers to your questions. New ideas will make sense. You will see progress in yourself and your child. The many paths to wholeness will become clear.
         
        There are about 45 million people affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Many are now in recovery. Know that your child can change their life as well. They can join the millions who have turned their life into one with meaning and purpose.
        To make changes, it always helps to acknowledge where you are. Once that is clear, you can begin the process of knowing where you want to go.

        What is broken can be mended. What hurts can be healed. And no matter how hard it gets, the sun
        will rise again.~ Unknown

        Here are some tips to give you hope.

        Accept what is.

        Consider where you are with your anxiety, with your fear, with your anger, with your feelings of helplessness. Face how you are feeling. Denial keeps us stuck, so be clear with yourself about the problem. Understand where you are at this point in your child’s substance use. Consider what is and what is not in your ability to change. Acknowledge your reality. When you know where you are, you’ll be able to move forward to a better tomorrow.

        Go for what you want.

        Pretend for a moment that you do have the ability to create your ideal world. That would be so nice, wouldn’t it? Wave your magic wand and decide what you want your life to look like. How would you be feeling and behaving? What would your child be feeling and behaving? How is the rest of the family doing? Take time to clarify what you want. It might be obvious that you want your child to stop their substance use. Now go deeper. What else?

        Consider what has helped in the past

        When thinking about how best to help your child, think back to what has worked in the past. Was it the words you used that your child responded to? What behavior on your part seemed to make a difference? Is there anyone outside of the family who has been helpful? Keep a log when it comes to supporting your child so that you can look back, repeat what works, and discard what doesn’t.

        Lay the foundation of self-care.
        Hit the pause button from time to time and check in with yourself. If you’re starting to feel drained, take a couple of deep breaths to clear your head and recharge. If your life is unbalanced, you cannot be a help to your child. You cannot solve your child’s problem of loneliness if you are lonely yourself. You can’t expect your child to be physically fit if you are neglecting your own body.
         
        Take a look in the mirror. Decide what you need to fix for yourself so that you can be the best support for your child. Work to get your life as balanced and focused as it can be. Your child’s use is, of course, a negative, but when you are a positive force, things can begin to change.
        Educate yourself on the latest research-based strategies.
        There are many ways to help your child. Some are more traditional and some are research-based. Include all options in your mindset so that you have the resources that make sense.
         
        Approaching your child’s substance use with positivity, optimism, and hope. They are using substance because of some trauma or pain that they are feeling. Talk to your child in a positive, respectful way. Acknowledge what your child is doing well. Allow your child to take responsibility for their mistakes.
        Hope is key.

        Hope is one of the most important concepts that you can use to help your family as you move forward. The pain of your child’s use is raw. While you know that good may come out of their recovery, when the hurt is there, you feel it. Don’t let your feelings of despair push you to depression and helplessness. During this challenging time, you need hope more than ever. Studies have shown that it will help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. It is the vehicle that will make the difference.

        According to Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., “The person who has hope has the will and determination (to make sure) that goals will be achieved, and a set of different strategies at their disposal to reach their goals. Put simply: hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there.”

        Maintaining hope is one of the most important things you can do. It will help move your child from addiction to recovery, from dependence to positive change, from broken to whole. This process is something I have guided my coaching clients through to help them cope with when their child is struggling with substance use.

        Give yourself the time to think through how you can best help yourself and your child. Consider what you can do to respond more peacefully in the year ahead. You will feel more hopeful, and so will your child.

        H.O.P.E. Hold on, pain ends. ~ Unknown

        Let’s all keep hope alive!

        Now it’s your turn.

        How has hope helped you get through the stress of having a struggling child? What has worked for you in the past?

        With the new year upon us, how can you make 2018 one that is full of hope for your family?

        Also, Rise Up Moms is a support group for moms who are concerned about their struggling child. Join us if you would like support in a like-minded group that you can be part of from your home. This month we’re talking about how self-care is job #1 and can be the foundation for change. I’d love to see you in the group.

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        The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. ~ Socrates

        “When the substance use started, my husband and I thought our child would grow up and out of this ‘phase’. But no that didn’t happen. The addiction grew and has become all-consuming in our lives. So much loss. Loss of reputation, loss of health, loss of career opportunities because of a criminal record for drug charges. There is a loss of good credit and on and on.

