Opening Eyes, Minds, and Hearts

Addiction is a Disease, Not a Moral Failure
A personal story about addiction:
I am an alcoholic with 4 years sobriety. I was formerly in the running to become the next CEO of a bulge bracket money management firm, but alcohol caught up with me in my mid 40’s and I blew up my life in spectacular fashion.
Alcohol and the Developing Brain
During the teenage and early adult years, the brain is still developing, making it more vulnerable to alcohol than the adult brain. Moreover, research indicates that the earlier a person starts drinking, the more likely that person will develop serious problems with alcohol or drug addiction later in life.
Alcohol Withdrawal and Detox
People who drink heavily over an extended period of time develop a tolerance to alcohol. Symptoms of withdrawal can be psychological and physical. How much, how often and for how long someone consumed alcohol impacts their withdrawal symptoms.
Characteristics of Addiction
Drug addiction is marked by being unable to stop abusing drugs or alcohol. Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue using despite the harm it causes themselves and their loved ones.
Institute for Behavior and Health
Dr. Robert L. Dupont’s Written Testimony to the FDA Regarding the Health Impacts of CBD
As a Harvard Medical School graduate, a board-certified and practicing psychiatrist, a veteran of NIH training and a clinical professor at Georgetown Medical School since 1980, Dr. Dupont has witnessed many dramatic changes over his career. Yet the hoopla and hysteria surrounding the medical use of marijuana and cannabinoid-containing products is unlike anything he has ever seen.
Drugs and the Brain
The human brain is the most complex organ in the body—it regulates your body’s basic functions; enables you to interpret and respond to everything you experience; and shapes your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Drugs, however, can alter important brain areas that are necessary for life-sustaining functions and can drive the compulsive drug abuse that marks addiction.
Gateway Drugs
Regardless of the source, one point is clear – when a person tries one drug, statistics show that he/she will try another drug, and that the other drug will be stronger, more powerful and more addictive than the last.
Hope Not Handcuffs
Hope Not Handcuffs is an initiative started by Families Against Narcotics (FAN), aimed at bringing law enforcement and community organizations together in an effort to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking help to reduce dependency with heroin, prescription drugs, and alcohol.
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
So marijuana causes schizophrenia?
PAARI—The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) provides support and resources to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery.
SAMHSA – Medication Assisted Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including opioid treatment programs (OTPs), combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.
Shaming the Sick: Addiction and Stigma
Stigma is a public health issue — it contributes to high rates of death, incarceration, and mental health concerns among dependent populations.
Siblings Also Struggle When Addiction Strikes a Family
Addiction is sometimes called a family disease, so strong are the ripple effects for the parents and children of people struggling with substance use disorders. Many feel they are grappling with their loved ones’ addiction alone. But the adolescent siblings of substance users may feel more alone than most.
Teen Drug and Alcohol Statistics
These statistics about teen substance abuse tell only part of the story: Behind each statistic lies a devastated family, medical, financial and psychological ordeals, car accidents, lost jobs, derailed college experiences, incarceration and sometimes death by accident, homicide, overdose or suicide.
Warning Signs
Figuring out if your child is using drugs or alcohol can be challenging. Many of the signs and symptoms are, at times, typical teen or young adult behavior. Many are also symptoms of mental health issues, including depression or anxiety disorders. Explore our parent Drug Guide for even more substance-specific warning signs.
What Counts as a Drink
Do you enjoy a drink now and then? What do you think about taking a look at your drinking habits and how they may affect your health?
Hazelden Betty Ford logo
What Is Addiction?
Simply put, addiction is the continued use of alcohol and other drugs even when that causes harm.  It’s often described as a disease of the mind, body, and spirit because it involves the physical and psychological craving to use a mood-altering substance.
Parents Opposed to Pot logo
What is Dabbing and Why Parents Need to Worry
“Dabbing” is a way to get the quickest, long-lasting high with a single inhale. In fact, a single puff from a pipe or vaping pen can give the effect of smoking many joints. Unfortunately for parents, the new vaping pens make it extremely difficult to see, smell or detect.
What is Recovery
“Recovery from alcohol and drug problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness and quality of life.”

The 12 Guiding Principles of Recovery

What You Can Do to Prevent Your Under Age Child from Drinking
Learn what you can do to prevent your child from drinking.

