I was a sober curious mom before it was a thing. It’s still not quite a thing, but maybe we can make it one. I was a mom whose life was changed forever by teen substance and alcohol use. Angry, sad, scared, hurt, I was miserable in every way. During the teen escalation years, however, I knew that denial of teen drinking and pot smoking risked addiction. I had to face it.

You can’t negotiate your way out of teen substance use

Lesson number one for me was that If you know your teen is using, you can’t do things the same old way and expect a miracle. You can’t yell, scream, plead, argue, negotiate or bribe your way out of teen use. You can’t have a drink or a joint in your hand and tell your kid not to do as you do. You have to do something different. For me it meant changing myself. And I stopped drinking.

I  was a sober curious mom who stopped drinking on August 25, 2008

When recovery began to work for my loved one, I wanted to know what it feels like to give up the thing you love the most. I wanted to see what it was like to be sober in a drinking world.  I’m not going to lie. It’s not good being sober, at first. No wine tastings, no martini bars, no cocktail parties. No noisy celebrations. People hearing my drink order for the first time often said, “you’re no fun.” In fact, I was more fun.

Pitcher of lemonade
My Favorite drink

Quitting Alcohol Set Me Free

Guess what? People with denial about alcohol are the no fun ones. Lesson number two for me was that if family members or friends aren’t all on board for taking recovery steps early on, you might have to detach from them for a time, or forever.

One out of seven adults over the age of 18 has an alcohol problem

I heard from someone yesterday who was deeply angry that her son, sober since July, relapsed on a family outing to a winery in August. Everyone stopped at two or three, but he didn’t stop drinking all night and didn’t come home until the next day.

Maybe it’s the wish to have life return to what it was before addiction that motivates families to carry on as before and then become angry when recovery fails. If you’re a parent who wants your child to succeed, you can support that loved one by avoiding outings that center around drinking. And maybe you just don’t drink at all.

One thing I know for sure. Recovery can’t happen with the addict alone, it has to include the family, community, and, yes, a nationwide effort to make recovery comfortable for every hero who attempts it. Sober since August 25, 2008, I’d like salute all those who support recovery with all their hearts and souls.


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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. Leslie is also the creator of Recovery Guidance, the information website for those seeking addiction and mental healthcare for professionals nationwide. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation.

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