A young mom with a penchant for the gym. Lauren King is hardly the kind of person most folks would associate with hardcore drug use.
But the fact is, King’s been there and done that.As a teenager, she started using alcohol drugs right under the nose of her own mother, a former alcoholic
and drug user as well. The good news is that’s all in the past and both women are now sober. King, who co-wrote “Addicted Like Me
” with her mother, is understandably determined to see that her elementary school-age daughters make more positive life choices than she did.Although she stresses
that this is by no means a guide, but rather a reflection on her own experiences, King says there are things she will do differently with her own girls.“One of the things I learned is that I had too much free time going on as a teenager,” she says. “I didn’t have a way to focus or to put my energy into something.
At the time, she wasn’t involved in any clubs or sports and her mom, Karen Franklin, was a single mom who was constantly working.
So King says she had plenty of freedom and no structure—not a good combination.“You’re kind of setting [kids] up to just go out experience things on their own,” she says.Nowadays, most city parks and recreation programs have low-cost or free enrichment and sports classes for youngsters. King says she likes these kinds of activities for her own children and suggests parents check out kids’ classes at places like Michael’s, JoAnn,Lowe’s or Home Depot. Not only do these kinds of programs build a child’s curiosity and interests, they also teach social skills, which Kingsays she missed out on by not taking part in such offerings.“I didn’t attend a lot of things and I didn’t have a lot of friends,” she says, recalling her youth. “Of course, drugs and alcohol instantly fill that void.”
Another point she’s already driving home at her house is communication.
Because, King says, when she was growing up, her family “didn’t talk about things.” She says her mother grew up the same way. And “as parents, you do what your parents did.” After her parents divorced, King says she grew lonely and sad. She had no one to talk to about her feelings. She never had anyone sit down with her and talk about the dangers of drugs
and alcohol. Let alone the family’s history of substance
abuse. However, she doesn’t find fault with her parents. But shrugs off the disconnect as just the way things were. For what it’s worth, King says she’s taking a different approach with her kids.
“I want them to know what our family has come from. How addiction has marched down the line,” she says, noting that honesty is the best policy. “I want them to know they’re at risk and the reasons why I did what I did. Additionally I don’t want them to think, ‘That won’t be me.’