(PDF available in English & Spanish)

7 Reasons Why Teens Use Drugs (and How Parents Can Prevent it)
Gordon Dickler shares his tips on why teens will drink or use drugs.
Addiction – Where were the parents?!
Why ‘Where were the parents” is the wrong question.
Denial And Addiction Are Co-Conspirators
Why we need to take off the goggles.
Understanding Addiction and Why Some People Become Addicted While Others Do Not
Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will.
Why Family Therapy is Critical to Recovery
Expert clinician explains how family therapy can effectively address the systemic dynamics of substance abuse.
Why Some People Become Addicted and Others Do Not
Family studies that include identical twins, fraternal twins, adoptees, and siblings suggest that as much as half of a person’s risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs depends on his or her genetic makeup. Pinning down the biological basis for this risk is an important avenue of research for scientists trying to solve the problem of drug addiction.
7 Tips for Mothers of Adult Addicts
Parenting adult children who abuse substances, the law, or their families.
7 Truths About My Son’s Addiction that Took 5 Years to Learn
A parent’s input on how he learned to understand the truth about addiction.
9 Tips from Families Who’ve Lost a Loved One to Addiction
A Letter From Families Who Have Lost a Loved One to Addiction
10 Survival Tips for Loving an addict
Learning how to deal with reality is the most important first step in “surviving” when you love an addicted person.
A Message To The Mom With An Addicted Child
It’s devastating to know your child is suffering from addiction. There is hope because addiction is a treatable disease.
Am I Enabling Addiction by Helping My Child?
So many parents and family members struggle with the concept of enabling. There is a natural inclination to love, protect and nurture their children, but when does it cross a line that can be harmful rather than helpful?

The definition of enabling and what to take into consideration when trying to motivate your child to engage in healthy behaviors.

Heart Check For Parents Of Struggling Teens
Tracy Winchell shares the HEART Check Journaling method.
Helping a Family Member or Friend with a Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Do you have an adult family member or friend with a drug or alcohol problem? You’re probably wondering how you can help. Here are 7 answers to questions you may be asking.
Hazelden Betty Ford logo
How Does Drug Use Affect the Teen Brain?
The brain continues to grow and evolve through the teenage years and into young adulthood, including the systems that govern emotions and impulses.  This makes teenagers particularly susceptible to alcohol and other drug use.
How to Help Your Addicted (adult) Loved One
We made a lot of mistakes. Those mistakes taught us a lot.
How to Tell if Your Child is Drinking Alcohol
Learn the signs of underage drinking and how to move forward with love and support.
I Was Consumed by My Son’s Addiction Every Minute of Every Day
One mother’s journey of trying to “fix” her child’s addiction.
Parent Of Drug Addict Help: Top 10 Truths To Help Parents
A few hard lessons complied into a list of truths.
Saving Myself
The boundaries we set are not for our addicts. They are not to save them. We do not have the power to save them. We set boundaries to save ourselves.

The Sober World Magazine – July 30, 2019

Secondhand Drinking – Secondhand Smoking – a Powerful Connection for Change
Secondhand drinking refers to the negative impacts of a person’s drinking behaviors on others. Those negative impacts can include anything from sleepless nights spent worrying about whether a loved one is in a car wreck to lost wages because of having to stay home to help an alcoholic sober up enough to function. It can include toxic stress consequences, such as: migraines, stomach ailments, sleep problems, anxiety, skin conditions, heart disease, and depression.
Stigma Reducing Language
We can reduce the stigma, and help save lives, just by changing our language.
The Grief of an Overdose Death — and How You Can Support Someone Grieving a Substance Use Loss
I have experienced deep and painful grief from the death of many loved ones in my life. My husband died of a sudden heart attack in his sleep. My younger sister died of cancer. I lost both of my sons — my younger one to an accident, and my older one who died of a substance use disorder. My husband’s, younger son’s and sister’s deaths were considered socially acceptable to grieve. The loss I felt when I lost my older son to an overdose was painful in multiple ways, and different than any other grief.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids Parent Blog June 17, 2019
Treatment Transparency 12 Questions to Ask When Seeking Treatment
What can you do to protect yourself or a loved one seeking treatment? Ask these questions.
This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake
It is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do. It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing.