Today’s blog is part 2 (part 1 was posted on Wednesday, June 1st) and was taken from an Anchor of Promise post, written by author, blogger Leah Grey. Today Leah continues her interview telling her story that lead to drug abuse and offers some wonderful insights for Christian parents.
How did your parents react when they found out (about her drug use)?
My parents reacted… a lot, to everything. My Mom cried. My Dad was silently angry. My Mom basically went into a depressed spiral, which I took on as being my entire fault. I didn’t need to do much to get this reaction.
There was no “healing” talk in my household. At that time, doing drugs just meant I was either “bad” or “stupid”. “Quit acting like an idiot” was something I heard a lot.
After the first big heartbreak, when I was about fourteen, my parents sent me to a different high school. I think they thought it would be a new start but it was really difficult. The school was better but I had to make all new friends. By then, I already had learned I could easily find acceptance in the school’s smoke pit with the kids who did drugs.
Did you receive counseling or therapy?
I was sent to Christian counseling when I was fifteen or sixteen. It was a couple. We were supposed to be receiving therapy as a family and also alone. I never felt “heard” and I hated the counselors. After only a couple sessions, they decided it was best I stopped living with my parents and gave me an option: Move into a group home for troubled kids or move in with a friend.
I moved in with my friend and lived there for a few months until my Dad finally called and asked if I would come home.
Did you enter any rehab or drug program?
It was never suggested.
Did you feel that experience helped your root issues or make it worse?
The whole experience of moving out made everything worse. I would like to point out that at the time I was kicked out, I was smoking “secretly”, occasionally smoking pot (maybe a couple times a week at the absolute most) and hated drinking. It also reinforced the thought that I wasn’t “good or worthy enough” again.
What was the determining factor that encouraged you to leave the drug life behind?
I had a pattern of using drugs for acceptance. My use always peaked when I needed to fit in or be accepted, like in a new relationship or new school. When I found acceptance in Jesus, that’s where the change really happened. It wasn’t from a drug program or from another person, it was from within.
What would be your advice to other parents who have teens in a drug crisis?
Love them. It’s hard enough to be a teenager without feeling like you’re always disappointing the people who are “supposed” to love you no matter what you do.
Celebrate their successes and do what you can to help build their confidence. I don’t think removing them from school is a bad idea either. If they’re being bullied, stop sending them to school. Home school or private tutoring through volunteer teachers who are retired are good avenues. This will help your teen continue their education under less stressful situations. If they’re doing drugs or drinking daily, find a good treatment program and let them know of your support and love for them every day.
Though they think they are, a teenager is not an adult. They’re children and they need your help. God gave them to you to take care of and He will equip you to do so.
With a teenager, it’s better to listen and pray than it is to fix and push away.
If your parents could have done something different to support or help you, what would that have been?
My parents overreacted. They put a lot of pressure on me to supersede extremely high expectations and let me know, loud and clear, that I failed. Allowing me to make mistakes would have gone a long way. I may have come to my own conclusion that I didn’t want to make them a lot sooner.
I also wish they had seen me for what I was: A highly creative, inquisitive kid with extreme social anxiety and a desperate need for acceptance.
It wasn’t their fault I did drugs, I think they did all they knew how to do. And although I knew they loved me, I always felt I had to earn their love and approval.
I wish I had known what God thought of me and who I was to Him, back at age seven. I can’t imagine how my life might had been different had I been taught the value of my life.
*Leah Grey Bio:
Leah is a twenty-something blogger, writer and hairstylist whose husband went into long-term treatment for addiction. She runs a faith-based online ministry for women with loved ones who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. She challenges popular beliefs about addiction and encourages women to support their loved ones’ recovery, without abandoning them, by creating healthy boundaries. In March 2016, she launched her website, leahgrey.com and community for women in crisis, “Live, Love, Hope”.
Sign up for Leah’s free, four-week Bible Study, “Be Still & Know” to say, “Goodbye” to Worry!. Visit, www.leahgrey.com/bestillseries.