A Plea for my Teens

The Medicine Abuse Project- The  Partnership at Drugfree org Logo**************************************

We are one of the lucky families who haven’t had to face addiction with their teens, but I believe that all families need to have an open dialogue about the issues. I wrote this essay as something I would say directly to either one of my teens.

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I thought we had covered all the bases.

From that first moment I snuggled you in the delivery room, we started teaching you about being safe and feeling loved.

When you cried, we comforted you… and when you smiled, we smiled back. We were absolutely pulled into your orbit and held there waiting breathless for your next move.

As your body grew stronger and you started roaming the halls of our home, we protected you from the obvious dangers: stairs, sharp corners on tables, cleaning solutions under the kitchen sink. Small choking hazards were stowed on high shelves, baby foods introduced in the exact order recommended by the pediatrician.

We immunized, sanitized, baby-proofed, read labels, researched crazy symptoms and rashes. We would keep you safe, no matter what the danger.

As you grew older, new dangers seemed to exist around every corner. We frantically had to switch gears, to add in these new warnings to our lessons about being safe.

Look both ways, hold my hand, don’t talk to strangers, wear your helmet, buckle up, don’t tell people where you live.

More warnings, more dangers.

Your teenage years crept in quickly, until your 13th birthday arrived and keeping you safe was no longer simply buckling your car seat or protecting your head from the sharp corners of the coffee table.

Dangers at this age became bigger, more insidious, more difficult to teach.

Drive safely, don’t DRINK at all, don’t smoke, don’t take any pills that anyone gives you.

NEVER.

You were no longer holding my hand, and I was no longer holding your rapt attention.

Warnings began to sound more frantic, as the potential dangers for teens seem to lurk just outside the front door.

And buried in these discussions of what NOT to do I think we missed a key point.

The underlying threat goes way beyond the immediate dangers.

Addiction.

A few beers with friends or the handful of pills your roommate hands you to “help” you study for finals? You may feel the potential window for danger closes when the sun rises the next day and everything is fine.

But the true danger is addiction. When the small handful of pills doesn’t cut it anymore, and you need MORE.

More pills, more booze, more weed just to get you to that point where your body and mind let go and the drug takes over.

And the scary part is that you won’t see it coming.

Addiction will burn your dreams at the end of that glass pipe. Addiction will take your future and twist it into a never-ending cycle of highs and lows. When addiction pulls you in quietly it promises fun, relaxation, a momentary respite from your worries and obligations. The pills your friends shares seem safe — why would the doctor prescribe them if they aren’t?

But they are NOT safe.

And by the time you understand that addiction is real and horrible and life-altering it will have already wound you up in its tight grasp, ready to fling you out at the world in search of your next high.

Like crossing the street without looking both ways.

Stay safe, my sweet baby. Hold onto your dreams and don’t let addiction derail them.

I’ve done my part… it’s your turn now.

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This post is sponsored by The Partnership at Drugfree.org as part of a blog tour with listentoyourmothershow.com in an effort to #EndMedicineAbuse

I am proud to be a part of this blog tour, which follows a live-streaming event we did on September 10. You can watch the videos here:

Please read about this event on the Listen to Your Mother blog, then visit some of the other amazing and talented writers I am honored to have shared this important event with…

Brandi Jeter from mamaknowsitall.com reading Smoothing Wrinkles
Ellie Schoenberger
from onecraftymother.com reading The Power of Story
Heather King
from extraordinary-ordinary.net reading How Will Our Kids Fill That Need?
Alexandra Rosas
from gooddayregularpeople.com reading End Medicine Abuse
Janelle Hanchett
from renegademothering.com reading I Could Tell You My Story
Judy Miller
from judymiller.com reading Teen Prescription Drug Use and Abuse
Melisa Wells
from suburbanscrawl.com reading LTYM & The Partnership at Drugfree.org Blog Tour
Lyz Lenz
from lyzlenz.com reading Dear Little Boy, You Will Never Be Ruined
Zak Watson
from raisingcolorado.com reading Raising Awareness to End Medicine Abuse
Lisa Page Rosenberg
from smacksy.com reading The Inside World

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Comments

  1. Beautiful and honest, my friend.
    This moment is the one I fear most… “You were no longer holding my hand, and I was no longer holding your rapt attention.”

    I’m so proud of you for being a part of this amazing project. Your writing is so pure and perfect. xo

  2. Thank you for this. It is a scary thought as a parent and I hope that none of us ever have to face it.

    I am very proud of you for being a part of this initiative.

  3. Three years ago, my friend’s son died of a heroin overdose.
    He was a senior in high school.

    They knew he was an addict. He’d been in and out of rehab. Residential programs. Tough love. They tried everything.

    Nothing – not even their love – proved stronger than his desire to use and now he is dead.

    Because of this, I’ve been able to tell my kids this:

    YOU NEVER KNOW how you will react to any drug. You might be programmed to try it and never want to stop. Are some people able to experiment and not be immediately hooked? Sure.

    But that’s not a risk worth taking. Risk falling in love, reaching for a dream, following your heart. Don’t risk addiction. And the best way to avoid that risk is to never even start.

    Thanks for this message, Sherri.
    I’m so proud of all of you who are taking up this cause.
    I wish it weren’t a conversation we all need to have.

    But it is.

  4. Well done, Tweener. Great essay.

  5. Thanks for this lovely essay, Sherri.

    With two teens, I can really relate. So far, so good. But in many ways, it was a lot easier teaching them to cross the street!

    I miss that “rapt attention” that you mention!

  6. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.
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Trackbacks

  1. […] Janelle Hatchet – http://www.renegademothering.com Sherri Kuhn – http://oldtweener.com/2013/09/a-plea-for-my-teens.html Ellie Schoenberger –http://www.onecraftymother.com/2013/09/medicine-abuse-is-epidemic-in-our.html […]

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