At times, we all sit back and reflect on life, really- how can you not? There is so much to offer and so little time to take advantage of. We think of god, war/peace, and even the youth while we dive into our pipe dreams of what the future holds in store. We glance at our children knowing the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree with some- if not most of our positive attributes as well as plenty of character defects. Taking a step back to look at addiction and alcoholism, we ponder all the ins and outs about this disease. We know that it is more or less a mental condition that doesn’t allow us to use substances or material possessions like that of a normal person. Yes, that’s right. We- the chemically dependent can never have enough of something that brings us joy. We always have and always will just want more and more of it. That being said, it is widely believed that addiction and/or alcoholism can be hereditary.
Most addicts and alcoholics more commonly show signs of their disease at an early age. A large percentage of the time, the “predestined” chemically dependent will often start using in early to late stages of adolescence. To be honest, most parents should start watching out for various types of drug paraphernalia at as early as age 10. More often than not, the unsuspecting parent is ambushed by the surprise appearance of their child’s addictive qualities. There’s not a need to panic and assume the worst, but it is important to be educated on what to look out for none the less. Just cause the parent isn’t an addict/alcoholic, doesn’t mean that the fruit of their loins won’t become a number in the masses.
Open Up the Eyes
So it’s our duty as parents to guide our children in the right direction- to the best of our ability. Most sensible parents don’t wish any harm upon their seedlings and will go so far out of their way to prevent it. In the end, though, remember that there is only so much that we can do for somebody in active usage. One of the oldest clichés in the book applies here, “you can always lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink.” That having been mentioned now, the parent can take away substances or drug paraphernalia, but you can’t end addiction or alcoholism just through that method. For the vast majority of us, it takes Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings coupled with the 12 steps to end the affliction. That also will only treat the disease as it lies dormant, but it will not cure it. This is vital to remember naturally, but I digress.
When we, the parent, finally open our eyes to the strange behaviors, it’s amazing how stealthy the addict/alcoholic can be when it comes to the substances that they love so much. One of the most common drugs the youth begin using first is marijuana of course. This is an easy drug to obtain that is widely socially acceptable in most parts. Now although marijuana doesn’t have addictive properties, it doesn’t mean that a person can’t use it addictively. Some will focus their whole life on the natural herb and revolve all aspects of their day around ingesting it. We’ve all been around the block and know that this can be taken in many different forms. It’s wise to look out for pipes and water bongs naturally. Checking ash trays, drawers and other spots for blunt or joint roaches are also highly advised- no pun intended. These are just the simple basics of drug paraphernalia hunting that any parent should be a little enlightened on. Unfortunately for most addicts and alcoholics, as much as I wish I could say the opposite, it doesn’t stop there.
Eventually, down the road, smoking pot, and the easy stuff stops cutting the edge for us. The addict/alcoholic will start looking for other substances that are stronger and give a different effect. We won’t really be discussing the mind of an addict today so much, but more so what to look for as mentioned earlier. Some of the chemically inflicted will move onto narcotics such as crack cocaine or even heroin. The harder drugs will be most likely easier to spot due to the child’s behavior or mannerisms.
When looking out for signs of crack cocaine and/or heroin use, we break down how it’s administrated. Often times crack cocaine is smoked by default. There will usually be a small one hitter that it is smoked out of and piles or ashes or Chore Boy is used as the filter. Chore boy? Yes, the copper steel wool we innocently buy from the store to scrub dishes with is used as a crack filter for many. Be on the lookout for pieces of copper wire and such littered on the carpet or in a car.
Now although these drugs can be used in many forms, the next most common method is intravenous usage. This is the act of course of injecting the chosen substance into the blood stream. For those who aren’t as well written on this, most any hard drug such as crack, meth, or heroin can be injected into the veins. Look for syringes or the caps to them. The needle using addict will always have cotton on them in the form of cigarettes or Q-Tips even. This means to look out for balled up little pieces of cotton whether in the trash, toilet or littered outside. Sometimes the signs of drug paraphernalia will seem so innocent, but do not deceive yourself, this disease will take even children to the grave earlier than planned. Knowing what to look for and putting a foot down can be one of the best options we have as parents. No, we cannot stop addiction- but we can try our hardest to slow it down.
There’s No Way around It
Addiction/alcoholism isn’t fun for anybody. Being trapped in active addiction is a life consisting of bad choices and finding yourself repeatedly in the wrong place at the wrong time. It gets old while being uncomfortable almost becomes the norm. Sometimes it takes some simple changes and it’s amazing how different of a life can be conjured up. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-844-489-0836 or visit www.firststepsrecovery.com. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.