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

Help End Medicine Abuse

The Medicine Abuse Project

Addiction.

An ugly word that conjures images of a messy drunk passed out in the alley behind the bar, or possibly a young person so completely caught in the grasp of methamphetamine abuse that she can’t remember a life before.

But there is another side to the horrible face of addiction, and it’s no farther away than your bathroom medicine cabinet.

Medicine abuse is often overlooked, tucked away and ignored… because after all, someone NEEDED these medicines in the first place, right? What you don’t always realize is that the abuse of prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines is dangerous and deadly.

When we talk to our children and teens about drugs and alcohol, we need to talk to them about medicine abuse as well. But are we really doing enough?

This is where The Partnership at Drugfree.org comes in. I am honored to have been chosen for a special live-streaming event to kick off a blog tour featuring 12 writers each reading a personal essay about substance use/abuse and what we want our children to know.

I hope you will join me on Tuesday night September 10 to help #EndMedicineAbuse with The Partnership at Drugfree.org and LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER.

You can watch the live-streaming event September 10 starting at 9 pm EST at the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/user/LTYMShow/live

Then, on September 12 these writers will share their essays on their own blogs.

We hope you will join us in the fight to #EndMedicineAbuse.

 

The Mothers spoke…and the audience, they listened

Words have eluded me for an entire week now…

Trying to find the words to describe the incredible experience that is Listen to Your Mother.

photo credit Kim Thompson-Steel

For those who know me in real life, to think that words would elude me is laughable.

But this experience that I had, that the fourteen of us had, cannot be summed up in a few sentences, a Facebook status update, a few 140-character tweets, or a phone call to an old friend.

It was beyond belief.

In sharing my words with this audience – together with these thirteen other souls I had bonded with over coffee and tears – I found that I lost my words in the end.

I am not an overly emotional person.

But this experience of baring my soul, of cheering my castmates from the wings, high-fiving and hugging and crying and laughing…

It affected me deeply.

So to Ann Imig I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating this awesome and amazing show.

To Kim and Kirsten, who gave so very much of themselves to see that our San Francisco show was an incredible blend of stories that moved the audience (and who are hysterically funny to boot)…thank you.

To Nichole and Melissa, who were already such good friends of mine before we took the stage together…and now are stuck with me forever…thank you, sweet friends.

To Rhea, Rhianna, Maggie, Lorrie, Andre, Joy, Robyn, Estelle, and Esther…you are all amazingly talented, funny, and caring people that I was honored to share a stage with. Thank you for sharing it with me.

To my amazingly large group of work friends and writer friends, who practically bought the entire first two rows of seats, thank you for your support of my silly hobby-turned-passion, writing.

To my mother, who I have always tried to listen to…thank you for listening to me that night.

To my husband, who encourages me every day to have fun, follow my dreams, and push myself just a bit further than my comfort zone…I love you, babe.

To my daughter, who actually does listen to her mother…but for one night this spring, listened to her with several hundred other people too…thank you for your support and cheering.

To my incredible family members (and Vanessa) who sat in the audience and cheered for me…thank you from the bottom of my heart.

It means the world.

We came, we read, we shared, we laughed, and we cried (and possibly shared Cosmopolitans from a flask).

We single-handedly proved that there are no Mommy Wars, there is no one perfect “type” of Mommy, and we really all exist to prop each other up on the bad days and raise our glasses and cheer each other on the good days.

Because in the end?

We had mothers, we became mothers, and we raised mothers.

photo credit Kim Thompson-Steel

And for one beautiful evening in May?

We rocked San Francisco.

Where My Words Live

It was a dark and stormy night, Valentine’s Day two years ago. My teenage son was in bed recovering from having his wisdom teeth pulled; hubs and our daughter were out of town for a weekend ski trip.

Was it the stormy weather? The lonely, quiet house? Possibly the large glass of red wine? I will never remember for sure.

But that was the night I decided to start a blog.

Although I had never even read one before.

I thought of myself as a writer who wrote in her head. A lover of words both complicated and silly, stringing them together into sentences and stories never to reach another’s eyes or ears. But I kept hearing that writers needed to actually write. I needed to do something to release those words from my brain.

Armed with courage, liquid or otherwise, I went to the Blogger website and started this little blog.

And over these past two years, this little experiment in writing has turned into so much more.

I have found a community of other people who write and love words. We share a kindred dislike of incorrect usage of their, there, and they’re. We speak a completely different language, filled with acronyms and #hashtags. We laugh, cry, and at times argue over each other’s words.

I had no idea this world existed.

I’ve met bloggers in real life who have turned into cherished friends of mine; people with whom I would share my last donut.

I have written my way through my son’s senior year of high school, graduation, and leaving for college. I’ve blogged my way into my daughter’s teenage years. I have used this blog to help me process death, stress, and silly situations.

I love this little place here at Old Tweener.

And you, the people who take time out to read my words?

You are the best. If I could offer you coffee and a donut for stopping by when you can, I totally would.

And now, with two years under my belt I am taking on a new challenge. Something way out of my comfort zone that I hope will be a fun experience even if I’m not chosen:

 In a few weeks I am auditioning for the San Francisco show of Listen to Your Mother, an amazing show that has been in many cities all over the country over the past few years. Writers reading their work, each piece having something to do with motherhood, all tied up neatly into a Mother’s Day show.

I may throw up.

But what is life if you don’t spend at least some of it on the verge of vomit?

Stay tuned, and thank you for helping me to make Old Tweener a place I love to hang out.