The legal age for drinking alcohol is 21, but that doesn’t stop many teenagers from drinking. Although the number of reported instances of underage drinking is done, according to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, there is still much to be done in the fight against underage drinking and all the problems that can result from it, such as vehicular accidents, sexual assault and death.
While most teens start drinking as a way to fit in with their friends and have fun at social gatherings, some find that the addictive powers of alcohol have made an immense impact on their impressionable minds. IF your teenager has an alcohol addiction, it can be a very difficult thing for the two of you to address. Here are five things you can tell your teenager with an alcohol addiction.
- Their Addiction Does Not Define Them
The stigma of dealing with addiction can make many people feel like they’re a pariah in society. For a young person like a teenager, they might feel like they’ve ruined everything for themselves and the people around them. Take the time to remind your teenager of all their positive qualities and commend them for tackling their addiction. Remind them of how many people there must be who don’t have the courage to face their problems like they do.
- They Are Not A Bad Person
Even if alcohol has influenced your teen to do things that they otherwise wouldn’t, you should remind them that an addiction doesn’t make them a bad person. You should tell them that their willingness to fight their addiction means they possess a strength that speaks to their character.
- You’re Here For Them
Dealing with addiction can make people feel isolated and alone. Since it’s a largely mental battle, people recovering from substance abuse can feel as though they’re trapped in their minds with no one to turn to. Not only should you tell your teen that you are here for them, you should show it as well. Spend time with them and engage in fulfilling activities the two of you will enjoy. This will help them keep their mind off alcohol and help bring the two of you closer together. You might even look into innovative ways for your teen to help keep their mind clear. For instance, wilderness therapy is a type of behavioral therapy in which the powers of nature and outdoor exploring can help to cleanse one’s mind. These programs address matters such as substance abuse and could be the right solution for your teen on their path to recovery from alcohol addiction.
- Addiction Can Happen to Anyone
Since your teen is young, they’re unlikely to have a sophisticated understanding of addiction and all that it entails. They might have stereotypical views of addicts and believe that they can’t be included in that group. Tell them about how substance abuse and addiction is a health matter, not a moral matter. Encourage them by telling them how addressing an addiction early on lessens its grip on them.
- You Love Them
Addiction can put a tremendous strain on your relationship with your teen. The road to recovery can be rocky and there’s no surefire method of success. However, you’ll want your teen to know that you love and support them. You might not love or support some of the choices they’ve made, but you love them for all the joy their life has provided you. Your emotional support can make all the difference in helping them to cope with their addiction.