Rehab for Teenagers

Voices of Experience – Alcoholic at 14

Here’s what Susan had to say about her daughter’s addiction:

My daughter is 19 years old, and an alcoholic. She was always a  good kid, a competitive soccer player with good grades, and we had a good relationship. Everything changed one weekend when  she was 14 years old.

While I was out of town, with prompting from friends, she had her  first drinking episode that ended in a “blackout” and possible rape.  She lied to the people she was staying with about her whereabouts,  she lied to her brother about being sick from the “flu”, and she lied to  me about the whole weekend. From there our lives together became one lie or half truth after another.

She dropped out of soccer, she developed a new group of friends. I was worried, something is wrong. She was spending a lot of time with kids I didn’t know. Answers to questions continually changed. She was caught drinking at a party. I sought counseling from a teen counselor who had been highly recommended. I was told, “She’s a normal teenager doing normal things”. I worked harder at being vigilant. She became a better liar. Grades started to slip; she was skipping school. I made excuses for her. I started lying to everyone on how things really were. She got more tickets for underage drinking, I found a “bong” in her room. I fretted, and I worried. She snuck out at night, I grounded her. She lied and pleaded and negotiated her way out of grounding and other situations. The more of a downward spiral she took, the more of a downward spiral I took.

When I came home to a wild party at my home, I called the police. I screamed, “Arrest her, take her, help us!” The answer, “There is no place to take her.” I investigated places, what do I look for, but she’ll miss school. Maybe I’m over reacting?, The result was more delay, doubt and confusion. She fails a semester of high school, she gets arrested for drunk and disorderly. I get tough and demand she remain at home. She becomes more and more agitated, she needs out to “see her friends”. She really needs out to get high. She swallows every pill in the medicine cabinet and I call the ambulance. She had barricaded herself in and the police had to break down the door. After hospitalization, they were going to release her. Release her? That can’t be, but they had nowhere to take her.

I found a local outpatient drug rehab facility – affiliated with a hospital – to take her to. Then I couldn’t believe it – they tried to tell me she was a normal teenager just experimenting. By then I knew they were believing her lies. And she got more tickets for underage drinking, more drinking and blacking out.

I was desperate, looking for a place that could handle her. Finally, I found an inpatient treatment center where others had gotten results. It was expensive, and we had to fly her, myself, and her dad there to educate all of us as well as treat her. But things finally changed after that.

It still is not easy, but my daughter’s attitude has changed and I now know where to draw the line. She is about to graduate from a trade school and get a job. Thanks to the help of experienced professionals, we can now look at this thing as it really is—an addiction.

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