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Addicted Like Me

Addicted Like Me
The bond between mother and daughter can be forged by many things, from a mutual love of clothes or jewelry to a shared interest in a particular career path.

For others, however, the ties that binds can be addiction Karen Franklin and her daughter Lauren King are both sober today and leading happy, healthy and productive lives, having kicked the drug and alcohol habits that once threatened to destroy them. That said, Franklin, whose adult son is still getting treatment for substance abuse issues, doesn’t gloss over things. “This is a lifetime deal,” Franklin says. “Addiction is something that is in remission for the rest of a person’s life.”While Franklin and King share not only their genes, they also share an unfortunate slice of personal history. These two compassionate women have done a very beautiful thing together.

Mother and daughter have collaborated on “Addicted Like Me,”. A memoir that goes into heartbreaking detail about how they ended up abusing everything from alcohol to marijuana and crystal meth. This truly cautionary tale is sad and touching. Yet it is ultimately uplifting, as the pair hasn’t put their story out there just to make themselves feel better.

“Addicted Like Me” reaches out to others in need of help, even offering a section on specific things to look for if you suspect someone is using drugs, discussion questions and other advice. “There are no guaranteed outcomes,” says Franklin. “But the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Now employed as an interventionist with Phoenix-based Intervention ASAP, Franklin is used to sharing her knowledge and insights for parents and caregivers. In general, for the best of all possible outcomes, she recommends:

Educating kids early, but in age-appropriate ways, about how to safely and respectfully take medications.

Teach them that you are only to take the amount that the doctor or instructions advise. And keep all medications under lock and key if you have children in the house. “Having an unlocked medicine cabinet is like having a loaded gun available to your children.”

Keeping the lines of communication open in the home.

Franklin’s own mom passed away when she was just 11, leaving her—the youngest child—at home with a distant, alcoholic father. “Open dialogue in the home is important. It wasn’t modeled to me, and I didn’t really know how to do it.”

Trusting your instincts.

If you’re suspicious of your child’s activities, there very well maybe a reason. “If you think that there is something wrong, or something’s going on, follow through on that”. But if you’re at that stage—suspicious, but not sure there’s an issue—Franklin says it pays to pay attention. Look for red flags such as:

A child who is keeping her distance, or “isolating.”

Franklin herself did a stint of self-prescribed isolation, simply not venturing out of her bedroom. “Teenagers are going to do some of this anyway,” she says. But if such isolating is accompanied by declining grades, missed school days, a new bunch of friends or mood swings, it’s time to intercede.

Objects—say, a lighter or a bottle of eye drops—that might seem a bit out of place in your child’s room or belongings.

What you find out is usually just the tip of the iceberg, she says. Noting that parent’s shouldn’t fall for lines like, “It’s somebody else’s stuff” or “I only tried it once.”

Recalling how she came to realize Lauren had a drug problem, Franklin says, “Once I saw [Lauren’s] marijuana pipes on the counter, everything fell into place. But the truth is that, by then, she was doing LSD, cocaine and marijuana and hanging out with some 27-year-old guy. Who would give her anything she’d want.”If your child has a substance abuse issue and it’s time to get help, Franklin says to:

Contact an addiction professional.

“There are many good therapists and treatment programs out there, but not all focus on addiction.”Do your due diligence in researching the kind of treatment facility that will be a good fit for your child and your family. “I spent a lot of time going to the wrong place.”Be wary of Internet resources. Many phone numbers are call centers, not places where you’re truly going to get professional assistance. If possible, get help for your child outside of your hometown. Get them away from their people, places and playgrounds.” And, equally as important, have are-entry plan—preferably a 12-month program with ongoing monitoring—in place when the child comes back home.

Finally, don’t take all of this on by yourself.

Find a support group or network that can get you through this challenging time. If anything, Franklin and King are proof that the human spirit can overcome just about anything. Along with her new career, Franklin is enjoying being a grandmother and is married to a man who shares her passion for service to others. She seems humbled by her good fortune.“I’m blessed and I’m grateful,” she says. “But there’s still work to be done and families to help.

 

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