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A mother’s challenge: Admitting that your child is an addict

If your child has developed a substance abuse problem, one of the greatest challenges facing you as a parent – at least initially – is coming to terms with the scale of his or her addiction. After all, isn’t it common knowledge that teenagers and young adults will experiment from time to time? It’s all a part of growing up, right?

And, it may be true that the many teens who smoke marijuana on occasion, or accept a can of beer at a party, don’t develop an addiction that will eventually come to dominate their lives. However, how can you recognize when your child has gone beyond the experimental phase and established a habit?

In 2009, one Annapolis mother of six shared these fears and more in a candid piece for The New York Times. Two of Janice Lynch Schuster’s children, she writes, began to abuse drugs and alcohol, a fact that took her a while to accept.

“I tried to console myself, thinking that it was my imagination […] I tried to reason that the kids were just being kids, and the temptation they were being offered – alcohol and not an apple – was nearly irresistible, given our culture and the easy availability of fake driver’s licenses,” she wrote.

Though Schuster tried several methods to curb her children’s abusive habits, such as confiscating the substances and banning certain friends from her home, those efforts, she writes, failed. It wasn’t until the abuse was clearly threatening her daughter’s life that she realized she needed professional drug intervention help.

At the time that the wrote the piece, Shuster expressed a cautious optimism for her children, explaining that both were receiving treatment. If, like Schuster, you feel powerless to rescue your child from the clutches of addiction, don’t wait until their life is on the line – contact an intervention service for guidance and support.

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