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Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in The Quest Project | 0 comments

Drugs, Alcohol and My Son


In my last article, I talked about “When a Boy Becomes a Man;” what happens when there are obstacles, and there can be many.  In the next few posts, I’ll share with you about what I see in my program The Quest ProjectLet’s start with the “big one”  Drugs and Alcohol.

Charles Krauthammer wrote in his book Things That Matter,  

“Perhaps the dawning of knowledge, the coming of sin.  Or more prosaically, the catastrophe that awaits everyone from a single false move, wrong turn, fatal encounter.  Every life has such a  moment.  What distinguishes us is whether – and how – we ever come back.”

The Wound

If your son takes that wrong turn, makes that single false move, you need to be prepared and ready to take action.

In my work with young men, 9 times out of 10 I find they are dealing with a wound; a wound inflicted by their father.  Topping the list is abandonment.  Next, dad is absent either emotionally or physically or both.  In some cases dad “lashed out” and verbally or physically abused his son, or both.  Bottom line here is there is a wound and until it’s healed you’re in for a rough ride. 

Bad Choices

It’s natural for your son to deal with the pain of the wound by “numbing out” and he may turn to drugs and alcohol.  Hopefully, you’re not deceiving yourself. Drugs and alcohol are readily available EVERYWHERE!  He can escape his feelings and find refuge by drinking or smoking pot or worse.  I have met hundreds of moms and dads who didn’t know their son was in trouble. 

Do you know? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my son experimenting with E-cigarettes or cigarettes?
  • Is my son hanging out at an unsupervised friends house for hours? 
  • Is he enraged when I walk in his room?  (by the way, it’s your house – it’s great to respect his space – but if you suspect something is wrong, you owe it to yourself and your son to follow your instincts and Mom’s have the best instincts!)
  • Is this really my son, what is going on? Something feels wrong?

Take Action

Seek out a treatment program ASAP!  You can’t compete with drugs and alcohol; I can’t compete as a counselor.  The first step is getting him in a treatment program specifically designed for drug and alcohol abuse.  Allow him to be honest, work together to find the right program. 

Don’t wait and don’t fantasize that it may go away or that you can help.  It will be painful for your family, but I assure you that if you want him to heal he needs to feel the pain of bad choices for some time. 

Turning Things Around

The fact of the matter and hard truth is this.  He needs to be held accountable for his bad choices, especially with drugs and alcohol.  You’ve heard about tough love, well this is the time for you to practice tough love.  Saving him from his feelings will only prolong his opportunity to heal.  I know that if you’re a Mom the desire to save him will be strong, almost overwhelming.  

You are saving him by getting him in a treatment program where he’ll learn and get the education on what bad things happen with drug use.  After that, get him back to counseling for follow up.  Know that if you’ll follow this process you’re doing what’s best.

Are you concerned your son is experimenting with drugs or alcohol? Share your thoughts in the comments or on my Facebook page and  I’ll try to help you.

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Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor, PhD in education and counseling, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. He is author of "Generation of Men: How to raise your son to be a healthy man among men" and “Saving Our Sons: A Parent's Guide to Preparing Boys for Success." Dr. Clay has seen over 2000 boys since 2000 and facilitated over 300 The Quest Project groups. Boys attend a 10-week "boys to men program" where they and their parents will learn the tools needed to get through these turbulent teen years. Dr. Clay is a member of the Steering Committee for The Coalition to Create a White House Council for Boys and Men.
Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor

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