Encouraging Positive Choices During Alcohol Awareness Month
The disease of addiction in America is one that seems to be getting worse as evidenced by what has become commonly known as the “opiate epidemic.” The good news is that a person doesn’t typically wake up one morning and decide to use heroin. Addiction is a progressive disease, which generally starts with alcohol or marijuana. As tolerance increases, the need for a stronger drug to achieve the same high also increases, and as a result, a person may turn to “harder” drugs such as opiates and cocaine.
Because alcohol can be stop number one on the path to addiction, it is incredibly important to do everything we can to encourage our kids to stay away from alcohol. Medically speaking, alcohol is a poison and for those predisposed–either genetically or environmentally–to any sort of addictive behavior, the slope can be very slippery.
One thing we hear from our patients at SunCloud far too often is just how easy it was for them to access alcohol when they first began using as adolescents. They got it from their parents’ liquor cabinets, or their parents felt it was okay as long as they drank at home. Even more concerning are the patients who talk about how their parents were untreated addicts themselves who were either not present when they were growing up or were drunk or high.
The fact is many of our teens DO make the right decisions. We should continue to support these decisions and do whatever we can to encourage them to make good choices, including refraining from alcohol use. As professionals we know these efforts start early when our children are very young. Once they are adolescents, we can keep an eye on the liquor cabinet and know where our kids are and who they are spending time with. It’s just as important to check in and communicate openly with our teens’ friends’ parents.
Alcohol Awareness Month is a chance for all of us to have open conversations with our teens on how we can support them and continue to encourage their positive decision making.
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