Healthy, happy teenagers have many friends. Interests. And activities. On the other hand. Drug addiction changes a teen. Think about the dramatic changes. From your once smiling, outgoing, friendly teen. To now the complete opposite. Sullen, angry, silent. Furthermore drug addiction changes your teenager. From close to brothers and sisters. Aunts and uncles. Grandparents. Drug addiction changes your teen. To distant, uncaring, unloving. With family members. Friends and neighbors. Even from best friends forever. BFF. Most of all. From you. Mom and dad. Who brought you teen into this world.
Your pride and joy since birth
Forever your teen was full of life. Doing all the right things. That teenagers do. Making good grades in school. Playing on the soccer team. Going to Sunday School every week. Eating dinner with the family. Twice a week. In addition on other nights after practice with mom or dad. Also Saturday night sleepovers with two or three friends. That you’ve known. Since they were five or six. And their parents are your friends. Hanging out with the group. Friday night football games. Followed by a DJ dance at the gym. “Who did you dance with?” “Dad, we don’t dance with one person. We get out on the floor in a group. And shake around together.”
While your happy, healthy teenager. Isn’t perfect. No one is. Problems were not really problems. They were minor concerns. Spending a lot of time talking on the phone. “You were with your best friend all day. What could you possibly talk about on the phone for an hour?” Complaining about biology being too difficult. And not starting on varsity. In addition playing Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone seems like a waste. Finally the daily wake up saga. With you being the alarm clock. Also the snooze button. Several times. In conclusion. NBD. No big deal. Great kid. Your pride and joy. Thank you God.
Drug addiction changes start small
Due to small changes in your teen. You start to make some mental notes. First of all you observe subtle mood changes. Irritability. You ask an innocent question. “How was school today?” Your teen’ replies. “I’m so over it. Don’t ask.” This confuses you. You say nothing. Because you don’t want to be a pushy parent. Next comes a call from the school counselor. Homework’s not done. Grades are dropping. You ask what’s happening. The counselor asks. “Are there problems at home between your husband and you?” You ask your teen about grades. They reply, “I’ve got some teachers this semester that are jerks.” They’re the problem? You sort of doubt it.
Another red warning flag. Really concerns you. Since it concerns your teen’s BFF. Best Friend Forever. Since first grade. Inseparable. You ask, ” Where’s your BFF hasn’t been around lately? Yet another non-answer. “I don’t know. Somewhere I guess.” It’s hard to believe. “I’ve got a few new friends.” Really? “Do we know them?” “No. I just met them.” “Can you bring them over to the house? We’d like to meet them.” Your teen’s perplexing reply. “Doubtful. They’re really busy.”
Finally, straw that breaks the camel’s back
Your teen comes home one football Friday night. Game’s been long over. Post-game dance too. After 1:00 AM. And you know nothing good happens after midnight. Furthermore your teen smells of beer. You confront. “I smell beer.” Slurred speech reply. “I had one. And one of the guys threw up me my leg.” You think, “I remember when that happened to me in high school.” Consequently you say nothing. Except “Go to bed. Right now.”
Denial is not a river in Egypt. Start right this minute. Be on guard. For any and all changes. Know what to look for. Look for them not only in your teen. And in all your teen’s friends. Attend school games and events. Learn to differentiate between healthy, happy kids. And unhealthy, unhappy ones.