For some, the natural high is found on a diving board 33 feet in the air, peering over their toes down to the pool of blue water below. Others find their high by thrashing through in the woods searching for this year’s big buck. Tragically many of our loved ones find their high in a dirty alley, with a used needle, a rubber strap, and “Al Capone.” It’s every parent’s nightmare to think their precious children will chose to get high in an alley and not choose the high from life’s healthy pleasures. How do you prevent the nightmare from happening to you and your family?
Children need to experience the excitement of a natural high. It’s not so hard. It’s each family’s own kind of fun. Is it making dinner, hiking, going to the movies for your family. It’s important to bring fun into your life and follow it. Oh yes, and teach your children that there isn’t a drug or substance out there that can produce a feeling you can’t get yourself in a wholesome way.
The Need For A High Isn’t The Problem
It’s merely an outcome of how our brains were designed to work. Loretta G. Breuning Ph.D., from Psychology Today, explains, “The expectation of a reward triggers a good feeling in the mammal brain, and releases the energy you need to reach the reward.” That good feeling is dopamine.
Drugs Change The Way Your Brain Seeks The High
Recreational drugs cause a rush of dopamine to flood your brain, triggering a feel good high. Your brain remembers those warm fuzzy feelings and wants more. Ergo, more drugs. Then more high. (You get the idea.) With addiction, changes to your brain’s natural chemistry cause the cravings for the high to grow more important than anything else.
What About Natural Highs
Studies continue to show that thrill-seeking, impulsive kids have a higher risk for substance use disorder. One way to help prevent drug abuse is to teach them to embrace this innate need for risk and reward, and feed it with healthy adventure. Some healthy activities to try are:
- Horseback riding
- BMX racing
- Performing Arts
- Theme parks
My son loves the thrill of chasing kids at the playground. I love traveling to new cities on my own, just to prove I can. Something as simple as taking a new way home or dining out at an exotic new restaurant may do the trick. Just as whiskey may be one person’s vice while heroin may be the only thing that works for someone else, the same is true with healthy alternatives. The key is to keep trying healthy ways to meet this need until you find what works for you.