My mother showed me what you told her and I am extremely grateful.
My name is Heather, I am seventeen and I have nineteen months clean and sober in Narcotics Anonymous. My mother posted a message on Families Anonymous and she showed it to me with your reply. She then showed me your website and I am extremely grateful to have found it.
Your article about changing assumptions in treating adolescents for addiction hit really close to home for me. I am living proof that your theory is accurate.
Then I was fifteen and still in active addiction, my drug and alcohol counsellor suggested I try attending a group therapy program at the local teen drug and alcohol counselling centre. I ended up going just to make my parents happy. I did get a lot of information out of the sessions but since I was loaded most of the time, I wasn't receptive to any suggestions. I figured that it was just another place to meet people I could use with and that is what it turned out to be. I would smoke pot with the other teens before group almost everyday.
The facilitators were awesome people but they suggested "cutting back" on my drug use as apposed to total abstinance. I used this as a justification for my drug use. I continued to smoke pot and drink alcohol everyday for about 6 months. I then hit a personal bottom and became willing to look at total abstinance in my life. Through the grace, I stumbled in to the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous 3 months before my 16th birthday.
I hooked up with some recovering women and they took me under their wing, sharing their experience, strength, and hope. I soon realized that I was no different than the 40 year old herion addict who was in jail for 20 years. I realized that I would become the prostitute, the heroin junkie, and the criminal if I didn't clean up now. I found that being in a program with adults was exactly what I needed. It was hard at times because I lacked teeneage companionship but I got over it. I realized that because I am a drug addict I can't be a "normal" teenager and "experiment" with drugs.
Around 6 months clean my doctor hooked me up with the local adult drug and alcohol counselling centre. I met with a counsellor one on one and she suggested I try some group therapy. They pulled some strings for me and I got in the adult Abstinence therapy group. This was the best thing for me, I learned some valuable things that I will never forget. The facilitator and other people in the group treated me like an adult and it made all the difference.
If I want to stay clean I have to do the same things that any adult would. I have to work my steps just as hard and go to just as many meetings if I want to achieve any kind of recovery. I thank God for the people in my life who took of the "baby gloves" and told me how it really is. Because the people in my support group treat me like an adult, I am able to grow up and be a productive member of society.
It is important for me to remember that I am still a kid and I am allowed to make mistakes and have fun. I know that it is okay to just be seventeen sometimes, but I also need to continually strive to be a better person.
I am currently attending the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, BC, Canada where I live with my parents. I am on my way to getting my high school equivilancy. I am an active member of NA in Kamloops and in my home group. Today one of the facilitators at the teen drug and alcohol counselling centre called me and asked me if I wanted to be a guest speaker at the same group I went to two years ago. At first I didn't think I would do it because I didn't think I had much to offer. After going to your website and reading your articles I realized that I can only keep what I have by giving it away. I'm going to speak at the D&A centre and do my best to help the still suffering addict.
Thank you for your website and your books. My parentsgot me Day BY Day for Christmas and every morning when I read it, my fire for recovery is lit. Thank you for carrying the message Shelly!!