        Nobody wants to hire or rent to a someone with drug problems – they relapse! The future appears to be very bleak with only the struggle to stay clean and survive in a world that is wary and unsympathetic. It’s no wonder relapses are common. The vicious cycle of addiction replays over and over, and we ask, will there ever be any ‘normalcy’ again?  You can’t get rid of the shame and sorrow because of all the issues and loss.

        Even with the recent NEW understanding of addiction by government leaders because of what this epidemic is doing to our society, and the willingness to try a different approach because our jails are overloaded, our children are overdosing and dying… will ANYONE or, ANYTHING, really make a difference? WHEN?”

        This is an email I received from a subscriber. The pain and frustration caught my attention for obvious reasons.

        Are you feeling the stress of your child’s substance use with all the problems that go along with it? Often times, there seems to be no end in sight. You may have felt a lot of pain as well in 2017. Life is not easy when your child is struggling. Lessons can be learned. Yet when you are overwhelmed it’s hard to rise above it all and take in the lesson.

        I love this reminder from Marc Chernoff, “When you look back on the past year, don’t think of the pain you felt. Think of the strength you gained, and appreciate how far you’ve come. You’ve been through a lot, but you’ve grown a lot too. Give yourself credit for your resilience, and then step forward again with grace.”

        Some years ago I had a wake-up call. My life was out of control. Two of my kids were struggling with drug use. I was trying to make sense of it all. For years, I felt I had failed as a parent. The most important job in the world and two of my kids were floundering. I wanted to isolate and hide my pain.

        When I look back I see how much I needed to stop and regroup. At the time, I had a choice. I could stay stuck struggling in the negative muck or move on to a better place. The answers were out of my reach. I knew I needed to get help.

        It often takes something unexpected to shake us up and teach us to change directions. Life will take you down from time to time. Take the opportunity to learn, grow, and rebuild yourself into something better.

        Here we are once again at the start of another new year. We have a clean slate. Anything is possible.

        Are you ready to change your life? What would make you feel more peaceful? What do you want in 2018?

        Your life can be better than it is now. It can be different. You can change directions and find ways to improve your life.

        You can’t stop the future, You can’t rewind the past, The only way to learn the secret…is to press play.  ~ Jay Asher

        If you would like to make a change in your life, here are five questions that you can ask yourself. They will help you get started thinking about how your life could change for the better.

        1. If you were to FULLY live your life, what is the first change you would start to make?
        2. What are you tolerating/putting up with?
        3. What do you want MORE of in your life? (Make a list)
        4. What do you want LESS of in your life? (Make a list)
        5. For your life to be better, what would have to change?

        Your life can change at any moment. Take charge of your life. Make it the best it can be.

        Here are five changes you can make so 2018 is a peaceful year filled with joy.

        Believe in yourself.

        Because of your child’s substance use, you may feel like you made bad choices. You may feel that you are a lousy parent, or let your child down. You may feel the need to isolate so you don’t have to answer questions or deal with the shame of addiction. Remember, many young adults who manage their lives well emerge from dysfunctional families. Also, many loving and responsible parents find themselves struggling with a son or daughter who has turned to drugs or alcohol. There are no set reasons why this occurs. Don’t lose sight of yourself. You were a good parent. You still can be. You helped your child when they were younger. You can help them again with their substance use problem.

        Be Positive

        Changing the way we look at our situation can help. Rather than allowing the substance use to overtake you, take a breath and calm down. Talk to your child in a positive way. It will give you more of a chance your child will listen to you. Take time to listen to them as well. Also, it turns out that rewarding your child for their good behavior can have a powerful effect. It can help you feel better and help your child feel motivated to change.

        Work Together

        Let your child know you are on their side. Help your child get to the root of the program. It is important to look at the family dynamic as well. Consider genetic links, your child’s environment, any trauma, mental health, and their early use. These all are factors that play into why your child started down this road. Understand your role. You are not the cause, but family members all have a role to play. Work together as a team to find solutions that work for your family.

        Expect Success

        When I was teaching fourth graders, I often taught a diverse group of students. Some were English learners. Some had learning problems. Others were native English speakers. And then some were in the gifted program. What I learned was that I could expect success from all my students. When I let them know I believed in them and expected them to succeed, they rose to the challenge. You can do the same with your struggling child. Let them know you believe in them and have every expectation that they can change. When you believe in your child, they will begin to believe in themselves.

        Count Your Blessings  

        You feel happier when you are grateful for what you have. Train your mind to notice what is going well in your life. Focus on your other children, your spouse, your friends, or even your beloved pet. You will notice a shift evolve. You will feel less stress and have more hope. When we have moments of crisis in our life, it is important to acknowledge the sorrow and pain. It is also important to notice the goodness in your life. Count your blessings. Embrace all that is going well. As you do, something beautiful will evolve.

        Also, as we close the door to 2017, if you missed these, here are the nine posts that resonated the most with readers.

        1. 50 Inspiring Positive Quotes to Celebrate Recovery

        2.  7 Ways to Stop Worrying and Find Peace When Your Child is Struggling

        3. 27 Breakthrough Resources on the Devastating Disease of Addiction 

        4. 10 Helpful Life-Saving Facts About Addiction 

        5. 35 Ways to Help Prevent Your Teen From Using Drugs Before They Are 21 

        6. 4 Life-Changing Ways to Release the Shame of Addiction 

        7. Love Them Until They Can Love Themselves 

        8. 50 Common Mistakes That Parents Make When They Discover Their Kids Are Using Drugs 

        9. 7 Things Parents Can Say When Their Child is Struggling with Drugs or Alcohol 

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        Are you feeling less than joyful this holiday season?
         
        Addiction can do that. It can zap the joy and fun right out of your life.
         
        The stress of the holiday season can add one more level of stress to your emotional exhaustion.
         
        The holiday season is challenging for all. If your child is still in the midst of their addiction, the pain continues to be raw for all concerned.
         
        Your life may feel dysfunctional and chaotic. That doesn’t help you to feel joyful during the holiday season. Anyone who has ever tried to make you feel less than worthy because of the disease of addiction is only coming from their own pain and ignorance.
        Finding joy may not feel as effortless as those not affected by addiction, but it is possible.  You can still enjoy the holidays whether you are coping with addiction in your family or not.
         
        If your child is new to recovery, concern about the upcoming holidays may also be in everyone’s thoughts.
         
        You may find yourself feeling the stress of the holiday season. If you are concerned about your struggling child, remember you’re not alone. The holiday season can be one of the most difficult times for those recovering from addiction as well as for family members.
        Those in recovery need support from family and friends.
         
        Sometimes people with addiction issues feel that they cannot have fun during the holidays. The reality is that the holidays haven’t been fun for them for years. They may have been a blur or another painful family gathering.
         
        Trying to stay sober when the world seems to be celebrating can be challenging for your child who is new to recovery.

        Here are nine ways to find peace of mind and joy. These nine ways will help you feel more relaxed and peaceful this holiday season.

        Pull back and breathe.

        “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

        Sitting for even five minutes can heal your emotional wounds. It can bring a feeling of peace to your mind and body. It can bring back the calm and help you to feel happier, no matter what is happening around you. When you carve out some quiet time each day, you gain inner strength. Giving your mind a rest will help lift your mood.

        Keep things simple.

        “It is the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

        When someone is new to recovery, it can be helpful to limit family celebrations to smaller gatherings. Include only those people who are aware of your situation and supportive. Large gatherings where alcohol is flowing may be difficult. It could cause unnecessary anxiety and stress for everyone involved.

        Let go of expectations.

        My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. ~ Michael J. Fox

        Expectation sets us up for disappointment. Enjoy each moment as it comes and let go of preconceived ideas of your ideal holiday gathering. Appreciate where everyone is in life and look for joy where ever you can find it. Allowing your family members the opportunity of being themselves is a holiday gift we can all give.

        Show your love.

        Piglet: “How do you spell love?”

        Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

        Use the holidays as an opportunity to show your love. Substance use often stems from deep-seated unhappiness. This is a good time to remember that there is much more to your child than their addiction. They have many gifts to offer such as their talents and strengths. As they progress further into recovery, your child’s wonderful qualities will begin to shine through once again.

        Look for each moment of joy.

        “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” ~ Jean Shinoda Bolen 

        You might not have as much time as you would like to enjoy with your recovering child. Look for the moments you can spend together. Appreciate how far your child has come. Take in each moment with a sense of appreciation. Feel good about the progress your family has made helping each other through a critical time. Celebrate what is going well in your world.

        Practice being calm, cool and collected. Smile often.

        Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down. ~ Unknown

        Think happy and pleasurable thoughts. Remember other holiday celebrations where addiction was not an issue. Enjoy those memories. Sometimes when we smile even if we don’t feel like it, we begin to feel happier and calmer. Practice living your life as you want it to be, including your holiday celebration. Before you know it, your practice will become reality.

        Accept that you have all changed.

        “All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” ~ Mitch Albom 

        I will be forever grateful for the new people I have met from this experience. It has given me a new purpose and added meaning to my life.

        Although none of us would wish addiction on any family, it can a time for growth and change. It may even be a stimulus to look at some family dynamics that are not working.  A new door is now available. Take a chance and see how wonderful your life can be.

        Let go of frustration, resentment, anger, and sadness.

        “The heart is like a garden: it can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?” ~ Jack Kornfield

        Sometimes your emotions can get the better of you when it comes to substance use. It is frustrating and painful to watch your child allow their life to take such a negative turn. Take time to work through your feelings. It will give you a chance to forgive, let go of negativity, and move on with your lives. You will find more room for happiness and joy.

        Time eases everything.

        “I realized, it is not the time that heals, but what we do within that time that creates positive change.” ~ Diane Dettman

        This holiday season may be challenging for you and your family. Your pain will get easier over time. Remind yourself that next year at the holiday season, you may feel more positive and joyful. You may have a better acceptance of your situation. Times heals many wounds.

        Every family should be sensitive to their child’s needs during the holidays. Find a way to celebrate that works for all, including your child.
         
        It is wonderful when families can get together during holidays.  Try to enjoy the time together. There is always something to be grateful for and something to enjoy.

        May the season bring you peace, serenity, happy memories and joy.

        I hope that the ways I have listed above are helpful to you. Have you found other ways to get through the holidays when your child is struggling with drugs or alcohol? Let us know in comments.
         
        If you liked this post, I would be joyful if you would share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Thank you!
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        It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. ~ Mandy Hale

        Are you feeling stressed because of your child’s substance use?

        Is your anxiety beginning to take over your life?

        Coping with substance use begins with the family.

        You may find that you are not only unable to sleep, but also too exhausted to get out of bed in the morning. When you are tired it does not help you make good decisions and bring change to your life.

        Taking care of oneself allows you to pull yourself back up into the world of the living. It allows you to find that place where compassion, love, healing, and joy can rein free. It gives you back the most important relationship you can have – the relationship with yourself.

        Staying balanced not only helps you, but it also helps your child in the long run. You may find that you feel more at peace and are better able to cope when you focus on your self-care first.

        Here are 10 simple things you can do for yourself when your child’s struggles are getting you down:

        Exercise

        I know I’ve said it before, but it is definitely worth repeating. There is nothing better than exercise to get the endorphins going. You can feel happier. Exercise is one way to give yourself that positive lift. Take a walk, ride a bike, head out to the gym, or take a Pilates class.

        Find something that works for you and schedule in time each week to keep your body moving. For years I walked a couple of nights a week with a friend. Not only did we get our bodies moving, but we found our conversations were great mental therapy.

        Enjoy more, worry less

        I won’t tell you to stop worrying. What I hope is that you can worry less. Yet, to continually worry and be anxious is not good for your health. It disrupts your sleep patterns and can cause not only more frequent colds but more serious health issues.

        You can find freedom from worry and discover inner peace if you set your mind to it. Rather than worry about your current situation, your family, or your child, decide what you can control, take action and see how you feel. If what you try, doesn’t work, don’t give up, just try another option.

        Surround yourself with people who care

        As humans, having a social connection is what will enable us to live well and thrive. Families with substance use issues too often isolate and let go of people who are close. This is not healthy and often makes the problems harder to cope with.

        The stigma and shame of addiction stifle family healing. Surrounding yourself with family and friends who are supportive is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It will help you better cope with the challenges that you are facing.

        Things, like talking to a friend or going out to a movie, help. Try to plan something at least once a week. It will make you feel better and give your mind a break from worrying about your child.

        Write in a journal

        Writing each day gives you a place to get your thoughts on paper. When we are dealing with substance use, there will be many pent-up emotions. It’s a release to write about your feelings. It can be a vehicle to formulate answers when you are struggling.

        Writing clears your mind and gives you a place to release your thoughts. It relieves pent-up emotions and you feel lighter as you go about your day.

        Take time to be still

        Staying present helps you focus on today, not what has passed and not what will come. When you focus on the present you will feel less anxious and more in control.

        Taking time to be still is a helpful tool that not only has health benefits but also allows you to regain your composure, restore your emotional balance and brings you back to the present moment. Life’s ups and downs may push you to your limits, and you may find yourself emotionally exhausted.

        Practice the simple act of sitting and listening to your breath. It is a way to balance your physical, emotional, and mental state. Anyone can benefit. Notice your breath, let your thoughts float by, and explore the quiet of your mind.

        Taking a short amount of time to meditate in the morning starts your day off with peace, quiet, and calmness. As you begin to meditate more often, your inner calm will linger and you will find yourself more at peace.

         Volunteer

        When you remove the focus from you, things can feel better. Even if it is just for a few minutes, find time to do something for someone else. You will feel grateful for what is going well in your life. It can be refreshing to give back and experience appreciation.

        Animals, children, support groups, and families that are struggling all need people to help. Find something that is meaningful for you and gives back to those who are less fortunate. Giving back will help you gain a broader perspective on your personal situation. Your heart will become full when you are helping someone else.

        Practice yoga

        Yoga is an ancient 5,000-year-old practice. It can no longer be called a trend, as now millions of Americans are enjoying it’s health benefits. Yoga connects the mind, body, and spirit through body poses, controlled breathing, and meditation.

        I started practicing yoga about ten years ago. I wanted to make some positive changes in my life, and practicing yoga was a good place to start, as it made me feel better. On and off the mat, it has influenced my life and brought me to an amazing calm that I had never felt before.

         Have self-compassion

        Having compassion for yourself is not self-pity. Sometimes life gets tough and it hurts. Bring the same understanding, empathy, and good wishes to yourself, just like you would for a friend.

        Self-compassion requires self-kindness. Be gentle and understanding with yourself, and not critical and judgmental. Being isolated just enhances your suffering, so reach out and connect with others who understand. Know that you are not alone.

        Balance your awareness around your current struggles. Don’t ignore your pain and don’t exaggerate it.

        When your kids are struggling, you need all the friends you can get. Being a good friend to yourself is a good place to start.

        Regain your sense of humor

        Create a home that is blessed with a solid sense of humor and laughter. While substance use is far from funny, it is okay to find time during your day to laugh. One of my friends watches a Seinfeld episode every night before she goes to bed and that lifts her mood. Movies, books, and TV shows can all be a source of humor. Find a friend that makes you laugh and spend time with them.

        Life may be challenging for you at the moment, but humor puts things in perspective and gives your mind a break. Humor will help you survive this challenge in your life. You will get more enjoyment out of life when you laugh. By the way, occasional laughter will not harm your child’s recovery, in fact, it may enhance it.

        Appreciate your kids

        “How can I express appreciation when they are causing me so much heartache,” you ask? One way is to take out old scrapbooks of your child growing up and remind yourself of who your child really is. Think about the good times you’ve had and how much joy your child has brought you.

        You’ve helped your child through many tough times and you can help him again. Appreciate your child for being the human being that he is. Your appreciation can go a long way in increasing your child’s self-esteem and motivating him to want to change to a more positive lifestyle.

        Focus more on the positive, and let go of the negative and things may take a turn for the better.

        Don’t let yourself be beaten down by your child’s substance use, instead of power yourself up to meet the challenge.

        What helps you move through the struggle. Please share in comments. 

        Sharing on social media is a good thing! If you liked this post, please share!

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        At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years past, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could not hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.~ Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express

        Are your trying to find peace this holiday season?

        The holiday season is fun, but it can also be stressful and sad if your child has a substance use disorder.

        As the holidays approach, we look at the families that seem like everything is going well. By the same token, their children may seem “perfect,” even though we know that isn’t true, the sadness can envelope us as we ask ourselves, “What went so wrong that my child went down the path of addiction?“

        Not to mention, your child’s addiction is painful for the rest of the family as well. Take time to talk to your other children. Acknowledge when things don’t go so well over the holidays. Express your sadness and fears. Discuss how the holidays can be comfortable for everyone going forward.

        Know that there is always hope and that you are not alone.

        Your child may be in treatment or sober living. While it may feel strange, this is something you can celebrate. Your child has made the choice to seek recovery. They have taken those first steps. You may desperately miss them, but know that they are on a better path.

        You can still enjoy the holidays whether you have addiction in your family or not. Take time to stay calm and breath if you find yourself getting frustrated with family members around the holidays. Do not replay past holidays that may have gone well or been a disaster. Live in the present and let go of judgment.

        Embrace the moment and enjoy.

        Being flexible in our traditions makes room for the ups and downs of life. What we can depend on is forgiveness for the past, appreciation for what is happening now, as well as hope for the future.

        A lesson for all of us is that for every loss, there is victory, for every sadness, there is joy, and when you think you’ve lost everything, there is hope. ~ Geraldine Solon

        Here are 10 things to remember when the holidays get rough.

        Start with gratitude.

        Consider what is going well in your life. Who are the family members who are in your life?  The gifts you have been given? Embrace what is positive this holiday season. Be grateful for each simple joy. With time, hopefully, everyone will be in a better place.

        Just breathe.

        Sit quietly for even five minutes and heal your emotional wounds. This can bring a feeling of peace to our minds and bodies. Meditation can bring back the calm and help us to feel happier, no matter what is happening around us. Even a few minutes a day can help. Some apps to get you started are Calm, Headspace, and 10% Happier.

        Keep things simple. 

        Consider limiting family celebrations to smaller gatherings, including only those people who are aware and support your child who is struggling. Large gatherings where alcohol is freely flowing, can often be difficult for a person in early recovery and cause unnecessary anxiety.

        Let go of expectations. 

        Expectation sets us up for disappointment. Enjoy each moment as it comes. Let go of preconceived ideas of your ideal holiday gathering. Appreciate where everyone is in life. Allow your family members the privilege and opportunity of being themselves. This is a holiday gift we can all give.

        Show your love.

        Use the holidays as an opportunity to show your love to family and friends. Substance use issues often stem from deep-rooted pain. Understanding is helpful about why your child has chosen to use drugs or alcohol. Reinforce your love for those in your life who are struggling. Love can heal many wounds.

        Give back to others.

        Look for moments during this holiday season where you can give back.  Nothing is more rewarding than helping another person in whatever way you can. While the receiver benefits from your good deeds, giving to others will lift your spirits and remind you that you are not the only one feeling challenged this holiday season.

        Practice being calm, cool and collected. 

        While it is not always easy, smile as often as you can. It will make you feel happier. Think good thoughts. Enjoy memories of past holiday celebrations, yet live for today. There are many who are dealing with tremendous obstacles in life. The more you are able to are often still able to be present, grateful, and calm, the better.

        Know that positive change is always a possibility. 

        Growth and change for everyone can happen at any time. The challenges you are facing may be the catalyst to make this happen. This could be the best time to look at some family dynamics that are not working. When you look for the positive, you may find a silver lining to a difficult situation.

        Let go of resentment, anger, and sadness.

        Take time to work through your feelings. It will open the door to forgiveness. Pent-up negativity can hold you back from focusing on the fun family events. It will be more difficult to find the joy in the season. Find room to open your heart to happiness and joy. You will be a role model for the others in your family.

        Time eases everything.

        “Never stop believing. Today my son will be joining us with his family. Hugs will be shared. We will give thanks to all and each other. Eight years ago if anyone would have told me this day would come I would have thought they were crazy. Never stop believing in yourself or others.” ~ Ron Grover

        Your holiday season will change, hopefully for the better, over time. There is always an ebb and flow to the holidays. Know that there are many possibilities this year and for years to come.

        May this holiday season bring you inner peace, serenity, and joy!

        Finally, how will you find peace during the holidays? Please share with us. If you like this post, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Send the link to other families and friends. Thank you!

        Thank you for reading! If you liked this article, please share it on your favorite social network. Every share, like or tweet helps me expand my reach and touch families who need a helping hand because of their child’s substance use. Thank you for all you’re doing to help your kids stay healthy! If you’re new, please subscribe to download the free parent guide and receive weekly updates.

        XO,
        Cathy For a complimentary Breakthrough Session please CLICK HERE!
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        Do feel stressed during the holiday season?

        Are you worried about your child getting through it all in a healthy way?

        You can feel happier and less stressed when you bring gratitude in your life.

        When you train your mind to look for the positive, a shift slowly evolves. You will be able to change the negative cycle that is going on around you.

        Even though your child is struggling, look for the positive. Embrace those moments whenever you can.

        No longer will you be allowing yourself to feel continually anxious, worried, resentful, angry, ashamed, and frustrated by your child’s use or your concerns about their future.

        When you have moments of crisis in your life, acknowledge the sorrow and pain. Spend time working on the process and allow something new and beautiful to evolve.

        Gratitude can turn anger into calm, despair into joy, doubt into hope, resentment into compassion, frustration into acceptance, shame into empowerment.

        Your life can change for the better when you feel gratitude.

        Many have walked in your shoes. Others have been supportive of efforts to spread awareness regarding the dangers of substance use.

        Here are 21 beautiful gratitude quotes to help you feel happier:
        “After a trying year in which I’ve lost the ability to do some things that are most precious to me, things I’ve feared losing my whole life, I am grateful for being granted the tenacity to persevere and adapt. Without a family to love and give me strength, I would have folded.” ~ Mark Matthews
         
        ” I used to make myself miserable by noticing and focusing on the lack and problems in my life, which eventually led to depression and a suicide attempt. I have turned my life around by training my mind to notice and be grateful for the good that is always present, which over time physically changes your brain. Sure the bad stuff is still there, and I’m not saying to ignore it. I’m saying to give your energy and attention to what you want to create and build positive in your life.” ~ Debbie Hampton 
        “I am grateful for connecting with distinguished individuals online with whom I have cultivated professional friendships. Although we have never met in person and we serve diverse passions, we view our work through a common lens of inclusion, empathy, and positive regard for others. Their lives have enriched mine.” ~ Holli Kenley

        Addiction continues to hang like a dark cloud over our family, but I am bent, not broken, thanks to the love and support of so many. Together we are stronger. I’m grateful for that.” ~ Sandy Swenson

        “I am grateful that I have been able to work through the pain of my divorce, get unstuck and start a new life again. I’m grateful for the journey I’ve taken, the struggles I went through and the person I’ve become because of the journey back from heartbreak. I’m grateful I can use my writing and my story to help others who are traveling a similar path in their lives. I can now be the lantern for others who are walking down the path of divorce and darkness with hope and healing.” ~  Vishnu of Vishnu’s Virtues

        “I’m grateful for the restoration of my family… my everything. I am also grateful there is a power at work in the world that is greater than I am, one that can achieve what I cannot.” ~ Barbara Stoefen

        “I am deeply grateful that my son is two years into his recovery, which means that all three of my children are now healthy. I get so overcome with gratitude sometimes that I break down and cry. Recovery is a beautiful gift that I want every family to experience. I continue on in my advocacy work in the hopes that they will.” ~ Rose Barbour

         
        “After the sad death of two of my grandparents this fall within a few months of each other, I’m grateful simply for the time I (both as a child and an adult) was able to spend with them while they were alive, as they were kind and generous role models, even when something was outside their own experience. For example, despite both leaving schools at 14, they encourage and facilitated all five of their children to go to university, which has given their grandchildren many more options than we might have had otherwise.” ~ Ellen Bard

        “I’m grateful that Jeff is healthy, that our family is healing after heartbreaking trauma, and that God has gifted us with another day together. We’ve learned that in humility there is grace, in service, there is a blessing, and in gratitude there is peace.” ~ Libby Cataldi

        “Gratitude both grounds us in the present moment and connects us to those around us. It is the practice of thankfulness–counting one’s blessings as they unfold each day and cultivating a perspective on life that focuses solely on the positive.” ~ Erica Spiegelman
        “I am grateful for my season of submission and patience in 2015. I learned that regardless of what is going on in my life there is power and love in God’s plans; putting all my faith and trust in His plan brings incredible peace and clarity to my life.” ~ David Cooke
        “I am grateful for so many things, but number one on the list is my amazing wife. She is my rock, my soul mate, and my best friend. Without her, Lord only knows where I would be today. A family is so important. Even if I had nothing else, I would still have my wife, my two boys, my mom, and my siblings. Their love and support are really all I need. Along with my three cats and the words of Anne Lamott.” ~ Dean Dauphinais
        “I’m grateful for each breath in my lungs and each sunrise on the horizon. For about five years of my life, I didn’t know if I’d live to see the sunlight, and I wanted my next bottle of Jack more than I wanted my next breath. I’m so grateful those days are both a distant memory and a priceless lesson.” ~ Scott Stevens
        “I am grateful for my mistakes; those of the past and the present. Their remedies have made me a better person: wiser and a little stronger. I am grateful for the people I now choose to have around me; they make it possible for me to have the confidence to learn and grow into the woman I am meant to be.” ~ Kyczy Hawk

         
        “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to stop teen substance use and abuse before it starts, and I am grateful for my wonderful teammates. We’ve created and launched a powerful website with resources and tools that put prevention in the hands of parents and educators in a simple, effective and shareable way. I’m grateful for our team’s collective wisdom and experience that helps us help other families, schools, and communities.” ~ Susan King
        “I am grateful to have joined tens of thousands of others from across the country at the history-making UNITE to Face Addiction Rally on The Mall in Washington, D.C. Our goal was to end the silence; to shatter the shame, and to show addiction RECOVERY is real.” ~ Lisa Fredericksen

        “I am grateful for my hands that garden, that make meals, that write, that embrace lives.

        I am grateful for my heart that graces me with gifts of compassion, faith, and love.

        I am grateful for creation that humbles me in its miraculous diversity and evolution.” ~ Mary Cook

        “This year I’m grateful that I discovered the joy of taking naps, that my cat is healthy and currently curled up like a sweet cinnamon bun on the couch, and that my husband and I just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.” ~ Dawn Clancey

         
        “I’m thankful for so much Cathy. I find myself feeling thankful for the simple things in life.  I’m grateful for the blessings in each day.  I’m grateful for who I am, and who I’m becoming, for kindness, for inner strength that I can tap into in times of trouble, for the opportunity to make a difference wherever I can, for mornings and nature, for community and family, for enthusiasm and creativity and most of all for love and for the joy of being alive.” ~ Elle Sommer
         
        “I continue to counsel with and provide hope for inmates in the Boulder County Jail. I am especially grateful to be free from the previous jail where I was required to distribute satanic bibles to the inmates who requested one (yes, that is true).”  ~ Joe Herzanek
        “Working from my home office in Berthoud, CO, I have been blessed to reach more families than ever before with our message of help and hope to families struggling with addiction (and I continue to meet the most wonderful people). Working alongside our canine companions “Lewis & Clark” ain’t bad either!” ~ Judy Herzanek
        Let’s take a moment to remember those children who are missing from the Thanksgiving table this year. I know they are greatly missed by their families. Support for those who have lost a child, have a child still using, or is in treatment is appreciated during the holidays.

        May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy, peace, and love!

        Thank you for reading! If you liked this article, please share it with your favorite social network. Every share, like or tweet helps me expand my reach and touch families who need a helping hand because of their child’s substance use. Thank you for all you’re doing to help your kids stay healthy! If you’re new, please subscribe to download the free parent guide and receive weekly updates.

        XO,
        Cathy If you are looking for support because of your child’s substance use, apply for a complimentary Breakthrough Session. Simply CLICK HERE!
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